Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief of the Division of European Affairs (Hickerson)

Participants: Mr. John Magowan, Commercial Counselor, British Embassy
Mr. Hawkins18
Mr. Hickerson

Mr. Magowan came to Mr. Hawkins’ office at 12:30 p.m. today at Mr. Hickerson’s request. Mr. Hawkins and Mr. Hickerson referred to Mr. Opie’s statement to Mr. Hickerson on August 31 that the British Government wished to consider with the United States Government the matter of informing the Governments of the U.S.S.R. and China about the exploratory conversations on Article VII. He referred also to Mr. Hickerson’s statement to Mr. Opie that the United States is in a somewhat different position than that of the United Kingdom in respect to the Soviet Government and the Chinese Government, in that the United States has exactly the same commitments to those Governments that it has to the United Kingdom Government.

In those circumstances it was explained to Mr. Magowan the United States Government had decided to extend invitations to the Soviet Government and to the Chinese Government identical to those which have been extended to the United Kingdom Government and accepted by that Government. A telegram signed by the Secretary to our Embassy at Moscow in that sense was read to Mr. Magowan who was also informed that a similar invitation was being extended to China.

Mr. Magowan said that he would inform the British Government in the sense of the foregoing. He added that it seemed to him that the natural counterpart of the United States’ action would be for the United Kingdom Government to notify the Soviet and the Chinese Governments that it had received an invitation from the United States Government to engage in such conversations and had accepted such an invitation. Messrs. Hawkins and Hickerson agreed that this would be a natural action. It was further agreed that if for any reason the Soviet and Chinese Governments find it impracticable to engage in such conversations with the United States at an early date, consideration should be given to keeping those Governments currently informed of the course of the discussions soon to start in Washington between representatives of the United States and the United Kingdom Governments.

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Some consideration was given to the reply which would be made by the United States and the U.K. Governments if press inquiries were received about the forthcoming conversations. It was suggested that both Governments might well say that the British officials were arriving in this country to continue the monetary talks with the Treasury Department and to discuss related matters. It was agreed to consider this matter further.

J[ohn] D. H[ickerson]
  1. Harry C. Hawkins, Chief, Division of Commercial Policy and Agreements.