500.CC(PC)/11–3045: Telegram

The Acting United States Representative on the Preparatory Commission (Stevenson) to the Secretary of State

12526. Copre 422. The situation concerning choice of location of UNO as reported in Copre 421, Embassy’s 12461, seems to us likely to have a detrimental effect on US public opinion toward British and UNO in general. Open leadership of the British in their campaign against the US among PreCo delegations and through inspired press stories may arouse serious resentment in US press and Congress and may hamper favorable action on financial aid to UK and on trade program. In view of clear majority opinion among PreCo delegations in favor of US, it seems to us that British Govt is incurring a serious task [risk?] by continuing a Quixotic fight for Europe regarding which there is every indication they will not succeed.

American press representatives here are keenly interested in question of site and are already publicizing the efforts of British to collect votes for Europe. The deputations from American cities are likewise aware of the British position and nature of campaign being waged to sell that position to other delegations and their govts. In the British press even the weapon of ridicule is being used.

If, instead of continuing the present campaign, the British representative in PreCo, after a brief face-saving interval during which they would support Europe, were then to abandon their fight and gracefully accept evident majority in PreCo in favor of US, adverse effects on our public opinion would be substantially alleviated.

In view of the importance of middle and far western public and congressional opinion with particular reference to economic proposals, it would also seem to us unwise for the British to press for the east coast of US or too emphatically for any particular city on east coast. Noel-Baker has told me personally that Boston would be his first choice in US.

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We submit for your consideration the wisdom of bringing the foregoing to attention of Halifax51 and the other members of the British Financial and Trade Mission.52 The debate on site in Committee Eight may take place early next week.

  1. The Earl of Halifax, British Ambassador to the United States.
  2. In his personal telegram 12527, November 30, 6 p.m., to Secretary Byrnes, the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) stated that he had not been able to give his concurrence to Mr. Stevenson’s thinking on this point, in light of the Department’s position as set forth in telegram 10333, November 28. Specifically the Ambassador believed that the question of location of the United Nations should not be related to the current negotiations on loan and trade agreements. In the Department, Ambassador Winant was backed in this view by the Deputy Director of the Office of European Affairs (Hickerson) and the Under Secretary of State (Acheson), Mr. Hickerson writing, “I fully concur in the Ambassador’s statement that the British have every right to state their position … Moreover, I do not see how the Secretary could take this up with the British Ambassador in the manner suggested without departing from our publicly stated position …” (50.CC (PC)/11–3045)