740.00119 Council/12–745

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State

The Secretary telephoned the Chinese Ambassador5 about 6:30 and asked him to come to the Department to see him. When the Ambassador arrived the Secretary apologized for having had the Ambassador come in the morning, at which time he had been unable to discuss the matter he had hoped to discuss. He remarked that the Ambassador by this time had probably heard the news of the plans to meet in Moscow on December 15.

The Secretary told the Ambassador that, as he would recall, an agreement had been reached at Yalta between the heads of the three Governments that their foreign secretaries would meet every three or four months to consider informally and in an exploratory way matters pending between them.6 They had met at San Francisco, at Potsdam in July, again in London in September, and they felt that answered the Yalta agreement. Now another three months has passed and the Secretary, considering the number of matters pending between them, had felt it would be wise to meet in Moscow and has proposed this meeting.

The Secretary said he felt that there should be a discussion with the Russians about the atomic bomb before the opening of the UNO on January 2, that failure to have such a discussion might seriously affect the UNO.

[Page 832]

The Secretary explained that he had hoped to release the news about the meeting this morning, but Moscow had asked that it be held up and this afternoon they had suggested a slight change and the announcement was being made this evening.

The Secretary said he thought the Ambassador would agree it would be good for all concerned if the views of ourselves and the Soviet Union on matters other than the atomic bomb [apparent omission], and until some progress is made it is difficult to resume the Council of Foreign Ministers.

The Ambassador said he felt it was very important to have such a meeting and bring harmony on certain questions. He inquired if the Secretary expected to bring about a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Moscow later on.

The Secretary said he did have such hopes and added, “I am an optimist there.” He told the Ambassador that he had pressed for his proposal regarding the peace conference at London and that if an agreement could be reached on this issue the Council could immediately get into operation. He said there is a stalemate now and he does not think we should continue to drift when there are so many outstanding matters.

The Secretary remarked that in London he had stood by the Chinese and French representatives and that a lot of people believed that his insistence on their remaining caused the division—but there were many other problems.

The Ambassador wished the Secretary all success in the forthcoming meeting.