The British Embassy to the Department of State 40


His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom are much distressed to learn that Senator Pepper41 and Mr. McCloy,42 during their recent visit to the Middle East, have gained impressions of lack of co-operation on the part of certain British Officials in the Middle East where United States interests are concerned.

His Majesty’s Government are at a loss to understand how these impressions could have been derived and regard the matter as of such importance that they wish to examine any such allegations immediately with great care. For this purpose they would be grateful if Senator Pepper and Mr. McCloy would be good enough to advance [Page 76] specific instances of the kind of obstruction on the part of British authorities to which they refer.43 On receipt of this evidence His Majesty’s Government will at once institute the most careful inquiries. They feel that if these allegations are proved to be well founded, corrective action on their part is immediately desirable.
His Majesty’s Government wish to recall that in 1944 the whole question of contacts between His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and the United States Government in the Middle East were reviewed, with special reference to economic matters, and that identical instructions were issued to all British and American officials in the Middle East to co-operate closely.44 Every official complaint of lack of co-operation has at once been examined by His Majesty’s Government with a view to ensuring that the instructions issued by the two Governments to their officials are carried out.
At the same time His Majesty’s Government wish to point out that in matters of civil aviation there is a difference of approach between His Majesty’s Government and the United States Government over the question of Fifth Freedom, which is at present under discussion between the two Governments, but which has unfortunately not yet been resolved. It is natural and inevitable that the two Governments should meanwhile wish to conclude agreements with third countries embodying their respective points of view. This difference extends to civil aviation affairs everywhere and has no special connection with Middle East countries. That each Government should adhere to its own point of view until agreement has been reached between them is no more evidence of lack of co-operation on one side than on the other.
His Majesty’s Government wish to add that as regards telecommunications the question of the wireless communication between the United States and Dhahran has, it is understood, now been settled,45 and that other telecommunication questions are about to be discussed at the Conference which is to open at Bermuda on November 19th, and to be attended by the Governments of the British Commonwealth and of the United States.
  1. Handed to the Secretary of State by the British Ambassador (Halifax); an interim reply was made on November 8.
  2. Senator Claude Pepper of Florida requested the Legation in Egypt to convey to President Truman his views that the British were undermining United States interests and good will in the Middle East. His message was sent to the Department by Cairo as part of telegram 1904, October 11, 1945, 7 p.m., not printed (711.41/10–1145). The Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs (Henderson), in a letter of October 25 to Cairo, stated: “Mr. Clayton sent a copy of Senator Pepper’s telegram to the British Ambassador for his confidential information, and I immediately received a call from Wright, the Secretary of the British Embassy who handles Near Eastern affairs. We had a frank conversation on the subject which, I believe, was mutually helpful. In the end Senator Pepper’s telegram has helped to clarify the atmosphere and may result in more good than harm, provided we shall be successful in keeping it out of the press.” (711.41/10–1245)
  3. The views of Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy, on British obstructionism in the Middle East, were conveyed to the War Department in a telegram of October 12 from Karachi (611.4131/11–845). A paraphrased copy of the telegram was shown to Lord Halifax by Mr. Clayton.
  4. Copies of the British aide-mémoire were sent by Mr. Clayton to Senator Pepper and Mr. McCloy on November 8, 1945, with requests for further information. There is no record of reply by Senator Pepper in Department files. Mr. McCloy’s acknowledgement of November 16 stated that the detailed information sought by the Department was being developed for transmittal to Mr. Clayton (611.4131/11–845). There is no record in Department files of a further communication from Mr. McCloy on this matter.
  5. The reference is to discussions on Middle East matters which took place during the mission of Under Secretary of State Stettinius to London in April 1944; Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iii, pp. 1 ff. For instruction to the Legation in Egypt, see telegram 1167, May 17, 1944, 10 p.m., ibid., vol. v, p. 6.
  6. For documentation on this subject, see pp. 1009 ff.