560.AL/4–1046: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

us urgent

4000. For Wilcox and Brown. 1. Helmore BOT given close paraphrase Deptel 3060, April 9. Liesching absent on leave.

Helmore was somewhat disturbed. He pointed out that in good faith BOT had gone some distance in sending out official letters to elicit points of industry and trade interest in nuclear meeting heretofore contemplated for September.
Despite possibility that nuclear meeting may be delayed several months, he felt that Ministers would consider it necessary to proceed with Parliamentary statement.
Reference to Paragraph 2 Embtel 3259, March 21 and statement discussed in our teletype conversation March 30. Accordingly draft of statement was revised leaving out dates of either Empire or nuclear meeting and indicating that in view of large amount of preparatory work to be done it should proceed expeditiously particularly with respect to Empire meeting. Revised British statement is pointed primarily toward Empire meeting which is to precede nuclear meeting. Plan is that revised statement will be made in Parliament April 15. It would fit either the eventuality of a September meeting or deferring meeting for several months.
Helmore pointed out that if they postpone making of statement until they have our final decision next opportunity for making it would be April 29 because of Parliamentary procedure and Easter Holiday. If decision were to hold meeting in September, Empire meeting would be held July 1 and statement made as late as April 29 would seriously cut down time available to prepare for Empire meeting. British originally contemplated that preparatory work would be for both Empire and nuclear meeting and would have to be completed before [Page 1311] Empire meeting convenes as there would be very little time left if negotiating meeting held in September.
In suggesting revisions to Parliamentary statement we sought to avoid any basis for an impression in US that British in initiating consultations with the trade were obtaining a head start over American interests. If American interests should press for opportunities to be heard because British trade interests are being consulted, it can be pointed out that British procedure has to take acount of Empire meeting which will precede nuclear meeting.
Helmore thought that if our decision should be to defer nuclear meeting Empire meeting would be correspondingly deferred but Parliamentary statement would do no harm.
Helmore urges strongly that whatever decision is reached on time for nuclear meeting, presentation of lists of concessions desired by each country should not be deferred as these are needed for preparatory work on schedules of offers. He felt that whatever decision is reached on the time for the nuclear meeting the preparatory work should be pushed steadily ahead to greatest extent possible. In our recent meetings with British there has been evident concern over possibilities of [loss of?] momentum in this whole program. We indicated that we saw no objection to going forward immediately with preparation and presention of tentative request lists on understanding that changes and additions could be made after we had held our hearings.60
  1. The Embassy at London cabled the Department in telegram 4018, April 11, 11 a.m., that “BOT informed us Herbert Morrison (supplementing Embtel 4000, April 10) Lord President of Council, decided to make in Parliament revised statement as described reference telegram. Text will be cabled April 15 when released.” (560.AL/4–1146)