The British Ambassador (Halifax) to the Secretary of State

top secret

My Dear Secretary of State: Mr. Bevin received your message through the United States Chargé d’Affaires in London early this morning, March 22nd.56

He has asked me to give you the enclosed personal message in reply.

This personal message was despatched after Mr. Bevin had received my account of my telephone talk with you yesterday.

Yours sincerely,


The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Bevin) to the Secretary of State

top secret

Many thanks for your message of March 22nd.

I still think it would be a mistake to send your proposed message to Molotov until at least the Security Council has had some discussion of the Persian issue and we can see how things are going to work out. This would still give Molotov plenty of time to make his plans to go to Paris on April 25th if he so desires. I fully agree that we should call this Paris meeting of Foreign Ministers in order to show that we are resolved that Peace Conference shall meet on May 1st and be a success. The meeting would of course also deal with questions raised by the French about Germany.

I really think I cannot attend a meeting next Monday. There are three front-line Cabinet Ministers in India, and in addition there is the enormous task of beating the famine in our areas in the Far East, as well as a heavy Parliamentary programme. I assure you that I am absolutely with you on the fundamental importance for U.N.O. of the Persian issue, but I really don’t think that it would contribute if I hurried across to attend one meeting. I feel that, if I did come over and Gromyko adopted the stalling tactics which he has threatened, [Page 35] I should be placed in a difficult position. You in such circumstances could retire to Washington; but if I were to return to England with the business unfinished it would look extremely bad. My view is that Russian tactics will not be influenced by my presence at the meeting but I will remain constant. If a real crisis threatening the whole future of U.N.O. were to develop of course I should try to overcome all difficulties and join you.

  1. Reference here is to the message quoted in telegram 2740, March 21, to London, supra.