Memorandum by Brigadier General George A. Lincoln, Military Adviser to the United States Delegation, Council of Foreign Ministers, Paris, to the Secretary of State

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My personal opinion is that the formula agreed by the Dominion Ministers,41 if published, will be misconstrued by both the people of the United States and by foreign countries, particularly Russia.

The implication is that the United States has made major proposals with reference to military bases in the Pacific south of the Equator and the “use of” these bases. In fact, the United States has asked for sovereignty of a few coral islands now in dispute and of Tarawa where 4,000 American casualties were sustained in its seizure. In addition the United States has asked for moderate “military rights” in certain installations where they spent United States resources during the war. No attempt is made to exclude the British from the same areas.

The implication is that the United States intends to keep considerable forces and weapons of war at these places and that plans should be prepared to integrate this United States military power with that of the British Commonwealth. In fact, probably only a few hundred Americans at the most would be at these locations in peacetime according to present plans, and they would be technicians such as weather and communications personnel. No combat forces would be deployed there as a rule and none would be planned for the early stages of an emergency since obviously (unless the enemy is Siam) the available United States military power would be deployed according to the global strategic situation as estimated at the time. The first requirement in the Pacific would be for China, the Ryukyus, the Bonins, the Philippines and the Marianas. Unless United States military power is completely wiped out in the Western Pacific by a catastrophe, there will be plenty of time to make detailed plans with the Australians before war comes within range of their area. Meanwhile, what we need in peacetime and in an emergency is the communication links on the small islands and the standby naval base at Manus.

As a final military point, Dr. Evatt’s split-up of the Pacific for defense purposes is strategically unsound and contrary to the accepted military concept of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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As to the impact on the United Nations, this proposal is a step accelerating the generation of two world regions—one Russia and one U.S.-British.

You may wish to point out to Mr. Bevin the dangers inherent in his formula, that it seems premature and inadvisable, particularly when you can determine little military justification for such action at this time, that the grave precedents involved weaken the United Nations, and that you hope he will delete the portions of preamble, and paragraph 3 and all of paragraph 2 and the last paragraph which imply formal military collaboration between the United States and British in peacetime. You might wish to add that any collaboration justified in the area can, in your opinion, be readily handled for years without much formal governmental action due to the close understanding achieved during the war. It does not appear that the formula has any proper or necessary relationship to the modest request we have made for small islands and for military rights at locations we developed during the days when Japan was a direct threat to Australia and New Zealand.

G. A. Lincoln
  1. See enclosure to message to Mr. Hickerson from Mr. Maclean of the British Embassy, May 2, p. 37.