740.00119 Council/5–1446: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in France

secret

2312. Secdel 231. For Matthews from JDH.52 We have received the following telegram dated May 11 from Harriman:

“You will recall you asked me to attempt to get prompt British action on our use of bases. I have had some general talks with Bevin, Evatt and Nash but as Bevin was authorized to discuss the matter with [Page 44]the Secretary in Paris, no consideration could be given here. I understand that the Secretary told Bevin he could not discuss the questions raised by Bevin until his return to Washington but indicated a willingness to see Evatt and Nash there. The British decided no public statement could in dignity be made during the heated Senate debate.53 On the other hand Orme Sargent54 suggested to me that they might be willing to make a general statement if the bill passed the Senate and before consideration by the House. Do you wish me to pursue this suggestion and, if so, what kind of statement by the British do you believe would be helpful? I am afraid that because of the Australian and New Zealand attitude it would have to be rather general in character.”

To this we have sent the following reply:

“Before your departure we gave you among the papers on bases (urtel 5052, May 11, 2 p.m.55) a copy of the Secretary’s letter of April 19 to Halifax proposing an exchange of notes on bases and disputed islands which we hoped could be reached in two or three weeks and made public immediately. This exchange of notes would be implemented by a formal agreement between the two Governments later on. Bevin discussed the base question with the Secretary in Paris but we have not heard from the Secretary about the details of their discussion. Since they are under such terrific pressure of work in Paris, this is, of course, understandable. I am afraid that until I hear something from the Secretary, it would not be possible for me to ask you to pursue Sargent’s suggestion. I am still hopeful of an early agreement along the lines of the Secretary’s letter of April 19.”

War Dept has given us a copy of Gen. Lincoln’s telegram56 on the Secretary’s conversation with Bevin. [JDH.]

Acheson
  1. John D. Hickerson.
  2. Presumably reference is to the debates in the United States Senate regarding extension of British loan.
  3. British Permanent Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Telegram ns 56, May 2, p. 36.