Department of State Atomic Energy Files
Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Edmund A. Gullion, Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State (Lovett)
Subject: Senator McMahon’s amendment to S–2202
|Mr. Bohlen, Counselor|
Mr. Gullion showed to the Senator parts A and B of the attached memorandum.
Mr. Bohlen emphasized to the Senator that the chief danger presented by the amendment was the possibility that it might cause Sweden and Switzerland to reject or limit their participation in the economic cooperation plan.
These were the very countries to which the Soviet Union might look for manufactured equipment of a possible atomic energy application; [Page 698] the Soviets could get little of this material elsewhere in Europe. Satisfactory agreements were already in existence covering disposition of any ore controlled by the ERP countries.
The Senator thought that it might be a good idea to force the issue in order to alert Europe as well as the Russians to the importance we attach to preventing the exportation of anything to Russia capable of increasing its potential in atomic weapons.
Mr. Bohlen doubted the amendment would have that effect. It would, however, strengthen Communist parties and propaganda in Europe, The Senator discounted the importance of any contribution made to Communist propaganda which he explained would be as violent and as untruthful no matter what we did. Mr. Bohlen explained that a matter of timing was involved. Once a basis of economic cooperation was established, and efforts toward European unity were thereby assisted and given a surer base, the time would come for undertaking in concert measures of general economic defense against the Soviet Union, taking into account requirements of east-west trade. The position of the western powers would be stronger; they could exploit their advantage of being considerably less dependent on eastern imports than the east was on the west.
Mr. Gullion explained the contents of some of our existing agreements and the degree to which they achieved, or set a pattern for the achievement of the objectives desired by Senator McMahon. He decribed some of the efforts which had been made to draft some alternative language, and the difficulties of including any such language in the ECA bill. Mr. Bohlen explained that the objections which the Department had to the bill were of such nature that they could not very well be discussed openly on the floor. For that reason, if the amendment were to be offered, the Secretary and others thought it ought to be discussed in committee or executive session.
At the close of the interview Senator McMahon indicated that he might not press the amendment.1 He would consider the matter further and think what he might give as a reason for renouncing the effort. Mr. Bohlen said that if there was any way in which the Department could help, it would be glad to do so.[Page 699]