811.646/7–1349: Telegram

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

top secret

2733. From Kennan.1 Eyes only for the Secretary, Gross, Butler, Arneson. Roger Makins2 spoke to me yesterday about our relations in atomic energy matters. He said he hoped to come to Washington end of August or beginning September, ostensibly as member of British delegation to discuss financial matters, and hoped that we would then be prepared to discuss matters of mutual interest in atomic energy field.

I told him that while I could not promise that we would even then be in a position to talk, I strongly hoped that we would, and thought that if we were, visit of British delegation would provide excellent occasion.

I told him that our problem now was one of discussion with interested congressional circles, with view to clarification of our future position, and told him I thought there was possibility that we might have to give publicity at some stage to one degree or another to past arrangements and present situation. He said that while he did not expect this would create any particular problems or difficulties for British Government, he would appreciate it if we would speak to them beforehand about anything we intended to do along these lines. His existing authorization from the Cabinet to discuss these matters with US was made conditional, he said, on there being no publicity about it; and therefore decision on our part to release any information would make it formally necessary to him to seek new mandate for eventual discussions.

Although he reminded me of expiration of modus vivendi, Makins did not press me for any information about our thinking or intentions. I believe he and others on professional level are fully alive to implications of our congressional situation, and are trying to avoid importuning or embarrassing US. However, since there will undoubtedly be political tendency here in coming period to blame US for many things, people here will be quick to seize on anything which indicates US domination or exploitation of British weakness. For this reason, [Page 476]I think we must handle very carefully any publicity about arrangements so one-sidedly favorable to US on first glance as present raw material agreement.

Expect to return to US via London end of next week. Should there be by that time anything I could tell Makins with respect to above, suggest Department wire me care of this Embassy. Think it would be wise to give him some reaction from Washington, if only by way of confirmation of what I have told him. [Kennan.]

  1. Kennan was in Europe to discuss questions relating to the North Atlantic Treaty and European integration: for documentation on these subjects, see vol. iv, pp. 1 ff. An account of the trip appears in George F. Kennan, Memoirs: 1925–1950 (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1967), pp. 456–458.
  2. Sir Roger Makins, British Deputy Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.