CFM Flies: Lot M–88: Box 140: Jessup–Malik Conversations
Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State1
|Sir Oliver Franks, British Ambassador
|Dean Rusk, Assistant Secretary
Sir Oliver Franks came in to deliver to me a personal message from Mr. Bevin. The message is contained in the attached memorandum. Sir Oliver stated his understanding that this message simply reflected Mr. Bevin’s present way of thinking about the matter and that Mr. Bevin would greatly appreciate knowing what I might be thinking.
After reading the attached paper, I told Sir Oliver that I shared many of the ideas contained in the paper. I stated that we did not consider that the USSR had changed its attitude toward us or had changed the basic objectives of its foreign policy and that we must therefore be alert in connection with forthcoming negotiations. I indicated that there had been some earlier concern lest undue optimism might be created, particularly in Congress, but that we had been reassured in our recent talks with members of the Congress. We believe that Congress looks upon the blockade as the first fruits of a policy of firmness and not as a reason for relaxing our effort and vigilance. I also told Sir Oliver that these present negotiations might lead to little more than a lifting of the blockade. In a Council of Foreign Ministers we may have little real chance for agreement but we would have a serious propaganda problem with which to deal. This propaganda would primarily concern German opinion. We must therefore be bold in our approach in order to deal adequately with propaganda aspects but in doing so make proposals which we think would in fact be the basis for a reasonable settlement. By undue timidity we might be pushed back to the defensive and seriously damage our propaganda position.[Page 749]
I then indicated the desirability of careful three-power preparation for a CFM and stated that we would be in touch with the British and French informally in Washington before our proposed three-power talks open up in Paris. I emphasized that the three of us must work closely together and that we should make a special effort to keep Mr. Schuman fully in the picture at all stages.
- The memorandum was prepared by Rusk.↩
- Also attached to the memorandum of conversation was a copy of an instruction to Franks to make it clear to Acheson that Bevin had expressed his “deepest thoughts entirely frankly to him and in accordance with the close understanding which was developed between us during the recent talks in Washington.”↩