740.0011 EW (Peace)/2–2349: Telegram

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


652. With further reference to Deptels 508 and 5751 Wallinger assured Embassy office careful consideration being given in FonOff to pros and cons of invocation of peace treaty machinery. Wallinger stated Department’s arguments fully appreciated but on other side he balanced two factors:

British are trying to maintain at least minimum trade relations with satellites and to obtain some necessities from them for which payment can be made in soft currency. Negotiations which from time to time will occur in this connection and which will cover such points as attempt to persuade satellites to take less essential commodities would probably be handicapped or jeopardized if simultaneously strenuous action were being taken by British Government in invoking peace treaty machinery.
As Department recognizes, procedure is likely to be protracted which would mean impotence of western powers would be paraded over long period of time and that would do us no good. In reply to second point possibility of contrary reaction favorable to west was emphasized on following grounds: (1) by pressing procedure to conclusion we should obtain as indicated point 3 Deptel definite and binding decision which satellites not expected to accept but that fact would in itself be useful and give as incontrovertible proof of treaty breach and (2) our action would be heartening evidence of our sustained interest in fate of people of satellite countries and would serve to boost morale in cold war.

Wallinger promised further views soonest.2 He also stated progress had been made on decision on issuance of White Paper and he hoped telegram on subject could go in near future to British Embassy Washington.3 (Copy sent by pouch to Budapest.)

  1. Telegram 592, February 17, from London, not printed, reported that the substance of telegram 508, February 12, to London (supra) was communicated to the British Foreign Office on February 14. Geoffrey A. Wallinger, Head of the Southern Department of the Foreign Office, told the Embassy on February 17 that he was personally opposed to invoking the peace treaty machinery for Hungary only and was in favor of including Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary if any action were taken (740.0011 EW (Peace)/2–1749). Telegram 575, February 18, to London, not printed, authorized the Embassy to state that the Department of State tentatively favored the invocation of the treaty machinery in all three states (740.0011 EW (Peace)/2–1849).
  2. In a letter of February 24 to the Embassy in London, the text of which was transmitted to the Department of State in airgram 377, February 25, from London, neither printed, Wallinger confirmed and elaborated on the views reported here (740:0011 EW (Peace)/2–2549). For summaries of the three main arguments advanced by Wallinger, see footnotes 4, 5, and 6 to telegram 796, March 10, to Lohdon, pp. 235 and 236.
  3. The “White Paper” mentioned here referred to a statement to be issued by the American and British Governments as suggested in the final paragraph of the circular telegram of January 31 (p. 224).