740.5/4–2750: Telegram

The United States Delegation at the Tripartite Preparatory Meetings to the Secretary of State

top secret

Secto 23.1 From Jessup. Second trilateral discussion,2 Wednesday p. m.3

Agenda item I. Strang4 requested Jessup5 to lead off. Latter suggested that assessment of the world situation should precede a definition of objectives. Bohlen gave brief review of A–8b.6
Jebb indicated general agreement. Certain differences in emphasis:
On Soviet credit side A–bomb has increased Soviet confidence and increased respect of neutrals for Soviet power.
China victory balanced against Tito defection is net gain for Soviet; potential development of China outweighs propaganda loss through Tito defection.
Soviet has had success in stirring up discontent in dependent areas.
On West credit side:
NAT is heavy increase.
Until recently strengthening in West German Government outweighed Soviet’s success in East German Government. (The essential thing is to get Germany on our side.)
Considers assist in Tito defection but should not exaggerate its importance.
Our propaganda counter-offensive recently in UN Assembly is gain. Soviet always has and will act with caution. Therefore, even with stronger position, doubts calculated Soviet overt act in next several years, at least until she gets preponderance of force. Soviet miscalculation possible however.
Massigli7 comments on Bohlen-Jebb analysis:
Called attention to more fundamental point—Soviet peace offensive,8 stating their emphasis on “peace” much more effective than ours on “cold war”. He noted Soviet determination to use horror of war to propaganda advantage re European populations. Urged we keep this fundamentally in mind.
Referred to propaganda advantage of Soviet from A-bomb. Need to realize demoralizing effect of A-bomb propaganda to public ignorant of significance and potential of bomb.
Interested that Bohlen mentioned Middle East as danger zone. Sorry not on agenda. Also noted that US–UK speak of Germany in Soviet context but reminded us that Germany is a problem, per se, on the continent.
Must consider force of Soviet fifth column in ideological field because of slogan “we have formula of future”. As we build our defense we must present our ideals in equally effective manner.
Referring to pact as credit on our side, note must be made effective or pact will be a drawback. Since Soviet might try to start trouble or crisis, there is need for haste to make pact effective.
Jessup comments on foregoing. Noted theme of Massigli’s comments: Importance and skill of Soviet propaganda. Agreed must not minimize that, especially its effect on peoples as contrasted to officials and felt French contrast “peace” vis-à-vis “cold war” valid point.
Strang summed up that there is a general measure of agreement among the three and turned to our objectives.
Again Jessup was asked to lead off, which he did by summarizing B–20c.9 Effective presentation.
Jebb responded by noting agreement and reading a short statement of UK on objectives:
In non-Communist world develop resistance to Soviet penetration by creating, perhaps through NAT or some other means, a social, economic or political system more attractive than Soviet.
We should appeal not only to our immediate allies and free world but also marginal peoples and potential defectors from Soviet system.
West Germany should come in to West but not East Germany, at least for a year or so.
Take whatever action short of type leading to acute crisis which would weaken Soviet system and maintain firm position re direct Soviet relations since relaxation by the Soviets is not [to] be expected.
Massigli agreed in general with Jessup and Jebb but felt must have priorities, long term and short, must mobilize resources. Also emphasized need for practical results. Urged caution in using slogans so general as to be provocative or which can be manipulated to prevent our intention. Illustrated by reference “National independence” which as slogan can have dire consequences. He wished to return to this point later in particular cases. Emphasized that in strengthening ourselves we should not abandon our UN objectives.
At beginning of today’s talks Massigli suggested a drafting subcommittee to develop framework for the Ministers final declaration at end of talks. Jessup had demurred, saying that if, in course of talks, we should consider statement wise we could then establish a subcommittee. At this juncture in “objectives” discussions Massigli again alluded to subcommittee to sketch a declaration, arguing expedient to publish statement indicating our anxieties, charter for a free world, common world objectives, as counter to Russian propaganda. Urged early drafting such statement so as not be left to last minute. Jessup indicated Massigli proposal a little more elaborate and formal than we had anticipated. If we want a statement agreed it should be planned in advance. Requested time to consult Department. Raised question, and Jebb agreed, of relationship of proposed statement to possible NAT declaration suggesting latter possibly more appropriate.
(Alphand in conversation with Jessup spoke of French admiration for Secretary’s last speech10 and suggested it might be model for shorter statement by Big Three).
Strang skipped to agenda item “General attitude toward Soviet”, B–21b.11 Again Jessup led off summarizing paper. Massigli [Page 841] stated broadly in agreement. Emphasized door must not be closed to Soviet negotiations. No government can rule out possibility and must be on watch for any opportunity to negotiate. Agreed US–UK–French must talk among themselves and seize such opportunity. Argued Security Council does not meet forum requirement unless Soviet returns. Put this way, he argued, negotiations would have to be postponed. Jebb not sure UK in agreement with US and France. In UK no insistent clamor for negotiations as Jessup referred to UK [US?]. UK would view with alarm general negotiation in which we would likely “come off second best” at least propaganda-wise. Would regard negotiations in Security Council with “foreboding” but would agree to something like Lie proposal if no way could be found to avoid it.
Comment—Two discussions with British this subject makes it abundantly clear they strongly against negotiations Russians now if can possibly be avoided and if must be held feel should be confined to some specific subject rather than on broad basis.
Bohlen pointed out that our feeling that we would have to face up to a negotiation in certain circumstances was only prudent forethought, not a proposal. He indicated issue is not only pressure of public opinion but also question of allowing Russian initiative to catch us unprepared and without agreement. He argued we should never get in position of being terrified to talk to the Russians. Soviet propaganda may in fact be inhibited by a meeting. We should not get in position of expecting to lose. He referred to Jessup-Molotov [Malik] talk and CFM as essential in our Berlin blockade victory.12 Jebb responded that this case example of specific, not general, negotiation.
Massigli argued aim is not negotiation but durable peace. One purpose of negotiation is to make adversary yield. There must be some basis for compromise. We must “safeguard West interests without making East lose too much face. If we do not want inevitable war we must concede something to Soviet.” There is little possibility to a truce in our relations with Soviet. We should not invent an opportunity for negotiation but should be prepared to seize it if presented. In the present psychological situation, public opinion would force us to seize it. Not a question of “negotiation at any price” but a question of “not losing an opportunity.”
Jessup referred to Secretary’s California speech and his point that Soviets respect situation of fact, i.e., situation of strength. We do not want to contemplate entering Soviet negotiations in which our gesture would be construed a weakness. If we had adequate situation of strength we might now anticipate usefulness of negotiation.
Jebb understood that Jessup feels that now is not the time for general negotiations though US is not foreclosing on specific. Jebb argued you can have a “truce” as Massigli mentioned, without any negotiations.
One inferred from Massigli that negotiating opportunity perhaps not distant. He noted agreement of commanders of Berlin on Commandatura.13 Considers this “interesting symptom”. We must take account of the moral question of whether we are to negotiate or not. At this time he does not see a basis or opportunity for negotiation.
Jebb emphasized distinction between negotiation on broad general matters and on limited specific matters. He saw less danger in specific. Wanted agreement on that.
Adjourned without conclusion on this point. Schedule for resuming on this issue not set.
Department please advise on statement discussed above paragraph 11. (See separate telegram.14)
  1. The series indicators Secto and Tosec were used, respectively, to designate telegrams to and from the United States Delegation through the Embassy in London.
  2. The first trilateral meeting (organizational) had been held on April 24 at 10:30 a. m. at which time it was agreed that a special effort would be made to divide the topics into those on which recommendations would be made to the Ministers, those which the Ministers would resolve, and those which did not need to be settled at the ministerial level. Special attention would also be given to subjects which were susceptible of inclusion in a final communiqué. Secto 4, April 24, from London, not printed (396.1 LO/4–2450). The records of decisions and preliminary papers for the six trilateral preliminary meetings are in the Conference Files: Lot 59 D 95: CF’s 18–19. Lot D 95 is a collection of documentation on official visits of foreign dignitaries to the United States and on major international conferences for the years 1949–1955, as maintained by the Executive Secretariat of the Department of State.
  3. April 26 at 3:30 p.m. in the Foreign Office.
  4. Sir William Strang, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, led the British Delegation for the preliminary talks. He was assisted by Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for the German Section; Sir Roger Makins, Deputy Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; Sir Gladwyn H. M. Jebb, Deputy Under-Secretary of State (Political) for Foreign Affairs; Sir Frederick R. Hoyer Millar, Deputy Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; Michael R. Wright, Assistant Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; and Sir Maberly E. Dening, Assistant Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  5. Ambassador at Large Philip C. Jessup, Head of the United States Delegation for the preliminary talks. Other members of the United States Delegation were George W. Perkins, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs; Julius C. Holmes, Minister at London; Henry R. Labouisse, Jr., Director of the Office of British Commonwealth and Northern European Affairs; Leroy D. Stinebower, Director of the Office of Financial and Development Policy; and G. Hayden Raynor, United Nations Adviser of the Bureau of European Affairs.
  6. Regarding FM D A–8b, see FM D A–8, p. 857, and footnote 2 thereto.
  7. The French Delegation to the preliminary meetings was headed by René Massigli, Ambassador in the United Kingdom. He was assisted by Guy Le Roy de la Tournelle, Director General of Political Affairs; Hervé Alphand, Director General of Economic Affairs, Foreign Ministry; Philippe Baudet, Jean Le Roy, and Claude Lebel, Counselors of the French Embassy in the United Kingdom.
  8. Documentation on the Soviet peace offensive is scheduled for publication in volume iv.
  9. Infra.
  10. Presumably a reference to Secretary Acheson’s address at the University of California at Berkeley on March 16 concerning the tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, which is printed in the Department of State Bulletin, March 27, 1950, pp. 473–478.
  11. Regarding FM D B–21b, see Secto 14, p. 863, and footnote 2 thereto.
  12. For documentation on the Jessup-Malik talks and the lifting of the Berlin blockade, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. iii, pp. 694 ff.
  13. The reference here is unclear. Probably Massigli was referring to the meetings of the Berlin Commandants, following the Paris meeting of the Foreign Ministers in 1949. For documentation on this, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. iii, pp. 751 ff.
  14. In Secto 21, April 26, from London, not printed, the United States Delegation repeated the substance of paragraph 10 and urgently requested preliminary guidance. In Tosec 19, April 27 (3 p. m.), to London, not printed, the delegation was advised “that Mins communiqué shld deal with consideration of world-wide problems but that wider forum of Council shld be used for declaration of principles.” (396.1 LO/4–2650)