396.1–LO/5–550: Telegram

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

Secto 164. Sixth US–UK bilateral May 5.

Before consideration of specific papers Jessup suggested that there be either a general statement or a statement for each paper that [Page 965] bilateral agreement at the working level was without commitment oil either side. This was agreed upon and it was left to secretariat to provide mechanical device to accomplish this end.
Report on certain aspects of items 3, 4 and 6B of US–UK bipartite agenda, bipartite paper UKUS/P/9,1 which is revision of text transmitted in Secto 109 of May 4 [3]2 modified in light of British comments. Accepted by UK, final acceptance deferred pending clearance by USDel.
Report on continued consultation on and coordination of policy bipartite paper UKUS/P/5 revised3 was further revised.
(For text see Secto 56.4 Paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 10 of that text had been deleted and certain minor changes had been made so that it would be in same form as other reports, numbering of paragraphs therefore also altered.)
Jessup suggested addition of paragraph 5a (between old paragraph 8 and 9) of which text reads as follows:

“It is further recognized that the close relationship between the US and the UK is not a substitute for but a foundation under closer British relations with the Continent. On the part of the US, this relationship is not antagonistic to but may indeed assist the development of closer relations with all of the Atlantic community and indeed with Europe itself.”

British requested time to give further thought to proposed addition. Paper otherwise agreed to with exception of one further slight modification of wording in paragraph 4 (former paragraph 7).
Bipartite report by sub-committee R on item 11 of bipartite agenda on China presented.5 Dening pointed out that not enough agreement had been found for common policy and that British would like to call attention of ministers to divergence and indicate that it was felt that they should devote fair proportion of time to this area. Jessup suggested that rewording of paragraph 3 to read as indicated below might serve purpose British had in mind:

“While on fundamentals we are in agreement, it is mutually appreciated that our immediate tactics diverge widely in regard to an important area and that this in effect prevents the two countries from obtaining unity of action which in general it is their object to attain.”

It was agreed that both delegations should respectively draw attention of their ministers to this new paragraph 3. With other minor [Page 966] changes which are being incorporated in text to be forwarded airmail, paper was agreed to.
Items 2 and 4 of ministers agenda (roles) reported on by Wright. He pointed out sub-committees had not finished their work and that summary of specific tasks would not fill in gap in our joint thinking on the subject of roles. In overall consideration of who was to do what, three points must be taken into consideration: (1) UK is bearing responsibilities which involve it all over free world. In order to be able to carry out its obligations it must have economic strength. (2) In looking at US–UK roles, obligations and responsibilities both have to fulfill must be considered together. If UK’s strength is diminished UK in some cases will not be able to fulfill its responsibilities and a vacuum will be created into which Communists will move. (3) Some aspects of specific problems do not fit into review of roles. If the US cannot do certain things the UK in turn will not be able to continue to bear some of its responsibilities. Wright pointed out that these three points are not covered in any other place and that there are specific problems which have arisen and which in future will arise which should be considered in light of some such overall evaluation as indicated by his three points. It was agreed that in view of shortness of time preparation joint paper not feasible but that Wright should prepare short UK paper for submission to USDel May 6. With short paper setting forth interrelationship or [of?] responsibilities and body of subcommittee reports to serve as check list of specific problems, documentation for ministers on items 2 and 4 of agenda considered probably adequate.6
Decisions re publicity. Suggestions were made by USDel (1) in connection with bilateral discussions in Paris and here that two ministers involved should decide on what if anything was to be given to the press at conclusion of bilateral talks. It was likewise proposed that no regular press briefings should be held during the progress of bilateral discussions but that by ministerial agreement background info for clarification could in certain cases be given the press. (2) In connection with trilateral meetings USDel suggested that ministers should at end of each meeting decide what info could be given press and along what lines. It would then be responsibility of each delegation to see that its press officer adhered strictly to minister’s decision [Page 967] on this point. Further each delegation would undertake press briefings with correspondents of its own country and it was recommended that there not be trilateral briefings for press as a whole.
These suggestions were agreed to with following observations by Ridsdale, head of FonOff news department: (a) it would be desirable to space out news as much as possible to avoid if possible a “glut of news on third day of trilateral meetings.” He pointed out British Sunday papers go to press early and there are no French Sunday papers. He indicated it would be helpful if declarations and communiqués could be spaced. (b) He inquired whether delegations press briefings with correspondents of its own country would eliminate correspondents of other countries who usually attend FonOff news conferences. It was agreed that British delegation could deal with usual group of correspondents normally dealt with. Question of communiqué at end of “official talks tomorrow” had not been raised and it was heartily agreed that there would be no communiqué.
It was explained that there would not be a bipartite subcommittee report on SEA but that agreed minute from tripartite, group would be used for ministerial bilaterals.7 A short paper on Japan and on the subcontinent of India are also to be submitted.
Sub-committee on Near East is expected to submit agreed papers on colonial matters, Italian colonies and Near East for consideration at final US/UK bilateral May 6, p. m8
Discussion on timetable and agenda for ministerial meetings reported in Secto 163.9
  1. Infra.
  2. Ante, p. 955.
  3. Not printed, but see MIN/UKUS/P/5, May 6, and footnote 3 thereto, p. 1072.
  4. Dated April 30, p. 890.
  5. Under reference here is UKUS/P/8, dated May 5, not printed; regarding the work of Subcommittee R, see pp. 990 ff.
  6. In Secto 178, May 6, not printed, Jessup reported that Wright had made a further statement regarding roles which he insisted should be “completely off record.” Wright had named the South Pacific, Near East, and Libya as three areas in which knowledge of what the United States was prepared to do would be important and perhaps decisive. These three areas were “cases where tasks to be performed or problems to be faced should be examined in light of overall interrelationship of US–UK roles and of fact that, capacity of each to fulfill responsibilities was dependent on what the other was prepared to do.” (396.1 LO/5–650)
  7. Regarding the work of Subcommittee C on Southeast Asia, see pp. 935 ff.
  8. Regarding the work of Subcommittee Q, see pp. 975 ff.
  9. Not printed; it reported that the United States and United Kingdom Delegations had worked out a schedule of four meetings for May 9 and 10 between Secretary Acheson and Foreign Secretary Bevin (CFM Files: Lot M–11: Box 151: Secto Gables).