740.5 MAP/1–1850: Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Offices 1


ToMAP. Status bilateral agreements:2

I. Brit proposed draft on bilateral agreement involved considerable changes in org and language. To date those changes which have been agreed to have not involved any change in substance in text of agreement [Page 8] although they have involved certain additional confidential minutes of negotiations. Outstanding problems with Brit are as fols:

[Here follows a listing of problems and the additional minutes under consideration with the British, followed by a brief coverage of the status of bilateral negotiations with Italy, France, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.]

Lond at high level should urge immediately upon Brit need for quick agreement on text of bilateral in order that signature by other govts will not be further delayed. You should point out that the Brit delay in this matter is causing serious problems for us in 3 major respects:

It is delaying the signing of the bilateral agreements with the other govts since they are not in a position to conclude agreements until the Brit text is finalized. This position arises out of understandable position that they are concerned lest matters of substance in the Brit agreement might be different from their agreement.
The delay in the signing of the bilateral agreements is delaying the implementation of the program which, if protracted any further may well result in certain US inability to carry out this year’s program since under our legislation all funds must be committed by June 30.
The possibilities of obtaining favorable Congressional action on a program for 1951 are prejudiced, since the Brit failure to act expeditiously on the text of the bilateral agreement, which has been in their hands since early Nov,3 causes serious doubts in American public opinion and Congressional circles as to Brit intentions with respect to implementation of the NAT. The US has consequently taken the public position that the delay in the Brit agreement is not causing a delay in the implementation of the program, since an admission of this type would have repercussions seriously prejudicial to the further development of military assistance programs. However, there is developing a growing opinion of discontent with the Brit delays in this matter, which will have a lasting harmful effect on the development of the program, not only for the UK, but for all other Pact countries as well as possible serious consequences for development entire Pact structure. In these circumstances you should request the Brit at top level to assist us in resolving these matters immediately in order that these undesirable consequences will not be magnified. You might also note that while [meanwhile?] the Pres is delaying approval of the Council recommendations for an integrated defense of the area, since to have those recommendations approved prior to time when assistance can be provided because bilaterals not yet concluded would have a most [Page 9] harmful effect. However, the Pres cannot delay much longer approval of Council recommendations without public and Congressional opinion realizing that such delay derives from fact that bilaterals are not concluded. It is for this reason that we are making every possible effort to finalize text with Brit immediately and to sign bilaterals with other 7 countries and if possible with Brit week of Jan 23. Quick Brit help and cooperation in this matter is therefore most urgently sought.

[Here follows, for London information only, detailed reference to certain British expenditures and an assurance that the United States was fully aware of the United Kingdom’s budgetary problems.]

  1. Sent to London (for ECA), Paris, Rome, Oslo, The Hague, Copenhagen, Brussels (passed to Luxembourg), and HICOG, Heidelberg (for Handy).
  2. Detailed documentation of the final stage of negotiation of the bilateral MDAP agreements in early 1950 is primarily in Department of State file 740.5 MAP and the country files related to this number, i.e. 7**.5 MAP.
  3. A copy of the November 2 draft bilateral agreement, not printed, is in Department of State file no. 840.20/12–1449. The draft was distributed in November to all recipient nations of the North Atlantic Pact as the suggested pattern for their bilateral agreements.