396.1 LO/5–950: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Acting Secretary of State


Secto 208. Summary US–UK ministerial conversations May 9, afternoon session.1

Referring to items B 3, 4 and 5 US–UK agenda,2 Bevin opened by expressing view all three raise single question of US–UK roles in our partnership and asked our views. I expressed view there was general agreement in broad terms on these points, but important thing was to get down to specifics. Reaffirmed US general view importance of strength of sterling area, and of an EPU. Suggested consider further specific issues limiting strength of West and what each can do. Bevin agreed.
Bevin opened on colonial issue and US position in Trusteeship Council. Agreed to full discussion of positions with hope agreement possible before next UN meeting.
Bevin stressed urgency of informing Australia and New Zealand of their role in defense of Pacific. Pointed out affected their ability to help UK elsewhere, interested both from standpoint strategic planning and Japan settlement. Replied former military matter on which uninformed, and latter question would prefer to discuss frankly in smaller session. This agreed.
Lengthy discussion China policy followed, in which present and past positions and future possibilities reviewed. Bevin stressed importance of preventing present differences from developing into open split prejudicing cooperation elsewhere. Expressed strong doubts about value present UK position, both from general political standpoint, commercial standpoint, and effect on Southeast Asia. But not reversible, and future might prove it wise. I indicated US less likely now than six months ago to change its views. Bevin unable change stand now taken though failure to work out recognition arrangements may have same effect. He doubted likelihood of significant change in Chinese Government for several years. He felt Communists peculiarly qualified to deal drastically with traditional splinter tendency of Chinese politics. I made brief reference to difficulties of emerging from present UN situation respect China.
Discussed at some length TRI/P/19.3 Agreed that officials should redraft in light of discussion. Agreed on preference for European [Page 1024] location for central organization. Agreed new deputies and key full-time figure with small staff needed, they who should act in name of council.
Agreed should be directive to new central organization summarizing council actions on issues raised by Defense and DFEC reports to it. TRI/P/20 shelved pending council actions on these reports.4

  1. The second meeting was held at 4:00 p. m. at the Foreign Office. In addition to the officials present at the morning meeting, McCloy, Byroade, and Edwin M. Martin, Director of the Office of European Regional Affairs, attended for the United States and Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick, Permanent Under Secretary of State for German Affairs, and Maberly E. Dening, Assistant Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, attended for the British, while Younger did not.
  2. In Secto 163, May 5, not printed, the United States Delegation reported that items 3, 4, and 5 of the agenda (telegram 1731, April 17, p. 835) had been consolidated under one heading reading “US–UK Relationship.” (CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 151: Secto Cables)
  3. This paper, which superseded TRI/P/10 (transmitted in Secto 85, May 2, p. 905) and TRI/P/17, not printed, read:

    “At its meeting on September 17, 1949 the North Atlantic Council determined that arrangements for its own organization should not go beyond those essential for immediate purposes. It was contemplated that the arrangements approved at that time would have to be expanded as the work of the Council progressed. It is now clear that additional arrangements are required in order to enable the Council to deal with the problems confronting it. There is therefore need for the Council to be so organized as to be able to meet regularly in order to give full consideration to the wide range of problems arising in connexion with the Treaty and to ensure the necessary action and coordination. To this end, each Government will appoint a deputy to its representative on the Council to act on the latter’s behalf with full authority at Council meetings when the representative himself is not present. The Council at Deputy level will normally meet at ——. The Council, thus strengthened, will establish forthwith the necessary [executive] organization which, operating under the control and direction of the Council, will be responsible for stimulating and coordinating the activities of the entire North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and will include a general Secretariat.

    “The Council and the proposed [executive] organization will, amongst other things:—

    • “(a) study the inter-relationship of the various plans prepared for the defense of the North Atlantic area [taking into account the economic, financial and political aspects] and ensure coordination of the work of the Defense Committee, the Defense Financial and Economic Committee and all other bodies established under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization;
    • “(b) recommend to Governments the steps necessary to ensure that effect is given to the coordinated plans prepared for the defense of the North Atlantic area;
    • “(c) exchange views on political matters of common interest within the scope of the Treaty;
    • “(d) promote and coordinate public information in furtherance of the objectives of the Treaty while leaving responsibility for national programmes to each country;
    • “(e) consider what action should be taken under Article 2 of the Treaty.” (Conference Files: Lot 59 D 95: CF 20)

    With the change of the word “therefore” to “now” in sentence four of the first paragraph and the word “proposed” to “its” in sentence one of the second paragraph, this paper was submitted to the tripartite Ministers meeting as MIN/TRI/P/3.

  4. For the text of TRI/P/20, see Secto 143, May 4, p. 908, and footnote 3 thereto.