Conference Files: Lot 59 D 95: CF 25

Agreed United States/United Kingdom Report2

top secret


Continued Consultation on and Co-ordination of Policy

It is the common purpose of the two countries to build up the strength and closer unity of the non-Communist world.
In working towards this purpose special burdens and responsibilities fall upon the United States and the United Kingdom. They [Page 1073] would bear the principal brunt of action in the event of war, and they have common interests not only in the Atlantic area but throughout the world.
If they work at cross purposes the effort to build up the strength of the non-Communist world will be endangered, if not paralysed.
In the light of these special responsibilities it is particularly desirable that, in the light of their obligations as members of the United Nations and of their other associations, there should be continuous consultation and close co-ordination of policy between them.
It is of course recognised that the development of closer consultation with other like-minded Governments is desirable, and that opportunity should be taken to develop the practice, which already takes place in a wide field.
It is further recognized that the close relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom should assist closer United Kingdom relations with Western Europe, and foster the development of closer relations between all members of the Atlantic Community.
It will be of advantage if as a result of the present discussions common objectives can be identified both in geographical areas and in functional fields. An attempt should be made to bridge such divergencies of view as may be found to exist. If there are points on which it is impossible for the time being to reach agreement, it should be the aim to limit as far as possible both the area of disagreement and the effect of such disagreement on other questions.
If such a body of common objectives can be worked out, it would be of advantage to arrange for periodical reviews of them as a whole. One suggestion is that this might be done in one of the two capitals between the Foreign Secretary and the Ambassador of the other at intervals of perhaps two months.
It should be an essential principle in the co-ordination of policy that it is contrary to the policy of either Government to injure the other or take advantage of the other. On the contrary, it should be their parallel and respective aim, within their agreed objectives, to strengthen and improve each other’s position by lending each other all proper and possible support. This principle has already been recognized on both sides in a particular area, namely, the Middle East, and therefore would not constitute a new departure.
One field in which divergent attitudes might result in weakening of each other’s position in face of communist attacks is the approach to colonial questions. Further discussion and consultation is desirable with the aim of avoiding misunderstandings and divergencies both [Page 1074] in general approach and in discussions in the United Nations. In this general category of questions the problem of Africa should receive special consideration.
As regards the United Nations, it is highly desirable to avoid divergencies at Lake Success and in general (subject always to special cases) to avoid situation arising in which one country finds itself in the position of opposing or voting against the other. There might be advantage in extending the practice of consultation prior to important meetings of the United Nations.
Consultation in the specialized agencies of the United Nations might be further developed, and delegations attending technical conferences, e. g. on radio frequencies, might be briefed more fully in the light of general common objectives.
In the strategic field it is noted with approval by both sides that the principle of close direct consultation is already established and is being put into effect.
United Kingdom representatives suggest that the question of exchanges of security information, and certain questions concerning Atomic Energy, may require discussion later in the talks.
Increased co-ordination on information policies is desirable and should be further discussed. There may be scope for some additional machinery for this purpose.
In the co-ordination of policy constant day by day exchanges of view play an important part. This is particularly valuable before policies are finally formulated. Constant contact between officials at appropriate levels is an important factor.
The appointment of officers specially qualified in particular fields to the respective Embassies has proved a valuable experiment which might be continued or developed with advantage.
Consultation and co-ordination between American and British representatives in the field, as well as in Washington and London, is important and might be further developed where appropriate. In some areas representatives in the field have already been given a general directive in this sense. This might be further developed.
Consideration should be given to the question of assuring that appropriate procedures exist in each government for bringing to the attention of other departments and agencies the practice of consultation and the general policy considerations which should be kept in mind even in technical matters.
The economic aspects of co-operation are dealt with in other papers.3

  1. Attached to the source text was a cover sheet which indicated that Secretary-General Shuckburgh was circulating this paper for consideration by the Ministers in connection with items 3, 4, and 5 of the agenda (U.S.–U.K. relationship).
  2. The text of UKUS/P/5 (Rev.), dated May 4, not printed, is the same as that of MIN/UKUS/P/5, with the single exception that paragraph 6 is not present in the former, and the remaining paragraphs are renumbered accordingly (Conference Files: Lot 59 D 95: CF 24).