CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 150: Documents MIN/TRI/P

Memorandum of the Tripartite Preliminary Meetings on Items 6 and 81

top secret


1. It is agreed that there is no prospect that negotiations with the Soviets at present would lead to any general settlement. The right course for the West is therefore to continue to build up situations of strength.

2. Nevertheless, the door should not be closed and the Three Powers should be prepared to examine the situation again if for any reason [Page 1079] it should appear that such negotiations would be of advantage to the West.

3. Negotiations might take one of two forms

general negotiation covering all basic subjects at issue, or
particular negotiations such as might arise, for example, in connexion with the question of all-German elections.

It is generally felt that on the whole (b) would offer less opportunity for the Soviets to place the West at a psychological disadvantage and would avoid the risk of disappointment and lowering of morale in the West in the probable event of failure.

4. The Security Council would probably be the only practicable forum for general discussions, though the Council of Foreign Ministers offers a possible alternative.

5. If it should become necessary to enter into such negotiations, the following conditions would be desirable

that the West should enter upon them on the basis of some new position of strength and that therefore our combined efforts now should be directed to building up this needed strength.
that they should be careful to ensure that the discussions covered such issues as suited them and should prepare concrete proposals which the Soviets would have the onus of accepting or rejecting.

6. It should be agreed between the Three Powers that none of them will negotiate with the Soviet Union on matters of common interest unless the other two agree on the need for such a step and participate in the negotiations, and prepared positions are worked out in advance.

(i) Mr. Lie’s proposal for a special meeting of the Security Council

7. This proposal is recognised to be stillborn until the problem of Chinese representation has been solved. Once this question is settled it will be difficult for the three Governments to refuse an invitation to attend such a meeting, however poor the prospects of success. The question of the Agenda would have to be carefully considered. Any discussion of basic issues would have little chance of success, while public opinion might not understand if discussion were limited to minor specific problems. If there were to be a meeting of any kind it would be best for it to take place in New York before the meeting of the General Assembly in the autumn. Despite these considerations, factors of United Nations prestige and effectiveness which would need to be taken into account, might make a meeting advisable.

(ii) The problem of Chinese Representation in the United Nations

8. Serious problems will arise from the continued absence of the Soviets from the United Nations up to or even during the meeting [Page 1080] of the General Assembly. The chief of these will arise when the question of new membership is considered. The Powers will be faced with the following alternatives:

to vote for their own nominees, e. g. Ceylon, Italy, etc., and to reject Soviet nominees;
to accept both their own and Soviet nominees;
to avoid action on the question;
as a last resort to reject both their own and Soviet nominees.

The drawbacks to these four courses of action are obvious. Course (a) might result in actual withdrawal from the United Nations of the Soviet and satellite states. Course (b) might encourage the Soviets to feel that the Western powers are ready to go to any lengths to keep them in the United Nations and would also involve our waiving principles on which we have repeatedly stood. Courses (c) and (d) would be extremely difficult to explain to countries such as Ceylon and Italy, whose applications have been outstanding for a long time.

9. Both the United States and France are confronted by special difficulties in either voting for the admission of the Chinese People’s Government to the United Nations or in recognizing the Chinese People’s Government. The United States is against any form of recognition of or concession to the Chinese Communists at this time but does not intend to influence other countries to vote against seating the Representatives of the Chinese People’s Government and will not use its veto if a majority is found in favour of admitting them to the Security Council.

10. The French Government are also in a difficult position, since Mao Tse Tung has formally recognized Ho Chi Minh and any move which could be construed by French and Indo-Chinese public opinion as condoning this situation might have a disastrous effect.

11. The three governments will keep the matter under consideration and, should the present situation continue until around the first of August, will arrange for it to be examined jointly by their representatives in New York, as a part of the preparation for the next General Assembly of the United Nations.

(iii) The attitude to be adopted towards the Soviet Union and the Satellite States is a problem common to the three Governments

12. The attitude to be adopted towards the Soviet Union and the Satellite States is a problem common to the three Governments.

13. Diplomatic relations should be maintained with the Satellite States as long as is feasible, i.e., as long as conditions are not intolerable, in order to maintain as much contact as possible and to show the [Page 1081] peoples of those countries that the Western Powers have not abandoned them. It would also enable advantage to be taken of any situation similar to that created by Tito’s expulsion from the Cominform.

14. The three governments should keep in constant consultation concerning the general situation in and general attitude to be adopted towards the satellite countries. The forum for this consultation should be determined. If any one of the Governments is considering any major form of retaliation such as restriction on travel for satellite missions, the three governments should consult and if possible arrange for all three to take similar action. This would apply also to any special measures affecting Soviet missions.

15. The three governments should coordinate their propaganda and concentrate in particular on the point that the peoples of these countries have not been written off as members of the European community. It might be possible for mention of this to be made in the Council of Europe from time to time.

Suitable use should be made of the United Nations forum to keep before the world the issues that these countries are being deprived of their independence, and their peoples of their fundamental human rights.

(iv) Exiles

16. Although exiles and political refugees from satellite countries should be used with caution, opportunities exist for their judicious use. The United States, United Kingdom and France should consult with a view to coordinating their attitudes on this problem.

(v) Yugoslavia

17. It is essential to the interests of the Western Powers that the Soviet Union should not succeed in its campaign against the Titoist movement. There is at present no hard evidence that the Soviet Union is taking special measures to overthrow him by force, but the question of furnishing him with various military supplies in the event of an attack is under consideration and should be made the subject of active consultation in the event that a serious situation threatens.

18. The economic stability of the country is the weak point and attention is drawn to the importance of rendering sufficient financial assistance to enable the Yugoslav economy to withstand Soviet pressure. The International Bank loan is an important element. The three Governments should keep in touch in regard to the possibility of financial aid.

  1. United Nations developments and the general attitude toward the Soviet Union.
  2. The first draft of this paper was submitted by Shuckburgh on May 3 as TRI/P/13, not printed. It was the same in substance as MIN/TRI/P/4. TRI/P/13 was revised at the tripartite plenary on May 6 and submitted to the Foreign Ministers who considered it at their first meeting on May 11 and recorded their general agreement with it. For a record of their meeting, see Secto 230, May 11, p. 1033; regarding the plenary meetings, see editorial note, p. 1000. (Conference Files: Lot 59 D 95: CF 18)