CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 252: FM Meeting Tri Docs

Paper Prepared by the Acting Officer in Charge of USSR Affairs in the Office of Eastern European Affairs (McSweeney)


U.S. Objectives in September Foreign Ministers Meeting

It is proposed that the September meetings of the Foreign Ministers achieve trilateral understanding on only a limited number of subjects which require ministerial decision and which it has been found impossible to resolve through already existing channels. Apart from the solution of the particular problems which will be discussed, the September meetings are designed to strengthen the concept of trilateral Foreign Ministers meetings on a regular and frequent basis.

As a consequence of the present particularly fluid world situation resulting from the Korean hostilities, it is more than usually difficult to determine in advance exactly which problems should be discussed by the three Ministers. The proposed agenda therefore is, in most cases, rather broadly worded and the specific subjects of conversation and the emphasis which will be put on each must of necessity be determined only shortly before the meetings themselves begin.

Insofar as they are foreseeable at the present time, the following will be the U.S. objectives in the September meetings:

I. Resolution of differences and tactical approach should be achieved with regard to

The Chinese representation problem and the steps to be taken in the event of a Soviet boycott of the General Assembly or Soviet withdrawal from the United Nations.
General Assembly consideration of the Korean crisis.
A coordinated approach to the Lie peace proposals and to Soviet “peace” propaganda.1

Further, since it is likely that the Korean hostilities will stimulate proposals in the General Assembly to strengthen the ability of the United Nations to insure effective collective action against aggression, the three Ministers should give this matter consideration in view of its important bearing on regional defense arrangements and the national policies of the three powers.

II. The three Ministers should coordinate their views on the report of the NAT Deputies prior to the meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Council on September 15 and 16.2

III Consideration should given to the problems relating to Germany which may be referred to the Ministers by the Intergovernmental Study Group in London.3 Since any report from the Study Group in September will be only preliminary, the Ministers will be required only to achieve tentative resolution of specific problems which may include (1) Termination of the state of war, (2) Status of prewar German treaties, (3) Claims against Germany, (4) The revision of the Occupation Statute, and (5) Agreement on the Ruhr Authority. Other specific problems which it may be desirable to discuss and which are not related directly to the work of the Intergovernmental Study Group will be suggested in the near future after consultation with HICOG.

IV. It is desirable to discuss with the other two Governments what should be our joint policy toward the Soviet Union in the light of developments since the date of the last meeting of the Foreign Ministers. Among these developments is, of course, the North Korean aggression. In this case it has been the policy of the United States Government to maintain an attitude of normalcy in our diplomatic relations since it is desirable that no action be taken on the Governmental level which would inhibit possible Soviet retraction. A similar attitude has been evidenced by the French and British Governments.

It is likely that developments in the near future will clarify the Soviet Government’s real intent with regard to Korea and that this may provide a basis for trilateral discussion of the other developments which may be expected between now and the time of the meeting which will require the consideration of the Foreign Ministers.

V. Unless we are able to reach some agreement with the British and French through other channels in the near future regarding our proposal that Western European countries agree to adopt a multilateral export control program4 based substantially on U.S. practice, we [Page 1111] shall wish to achieve decision on certain clear-cut issues at the Foreign Ministers’ meeting. These may involve

The coverage of the International Lists.
The nature of List II controls, and possibly
The use of the Consultative Group Structure at Paris to coordinate export controls applicable to the Far East. Recent negotiations in Paris have achieved little progress toward parallel action because of a basic divergence of use, mainly between ourselves and the British, as to the extent of the coverage of International List II (limited shipment).

It may be necessary for the Foreign Ministers to consider future strategy in negotiations for the Austrian State treaty5 although there are no substantive disagreements among the three western powers on the issues in the treaty itself. The next meeting of the Deputies is scheduled for September 9. We are presently also exploring the possibility of raising the problem in the next session of the UN General Assembly. As a result of an affirmative decision on this step or of the Soviet stand at the September 9 Deputies’ meeting, it may be advisable for the western powers to review the tactics and approach to be taken in the UN or to consider the timing of future Deputies’ meetings, the stand to be taken at them, and any other steps which might be taken to obtain the treaty.

[Discussion of the Schuman plan6 by the Ministers was not included in our tentative agenda transmitted to the British and the French in order to avoid any tendency on the part of the British to delay progress on the plan between now and September. It now appears that the principal issue regarding the Schuman plan which might profitably be taken up at the September meeting will be the United Kingdom’s attitude toward participation. Our objective should be for Mr. Bevin to provide face-to-face assurance to Mr. Schuman of United Kingdom’s cooperativeness in insuring the successful negotiation of the plan and its subsequent successful operation. Such oral reassurances, which would be mentioned in the communiqués of the meetings, might well strengthen Mr. Schuman’s hand on some of the critical issues of negotiation which have arisen between France and the Benelux countries and may also strengthen domestic backing for the plan in France itself.]7

VI. It is particularly difficult to foresee the most appropriate topics for ministerial discussion in September with regard to the Far East. It is, however, obvious that such a discussion will be necessary.

The Chinese Communist threat to Southeast Asia, especially Burma, Thailand, the three Indo-Chinese States, Malaya, the Philippines, and Hong Kong, presents a problem of common interest to all three Governments. The Ministers should discuss the situation existing at the time of the September meeting and [Page 1112] exchange views regarding a joint policy with the aim of concerting the available means of countering this threat.
The Ministers will wish to exchange views on Korea in the light of the situation existing at the time of the meeting.
As in the case of Korea, the content of the discussions on Formosa will also depend on the situation existing at the time of the meeting. Discussions should probably center upon the mission of the Seventh Fleet as related to Korea and on the threat which a Chinese Communist invasion of Formosa would create for Southeast Asia. Depending on developments in the interim it may also be desirable to endeavor to achieve mutual understanding on the future political organization of Formosa.
The situation in Indo-China existing at the time of the meeting should be discussed with particular emphasis on the progress achieved by the French in transferring political authority to the three Indo-Chinese States and upon developments encountering Vietminh resistance.
[Economic aid to Southeast Asia: Objectives to be supplied by Isaiah Frank]8

VII. The Ministers should consider the security problem in the Near East and Africa with particular regard to

The security problem in Greece, Turkey, and Iran, with particular reference to their inclusion in collective security arrangements such as existing pacts or a possible Article 51 [52]9 pact. Consideration may also need to be given to more immediate assistance which would have to be rendered to these countries in the event of further development of the Soviet threat to the area.
Treaty arrangements for continuation of American rights at Wheelus Field, Tripoli. The British and French also have military base rights at Libya which they wish to conserve. The possibility that there may be a Libyan Government by January 1951 increases the urgency of a concerted tripartite stand.10

In press statements preparatory to the meetings, as well as in communiqués which may be issued by the Foreign Ministers, emphasis should be placed on the fact that the meetings have not been called for the resolution of particular critical problems but rather constitute one phase in a series of regular conversations which will be held by the Foreign Ministers from time to time in order to maintain the closest possible working relationship among the three Governments.

  1. For documentation on Secretary-General Trygve Lie’s 20-year peace plan, presented to the United Nations on June 6, see vol ii, pp. 371 ff.; documentation regarding the Soviet peace offensive is scheduled for publication in volume iv.
  2. For documentation on the meetings of the NAT Deputies in London during the summer of 1950, see pp. 231 ff.
  3. Documentation on the work of the Intergovernmental Study Group on Germany (ISG) is scheduled for publication in volume iv.
  4. Documentation on the United States efforts to control exports to the Soviet Union and its satellites (East-West trade) is scheduled for publication in ibid.
  5. Documentation on the negotiations for the Austrian peace treaty is scheduled for publication in volume iv.
  6. For documentation on the Schuman Plan, see pp. 691 ff.
  7. Brackets appear in the source text.
  8. Brackets appear in the source text.
  9. Article 52 of the United Nations Charter stated that nothing in the Charter precluded the existence of regional arrangements for dealing with matters concerning maintenance of peace and security so long as they were consistent with the purpose and principles of the United Nations.
  10. Documentation on the U.S. position with respect to the former Italian colonies and rights at Wheelus Field is scheduled for publication in volume v.