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

Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Eastern European Affairs ( Yost ) to the Ambassador at Large ( Jessup )

top secret

Subject: Order of Business for Tripartite Ministers Meeting September 18

I had a meeting this morning with representatives of the French and British Delegations in regard to the schedule and order of business for the Tripartite Meeting on Monday. Though I proposed that [Page 1233] the Ministers might cover their business in a single session Monday afternoon, the British and French both felt strongly that, while most of the pending items could be dealt with very rapidly, the likelihood of lengthy discussions on the remaining German questions, including possible reexamination of the question of German participation in European defense (following the receipt of further instructions by Bevin and Schuman) was sufficiently great that the Ministers should be asked to meet Monday morning and to hold Monday afternoon available in case of need.

It was agreed that the following tentative order of business would be recommended to the Ministers:

  • I—Consideration of United Nations Problems within the context of recent events.
    The strengthening of United Nations procedures for dealing with aggression.
    Position concerning draft resolution on Spain.
  • II—Exchange of views on policy toward the Soviet Union in light of recent developments.
  • III—Consideration of Western European Problems.
    East-West Trade.
    Economic assistance to Yugoslavia.
    Report of Tripartite Experts on European Migration.
  • IV—Remaining German problems, including possible German participation in European defense.

As to I–A above, both the British and French said that they would prefer not to have this question come before the Ministers since discussions are continuing among the UN Delegations and the problems are extremely technical. I replied that I would report their view but that our opinion at the moment was that the question should come before the Ministers, at least briefly. I pointed out that the US attaches great importance to this item as the central point in its UNGA program, that the UN Delegations had not so far been able to reach agreement in regard to it and that this would presumably be the last opportunity for the Ministers to consider it before the Assembly opens. Even if a unanimous decision could not be reached in regard to it, I felt that Mr. Acheson might wish to explain the US position and emphasize to the other Ministers the importance we attached to it.

It was agreed that the Ministers need devote almost no time to item II. I said that Mr. Acheson might have a few brief remarks to make in regard to the information program along the lines of paragraph 7 of the paper coming out of the preliminary tripartite conversations1 and the British remarked that Mr. Bevin would also have a few comments on this subject.

[Page 1234]

As far as the representatives present were aware, there are no changes of position on the three items listed under III. I said that we might wish to circulate before the meeting a proposal on East–West trade2 which would spell out in a little more detail exactly what we have in mind.

As to the German problems, it was agreed that the German experts on the three Delegations have reached agreement on all but two or three of the outstanding points and that these would be all that the Ministers need consider. The British noted, however, that these agreements are based on the assumption that there might be a decision in regard to German participation in European defense and that, if this decision is not forthcoming, some of these agreements might have to be modified. Both the British and French seemed to expect that their respective Foreign Ministers might receive instructions over the week-end which would permit them by Monday to be more communicative on the subject of German participation. They referred to a possible further meeting of the North Atlantic Council later next week. The British also referred to another possible subject of disagreement on Germany, i.e., whether or not, in case there should be an attack by East Germans on West Germany or Berlin after a withdrawal from East Germany by the Russians, we should publicly hold the Russians responsible for that attack.

Charles W. Yost
  1. Document 9 [D–4a], p. 1170.
  2. Presumably a reference to Document 33, p. 1285, which was submitted by the United States Delegation at the fifth meeting of the Foreign Ministers on September 18. For the minutes of this meeting, see infra.