741.5/8–350: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Douglas) to the Secretary of State

top secret

746. For Perkins and Secretary’s information.

At the conversation Baldwin1 and I had with Attlee, Gaitskell and Makins at noon today in regard to contemplated statement to be issued to the press regarding Britain’s increased defence effort and American assistance. I vigorously argued that reference to the 550 million pounds assistance from US and free dollars should be deleted from statement. While I understood that British program was related to the amount of American assistance which might be forthcoming and even to free dollars, this was a matter which should be communicated from one government to the other but for which there was no necessity for publicity. Publicity might be injurious. After considerable discussion I suggested that the statement contain some language to the effect that the extent of the increased British defence effort was related to the amount of assistance which, subject to Congressional approval, the US Government might extend and also to the form in which the assistance was given. Gaitskell said that while he would not commit himself to the deletion of the reference to free dollars, [apparent omission] the idea which I had presented and the argument he would like to consider. Moreover, he said that he and Makins would talk with us later in the day about the specific language necessary to give expression to this idea. I therefore gained the very clear impression that Gaitskell had accepted the idea and would be willing to delete both the reference to the sum of American assistance as well as reference to free dollars.

I understand from George Perkins that Franks told you and Harriman that HMG would not agree to the deletion of reference to [Page 1673] free dollars and that accordingly you accepted the language in regard to it.2

What British have apparently done is either not to have informed Franks of the results of my conversation with Attlee, Gaitskell and Makins, or, what is perhaps more likely, they have tried to run around us here in the hopes, which have been justified, that they could get a better deal out of you. This is a triple threat—kick, pass and run.3

  1. Charles F. Baldwin, United States Counselor of Embassy for Economic Affairs.
  2. A memorandum of Franks’ conversation with Secretary Acheson, Perkins, Harriman, and H. Freeman Matthews, Deputy Under Secretary of State, not printed, is in file 741.5/8–350.
  3. For the final text of the British statement on additional military efforts, see the New York Times, August 4, 1950, p. 5.