Conference Files: Lot 59 D 95: CF 49

Final Communiqué Agreed To by President Truman and Prime Minister Attlee1


Since Prime Minister Attlee arrived in Washington on December 4, six meetings between the President and Mr. Attlee have been held. [Page 1784] Among those who participated as advisors to the President were the Secretary of State Dean Acheson, the Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder, the Secretary of Defense General George C. Marshall, the Secretary of the Interior Oscar L. Chapman, the Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General of the Army Omar N. Bradley, Mr. W. Averell Harriman, the Chairman of the National Security Resources Board W. Stuart Symington, and Ambassador designate Walter S. Gifford. Mr. Attlee’s advisors included the British Ambassador, Sir Oliver S. Franks, Field Marshal Sir William Slim, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Tedder, Sir Roger Makins and Mr. R. H. Scott of the Foreign Office and Sir Edwin Plowden, Chief of the Economic Planning Staff.

At the conclusion of their conferences, the President and the Prime Minister issued the following joint statement:

We have reviewed together the outstanding problems facing our two countries in international affairs. The objectives of our two nations in foreign policy are the same: to maintain world peace and respect for the rights and interests of all peoples, to promote strength and confidence among the freedom-loving countries of the world, to eliminate the causes of fear, want and discontent, and to advance the democratic way of life.

We first reviewed the changed aspect of world affairs arising from the massive intervention of Chinese communists in Korea. We have discussed the problems of the Far East and the situation as it now presents itself in Europe. We have surveyed the economic problems and the defense programs of our respective countries, and particularly the existing and threatened shortages of raw materials. We have considered the arrangements for the defense of the Atlantic community, and our future course in the United Nations.

The unity of objectives of our two countries underlay all the discussions. There is no difference between us as to the nature of the threat which our countries face or the basic policies which must be pursued to overcome it. We recognize that many of the problems which we have discussed can only be decided through the procedures of the United Nations or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The peoples of the United States and the United Kingdom will act together with resolution and unity to meet the challenge to peace which recent weeks have made clear to all.

The situation in Korea is one of great gravity and far-reaching consequences. By the end of October, the forces of the United Nations had all but completed the mission set for them by the United Nations “to repel the armed attack and to restore international peace and [Page 1785] security in the area.” A free and unified Korea—the objective which the United Nations has long sought—was well on the way to being realized. At that point Chinese communist forces entered Korea in large numbers, and on November 27 launched a large-scale attack on the United Nations troops. The United Nations forces have the advantage of superior air power and naval support, but on the ground they are confronted by a heavy numerical superiority.

The United Nations forces were sent into Korea on the authority and at the recommendation of the United Nations. The United Nations has not changed the mission which it has entrusted to them and the forces of our two countries will continue to discharge their responsibilities.

We were in complete agreement that there can be no thought of appeasement or of rewarding aggression, whether in the Far East or elsewhere. Lasting peace and the future of the United Nations as an instrument for world peace depend upon strong support for resistance against aggression.

For our part we are ready, as we have always been, to seek an end to the hostilities by means of negotiation. The same principles of international conduct should be applied to this situation as are applied, in accordance with our obligations under the Charter of the United Nations, to any threat to world peace. Every effort must be made to achieve the purposes of the United Nations in Korea by peaceful means and to find a solution of the Korean problem on the basis of a free and independent Korea. We are confident that the great majority of the United Nations takes the same view. If the Chinese on their side display any evidence of a similar attitude, we are hopeful that the cause of peace can be upheld. If they do not, then it will be for the peoples of the world, acting through the United Nations, to decide how the principles of the Charter can best be maintained. For our part, we declare in advance our firm resolve to uphold them.

We considered two questions regarding China which are already before the United Nations. On the question of the Chinese seat in the United Nations, the two governments differ. The United Kingdom has recognized the Central People’s Government and considers that its representatives should occupy China’s seat in the United Nations. The United States has opposed and continues to oppose the seating of the Chinese communist representatives in the United Nations. We have discussed our difference of view on this point and are determined to prevent it from interfering with our united effort in support of our common objectives.

On the question of Formosa, we have noted that both Chinese claimants have insisted upon the validity of the Cairo Declaration and have [Page 1786] expressed reluctance to have the matter considered by the United Nations. We agreed that the issues should be settled by peaceful means and in such a way as to safeguard the interests of the people of Formosa and the maintenance of peace and security in the Pacific, and that consideration of this question by the United Nations will contribute to these ends.

The free nations of Asia have given strong support to the United Nations and have worked for world peace. Communist aggression in Korea increases the danger to the security and independence of these nations. We reaffirm our intention to continue to help them.

The pressure of communist expansion existed in Europe and elsewhere long before the aggression against Korea, and measures were taken to meet it. The need to strengthen the forces of collective security had already been recognized and action for this purpose is under way. Clearly, decisions regarding the Far East have their repercussions and effects elsewhere. In considering the necessities of the Far Eastern situation, we have kept in mind the urgency of building up the strength of the whole free world. We are in complete agreement on the need for immediate action by all the North Atlantic Treaty countries to intensify their efforts to build up their defenses and to strengthen the Atlantic community.

We recognize that adequate defense forces are essential if war is to be prevented.

Accordingly, we have reached the following conclusions:

The military capabilities of the United States and the United Kingdom should be increased as rapidly as possible.
The two countries should expand the production of arms which can be used by the forces of all the free nations that are joined together in common defense. Together with those other nations the United States and the United Kingdom should continue to work out mutual arrangements by which all will contribute appropriately to the common defense.

We agreed that as soon as the plan now nearing completion in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for an effective integrated force for the defense of Europe is approved, a Supreme Commander should be appointed. It is our joint desire that this appointment shall be made soon.

In addition to these decisions on increasing our military strength, we have agreed that the maintenance of healthy civilian economies is of vital importance to the success of our defense efforts. We agreed that, while defense production must be given the highest practicable priority in the case of raw materials whose supply is inadequate, the essential civilian requirements of the free countries must be met so far as practicable. In order to obtain the necessary materials and to devote them as rapidly as possible to these priority purposes, we have [Page 1787] agreed to work closely together for the purpose of increasing supplies of raw materials. We have recognized the necessity of international action to assure that basic raw materials are distributed equitably in accordance with defense and essential civilian needs. We discussed certain immediate problems of raw materials shortages and consideration of these specific matters will continue. We are fully conscious of the increasing necessity of preventing materials and items of strategic importance from flowing into the hands of those who might use them against the free world.

In the circumstances which confront us throughout the world our nations have no other choice but to devote themselves with all vigor to the building up of our defense forces. We shall do this purely as a defensive measure. We believe that the communist leaders of the Soviet Union and China could, if they chose, modify their conduct in such a way as to make these defense preparations unnecessary. We shall do everything that we can, through whatever channels are open to us, to impress this view upon them and to seek a peaceful solution of existing issues.

The President stated that it was his hope that world conditions would never call for the use of the atomic bomb. The President told the Prime Minister that it was also his desire to keep the Prime Minister at all times informed of developments which might bring about a change in the situation.

In this critical period, it is a source of satisfaction to us that the views of our governments on basic problems are so similar. We believe that this identity of aims will enable our governments to carry out their determination to work together to strengthen the unity which has already been achieved among the free nations and to defend those values which are of fundamental importance to the people we represent.

  1. Released to the press by the White House on December 8.