396.1/12–750: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Bruce) to the Secretary of State

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3239. Tripartite conversations began this evening on preparation reply to Soviet note re CFM. Discussions were informal and opened with each delegation setting forth the general attitude of its government which with certain differences as to the exact purpose of Soviet maneuver revealed a large measure of agreement and complete identity as to main objectives we were seeking to accomplish in reply. It was agreed that purpose of this meeting was solely to attempt to draw up text of reply to Soviets and larger questions of policy would not be discussed since that was up to Ministers in view of conversations in progress Washington, London, and New York.

French proposed with British agreement that note should be identical rather than concerted in order to avoid Soviet exploitation of [Page 918] possible shades of difference in texts. We tentatively agreed and will proceed on this basis at tomorrow’s meeting unless Department perceives objection.

It was agreed that: (1) there must be identity of approach; (2) no impression of outright refusal of principle of negotiation; (3) narrow basis of Soviet note is completely unacceptable; and (4) reply must be drafted bearing in mind necessity obtaining maximum favorable effect on world public opinion.

We presented text of draft amended in line with Deptel 3118, December 6,1 and British likewise presented text that was longer and went into greater detail on German aspect of problem in specific answer to the Praha declaration. It was agreed both drafts will be studied and we shall reconvene tomorrow afternoon in order to prepare joint draft which will be telegraphed. (We are not telegraphing British draft as its substance is largely similar to our own.)

Parodi stated French had reservations on insistence conclusion Austrian treaty (which was stressed in British draft note). Since Schuman has doubts as to consequence withdrawal troops from Austria in light present situation, French also feel that insistence from West on Austrian treaty might give Soviets grounds for exacting concession elsewhere. This subject of Austria will be discussed tomorrow. British tell us that Bevin personally had very strong feeling with regard to Austria and we pointed out the great difficulty of a CFM meeting with pointed omission Austria.

French also had doubts as to wisdom of formal preparatory talks at Lake Success or elsewhere although they agreed preparation is necessary.

Since obviously impossible to exclude Austria, we do not anticipate much difficulty on this point, but would appreciate expression Department’s views on exploratory discussions and in particular whether we feel strongly on using representatives at UN for this purpose possibly as against diplomatic channels.2

Department pass Moscow. Sent Department 3239; repeated information priority London 789, priority Moscow 115, priority Frankfort 370.

  1. Not printed; it authorized Embassy Paris to use its draft (telegram 3126) as a basis for discussion subject to the following exceptions: avoidance of reference to Korea or Far Eastern problems, elimination of reference to assigned tasks for CFM, discretionary power to leave out references to the Syrian–Iraqi resolution, revision of the final paragraph to allow the Western powers a free hand in naming their representatives to the exploratory talks. (396.1/12–650)
  2. In telegram 3149, December 7, to Paris, not printed, the Department of State agreed that identical notes were preferable and exploratory talks desirable. New York provided a convenient place for such discussions and the Governments could use their U.N. representatives or not as they desired. (396.1/12–750)