Memorandum by Mr. F. Garner Ranney of the Office of British Commonwealth and Northern European Affairs to the Director of That Office (Labouisse)

Subject: Anglo-American Cooperation in the Near East.

Anglo-American cooperation in the Near East has been a recognized policy objective of the two Governments for some years. In the Spring of 1944, British and American interests in the area were reviewed in informal conversations held in London between Mr. Wallace Murray, Director of NEA and officials of the British Foreign Office. Pursuant to these conversations, parallel instructions were transmitted by the Foreign Office and the Department of State to the British and American diplomatic Missions in the Near East in April 1944.1 These instructions called upon the respective Missions at each post to arrange for the conduct of Anglo-American relations throughout the area in the spirit of cooperation based on mutual frankness and good will.

The subject of British and American interests in the social and economic affairs of the Near East and in raising the living standards of that area was raised again in a memorandum transmitted by [Page 124] Mr. Bevin2 to the Secretary of State at Moscow in March 1947. Further informal conversations on this matter were held in Washington in October 1947 in conversations with Mr. Greenhill of the Foreign Office.3

The memorandum of these conversations states, “… it was the expressed view of the British and American representatives that in a matter of such importance to both the United States and Great Britain, both Governments should endeavor to prevent any other foreign countries, or commercial interests, or any other influences from making capital for themselves by playing Great Britain and the United States off against each other. Great Britain and the United States should each follow the general principal that each country endeavor to strengthen the other’s position in the Middle East on the basis of mutual respect and cooperation. It should be contrary to their respective policies for either country to make efforts to strengthen itself or to increase its influence at the expense of the other.”

In March 1948, instructions were sent to all our posts in the area setting forth these views, which had already been transmitted by the British Foreign Office to their representatives.4

The importance of continued cooperation was again fully recognized in the discussions between Mr. McGhee and Mr. Wright of the British Foreign Office in November 1949.5 As a result of these talks, the British Government suggested parallel instructions to our Missions in the area to reiterate our belief that “over-all interests of both countries will best be served by close cooperation”. The British suggested that these views should be communicated not only to diplomatic and consular personnel but also to British and American commercial interests and businessmen in the Near East. We have informed London of our intention to send such a message, stating that we prefer to leave to the discretion of the heads of missions, the manner of communicating such advice to the business communities.

Garner Ranney
  1. For documentation on the Anglo-American conversations and agreements of 1944 regarding the Middle East, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. v, pp. 6–7.
  2. Ernest Bevin, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, July 1945–March 1951.
  3. For documentation on the Anglo-American Middle East talks of 1947, see Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. v, pp. 485626.
  4. For documentation on the March 1948 instructions to the Middle Eastern posts, see ibid., 1948, vol. v, pp. 69 ff.
  5. For documentation on the Wright–McGhee talks of November 1949, see ibid., 1949, vol. vi, pp. 50 ff.