Editorial Note

In late April and early May 1950, United States, British, and French representatives met in London for a series of preliminary meetings in preparation for scheduled meetings in London of the American, British, and French Foreign Ministers. At a meeting of American and French representatives on April 29 (reported upon in telegram Secto 53, April 29, from London, volume III, page 896), Charles E. Bohlen, Counselor of the Embassy in France and a principal officer in the United States Delegation to the preliminary talks, reaffirmed [Page 1542] United States interest in the harmonious economic, social, and political development in the North African area under French aegis. Bohlen stated that the United States did not seek special privileges or the substitution of United States for French position and influence in the area. The French representative reviewed the situation in French North Africa and warned against ill-considered statements and the mistaken impression that France was backsliding in the area.

At a meeting between United States and French representatives on colonial problems on May 3 (reported upon in Secto 118, May 3, from London, volume III, page 948), the United States representative, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hare, reiterated the United States appreciation of the great responsibilities of the colonial powers in Africa and the United States desire to see the strengthening of friendly relations between France and the United States in overseas areas. Hare emphasized that United States activities would not be directed toward undermining France’s overseas position. Hare then summarized the recommendations set forth in Section IV of the policy paper of April 18 (FM D D–4), page 1524. French representatives at the meeting emphasized the duality of the African problem for France. With regard to North Africa the French pointed out that Algeria, already a part of metropolitan France, required careful handling in view of important French interests and the French population there; that Tunisia was becoming ripe for a greater degree of self-government; and that Morocco was not yet ready to accept political responsibility. With respect to black Africa, the French emphasized that economic and social development had to precede political development, and that difficulties were being encountered with certain nationalist leaders who did not understand the real meaning of independence. The French would welcome United States financial assistance in emergent zonal economic development plans.

United States and British representatives discussed colonial questions and Africa at a meeting on May 4 (reported upon in Secto 128, May 4, from London, volume III, page 950). Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hare once again summarized the recommendations on Africa set forth in Section IV of the policy paper of April 18 (FM D D–4). The British representatives expressed gratification and complete agreement on every point.

Beginning on May 4, United States, British, and French representatives convened as Subcommittee D to consider the colonial question and Africa. The report of this Subcommittee to the United States, British, and French Foreign Ministers was set forth in document MIN/TRI/P/21, May 9 (for text, see volume III, page 1093). The representatives agreed that their three countries were basically in agreement [Page 1543] as to the broad lines to be followed in the political development of the peoples of Africa and to the achievement of improved economic and social conditions. They recognized the importance of developing the existing cooperation among France, the United Kingdom, and the other African powers, and of establishing close cooperation between these countries and the United States. It was recommended that the questions and policies regarding Africa should be considered in detail at a later date. The more detailed views on Africa of the United States, British, and French representatives were set forth in three separate annexes to MIN/TRI/P/21 (for texts, see volume III, pages 1095 ff.). The views of the United States representative followed closely the recommendations set forth in Section IV of the policy paper of April 18 (FM D D–4).

Secretary of State Acheson, British Foreign Secretary Bevin, and French Foreign Minister Schuman and their advisers held a series of meetings on world problems at London, May 11–13. At their fifth formal tripartite session on May 13 (reported upon in telegram Secto 246, May 13, from London, volume III, page 1052), the Foreign Ministers approved document MIN/TRI/P/21.