Under Secretary’s Meetings: Lot 53 D 250: Minutes of Meetings1

Record of the Under Secretary’s Meeting, October 16, 19502
UM M–256

Oral Report on Trip to London, Paris, and Tangier3

Mr. McGhee stated that the purpose of his trip was two-fold. First, he wanted to consult with the British and the French regarding mutual problems involved in the Near East area, including those relating to South Asia. In addition, a meeting of the Consular Officials was held in Tangier.
In London the results of the talks with the British were most helpful. Problems involving South Asia were discussed and it was agreed that closer consultation with respect to Asia would take place with the British. The British had no jurisdictional bias with respect to India. Mr. McGhee felt that the Commonwealth organization offered the only regional basis for the development of an aid program for South Asia. Probably $500 million a year will be needed for this area. The British have made a similar estimate of need. The British probably could make arrangements for $200 million through sterling balance arrangements. Another problem which was discussed was India’s attitude toward Asia and the United States. Also the problem of Pakistan was reviewed. The only hopeful approach on Kashmir appears to be through an informal British approach. There needs to be some assurance given of a fair election in Kashmir. Problems of Greece, Turkey, Iran, as well as Anglo-Iranian Oil Company were discussed. Mr. McGhee reviewed with the British their colonial policy with respect to the African territories, and he was satisfied with their explanation. [Page 216] As a mater of fact, the British may be pushing too hard toward the independence of certain of the African territories.
Talks with the French were satisfactory but could not be on so frank a basis as with the British. The French were defensive regarding their policy in North Africa and appeared to be ashamed of their colonial policy. When the question of the Moroccan trade control policy was raised, the French indicated that it was our own political problem to solve. Mr. McGhee felt that it would be wise to hold on to our old trade rights but not to attempt to enforce them strictly.
The Consular Meeting was held at Tangier and was attended by our consular officers in North Africa. There were service representatives present including Admiral Connelly [Conolly],4 who attended the meeting for one day. The French and the Spanish feel that they have valuable property in North Africa and they have assured us that it is well controlled. It is believed that now is not the time to urge the French to do something with respect to political concessions in this area. If they attempt to make any moves in this direction their entire control and strategic position might be lost. For the present, we need short-term stability and so it was suggested that the French not be pressed to grant political concessions to the natives in this area. There is no immediate danger in this area of native uprisings or communist takeover. In the event of war, it is believed that the French could maintain stability in this area. The Communists are somewhat active in trade unions and could cause some damage in time of wary but it is felt that the Communists could be controlled properly if it became necessary. There is very little opportunity for increased trade in this area. ECA, through the French, has assisted North Africa. This has aroused some bitterness on the part of the Arabs because it strengthened the French position. It should be noted that the French are reluctant to have Point IV introduced in this area because it would advance the native position. We must be extremely careful in our USIE program. We should not attempt to press for political independence or political concessions in this area through the USIE program. We have the good-will of the native peoples and we should make every effort to maintain it and at the same time not alienate the French.
With respect to Libya, it is anticipated that we will have to pay something in order to maintain our rights there. The British are not in a position to pay for all that is necessary. It is felt that Libya will not be fit for political independence by 1952, since no native leaders are available. With respect to the problem of Eritrea, this issue should be fought out within the General Assembly. It is apparent, after a [Page 217] visit to this area, that none of the peoples here are ready for self-government.
  1. Lot 53 D 250 is a master file of records of meetings, documents, summaries, and agenda of the Under Secretary’s meetings for the years 1949–1952, as maintained by the Executive Secretariat of the Department of State.
  2. The principal officers of the Department of State, or their alternates, met regularly, often several times a week, under the chairmanship of the Under Secretary of State, to consider important foreign policy problems. This record was presumably prepared by officers of the Executive Secretariat. McGhee’s oral report was the only order of business at this meeting. There is no indication on the source text as to who attended.
  3. For another account by McGhee of his visits to London, Paris, and Tangier, with particular emphasis upon the African aspects of his discussions, see the summary of his remarks on October 25, p. 1569.
  4. Adm. Richard L. Conolly, Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, attended the meeting on October 5.