394.31/9–1051: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Holmes) to the Secretary of State


1302. Embtel 1248 Sept 6 and Deptel 1373, Sept 6. Embassy officer had long luncheon discussion today with Leckie and Burgess re Czech GATT problem but was unable obtain completely firm commitment Brit would support US at Geneva. Hartley Shawcross will not return London before going Geneva and Emb does not believe Brit views can be finalized until other members Brit del report to Shawcross in detail re views other countries.

Leckie stated, however, that Brit reps will take favorable line with Commonwealth countries, and will not in any event permit firming up any solid Commonwealth front against US proposal before arrival Geneva. Also agreed take favorable though indecisive line with Dutch and Fr. Burgess mentioned Dutch attitude as being most difficult and he appears to be personally very reluctant support US stating, “after all US wld have recognized its GATT obligations even if obliged to withdraw concessions after failing convince other CP’s at Geneva.” After Leckie departure, however, he made personal prediction UK and “White Commonwealth” wld support US. Only specific reference to attitude Commonwealth countries was statement BOT had received strong indication Canada was opposed.

Re timetable at Geneva Leckie agreed no reason to delay after all dels canvassed if outcome clearly favorable and mentioned desirability having matter disposed of while both Shawcross and Thorp were present. (Shawcross plans remain only through Fri first week.) Neither he nor Burgess, however, wld consider position “favorable” if no more than sixteen CP’s prepared vote affirmatively, as this wld [Page 1403] mean large number abstentions. Re procedure they assumed we intended present matter at plenary and call for immediate vote without appointing WP or other subsidiary body.

Emb believes desirable Dept send additional info re status approaches other countries to reach London Thurs or Fri to provide opportunity last minute review with Leckie and other members Brit del immediately prior their departure. Some reps on Commonwealth dels expected London later this week and Leckie promised advise EmbOff re any significant indications recd from other countries re their attitude. He also stated wld be very helpful if Brit del knew before departure what US expectations were re each CP as subject likely come up with other dels immediately upon arrival Geneva, possibly prior opportunity have thorough discussion with US del.