Minutes of Fourth Meeting of the United States Delegation to the General Assembly, Paris, November 5, 1951
[Here follow list of persons (49) present1 and discussion of prior agenda items. Discussion of the Moroccan item was then initiated with a background survey of the Moroccan question since World War II and a résumé of the development of the United States position with respect to the United Nations aspect of the problem.]
The Secretary added a note explaining the explosive nature of this whole question for the French, describing it as the biggest thorn in the side of Franco-American relations. France was seriously worried about our attitude and thought we might be attempting to undermine France’s position in Morocco. We had made great efforts to point out the erroneous nature of this conception, stating that none of the rights granted to the US by France in Morocco would be used against France.2 Nevertheless, France still remained uneasy. The Secretary referred to the attitude of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and to their feeling [Page 148] that this was a matter of supreme importance. Their advice might well be to support France fully on this matter. The Secretary reported that last night Eden3 had sought to obtain full US support for the joint UK-French stand.4 The Secretary had said we could not give such support. He did not want to split jurisdictional hairs with Eden, but we would depart in principle from our traditional position to the extent of abstaining procedurally, and going 80% of the way in support of the French substantively. Why, therefore, he had asked Eden, was the latter quibbling with the US over the last 20%? Eden had answered that the Iran and Egypt precedents made this a point of disunity vis-à-vis the Arabs. The Secretary had offered to show the world the French were not so bad in Morocco, and Eden came around somewhat. It was further pointed out to Eden that there would be a big battle over the agenda issue which might well be lost. This would be particularly unfortunate in that there would then be two battles, the first one of which the French would already have lost. The Secretary therefore recommended to the Delegation that the US take the position of trying to keep this matter off the agenda by an abstention or postponement; i.e., to do as much to help France as we can, consistent with our own interests, without ourselves voting against the item. The extremely vital nature of this matter is such that it requires the US to back up slightly.
[Here follows further discussion of the Moroccan question, at which the individual point of view of other United States representatives was expressed. The Delegation then took up another agenda item.]
- For information regarding the composition and organization of the United States Delegation to the Sixth Regular Session of the General Assembly, see pp. 2–10 and 37–44.↩
- Refers presumably to U.S. bases in Morocco.↩
- For documentation regarding the bipartite and tripartite conversations held in Paris at this time between the Secretary of State and the British and French Foreign Ministers (Anthony Eden, Robert Schuman), see volume iii .↩
- The record of this Acheson–Eden meeting of November 4 is located in Doc. NOVB–1, dated November 19. It is not as full as regards Morocco as this oral report by Acheson to the U.S. Delegation (CFM Files, Lot M 88, Box 159).↩