Editorial Note

On May 7, Acheson held a further conversation with the President on the subject of a Greek-Turkish security commitment. The Secretary recommended that the proper course was to wait for several days to see whether the Four-Power Talks at Paris would result in the formal convening of a Council of Foreign Ministers meeting and that, if they did not, confidential talks should begin with the British and French looking toward a proposal to admit Greece and Turkey to NATO. The President replied that he had been giving the matter much thought and that he approved the course recommended (Secretary’s memoranda, lot 53 D 444, May–June 1951). That same day, the Department of State air pouched to the Embassies in London and Paris various materials relating to the problem of Greek-Turkish membership in NATO, including copies of the memorandum and enclosures from McGhee and Perkins to Acheson of April 24 (printed page 511). The materials were sent to London as airgram 2068 and to Paris as airgram 1803 (781.5/5–751).

On May 8, Acheson cabled Bruce and MacArthur in Paris that the Department was considering an early approach to the British and French Governments with a view to determining how far those Governments would be inclined to support Greek and Turkish membership (telegram 5918, 740.5/5–851). By May 12, Acheson had become concerned at the growing number of press accounts of the United States position on Greek-Turkish NATO membership, especially in light of the Four-Power Talks at Paris (telegram 5206 to London, 740.5/5–1251). In telegram 5922 from London, May 13, Ambassador Gifford agreed with Acheson that, in view of the wide publicity given the United States position on Greece and Turkey, approaches to the British, the French, and the NATO Council of Deputies should be made at the soonest possible moment, and he stated that he was asking for an early appointment with Foreign Secretary Morrison and suggested [Page 520]that either Bruce or Bohlen in Paris see Foreign Minister Schuman (740.5/5–1351). Acheson replied that he would telephone instructions to Spofford on May 14 (telegram 5210, May 13, 740.5/5–1351). On May 15, Gifford and Spofford reported that they had presented Permanent Undersecretary of State Sir William Strang with an aide-mémoire (infra), written by themselves, based upon material sent in airgram 2068 of May 7, a copy of which had also been sent to Morrison at his country residence (telegram 5930 from London, May 15, 740.5/5–1551). The same day, Chargé Bohlen cabled from Paris that he had delivered an aide-mémoire to the French Foreign Office that morning and, “Since British will unquestionably immediately consult with French, I thought it best to present aide-mémoire with identic text to that given British in order to avoid speculation as to possible discrepancies in wording.” (Telegram 6939, 740.5/5–1551)