Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Perkins) to the Under Secretary of State (Bruce)1
We have just learned confidentially that Senator Green proposes to introduce the following amendment for insertion in this year’s Mutual Security Act.[Page 499]
“The Congress believes it is essential that the Mutual Security Act be administered so as to make it clear at all times that the American people wish to assist dependent peoples the world over to establish their own free political and economic institutions.”
According to our information which comes from a member of the staff of the Foreign Relations Committee, no Senator can be expected to oppose this amendment. In addition, strong representations by the Department to the Committee, especially after the President’s recent speech,2 would be both difficult and embarrassing. Consequently, it seems to us that our only course of action would be an informal and personal approach to Senator Green.
Although the wording of the proposed amendment is fairly restrained, I think you will agree that its introduction at this time, and subsequent passage, would be sure to cause great concern among our Allies with overseas dependencies, particularly coming on top of the President’s recent speech. I strongly urge that an effort be made to talk the Senator out of it and I hope, that you would be willing to take this on.
The task is made more difficult by the fact that the confidential manner in which we obtained the text of the proposed amendment makes it impossible for us to reveal our knowledge of its existence. We therefore have to find another “peg” on which to hang the discussion. It seems to us that the peg may be provided by the Secretary’s telephone conversation with Senator Green on March 25.3 I attach a copy and you will note in the second paragraph that they discussed the colonial question. It seems to me that you could approach the matter by indicating that the Secretary asked you to follow up on this conversation. You could perhaps begin by explaining our position on the Tunisian question along the lines of the Secretary’s press conference yesterday. With this as a starter, you might be able to smoke the Senator out in revealing his plans so that a direct discussion of his proposed amendment would follow.
Unfortunately, we have a very tight deadline if there is any hope of getting the Senator to withdraw. According to our confidential source we must act before tomorrow (Friday) evening. Otherwise it is believed we will be too late.
I am also enclosing for your information a copy of a memorandum prepared by Messrs. Knight and Nunley which I think has some good and interesting suggestions.4[Page 500]
- Drafted by Deputy Assistant Secretary Bonbright.↩
- Reference is presumably to President Truman’s nationwide address of Mar. 6 on the Mutual Security program. See the editorial note, p. 470.↩
- No record of this conversation has been found in Department of State files.↩
- A handwritten notation at the end of the source text reads: “I think it important to consult with Ti Wood as to what if anything he knows or is doing.” The reference is presumably to C. Tyler Wood, Associate Deputy Director of MSA. A handwritten notation at the top of the source text reads: “Saw Sen Green 10:00 a.m. April 19.” The amendment does not appear in Public Law 400, the Mutual Security Act of 1952, signed by President Truman on June 20, 1952.↩
- The source text is accompanied by two covering memoranda. The first, dated Apr. 17, is from Knight to Under Secretary Bruce and reads as follows: “This is one of the papers which I mentioned yesterday in connection with the Colonial problem. It may be difficult to use after the President’s recent speech. I will forward the paper from which this stems after touching it up a bit.” The second covering memorandum was drafted by Knight on Mar. 26 in reaction to an exchange between Senator Green and Secretary Acheson during the Secretary’s testimony on behalf of the 1953 Mutual Security Program on Mar. 18. A copy of this paper, along with the briefer summary printed here, was apparently forwarded to the Under Secretary on Sept. 30 and is in file 700.5 MSP/9–3052. The second memorandum, undated and unsigned, reads: “This paper has been prepared by Ridgway Knight of WE and William Nunley of RA, as an outline for confidential discussions with members of Congress, in connection with the MSP presentation of U.S. policy with respect to colonial areas. The paper is addressed particularly to the suggestion made by Senator Green and others that the 1953 MSP legislation embody language expressing the sympathy of the United States with the aspirations for independence of colonial peoples.”↩
- A handwritten marginal notation in the source text at this point reads: “instability?”.↩