460.509/1–452: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Penfield) to the Department of State


2966. Personal for Harold Linder—No other distribution. At private dinner last night, Eric Berthoud2 asked Emb officer convey to you his opinion Paris meeting on Jan 153 of great importance to administration Battle Act and his hope that you wld attend with stopover at London en route.

He said his instrs are very rigid and stated plainly Brit Govt had decided stand by international lists4 as agreed in Paris and to count upon presidential exception clause. He also fears impression will be gained in Wash that Brit leading mass revolt against Battle Act and is particularly concerned at possible repercussions such feelings at time of Prime Min’s visit.5

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He insists that Brit Govt and other govts with whose representatives he has talked on this subject are sincerely seeking way of living with Battle Act but with minimum disruption multilateral coop in this field. However, he feels strongly that Brit Govt cannot be placed in position openly yielding to Amer pressure on this matter especially in view wholly different and fully cooperative efforts being made by two govts in such vital and mutually important programs as joint defense free world.

  1. Assistant Under Secretary in the British Foreign Office.
  2. As a result of the transmission to the Washington mission of each of the COCOM countries on Dec. 6 and 7, 1951, of a U.S. aide-mémoire enumerating the requirements imposed on the U.S. Government in the field of East-West trade controls by the Battle Act, the decision was taken in COCOM to convene a meeting of the Consultative Group in January 1952. Concerning the aide-mémoire, see telegram 3357, Dec. 5, 1951, Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. i, p. 1221. The CG met in Paris Jan. 15–17 and again on Jan. 21 to discuss the implications of the Battle Act for the trade policies of the member countries. For a report on the most important aspects of this meeting, see telegram 4246 from Paris, Jan. 17, p. 819. Concerning the passage of the Battle Act, known formally as the Mutual Defense Assistance Control Act of 1951, P.L. 82–213, enacted Oct. 26, 1951, 65 Stat. 544, see the editorial note, Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. i, p. 1176.
  3. For a description of the evolution of the International Lists I, II, and III (IL/I, IL/II, and IL/III), see the circular instruction, Apr. 26, 1950, ibid., 1950, vol. iv, p. 87.
  4. The reference here is to the visit of Prime Minister Churchill to the United States, Jan. 5–18. For documentation concerning this visit, see volume vi.