Memorandum of Conversation, by William B. Sale of the Bureau of European Affairs

  • Subject:
  • Possible US–UK Conversations concerning the future of the UN and forthcoming UN Problems
  • Participants:
  • Miss Barbara Salt, First Secretary, British Embassy
  • Mr. Ward P. Allen, EUR
  • Mr. William B. Sale, EUR

During an informal luncheon conversation, Miss Salt read to us a letter from Paul Mason of the British Foreign Office concerning the possibility of high-level US–UK talks on the future of the UN and on the supposed basic divergence in the US and UK approaches to it. The letter indicated that the Foreign Office is now veering away from its original idea that the talks be held promptly on the basis of a review of the last GA and is now more inclined to the view that the talks should be held somewhat later when the outlines and probable course of the next GA are a little more clear. As to the locus of the talks, Mason’s letter indicated that the Foreign Office would warmly welcome a visit by Mr. Hickerson if he could arrange to make his often postponed trip to London this summer.

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Miss Salt expressed the personal view that it might be more desirable to hold conversations here or in New York since almost all of the British personnel directly concerned with UN problems would be at UN headquarters. If necessary, Mason and others could come over to join the discussions. Mr. Allen expressed the personal view that whether held in London, Washington, or New York, conversations might be most helpful and he repeated Mr. Hickerson’s earlier advice to Mr. Meade that we would welcome such conversations.

It was generally agreed that it would be helpful to analyze and review our respective basic approaches to the UN and just what type of problems the UN can and cannot be expected to cope with successfully, that it might be helpful to give particular attention to the numerous important issues of concern to the Arab-Asian bloc and also that we should examine together all possibilities of breaking the membership deadlock. It was also agreed that the general conversations would be more meaningful if they could be related to the concrete problems which might be expected to come before the next Session.

Referring to the possibility of a third series of talks on colonial problems in the UN,1 Mr. Allen suggested that any such talks should preferably follow rather than precede the broader discussions envisaged in Mr. Mason’s letter.

We informed Miss Salt that we would explore the general question further in consultation with other interested offices of the Department; she will inform us of further views of the Foreign Office.

  1. These talks were held in Washington in 1950 and in London in 1951; for documentation on the talks, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. ii, pp. 434 ff., and ibid., 1951, vol. ii, pp. 623 ff.