740.5/4–2454: Telegram

The United States Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council (Hughes) to the Department of State

top secret

Polto 1707. Limit distribution. Subject: Closed meeting of NAC Foreign Ministers, permanent representatives and one other permanent delegation.

Due to the lateness of the hour (meeting started 6 p.m. Friday) and to the fact that many matters had been discussed in the earlier session, the only matter of importance was the Secretary’s statement,1, along the lines of the memo he prepared.2 It seemed to me that he followed this very closely and quoted verbatim the pertinent parts of that memo.

After he had finished his statement, Mr. Bidault commented that the Secretary had furnished the Foreign Ministers with a clear exposé of the US Government thinking on this matter. Zorlu, the Turkish representative, stated that he thought the Secretary’s statement was excellent and was of tremendous value for the defense of NATO. He stated that his government, without reservation, endorsed the US thinking. Mr. Eden remarked that although the Secretary referred to his statement as covering an unpleasant subject, he could not help but think how much more unpleasant it would be if we did not have superiority in atomic weapons. He welcomed the frank statement, outlining the US position, with which he took no issue. He stated, however, that it imposed on our governments a real duty to consider again some practical approach to disarmament.

(Last evening, April 23, at the Bidault dinner, a number of permanent representatives and Ministers expressed their great interest in the Secretary’s remarks and stated they were only sorry that, through no fault of his, his statement was made so late in the session. They seemed to feel that, if there had been more time, there might have been some questions and further discussion. Several permanent representatives said that, perhaps later in closed meetings of the NAC, their governments might ask that further questions be put, but that in principle, they felt everyone endorsed the general policy as outlined.)

The only other matter of substance discussed in the closed session was Indochina,3 covered by remarks from Bidault. His comments did not cover any policy or plan and were chiefly concerned with a description of the difficulties involved, due to the terrain and the size of the territory to be covered. He said that these were the real reasons why the war seemed to be going as it is, in spite of the fact that there was so much in both men and materials in that area.

  1. Supra.
  2. See footnote 1, supra.
  3. Documentation on Indochina is presented in volume xiii .