Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 379

Telegraphic Report by Secretary of State Dulles 1
top secret

Dined with Mendes-France at Hotel Matignon this evening in friendly, informal atmosphere. For French, Parodi, De Murville, Moustier, Boris, Margerie and Soutou were present. On our side, Anderson, Hensel, Dillon, Hughes, Achilles and Merchant also present.

Conversation during and after dinner covered wide range, Indo-chinese aspect of which I have reported separately.2

Mendes-France asked me my present estimate Soviet intentions. I replied at length pointing out inherent conflict between Party and State for control foreign policy. I also noted post-Stalin increased attention consumers’ goods as reflection need for even despotism to take into account popular pressures, which tendency, however, should not be regarded as basis for immediate optimism but which nevertheless was encouraging sign.

I underlined heavy burden US reluctantly bearing for defense effort and commented on irony criticism certain quarters of our defense effort which was to so large an extent responsive to historical arguments that [Page 1411] first two World Wars might have been avoided had US been militarily strong and had made clear in advance its intention to resist aggression.

I then emphasized importance I attach to progress on disarmament front, although I held out no hopes that early progress was possible. Mendes-France, during entire conversation, listened with close attention, and periodically indicated general agreement. I had impression throughout that ears of Boris were flapping.

Conversation then turned to Far East and I took pains to explain at some length dangers inherent in bombardment and harassment offshore Chinese islands in past six weeks.3 I pointed out they were stepping stones to any invasion Formosa, and said that we had reached no final conclusion as to action which we would take in event Communist effort to subdue them was launched. I said beyond question we would resist with all our force any effort attack Formosa and Pescadores.

In later turn of conversation Mendes-France elaborated at great length his conviction Soviets would make some spectacular move to prevent consummation London Agreement. We discussed various possibilities this direction and difficulties in path effective Soviet effort. He made clear, however, his belief that Molotov’s recent effort at East Berlin4 was not final shot in Soviet locker.5

  1. Transmitted to the Department of State as telegram Dulte 4, Oct. 21, “eyes only Acting Secretary,” and repeated to London and Moscow as “eyes only Ambassador.”
  2. The message under reference is telegram Dulte 5, Oct. 21; it is printed in vol. xiii, Part 2, p. 2147.
  3. Documentation concerning the offshore Chinese islands is presented in volume xiv .
  4. Presumably a reference to Molotov’s speech in Berlin on Oct. 6; for information concerning Molotov’s speech, see telegram 582 from Moscow, Oct. 21, p. 1459.
  5. During Dulles’ meeting with Mendès-France, plans for Mendès-France’s visit to Washington in November were also discussed; a summary of this discussion was transmitted to the Department of State in telegram Dulte 10, Oct. 21. (Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 379) Documentation concerning this November visit to Washington is presented in the compilation on France in volume vi .