The President to the Acting Secretary of State


Dear Bedell : For some days I have been storing up a few matters regarding which I wanted to write to you. I have felt so pushed during the first ten days of my so-called vacation that I have really neglected bringing to your attention one or two points that concern me very much.

The first one is the state of our thinking toward the development of a substitute for EDC. I take it that all of us agree we cannot sit down in black despair and admit defeat.

It seems to me there are two possible approaches—or maybe even three—

Through the revision of the EDC idea by the nations concerned.
Through a meeting of the entire NATO group, with a view of including Germany as an equal partner therein.
Through unilateral agreements with Germany—to which agreements we would, of course, have to get the concurrences of a sizeable number of Western and Atlantic nations.

Please do not have your planners send me a long dissertation; I would merely like to know the direction of attack that appears to them to be the most hopeful and to get the outlines of their thinking.

Another subject is the Rio Conference,1 and along with this Foster’s suggestion that we send Kemper somewhere else. I have already okayed the latter idea, and I assume that my office has telephoned you today so that Foster’s letter to Jimmy Dunn can be sent at once.

Last evening I went over with Bobby Cutler the Security Council’s recommendations on South American policy, which I accept. In connection with this subject, I should like to have some idea of the approach that we intend taking. I am interested in specific objectives and our calculations as to what will be our greatest difficulty.

[Page 1146]

Still another subject in which I am tremendously interested is Trieste.2 We have been working on it a long time and my impression is that we have been letting Tito block us, perhaps needlessly. Over a period of many weeks I have been told time and again that it looked as though we were just on the point of securing an agreement, after which there has been nothing but silence. I think that whatever we do must be done soon, if for no other reason than to provide some counterbalance for the EDC flop.

I know that all of us are concerned about Italy and I personally know how much our friends there have been counting on the enactment of EDC. They must be very low in their minds and we could suffer an irretrievable disaster if things really went wrong. I know that the group in London has been working on this for a long time and I do not mean to complain. I merely mean that the situation begins to look rather grim, and I would hope that we could get our British friends to push a little harder on Tito. Perhaps we could do it ourselves, providing this would not cross wires with others who are working toward the same ends.

Please do not take your own time to answer my questions and to supply the information I seek. I merely ask that the proper sections of your staff prepare for me very short memoranda on these matters so that my own thinking may have the benefit of some specialized knowledge.

With warm regard,

As ever,

D[wight] E[isenhower]
  1. Documentation concerning the Bio Conference of November 1954 is presented in volume iv .
  2. Documentation concerning Trieste is presented in volume viii .