110.11 DU/2–553: Telegram

The Acting United States High Commissioner for Germany ( Reber ) to the Department of State 1


3654. Following is summary of Secretary’s and Stassen’s meeting February 4 (morning and afternoon) with Eden, Butler, Alexander and other US and UK officials:2

[Page 1565]
After short statement by Eden and Alexander that British doing all possible to achieve closest possible association with EDC in military and other fields, Secretary said he had impression that if British measures dressed up, dramatized and announced at proper moment they would be great psychological aid to EDC ratification.
Secretary outlined following points made by Mayer and Pleven during Paris talks:4 (1) Protocols would not change treaty but only involve interpretations; (2) UK association must be substantial in form although not going so far as actual membership; (3) Saar, which must be settled (Eden commented that while we must push as hard as possible for Saar settlement within next couple of months we must not allow such settlement to be made a condition to EDC ratification as this might cause serious political difficulties in Germany and might greatly delay EDC ratification; (4) Indochina (see 2 below).

Secretary then explained great importance from viewpoint of US congressional and public opinion of tangible evidence before April NAC meeting that EDC is in fact moving towards ratification. This was very important in connection with timing of congressional hearings on foreign aid program. Secretary suggested if Italy and Netherlands could ratify in next several weeks it would serve purposes of getting EDC off dead center, providing evidence it was not bogged down and bringing additional pressure on France and Germany to get on with ratification. Secretary said he had discussed this with De Gasperi who while not committing himself had indicated he might be able to do something in next several weeks if French protocols did not create additional obstacles.5 De Gasperi did not make any mention of Trieste in this connection nor did he try to tie it in with EDC. In response to Eden’s questions Secretary said French did not make either EPC 6 or extension of NATO commitment by UK or US for 50 year period condition to EDC ratification.

Secretary asked whether UK and US could not each urge Italians and Dutch to ratify. He believed that UK might be particularly helpful with Dutch. Eden said he agreed this well worth trying and UK would instruct its Embassies accordingly.

Butler raised question of German contribution to British troop costs. He said that Germans (particularly Schaeffer were not willing to accept a reasonable level of financial effort for defense and asked US help in persuading Germans to carry defense burden comparable to that of France and Britain which he defined as at least Wisemen’s formula.7
Indochina.8 (See above 1(b) (4).) Secretary said Rene Mayer asked US help in IC so that French would be able to maintain position in Europe to balance Germany to which Secretary replied we would be glad to hear French views on how Indochina conflict could be brought to successful conclusion and believed Mayer might bring this up for discussion when he visits Wash.9 Secretary added that French had most serious military manpower problem with respect to IC and that answer might well be in more effective French action in raising and training Vietnam forces. There was then a general discussion of situation in Southeast Asia. Lord Alexander commented that British have equivalent of one division plus in Malaya and that providing IC situation not worsened he was optimistic that Malaya might be cleaned up in about a year when ground force responsibilities could be assumed by Ghurkas and other native troops. Eden agreed with reasoning on IC and guessed that financial burden is basic problem for France there.
Trieste.10 Eden stated view that Zone A to Italy and Zone B to Yugoslavia settlement was only practicable solution and that Italy and Yugoslavia both realized this. Great difficulty is timing. So-called interim solution was then discussed by Eden who felt strongly that Tito would probably annex Zone B immediately Zone A was turned over to Italy. There was inconclusive discussion re possibility of making some statement of intent, prior to elections, to turn over Zone A to Italy as a means of helping De Gasperi in elections. Eden said UK would probably have to talk about Trieste during latter’s visit but exact line to take could be considered by British and US in next few weeks.
Spain. Eden asked if Secretary could give him information on status of US–Spanish base negotiations.11 Secretary replied he was not familiar with exact details.
UN. (a) Secretary expressed opinion little good would be served by raising Korea issue again.12 Selwyn Lloyd stated Communist rejection of Indian resolution was transmitted to first committee so subject will be on agenda but might be possible for committee only to “note with regret” or take some similar action. Polish resolution on POWs may also come up and it may not be possible avoid controversy since Communists will doubtless try to exploit it for propaganda. Eden mentioned suggestion of Reugger (chairman IRC) that attempt be made exchange wounded prisoners under Geneva Convention. It was agreed US and UK consult further in New York, on this matter.
Hong Kong. Alexander said Hong Kong is well defended; only [Page 1567] weak spot being air because all fields are within artillery range. Carrier borne aircraft would therefore be necessary for effective defense. Assuming this, Hong Kong could be held against all but sustained major offensive. Subversives would be a danger but only in connection with possible attack. In reply to questions on trade with China and British ships reported sold to Communists, Eden said he hoped Britain would be informed of any irregularities so that they would be corrected. Re Hong Kong–Red China trade he said UK was carrying out some controls for UK–China trade and recently a US–UK group had checked this on the spot.
Eden expressed hope US could support UK with Japanese re status of Commonwealth troops in Japan which are not accorded same status as other UN forces. Secretary indicated he would look into this to see what could be done.

Egypt. (See separate telegram.13)

. . . . . . .

Arabs–Israel.14 Eden said he felt Arabs–Israel peace could not be achieved until refugee problem settled and that Syria was key to this problem. If a settlement could be made with Egypt this might be very important in an eventual Israel–Arab settlement. Also, if we can get Arab states into MEDO,15 this may help calm their fears and improve atmosphere.
  1. Repeated to London.
  2. Informal memoranda of conversation for the morning and afternoon meetings summarized in the source text are in the Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 137; these informal memoranda of conversation are based on the recollection of several participants and are not an official record.
  3. For documentation concerning the attitude of the United States toward the establishment of a European Defense Community, see pp. 571 ff.
  4. For a summary of Dulles’ meeting with Mayer and Pleven, see telegram 4294 from London, Feb. 4, p. 1560.
  5. For a summary of Dulles’ meeting with De Gasperi, see telegram 4275 from Paris, Feb. 1, p. 1551.
  6. Documentation concerning the European Political Community is presented in volume vi .
  7. For documentation concerning the work of the Temporary Council Committee, commonly known as the “Wisemen,” see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. iii, Part 1, pp. 272 ff., and pp. 203 ff., herein.
  8. Documentation concerning Indochina is presented in volume xiii .
  9. Documentation concerning Mayer’s visit to Washington in March 1953 is presented in volume vi .
  10. Documentation concerning Trieste is presented in volume viii .
  11. Documentation concerning U.S. base negotiations with Spain is presented in volume vi .
  12. Documentation concerning Korea is presented in volume xv .
  13. Telegram 4308 from London, Feb. 4 (745W.00/2–453). For text, see volume ix .
  14. Documentation concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict is presented ibid .
  15. Documentation concerning the Middle East Defense Organization is ibid .