396.1 WA/6–3053: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Dillon) to the Secretary of State 1


6691. For Secretary from Ambassador. I saw Bidault this morning re Department telegram 6234.2 Bidault personally and rest of French Government are quite annoyed by the way the arrangements for the meeting have been handled in the press. They are particularly annoyed at Butler’s statement in the Commons on Monday3 which occurred before the French had received any official notification of the possibility of a three power conference. They also are not happy over Hagerty’s announcement which stated that no reply had been received from the French, and which gave the implication that they were slow to act when, as a matter of fact, they had not as yet received any formal invitation.

Bonnet reported the results of his informal conversation with you at luncheon on the 28th and stated that in due course a formal invitation would be forthcoming through me which would indicate dates, et cetera.

Deptel 6234 received here last evening, and contents communicated to Bidault informally about midnight after checking with Merchant to make sure Butler announcement had not changed plans.

With this as background, Bidault stated that Foreign Office, including himself, were very much adverse to the idea of British-American bipartite talks preceding tripartite meeting. They feel that this would give appearance that French only being invited in to sign on the dotted line after decisions had been taken by US and British acting alone. They would much prefer to have French and British delegations arrive Washington at same time. They do not care how the schedule is then arranged and would have no objection to bilateral talks taking place first with the British and then with themselves, provided it was clear to the public that they were in on the ground floor of the meetings.

Any date will suit them except the seventeenth. Reason for aversion to the seventeenth is that this date has been announced by all the papers as the prospective date for the meeting. Specifically, they would be prepared to arrive on July 10.

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Suggest you ask Merchant to telephone us your decision so we can advise Bidault soonest.

British Embassy has heard nothing whatever from London except through press.

  1. Repeated to London.
  2. Not printed; it reported that Dulles had lunched with Ambassador Bonnet on June 28 and had suggested that Bidault might arrive in Washington for the last two days of Lord Salisbury’s visit. Ambassador Dillon was instructed to discuss this with Bidault as supplementary to the message in telegram 6228, June 27, p. 1582. (396.1 WA/6–2953)
  3. On June 29, Butler, presiding over the Cabinet in the absence of Churchill and Eden, announced in the House of Commons that the British would be attending a Foreign Ministers meeting in Washington in July in lieu of the Bermuda Conference.