The Secretary of State to Foreign Secretary Eden 1

top secret

[Dear Anthony:] I appreciate your message2 concerning the problem of what we do next in Europe and fully share your feelings of urgency about situation. I have, however, certain grave doubts about your suggestion for a nine-power meeting in London. I am extremely anxious to avoid repetition of the disharmony of the Brussels meeting.3 I seriously doubt whether it will be possible to carry out all necessary preliminaries in time to hold a successful formal meeting before the UN Assembly convenes. Before I can usefully discuss these matters, I must return home, reestablish contact with the President and Congressional leaders and inform myself concerning recent thinking within the US Government. Furthermore, I strongly feel that we will need considerable advance diplomatic preparation in order to clarify our objectives and insure success of any formal meeting of Ministers. In particular, I would like to have in hand a meeting of minds between your Government and ours. Also, I understand Adenauer is opposed to an early nine-power meeting. Finally, as you so thoughtfully recognize, I am currently overburdened.

You will realize of course that I want to make every possible contribution to a solution of this grave crisis. I am prepared if it would serve any useful purpose to come to Europe for the weekend of September 18 to 20. However, if I did so, I would think that my time could be more usefully spent in talks with you and Churchill and Adenauer, and perhaps Mendes-France, which will help to create a more solid basis for a conference, than in a nine-power conference itself which, in our present state, we would inevitably enter without the preliminary thinking and exchanges of views necessary to assure that that conference will produce agreement. I suggest we dare not at this juncture risk any further exhibitions of confused division.

[Page 1156]

I shall probably have started home by the time you receive this, and plan to get to grips with this European problem as rapidly as possible, and count on closest cooperation with you.

  1. The source text was transmitted to London in telegram 1371, Sept 8. An early draft of this letter was sent to Secretary Dulles in Manila in telegram Tedul 25, Sept. 7 (396.1/9–754); his approval of the draft with changes was transmitted to the Department of State in telegram Dulte 18, Sept. 8 (396.1 LO/9–854).
  2. This is a reference to Eden’s message the text of which was sent to the Department of State in telegram Dulte 11, Sept. 7, p. 1151.
  3. For documentation concerning the Brussels Conference, Aug. 19–22, see pp. 1052 ff.