396.1/11–1753: Telegram

The Chargé in France (Achilles) to the Department of State 1


1954. Laniel and Bidault will probably be accompanied at Bermuda by Bougenot (Secretary of State for Presidency), Vidal (Directeur de Cabinet), Fouchet (Foreign Office liaison with Laniel), and possibly Leca (financial adviser), all of Laniel’s Cabinet; and Parodi, Margerie, Seydoux, Roux, Laloy and Boegner or Sauvagnargues, all of Foreign Office. Bougenot and Leca not yet definite.

French in general agreement with Secretary’s ideas on subjects to be discussed (Deptel 1784, November 102) and have so advised British. They believe that evaluation of Soviet Policy, Trieste and Far East with particular reference to Indochina will undoubtedly loom large. They also believe that there should be a discussion of general NATO [Page 1719]policy, the effect of new weapons on strategy and, since meeting will occur just before NAC, topics on NAC agenda. French feel strongly, and Margerie states British agree, that any discussion of EDC questions would be premature. Laniel and Bidault can report on developments since London meeting3 and give estimate of current parliamentary situation and timetable contemplated by government, but believe that to go further would be improper since government position is already known and since Parliament is officially seized of Paris and Bonn treaties. Margerie reminded me of closeness with which schedule Bidault had outlined to Secretary and Eden at London was being followed. He said that as soon as present debate was concluded, Bonnet and Massigli would probably be instructed to advise Washington and London again of Bidault’s ideas concerning balance of schedule, to ask that great care be taken at Bermuda to avoid anything which might savor of public pressure and to emphasize that “wheels are now turning but one pebble in them could do great damage.”

On Bermuda in general, he remarked that West had apparently reached new “turning point” in its relations with USSR but questioned whether we should emphasize this publicly. There was no chance for peace in sense of negotiating diplomatic settlements with USSR. On other hand, there was great chance for peace in sense of remoteness of possibility of Soviet attack. He felt we should avoid giving any impression that we regarded present situation as dangerous, but should rather take approach that we were now settling down for the long term, during which Europe would be divided as at present for many years, and that we must find means of adapting ourselves to this long-range situation and of maintaining the necessary defense as economically as possible. Russian expansion had been stopped in Europe, including Greece, Yugoslavia and Berlin, by firmness and at the 38th Parallel by war. It had not yet been stopped in Southeast Asia. Any rolling back of the curtain must be a very long-term operation and basically a moral one. We were left with the status quo which the Russians had the power to break at any time but were deterred from doing so primarily by fact that armed adventures in Europe would bring their own destruction. The West should again make clear both the strictly defensive nature of its policy and its determination to do whatever was necessary to defend itself.4

Bohlen comments on foregoing that we are less at “turning point” than in early stage of new phase, that chances of war or negotiated [Page 1720]settlement are both remote and that West should accordingly undertake to develop its unity and viability on long-term basis.

  1. Repeated to London, Bonn, and Moscow.
  2. Not printed; it reported inter alia that Secretary Dulles felt there were a number of questions which could be usefully discussed at Bermuda including evaluation of the Soviet position, implementation of the Bonn and Paris Treaties, the situation in the Far East, and how the three Western powers could move ahead with greater unity. (396.1/11–1053)
  3. Regarding the three Western Foreign Ministers meeting at London, Oct. 16–18; see the editorial note, p. 1709.
  4. On Nov. 19, Ambassador Bonnet discussed the Bermuda meeting with Secretary Dulles, stating that the French attached the greatest importance to consideration of NATO problems. The Ambassador indicated also that the French would seek assurances that U.S. troops would not be withdrawn from Europe, (Memorandum of conversation, Nov. 19; 396.1/11–1953)