396.1/12–453: Telegram

The United States Delegation at the Bermuda Conference to the Department of State

secret

Secto 1. Following summary conversation afternoon December 3 between Roberts, UK delegation, and Knight.1

1. Order of Business.

Roberts reported our tentative order tripartite business “virtually identical” with theirs.2

2. Agenda for first Foreign Ministers meeting December 4, 4 p.m. Roberts expressed following ideas:

a.
Preliminary discussion of reply to Soviet note November 26 3 prior giving instructions to drafting group. Roberts implied British expect reply to be completed and probably despatched from Bermuda.
b.
Re organization of meetings, UK in agreement our preliminary thinking. Visualize one meeting each day between Foreign Ministers and another with heads of government.
c.
Re adequate recognition, Ismay’s presence suggested possibility Ismay participating in Sunday meeting, preferably with heads of government.

3. Security Assurances to Soviets.

Roberts expects Churchill to raise this question. Visualized principals and Foreign Ministers would discuss in broad terms formulating general instructions for working group which would study them together with “Paris texts” for referral back to three Foreign Ministers prior “Berlin conference”.4

4. “Berlin Conference”

Roberts believes French will agree Berlin local after initial objections.

UK strong for making clear Four Power Headquarters in Berlin should be conference site.

UK leaning more and more to “early January” as mentioned by Secretary to Makins. Gathered British have broached this early date with French although Roberts evasive this point.

5. Communiqué.

British have no draft. Like US, their original plans altered by latest Soviet note. Their general theme:

a.
Expression of calmness, strength and unity.
b.
Appropriate reassurances to Soviets.
c.
Willingness discuss and negotiate whenever opportunity arises.

6. Adenauer’s Position

British mystified by degree Adenauer desire to stall and postpone meeting Soviets. They feel we must reason with Chancellor strongly. UK convinced we should do nothing to create impression West stalling and fearful of meeting.

7. Bilateral Meetings.

Roberts thought would have to fit in bilaterals as needs and opportunities arise. UK and French holding bilateral today.

In separate conversation with French they expressed general agreement with our tentative order of business and our thinking on organization of meetings.5 While French agree heads of government should limit themselves to broader policy considerations, they indicated desire to discuss at top level some aspect all items our tentative agenda.

Laniel wishes Bidault to accompany him to all meetings.

Purposefully did not raise any other topics discussed with Roberts.

  1. A memorandum of Knight’s conversation with Roberts and Caroline Petrie, Secretary of the British Delegation, is in file 396.1/12–353.
  2. The documents under reference here have, not been identified further.
  3. Documentation on the Soviet note, Nov. 26, accepting participation in a four-power conference, is presented in volume vii .
  4. Documentation on the Berlin Conference, Jan. 25–Feb. 18, 1954, is ibid .
  5. A memorandum of Knight’s conversation with Jean-Marc Boegner, Jean Laloy, and Jean Sauvagnargues is in the Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 185.