Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State 1
top secret

Korea. The President said that if there was a deliberate breach of the Armistice by the Communists we would expect to strike back with atomic weapons at military targets. We would not expect to bomb cities but would attack areas that were directly supporting the aggression.

The Prime Minister said that he quite accepted this and that the President’s statement put him in a position to say to Parliament that he had been consulted in advance and had agreed.

Dependent Areas. They discussed dependent areas. The President stated he thought that each case should be considered on its merit as to who should take the lead and as to who might play the role of “moderator”, and that it was not necessary always openly to appear to present a consolidated front. Sir Winston argued for the united front approach.
Egypt. Sir Winston said he felt that they had gone as far as they could go; that the uniforms were important because if there was an attack upon a soldier in uniform that would be more serious than if it were someone not in uniform, and would give a basis for counter action. Sir Winston referred to the group of 20 or more of their own Party who would oppose going any further.
Meeting with the Soviet Union. There seemed to be agreement that there should be a meeting as promptly as possible, preferably [Page 1740] early in January. The Prime Minister suggested that if the meeting was held in Berlin it might alternate between the two Sectors. He felt we should always keep the “door open” to the Russians. The President emphasized that he would not participate in the Heads of Government meeting until at a Foreign Ministers meeting the Soviets had shown evidence of good faith.

The Prime Minister spoke of the feeling that the UK could not differ with the US, without this creating a sense of animosity. He apparently had in mind the different attitudes toward China. The President said that there was no sense of animosity as far as our Government was concerned; that we feel strongly there could be differences which each side respected. However, the President urged a closer alignment of UK policy with the US.

The Prime Minister said that he had originally opposed recognition of Communist China but that this had now become an established fact which would be difficult to alter. However, he said that when it came to any vote about China in the UN, the UK would vote with the US.

Trade with China. They discussed this question and the Prime Minister said that he looked upon trade as a means of achieving the desired results; also, that in his case trade was necessary to keep their nose above water. They are gradually getting stronger but need trade.
French Position. The Prime Minister felt that the French were very weak but that we must not allow this to balk our moving ahead. He suggested a possible EDC without France, or the possibility of bringing Germany into NATO, or if the French vetoed this, establishing a new treaty arrangement with Germany. The President indicated skepticism concerning this.
  1. According to President Eisenhower, Mandate for Change, p. 249, this conversation took place in the President’s sitting room at the Mid Ocean Club immediately after the presidential party arrived at Bermuda. This would place the time of the meeting at shortly after noon. The source text bears a typewritten notation that it was drafted by Dulles on Dec. 4, and that the last part was retyped on Dec. 5 to conform with President Eisenhower’s comments.