Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 184

Thurston Minutes1

Mr. Dulles suggested that Mr. Eden chair the meetings of the Foreign Ministers. This was agreed to by the French and Mr. Eden.

Agenda and Organization of Meetings

Mr. Eden then had distributed a list of topics for discussion during the Tripartite meetings at Bermuda (a copy of the list is attached). Mr. Dulles, referring to the list, asked whether it was intended that the Foreign Ministers should discuss this list in the first instance and refer differences to the Chiefs of Government, or what procedure was intended? Mr. Eden replied that the procedure suggested by Mr. Dulles might be followed in the case of some topics but not necessarily for all of them.

Mr. Eden suggested that the reply to the Soviet note was a matter in which the Foreign Ministers had a responsibility and that they therefore might address themselves to this topic. He also thought that the subject of NATO was an appropriate one for the Foreign Ministers to discuss. Mr. Bidault indicated general concurrence with this idea but indicated that the Foreign Ministers ought to decide which topics they should discuss and which should be discussed by the Chiefs of Government. He suggested topics No. 1 and 2 for the Foreign Ministers and topic No. 3 by the Heads of Government. It would leave the disposition of topics 4 and 5 until later.

Mr. Dulles wondered whether topic No. 1 should not be discussed [Page 1747] by the Heads of Government since it was a subject not requiring fine agreement or any specific course of action. Otherwise, Mr. Dulles indicated, he thought Mr. Bidault’s suggestion was alright. Mr. Eden stated that the heavy work of the Foreign Ministers would obviously be on topic No. 2 and perhaps on NATO. He therefore suggested that the Heads of Government take up No. 1, all sub-headings under No. 3 except NATO, and No. 4. He went on to say that Prime Minister Churchill had particularly indicated a desire to discuss the Trade with Russia item under No. 3. He wondered if No. 5 should not be discussed by the Foreign Ministers first and then referred to the Heads of Government. He thought at any event the Foreign Ministers should start on No. 2. He then went through the advance headings of the list and the three Foreign Ministers agreed to the following subdivision of work:

Heads of Government
Foreign Ministers

Item 1—Foreign Ministers

Item 2—Heads of Government

Item 3—Heads of Government

Item 4—Foreign Ministers

Heads of Government
Heads of Government

Mr. Eden then moved on to the question of the times of meetings. He wondered whether the Heads of Government might wish to meet in the morning.

Mr. Dulles remarked that President Eisenhower had authorized him to say that he was up at 6:00 a.m. every morning and at the disposal of others.

Mr. Eden remarked with a smile that he was not authorized by the Prime Minister on this point but that he was quite certain that 6:00 a.m. would not be suitable.

Mr. Bidault observed that M. Laniel sleeps well and would be available at any time.

Mr. Dulles said that he had understood that there had been an understanding by President Eisenhower and Prime Minister Churchill that they might do some painting in the morning because that is a time when the conditions were best in Bermuda.

Mr. Bidault said that he was not in a position to make any comment on the artistic propensity of M. Laniel.

Mr. Eden summarized this part of the discussion by saying that it would be necessary to see what the Heads of Government themselves thought on this question.

Mr. Eden said that he assumed that in accordance with past practice there might be Bilateral meetings between the Foreign Ministers’ sessions.

[Page 1748]

Mr. Bidault then remarked that the Heads of Government would refer matters to the Foreign Ministers and they would then pass them on to experts.

Mr. Eden referred to the prospective arrival of Lord Ismay the NATO Secretary General and asked what the others would think of the attendance of Lord Ismay at the Foreign Ministers meeting on Sunday and the meeting of the Heads of Government on Monday.

Mr. Bidault said that that was alright but he would particularly suggest that Lord Ismay be present at the meeting of the Foreign Ministers to discuss the NATO sub-heading under topic 3.

Mr. Bidault asked whether an interpreter should be present and Mr. Dulles replied “by all means”.

Press Arrangements

Mr. Dulles then raised the question of press arrangements.

Mr. Eden asked Sir Pierson Dixon to speak to this point. Sir Pierson said that there had been preliminary consultation on this point in Washington and that it was agreed that the press officer of each Delegation would participate in a joint briefing of the press after each principal meeting. The different press officers would alternate in presiding over the briefing with the other two being available to make what supplementary observations they desired.

Mr. Dulles suggested that the agenda which had been agreed upon be classified as secret, which was agreed to by the others.2

Mr. Eden observed that there probably would be some questions we had better not mention to the press and went on to say that on this matter the three governments should concert together.

A short draft communiqué (attached herewith3) was then circulated by Mr. Eden’s delegation.

Mr. Dulles wondered whether to this communiqué could not be added a statement to the effect that the world situation would be taken up by the Heads of Governments and that the Foreign Ministers would get to work on a reply to the Soviet note for reference to the Heads of Government. Both Mr. Eden and Mr. Bidault expressed some concern that by stating this much on the first day, the problem would come up every day as to what had been discussed. Also Mr. Bidault wondered if this would not give the impression that more had been discussed today than had been the case. He added that he thought we should increase gradually what we say each day.

Mr. Eden thought that in accepting Mr. Dulles’ addition we would in fact be designating the agenda. Mr. Bidault thought it might be [Page 1749] better to talk about these things after they had actually been discussed.

Mr. Dulles remarked that it was no secret that we were going to discuss the Soviet note so why should we try to conceal it. He added that there was a galaxy of newspaper people here, all having to write stories and that it was an alternative as to whether they make up their stories or get some guidance from us. He thought that the lesser evil was to get some guidance.

Mr. Eden observed that there was no real division on this so why not let each delegation say what it likes. Mr. Bidault nodded assent to this.


Mr. Eden asked for permission to revert to the Trieste question which had been under informal discussion before the beginning of the meeting4 and suggested that the three delegations coordinate the instructions to the three Ambassadors. Mr. Dulles designated Mr. Merchant to handle this.


List of Topics Prepared by the British Delegation

General Discussion of World Situation
  • The Communist Threat in West (Russia) and East (China)
Four Power Meeting on Germany and Austria
  • Reply to Soviet Note
  • Objectives and Tactics at Meeting
  • Security Assurances
European Questions
  • NATO. New Basis for Military Planning
  • EDC
  • Trade with Russia
  • Any Other European Questions
Far East
  • Korea
  • Indo-China
  • Long-term Policy in Far East
Middle East
  • Egyptian negotiations and Middle East Defense Policy.
Any Other Business
  1. The text of the list of topics and a brief summary of this meeting were sent to the Department of State in Secto 2 from Bermuda, Dec. 4. (396.1/12–453) The telegram was repeated to London, Paris, Bonn, and Moscow.
  2. Presumably Dulles is referring to the list of topics which is printed as an attachment to the source text.
  3. No draft communiqué was found attached to the source text.
  4. For a record of this discussion, see the telegraphic summary, p. 1744.