CFM files, lot M 88, box 166, “Big Three Bermuda”

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Counselor of the Department of State (MacArthur)

top secret


  • M. Boegner, French Delegation
  • Mr. MacArthur, U.S.

M. Boegner called on me in my room at noon today. He said he had a matter which he wished to take up with me at M. Bidault’s request. It concerned exchanges of information on atomic energy matters. M. Boegner then handed me a flimsy copy of a memo (translation of which is attached hereto),1 and said he hoped I would accept it and pass it on to Secretary Dulles. He also said a copy of this memo was being handed to the UK Delegation.

[Page 1846]

I said I would be glad to see that the French memorandum reached Secretary Dulles. After glancing at it, I said to M. Boegner that I was not an expert on atomic energy questions, but from perusing his memo rapidly I should warn him that the requests made might well be impossible to grant. With respect to the US–UK–Canada exchanges of information, these arrangements were of very long standing and had their origin during the war. The recent announcement about them was in no sense a new arrangement or new agreement but simply an extension of existing arrangements which were sanctioned by the US Congress. Although I knew very little about the technical and legal aspects of these questions, I did not believe these arrangements could be extended to the French without specific Congressional action.

With respect to the other points raised in the French memo, I told M. Boegner that I could not comment on them other than to say that in this whole atomic field, the US Government’s liberty of action was strictly limited by Congressional legislation.

I concluded by inquiring when M. Bidault expected a reply on these matters, and M. Boegner said Bidault would unquestionably hope to have Secretary Dulles’ reaction next week during the course of the NATO Meeting. He added that M. Bidault had in mind having the three Foreign Ministers get together quietly some time during the NATO Meeting.

(Comment by Mr. MacArthur: This memo should be sent to Mr. Arneson and Mr. Merchant at once. It is hoped Mr. Arneson can prepare a position paper by tomorrow evening. Also, before Paris we should coordinate our position with the British so that we both tell the same story. Mr. Arneson might be able to do this through Sir Roger Makins prior to the Secretary’s departure on Friday.)

  1. Not printed; it asked that the British and United States Governments study the question of sharing atomic energy information, and that they be prepared to discuss it with the French at Paris in a few days. The French asked further that they be allowed to participate in studies concerning the effects of atomic weapons and the means of protection against them.