The Acting Secretary of State to Prime Minister Churchill 1

top secret

My Dear Prime Minister: In talking with the President today, he referred to your last letter and particularly to paragraph 5,2 regarding which he asked me to send you this personal note.

It can hardly be said that our soldiers have as yet any definite or coordinated views on reappraisal. We do not concede that Britain and we together will, on the diplomatic front, fail to produce a satisfactory solution to the grave problems arising from the rejection by France of EDC. Nevertheless, it would be less than prudent if the Joint Staff did not at this time consider long-range alternatives in the event that an unforeseen failure should take place.

These alternatives would undoubtedly include various forms of strategic regrouping, any of which at best would be a forlorn hope.

The President asked me to assure you that when views on these alternatives become a little more clear on the planning levels, British opposites will be kept informed, and certainly that no final decisions of any importance will be taken without advising you in advance.

My personal opinion, which I will urge, is that when a really serious appraisal of alternatives can be made we should attack it on a joint basis, as in the past.

We are inclined to think here that it will do no harm if the French realize that reappraisals are being made to cover all possible contingencies.


  1. According to covering memoranda attached to the source text, this letter was drafted by Smith in accordance with telephone instructions which he received from President Eisenhower and was delivered to the British Embassy in Washington on Sept. 10 for transmission by telegram to London.
  2. Dated Sept. 9, p. 1159.