741.13/11–1551: Telegram

No. 315
The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom1

2634. Re Embtel 2347 Nov 15.2 Dept has begun preparations for Churchill talks from two standpoints (a) U.S. objectives which conversations may serve to advance (b) concessions from U.S. which Churchill can be expected to pursue. Emb views, particularly on latter, wld be appreciated.

Request Emb ask FonOff for info as to what he will wish to discuss with President; also U.S. and Canad dates and itineraries.

Dept aware Churchill will want to range freely over wide variety subjs and will not feel constrained to follow any agenda proposed, no matter how informal. Nevertheless Dept would like fullest info available his present thinking as well as Embs ideas in order prepare U.S. side. Prelim discussion under way in Dept and with other agencies on those subjs which Churchill’s recent pronouncements and past interests wld suggest as likely.

Suggest Emb begin consideration as Dept has on U.S. interests which can be pressed with Churchill, bearing in mind however that relationships globally have been explored in Secy’s talks with Eden.3

At present Dept concentrating on questions likely to be raised by Churchill including fol on which Emb’s comments desired. (List [Page 699] omits specific area problems although there are obviously some which one or both Govts will wish to raise. These will be discussed in subsequent cables.)

Mtg of Big Four or variant thereof such as CFM, Churchill visit to Moscow which U.S. presumably wld attempt to discourage. (Some question in Dept whether Churchill wld want to make approach with or without U.S. observer if U.S. refused participation.)
Econ assistance. Dept doubts Churchill wld discuss aid in context mutual security program or FY 52 or 53 U.S. appropriations. Does Emb agree his approach wld be in broader terms of preservation of sterling area or over-all U.S. obligations to U.K. as partner unable to make equal contribution to western security because of U.K.’s straitened econ circumstances?
Re-estab combined chiefs of staff with possible inclusion of Fr which Dept is discussing with Defense. (FYI Neither Dept nor Defense favors CCS arrangement which would have powers of decision on pol or mil matters.)
Closer and strengthened U.S. relationship or partnership (see item 2 above) and its implications for Commonwealth, polit development of NATO, and European integration or federation.
Atomic questions.

Dept hopes Churchill’s itinerary can be announced in full soon and gen public statement made on purposes of discussions to avoid public impression talks represent emergency mtg of critical import. Suggest Emb’s approach to FonOff shld be made with this in mind.4

  1. Drafted by Hamilton, cleared with Bonbright, Allison, NEA, S/P, and S/AE, and initialed for the Acting Secretary by Matthews. Repeated to Paris for Secretary Acheson who was there for meetings with Foreign Ministers Eden and Schuman.
  2. Not printed; it reported that on Nov. 12 Prime Minister Churchill announced his intention to visit the United States and asked that details be forwarded to London. (741.13/11–1551)
  3. Regarding Secretary Acheson’s talks with Foreign Secretary Eden at Paris in November 1951, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. iii, Part 1, pp. 1312 ff.
  4. On Nov. 23 Gifford reported that he had seen Churchill informally on Nov. 19 and had been told that the Prime Minister did not want an “agenda meeting”, and had not proposed specific topics for discussion in Washington. At another meeting with Strang on Nov. 22 Gifford was informed that nothing could be determined with regard to a list of topics until Eden returned from the North Atlantic Council meeting in Rome. (Telegram 2476; 741.13/11–2351)