CFM files, lot M 88, box 160, “Steering Group Memoranda”

No. 323
Paper Prepared in the Department of State 1
[TCT Memo 3b]

Approach and Objectives for the Churchill Talks

a. anticipated approach and objectives of mr. churchill

It is clear that the major objective of Mr. Churchill is to strengthen and to re-emphasize the partnership between the United States and the United Kingdom in world affairs. He has been critical of the Labor Government which he believes permitted this relationship to be impaired. Furthermore, he recalls the intimate personal relationship which he had with the late President Roosevelt and also the close working military relationships which existed during the war.

He may, therefore, desire to work out a new high level personal relationship with the President. He may, in the military field, advocate the creation of a body resembling the war-time combined Chiefs of Staff (although Ambassador Franks tells us this will not be raised). He will also almost certainly attempt, by institutional or public means, to make the US–UK relationship more obvious in the world. A corollary objective but one which he will no doubt stress strongly is to plead for US support in the difficult situations [Page 710] throughout the world in which British direct interests are threatened, specifically in the Near East. Mr. Churchill undoubtedly feels keenly the lessening world role of the UK and will attempt to make it a more positive one through this US–UK relationship and in so doing may make a strong attempt to exert more forcefully than did the Labor Government the UK’s positions. The fourth quarter UK gold and dollar reserve figures will probably look very bad and thus financial considerations will be apt to color his thinking on many issues. For instance, in cases where we might ask the UK to do something his reply may well be, “What will this cost us?”.

He will also probably attempt to obtain a closer working relationship on atomic energy and in this connection may bring up the problem of determining the circumstances under which the US airfields in the UK may be employed. Other specific questions which Churchill is bound to raise include Korea, China, Egypt and Iran.

Mr. Eden also told Secretary Acheson at Rome2 that Mr. Churchill intended to raise the question of the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic. Last spring Mr. Churchill protested in Commons against the nomination of a US Admiral. While he may not ask that this post go to a Britisher he will probably seek greater recognition of the UK role in this area and particularly in Eastern Atlantic waters off the UK.

It should be borne in mind that Mr. Churchill thinks in terms of grand global strategy. He will not be interested in going into details or working out in these meetings specific and detailed solutions to problems. In the “grand” manner he can be expected to tour the world and make observations on a multitude of questions. All of these random observations, however, are apt to have the objective of pointing towards the several specific requests he will make of us. It has been suggested, therefore, that after one or two initial general discussions at this level that there should be an interval in these talks so that on questions on which we would desire to have decisions reached officials would have an opportunity to work out details. It is probable, however, that very little in the way of decision should be attempted at these meetings. Mr. Churchill’s message to the President3 indicates that he plans to lay the ground work for this in an address he will make before leaving the UK.

[Page 711]

b. us position on mr. churchill’s major objective

The question of the US–UK relationship should be met “head on” and raised by us as a specific question in the unlikely event he does not do so.

Our position should be about as follows:

Reassure Mr. Churchill that the US–UK relationship is a cornerstone of US foreign policy.
Point out, however, the pitfalls of making this relationship too obvious.
The adverse effect of such a course on other countries especially the continental countries and specifically France.
Making the point that the US–UK relationship is of greatest constructive benefit when it underlies broader multilateral actions—in NATO, in the UN, in the developing Middle East arrangements, and in the general struggle to resist Soviet aggression.
In the Middle East and Asia, there is the disadvantage of the US becoming “tarred with the Colonial brush” although we recognize at the same time that a reflection of division between us should be avoided in order to prevent states in the area from playing us off one against the other.
While the British Ambassador has told us that Mr. Churchill does not intend to suggest the reactivation of the wartime Combined Chiefs of Staff or the creation of bodies which would overtly symbolize the US–UK partnership; we cannot exclude the possibility that he may do so. In this case we should point out the special reliance and importance which the US places on the UK, its strongest and most dependable ally, but also point out the possible harmful effects of such moves. Our other allies, principally France, might relax their efforts interpreting a Combined Chiefs of Staff, or other such bodies, as proof that the US is basing its real defense plans exclusively in cooperation with the UK.
Advocate a continued and intensified close relationship including the following:
Consultation between officials of the two governments directly handling problems, at the time they first arise.
A continuance of the practice of periodic review by officials of the two sides on area or functional problems falling under their jurisdictions.
Occasional official level reviews on a world-wide basis bearing in mind world-wide objectives and the US–UK relationship such as was done in the preparatory meetings in London in April 1950.4
A continuation of politico-military talks on carefully selected subjects.5
A continuation of the practice of ministerial meetings as often as the other means of consultation suggested indicate their desirability.
Both countries, of course, require freedom of individual approach to third countries including the Commonwealth. In advance of consultation on the intimate bases proposed above, however, the two governments must decide whether the discussions are to be held on a confidential basis or, if not, the conditions under which they are to be reported to other governments, including the Dominions. We regard this as of great importance. Both countries have on occasion been delinquent in this respect.

c. us objectives in the talks

I. USSR Problems

a) Basic differences in US and UK Approach to the USSR

While recognizing the geographical, strategic and economic factors which cause the UK to take a somewhat softer line on questions such as negotiating with the Soviet Union and on East-West trade, we should attempt to convince Mr. Churchill of the realistic soundness of the fundamental US evaluation of the Soviet threat. If Mr. Churchill raises as he may (although Franks tells us he will not) the question of a high level meeting with Stalin, we should reply that while the US certainly does not consider war inevitable and has not abandoned the principle of negotiatng with the USSR, it does not believe that the West should take the initiative in proposing such a meeting. The attending propaganda probably would hurt the West because it would raise false hopes, risk further polarization, and might give rise to public demand for unwise concessions on the part of the West.

In our view it is unrealistic to expect a solution of the outstanding major issues until the Western world has attained a position of strength more equal to Soviet power, as one of the essential requirements for dealing successfully with the Soviets. Any solution of our difficulties with the USSR on the basis of “spheres of influence” would not be acceptable to American public opinion. Furthermore, it is unworkable from a practical standpoint because of Kremlin control of Communist Parties outside the USSR which can operate in complete violation of such agreements without involving the Soviet government.

II. US–UK Special Relationship

Nature of US–UK Consultations (discussed in Section B of this paper)
War Planning to Include the Re-Creation of the Combined Chiefs of Staff (discussed in Section B of this paper)
On atomic energy, it is probable that we will not be able for legislative reasons to meet very much of what Mr. Churchill may put up to us. The problem of handling this matter deserves special thought.
As to the use of the Midlands Bases, our view is that we should frankly agree with Mr. Churchill that we recognize that these bases could not be used in event of hostilities without British consent.

III. European Problems

European Integration
Ascertain Conservative Government’s views.
Although we understand and, in the main agree with the reasons why the UK does not intend to federate with the Continent, we do feel that the UK should (1) encourage and participate fully and effectively in various cooperative arrangements such as the OEEC which do not involve a relinquishment of an element of their sovereignty and (2) support, encourage and use their influence where possible to help the development on the Continent of such arrangements as the Schuman Plan and European Defense Community. We agree with the British that closer European association must take place within a strong North Atlantic framework, and that the NATO should be the primary organization in which we, the British and Western Europe work toward mutual objectives.
European Defense
Secure fullest British support for EDC. Mr. Eden asked the Secretary in Rome for his opinion concerning the helpfulness of a limited UK participation in the EDC. The Secretary answered that by introducing such a major new element at this time the conferees might be supplied with a reason for further delay and advised that such a British offer be postponed until it could be determined how the new talks at the Ministerial level were moving. The ministers met on December 11 and 12 at Strasbourg and will meet again on December 27 in Paris.6
Should Schuman report, before the end of the Churchill visit,7 the inability of conferees to reach agreement, we should obtain UK support for an alternative plan to secure German participation in defense of the West. (Consideration should be given before the talks to raising this question in an exploratory manner with Mr. Churchill.) [Page 714] Such a plan must be developed promptly in the government. In view of the harmful effects on final efforts of the Paris Conference to succeed, utmost security precautions should surround discussions of any alternative plan.


Between now and Mr. Churchill’s arrival it will be determined whether or not any aspects of the TCC recommendations should be discussed (other than NATO reorganization which Mr. Churchill intends to bring up).8

IV. Middle East Situation



We should reassure Mr. Churchill that we have every intention of supporting legitimate British interests in the area and attempting to arrest and, indeed, reverse the loss of British prestige and influence which has been taking place.

We should, however, indicate that to be successful in these endeavors some adjustment and flexibility of British policy designed to meet the new forces of nationalism, etc., appears to us to be imperative. We should also stress that while as a short-term proposition we will have to continue in many cases to support existing friendly governments regardless of internal policies that such a short-term policy is only a palliative and cannot go to the root of the problem. We must endeavor to elicit Mr. Churchill’s acceptance and support of the concept that to get to the roots of the problem long-range economic and social development programs must have our joint support and should be the subject of continuing US–UK consultations.

We must recognize that certain places in the area are of such strategic importance (for example, the Suez) that they must be maintained by the West even if resort to force is necessary. In this connection an examination as to the capabilities and intentions of the Commonwealth would be useful.

Specific Topics


We support the maintenance by the United Kingdom of its treaty position in Egypt, but believe that this stand-fast policy only meets short-range needs. Egyptian cooperation with, or at least its conformance to, Western strategic needs must be sought for longer-range purposes. Some concessions on the Sudan will probably be required. The course which the Egyptian situation takes will profoundly affect the Western position both short or long-range in the [Page 715] Arab world and the United States considers it imperative that every effort be made to settle the problem. One possibility is a “package deal” involving a concession on the Sudan in exchange for Egyption acceptance of Sudanese self-determination and Four Power Defense Proposals.



We should stress the following:

The desirability of the British Government appointing a man such as Lord Brand to take a fresh look at the oil problem and to consult with us on it.
Emphasize our apprehension of the Communists through the Tudeh or otherwise taking over if the situation is allowed to drift.
Ending up with the strongest kind of argument on the necessity of reaching a settlement, even with Mosadeq, should he remain in power.
At the moment the present efforts of the IBRD would appear to offer the most hopeful possibility and therefore should be pursued diligently.9

Note: Rapidly moving developments may well require revision of this position.

V. Far East Situation



There should be sufficient discussion of our general views in the contingencies of (1) obtaining an armistice, (2) failing to obtain an armistice or (3) an armistice being violated so that our two governments will be in general agreement and able to move together quickly. Our position will be that contained in NSC 118/2, just approved.10



We should be under no illusions that the British Government is likely to move very far or fast in changing its position on recognition although its thinking is probably closer to ours than that of the Labor Government. We should state with emphasis that in our view British recognition has been a failure, Peiping has not reciprocated, British recognition has in no apparent way influenced the Chinese Communist regime and we are not aware of important accomplishments having resulted. In the meantime our divergence of policy results in divisions in the U.N., inconsistencies in policies and actions in Korea and denies in the Far East the unity between the UK and US which characterizes our relations vis-à-vis most [Page 716] other areas. We should make clear to Churchill that we have in no way modified our estimate of the importance of the off-shore island chain, including Formosa, for Western security. We believe that any further extension of Chinese Communist power, in Formosa or in Southeast Asia, is a threat to free-world security and should be resisted. We should inform Churchill that we sincerely believe the time has come for the British to accept our viewpoint. If that is not possible at this time, we should urge him to a serious and continuing re-examination of the British position on the China complex.


Japan’s Relationship to Nationalist China

(Statement to be made by the President only in answer to a question by Mr. Churchill)

We feel that the Japanese Government should not be prevented from undertaking to normalize relations with the Chinese Nationalist Government by concluding a bilateral treaty to restore peace and re-establish relations within territory under actual control of each party. Such treaty would leave for future development relations between Japan and any Chinese area not under Nationalist control. Japan has been given a free negotiating choice by the terms of the Treaty of Peace and if Japan chooses to negotiate with the Chinese Nationalist Government the spirit and purpose of the DullesMorrison agreement would likewise be reaffirmed.

VI. Other Political and Military Questions

SACLANT (to be filled in following receipt of Defense’s paper11)

Standardization of Small Arms

We should point out that we are unalterably committed for the foreseeable future to the .30 caliber ammunition and the weapons which use it. Our assets in this equipment run to $800 million here and abroad. Other countries have also been supplied with this equipment and some are producing it themselves. On the other hand, the British are not yet deeply committed to the .280 caliber rifle and ammunition. Therefore, we should strongly urge that the British adopt the American equipment and initiate the manufacture of it.


NATO Reorganization

We believe that a serious study should be undertaken of the possibility of NATO reorganization to reduce the present lag between recommended courses of action and decisions by the twelve governments. [Page 717] This problem will never be completely eliminated but some improvement is possible. The US feels, however, that no commitment should be made for reorganization until it is certain that it will result in improvement.

The creation of the post of executive director (a sort of political level Eisenhower) has been suggested and is worth study. Possibilities in building up the stature and authority of the Council of Deputies also should be considered.

The US has reached the conclusion that NATO should prepare to consolidate NATO agencies in one city. The present split between London and Paris causes a great deal of unnecessary expense, delay and confusion.

VII. Economic Questions


Current UK Economic Crisis

Our reports are that Churchill does not intend to go into this question in detail and it is hoped that a decision on aid for fiscal 52 will be taken before the talks. A background memo, however, showing the current status of the problem is under preparation.12


Increasing UK Coal Production

Admittedly the problem of increasing UK coal production has been an almost insoluble one and even the labor Government was unable to secure the cooperation of the unions to the extent necessary to effect a cure. Nevertheless, considering Mr. Churchill’s boundless drive and energy it is possible that if he made this a class one priority target he could pull off a miracle.



It is probable that Churchill will raise the questions of British requirement for steel and US procurement of tin. US positions on the subjects are being prepared.13

  1. The source text was attached to a cover sheet which indicated that this paper was being circulated as TCT Memo 3b and that it had been prepared as an overall statement of the objectives of the talks. Two previous drafts of this paper, TCT Memos 3 and 3a, dated Dec. 16 and 17, respectively, were prepared along similar lines, but lacked the detailed statements under various sections of Part C. Copies of these two drafts are in CFM files, lot M 88, box 160, “Steering Group Memoranda”.
  2. Regarding Secretary Acheson’s discussions with Foreign Secretary Eden at Rome in November, see the editorial note on the Foreign Ministers meetings at Rome and Paris, November 1951, in Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. iii, Part 1, p. 1312.
  3. Document 320.
  4. For documentation on the U.S.–U.K. preparatory talks at London in May 1950, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. iii, pp. 828 ff.
  5. For documentation on the U.S.–U.K. political-military talks during 1951, see ibid., 1951, vol. iv, Part 1, pp. 887 ff.
  6. For documentation on the meeting at Paris of the Foreign Ministers of the countries participating in the conference for the organization of a European Defense Community, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. iii, Part 1, pp. 980 ff.
  7. Prime Minister Churchill was scheduled to visit Paris Dec. 17–18.
  8. For documentation on the report of the Temporary Council Committee (TCC), see vol. v, Part 1, pp. 203 ff.
  9. Documentation on the attempt of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) to solve the Anglo-Iranian oil dispute is scheduled for publication in volume x .
  10. For text of NSC 118 “U.S. Courses of Action in Korea”, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. vii, Part 1, p. 1106.
  11. This paper has not been identified further; however, TCT D–6/1a, dated Jan. 4, 1952, “The Appointment of SACLANT”, presents the U.S. position in the following manner: “To obtain the establishment of a SACLANT and the designation of a U.S. naval officer as SACLANT without further delay”. (CFM files, lot M 88, box 160, “Documents D–6 Series”)
  12. The position paper under reference here is TCT D–7/1, dated Jan. 2, 1952, not printed. (CFM files, lot M 88, box 160, “Documents D–7 Series”)
  13. The position papers under reference here are TCT D–7/3 and D–7/4, dated Jan. 3, 1952, neither printed. (CFM files, lot M 88, box 160, “Documents D–7 Series”)