Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 135

No. 373
Memorandum of Conversation, by William J. McWilliams of the Executive Secretariat1

top secret


  • Mr. Dulles
  • Mr. Bruce
  • Mr. Allison
  • Mr. Jernegan
  • Mr. Bonbright
  • Mr. Riddleberger
  • Mr. MacArthur
  • Mr. McWilliams
[Page 882]

Mr. Dulles requested that the above named officers assemble in Mr. Bruce’s office in order that he might give an account of the conferences held with Prime Minister Churchill at the Eisenhower Headquarters in New York.2 Mr. Dulles reported on these conversations, as follows:


At the initial meeting between General Eisenhower and Mr. Churchill, Mr. Churchill made it plain that he would like to reestablish with General Eisenhower the sort of relationship which existed between President Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill. He indicated that he would like to settle major questions arising by sitting around a table with General Eisenhower. Mr. Dulles reported that General Eisenhower had replied by saying that, of course, he wished to have the closest possible relationship with Mr. Churchill but that the making of decisions must go through regular channels.

The other primary item which Mr. Churchill discussed at this conference with General Eisenhower was the ANZUS Treaty. Mr. Churchill made it very plain that he was much put out by the exclusion of Great Britain from the ANZUS Council and went through the familiar arguments as to why Great Britain should be included. General Eisenhower was apparently non-committal and after the conference Mr. Churchill gave a memorandum to General Eisenhower regarding this subject.3 (Mr. Dulles reported that he did not yet have this memorandum but he expected that it would be forwarded to him.)

Far East and ANZUS Treaty

Mr. Dulles reported that he had had two meetings with Mr. Churchill. The first was held with Ambassador Designate Aldrich present. Mr. Dulles reported that the main issue discussed at the first meeting was China. He said he would not go into the details of the conversation at this time but would inform Mr. Allison in more detail on this subject at a later time. He did say that he had talked to Mr. Churchill along the line that the problems of Korea, China and Indo-China should be viewed as one problem and considered as a whole. He had pointed out to Mr. Churchill that he thought that these problems were so inter-twined that they could not be dealt [Page 883] with separately. He reported that Mr. Churchill agreed with him and said he is much in favor of proceeding on this basis.

Mr. Dulles said he had had a second meeting with Mr. Churchill yesterday evening following dinner. Governor Dewey was present during this meeting. He said the bulk of this meeting was taken up by a discussion of the British position regarding membership in the ANZUS Council. He said Mr. Churchill was very definite in his demand for either full membership or as a minimum a position as observer on the Council. Mr. Dulles said he had informed Mr. Churchill that this matter had been discussed with Foreign Minister Morrison at the time of its formation and that Mr. Morrison had never asked that the British be included. Mr. Churchill replied by saying Mr. Morrison said that the contrary was true. Mr. Dulles said this was not so. Mr. Churchill said that irrespective of that he now wanted some status for granting the British in ANZUS—preferably as a full member. Mr. Dulles pointed out to him the additional commitments that it would place upon the United States since British territories in the Far East—such as Malay and Hong Kong—would then come under the guarantees of the ANZUS Agreement. Mr. Dulles said that he at this moment did not know how the United States Military would view such additional commitments. He also pointed out that the French would then want to be included as would Formosa, Japan and the Philippines. He went into the history of the development of the ANZUS and explained to Mr. Churchill how it was necessary at that time to drop Japan and the Philippines from consideration in the formation of the Pact.


Mr. Dulles reported that Iran had been discussed in rather a superficial way. He said Mr. Churchill did not have mastery of the facts concerning the Iranian situation and his main point was that he would like the status quo in Iran during present negotiations maintained. Mr. Churchill repeated the familiar British line that their concern as to the political future of Iran was not as great as ours and that he did not believe there was any danger of a takeover by the Tudeh Party. He asked that the incoming administration not rock the boat on current negotiations. He also expressed himself as being strongly opposed to the sending in of American technicians as proposed by Alton Jones. Both Mr. Dulles and General Eisenhower informed Mr. Churchill that they had no intent of disturbing present negotiations which seek to end the oil crisis.


Mr. Dulles said he had been quite concerned at the apparent breakdown of support for the EDC. He said that developments in Germany and France have been disturbing and General Eisenhower’s [Page 884] message to Chancellor Adenauer was an attempt to restore the situation.4 Mr. Dulles thinks now that this may have been a mistake since it appears General Eisenhower’s prestige there has not brought the desired result since it is reported in the paper that Adenauer has now announced his belief that a review of the treaty is necessary. Mr. Dulles said, however, that he and General Eisenhower had recognized they were taking a risk in sending the Eisenhower message but they felt that it was a risk worth taking. In line with the above, Mr. Dulles said he had pressed Mr. Churchill to take a more positive approach toward the EDC.

Mr. Dulles said that at his first meeting with Mr. Churchill he thought he had made progress. However, when he met with him the second time Mr. Churchill seemed to have reversed his position and took a strong view that we must go ahead with the formation of national armies and depend upon a grand alliance which will combine strength. Mr. Churchill made the point that he did not believe you could have an effective army without loyalty to a particular country.

In sum, Mr. Dulles felt that Mr. Churchill takes a very dim view of the EDC and Mr. Dulles feels that this is a very discouraging development. He told Mr. Churchill that this view could cause difficulty in our Congress and in the matter of the amount of assistance which we would be able to give to the European countries. He said he thought Mr. Churchill resented this but probably recognized the validity of it. Mr. Churchill expressed a very low view of the French.

Convertibility of Sterling

Mr. Dulles said Mr. Churchill did not attempt to discuss this in a substantive way but that he was anxious to take up British financial problems with the new administration as soon as it was able. Mr. Dulles told him he thought the new administration would be ready to discuss this early in February.

Mr. Churchill then put forth the idea that he might stay over in Jamaica an extra week and then return to Washington to open a conference on this subject. Mr. Dulles warned him against this and said that because of the respect in which the American people and the Congress hold Mr. Churchill there would be strong suspicion if Mr. Churchill were to do this. The Congress and the people in general would believe that this was not a proposition which could stand on its own and Mr. Churchill had had to put his prestige behind it to pull it off. Congress would be suspicious and Mr. Dulles [Page 885] thought nothing good could come of this. He suggested to Mr. Churchill that a working party, headed by Mr. Butler, should arrive about February 10th with Mr. Eden coming over about February 20th. Mr. Churchill agreed with this.


Mr. Dulles said there was not a great deal of discussion about Formosa but that he had informed Mr. Churchill that the new administration would want to change the mission of the Seventh Fleet so as to take away the prohibition against any attack on the mainland as an adjunct to the Chinese communists when they are attacking us.

Mr. Churchill at first said this was a good way of putting it and he understood it but later he told Mr. Dulles that he hoped there would be an exchange of views between the governments on this subject. Mr. Dulles informed Mr. Churchill that he was informing him officially as of now and also warning him that there may be a statement of this in General Eisenhower’s inauguration address.5

  1. The conversation took place at 4 p.m. on Jan. 8, 1953.
  2. The conferences took place between Jan. 3 and Jan. 8 while Prime Minister Churchill was visiting Bernard Baruch in New York. On Jan. 8 Churchill flew to Washington for the meeting with President Truman which is described in Secretary Acheson’s memorandum of conversation, infra.
  3. For text of this undated memorandum, see vol. xii, Part 1, p. 256.
  4. For text of President-elect Eisenhower’s message to Chancellor Adenauer, Jan. 6, 1953, see the editorial note, vol. v, Part 1, p. 700.
  5. On Jan. 30 Presidential Assistant Cutler sent a memorandum to Under Secretary Smith stating that he had asked the President about his meetings with Churchill in New York. President Eisenhower said that his talks were not devoted to specific issues and thought there was nothing sufficiently concrete discussed to warrant informing the personnel of the new Administration. (Memorandum by Cutler; Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 135)