CFM files, lot M 88, box 169, “Churchill–Eden Visit”
Memorandum of a Meeting of
President Eisenhower and Prime Minister Churchill at The
White House, June 25, 1954, 3 p.m.
- The President
- The Secretary
- Ambassador Aldrich
- Mr. Merchant
- The Prime Minister
- Mr. Anthony Eden
- Sir Harold Caccia
- Sir Roger Makins
[Here follows a list of the subjects discussed.]
The discussion started at about 3 o’clock and ran until five.
At the opening the President suggested the following list of topics as one covering matters on which he thought there could be useful discussion: Iran, Egypt, EDC, Germany, SEATO, METO (and Iraq), Trieste, Israeli-Arab relations. He also mentioned the importance of close consultation between the two governments on matters of policy or action to ensure that before public announcement each was aware of the other’s intentions. In this connection he reverted to the possible desirability of keeping certain situations under common study, possibly through the medium of assigning one or two individuals from each country to the study of specific areas or problems.
At this point the Prime Minister interjected the thought that it might be desirable to establish a political counterpart to the five-power military conference recently concluded in Washington.2 This thought, however, was not picked up or discussed.
The President reverted to the possible desirability of a small US–UK group to keep various problems under common study and there was agreement between him and the Prime Minister that, if such groups were set up they must be men of responsibility acting in close connection or liaison with the Secretaries of State.
The Secretary proposed that atomic matters be added to the President’s list and the Prime Minister suggested that there should also be added the possibility of high level talks with the Soviets, to which the President said he had no objection. The President went [Page 1080] on to say that he had discussed the latter subject briefly with the Prime Minister earlier on the understanding that any such talks should be free from the presence of the Chinese Communists. He said that one possibility might be that the Vice President and the Secretary of State should participate in such high level talks. If success were indicated and it was decided that his own presence would be desirable, it might be possible for him to attend for three or four days. He pointed out, however, that the duties of his office made it impossible for him to be absent from the country for very long and that he could not risk being caught in a protracted negotiation. The Prime Minister suggested a first “reconnaissance in force” perhaps by himself to see if anything promising developed. The President suggested that the Prime Minister put down his idea in writing so that it could be considered. The Prime Minister commented that he would be interested in finding out what sort of a man Malenkov was and noted that he had never been outside his own country. The Secretary remarked that it was his impression that Molotov had a far freer hand in foreign affairs today than he had under Stalin. The discussion of this topic closed with the Prime Minister’s comment that he believed there was a deep underlying demand on the part of the Russian people to enjoy a better life, particularly after suffering oppression for more than fifty years.
The President then turned the discussion to the EDC and Germany.…
The Secretary said that in his opinion that point would be reached if the French recessed for the summer without ratifying EDC. Under those circumstances he said that both of us must be prepared to move rapidly. His view was that the contractual agreement3 should be placed in effect with, however, some reservation or qualification regarding unilateral rearmament by Germany. Mr. Eden indicated agreement and emphasized the desirability of the UK and US jointly approaching the French in the hope of seeking their concurrence.
The Secretary explained the constitutional requirements which presented themselves to us in modifying Article 11 of the Bonn Treaty. He explained a proposal under consideration whereby the Senate would grant approval for the severance of the two treaties in advance and indicated that in his judgment there would be little difficulty on this score with the Senate.
The President indicated that something of this sort would be necessary. After some discussion between the President and the Secretary [Page 1081] they agreed on the desirability of exploring the passage of a resolution by the Senate along the following lines: “When the President determines that the welfare of the United States would be advanced by bringing the Bonn Treaty into effect, irrespective of any other condition, he would be empowered so to act.”
There was some discussion of the point that this action would not prejudice passage of EDC but that if EDC failed, another executive agreement would be required with Germany to cover rearmament.
Mr. Eden noted that he supposed that would require some form of Parliamentary action also and said that he would look into it. He also stated that if something were not done to restore sovereignty to Germany by October (in the absence of French ratification of EDC), the Soviets would be able “to pull the Germans across the line.”
At this point Sir Harold Caccia distributed a one-page memorandum on the subject of Germany.4
The President closed the discussion by saying it was necessary urgently to study what must be done and what was feasible in the event the French failed to ratify this summer. He noted that it was important that our program be put to the French in the most effective light and in the absence of open threats.
Mr. Eden suggested and it was agreed that he and the Secretary work out the technical details along the general lines of the agreement reached in principle. He said there was no need to trouble the Prime Minister and the President further on this subject at this conference.
There followed some general discussion on the points which the Prime Minister might make in his short speech to the Congressional leaders at lunch the next day. It was agreed that whereas it was desirable to indicate that the UK and the US were in basic agreement regarding the problem of Germany, it would be extremely unwise to indicate that we were jointly considering alternatives to the EDC.
The President then raised the subjects of Egypt, Iran and Trieste which he said were related in his mind by reason of the fact that all three of them represented difficult problems, in which both our countries were concerned, which were on the verge of solution. He said that if we could solve these problems, that very fact would give a lift to the free world and make it easier to deal with the more difficult problems of Southeast Asia and Europe. Parenthetically in the discussion of Trieste, the President indicated his confidence in being able to find from one source or another $20 million apiece for Italy and Yugoslavia if such payments proved necessary [Page 1082] for ensuring a settlement. It was agreed that matters both in regard to Trieste and Iran were going well. There followed a prolonged discussion of Egypt.
The President indicated the importance of maintaining US–UK unity and noted that in his judgment Suez was no longer as important as it had been once. He felt that the Egyptian negotiations should be settled promptly.5
The Prime Minister embarked on a prolonged and rather emotional discussion of Egypt. He said the situation must be avoided in which people would think that the United States had driven the UK out of Egypt. He agreed that the strategic importance of the Suez Canal had declined due to the atom bomb and the development of the Balkan Pact. He recalled, however, that there were more than 50,000 British graves in Egypt or just across its frontiers. He said that the treaty which Anthony had negotiated twenty years before had been unilaterally denounced. This was cheating and he asked what faith could be placed in such people who represented at best a military intrigue and dictatorship. He said that they must clearly understand that they would receive neither arms nor aid from the United States until they reached agreement and that these would be cut off if they broke any agreement. He said he wanted our guarantee to sustain and support any agreement reached.
The Secretary indicated that we would probably find it possible to put any aid we gave on a basis whereby it would be clearly understood that the aid would be discontinued if the agreement was violated but that this would not be made a matter of legal connection with the agreement. The President indicated that he also thought that some arrangement could be worked out under which aid would be suspended if the agreement was violated.
The Prime Minister referred to the fact that there had been a joint staff study a year or more ago on what might be done to preserve the base for common use.6 He said that there were two points now still open, the question of Turkey and the question of uniforms. He reiterated that the base was much less important than a year ago; that it would be reduced and that some stores were now being moved. Part of the balance might be given to Egypt if they behaved. He noted that Eden had worked out a basis under which a private contractor would operate the base.[Page 1083]
The Prime Minister went on to say that Cyprus and Jordan might be better than Suez for redeployment of British troops. He said that from such bases British forces might be flown to reinforce Malaya if needed.
From this point the discussion swung into Southeast Asia, with the Prime Minister’s statement that he was anxious to take some of the weight off the United States in its presentation of an anti-Communist front. He said, however, that England would never accept going to war in Indochina. He doubted that the United States would either. He felt, however, that the British could take the major responsibility for the Kra Peninsula line which could be held by sea and air with some ground forces. All of these plans, he said, Lord Alexander would go into with our military people when he came over next month.7 He went on to say that in building the front against Chinese aggression he hoped that the Colombo powers would find it possible to join in SEATO as well as the Philippines. He said there was no basic conflict between such a treaty and Eden’s idea of a Locarno guarantee of a Geneva settlement.
At this point Mr. Eden said that he was bewildered by the press reaction to his reference to Locarno. He said what he endeavored to do was to point out the unacceptability of a guarantee of a Geneva settlement which involved the retention of a veto on the part of any single guarantor. “Change the name Locarno,” Mr. Eden said, “if it stinks in the United States.”
The President said that the discussion was straying from the point he had been making which was that settlements with respect to Egypt, Trieste and Iran would be tokens of success for our diplomacy and make the handling of the larger problems the easier.
There was some further discussion of Trieste, on which it was agreed that the UK–US negotiations had shown great skill. The President suggested that in addition to any aid we might give Italy to enable her to meet Yugoslavia’s reparations claims, we should consider a payment, possibly of the order of $2,000,000, for the construction of a municipal building or center or in some fashion which would impress on the Italians and the people of Trieste our lasting interest in their affairs. He referred to the Turkish Prime Minister’s statement to him that once Trieste was settled it should be possible to bring Italy into METO where it would serve as a pivot between the South European front and the Turkish-Pakistani front.
The discussion then turned to the Arab-Israeli problem and the Secretary pointed out the promising prospect of splitting Iraq from [Page 1084] the Arab League which he described as an evil thing. There followed some discussion of the importance of strengthening the northern tier and it was agreed that everything possible seemed to be in train to relax tensions by our combined efforts with the Jordanians and the Israelis. It was further agreed, however, that such relaxation constituted no definitive answer to the problem.
The Secretary then raised the question of the Buraimi, pointing out the importance of a prompt settlement which would prejudice neither of our interests. He referred to the program for drawing a line and providing for arbitration.8 The former he said was of immediate importance.
The Prime Minister dropped the remark that it was oilism and not colonialism which was evil in the world today.
Mr. Eden indicated that the problem of arbitration was being worked out. He said that he had seen the Saudi Ambassador yesterday in London and had told him that he would be provided with their terms on arbitration within two days. He indicated that he felt this situation was under control and moving toward a solution.
Iran was next discussed and the Prime Minister opened by noting that Persia was the correct name. He added that we had helped them splendidly in the recent past. There was agreement that the situation was developing satisfactorily in the oil negotiations.
There followed a discussion on atomic matters which is reported in a separate memorandum.9
At this point Mr. Eden distributed a paper on the problem of Southeast Asia which it was agreed would be discussed tomorrow morning at a meeting between the Secretary and Mr. Eden in the Department.10
- Drafted on June 27. This meeting, which took place from 3 to 5 p.m., is a continuation of that described in CEV MC–2, supra; for a record of the discussion of atomic matters during this meeting, see CEV SPEC–1, infra.↩
- See the report of the Five-Power Military Conference, vol. xii, Part 1, p. 554.↩
- For documentation on the contractual agreements including the text of the Convention on Relations Between the Three Powers and the Federal Republic of Germany (the Bonn Treaty), see volume vii, Part 1.↩
- Not printed.↩
- For documentation on the negotiations with Egypt concerning the Suez Canal Base, see vol. ix, Part 2, pp. 1743 ff.↩
- For documentation on the Bowker–Byroade talks, held in London, Dec. 31, 1952–Jan. 7, 1953, and the resulting joint staff study, see vol. ix, Part 2, pp. 1938 ff.↩
- The visit of Lord Alexander under reference here has not been further identified.↩
- For documentation on the arbitration of the Buraimi dispute between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia, see vol. ix, Part 2, pp. 2458 ff.↩
- CEV SPEC–1, infra.↩
- See Document 471. For a record of the discussion on Indochina, see Document 470.↩