396.1 LO/10–1753: Telegram

No. 307
The United States Delegation at the Tripartite Foreign Ministers Conference to the Department of State 1

Secto 25. Eden raised question of four-power top level talks at Tripartite Foreign Ministers meeting this afternoon, explaining Churchill’s view that such talks might have beneficial effect without prejudicing regular work of Foreign Ministers.

Secretary stated he had already given his views to Churchill 2 and reiterated them for benefit Bidault. He stressed that (1) because of President’s position as head of government and head of state there are great difficulties in his leaving the United States and American opinion has not generally approved departures from this rule in the past. (2) It is feeling of President and United States Government that top level talks should be confined to ratifying agreements carefully prepared at lower level otherwise they would result only in comforting, but illusory generalities which might well cause dangerous relaxation in western defense efforts. Secretary emphasized that it was particularly dangerous to consider such a meeting before western security was made firm through activation of EDC in which Germany participates on our terms.

Bidault indicated sympathy with our viewpoint, said he had no objection in principle to meeting. He explained that as idea has been widely talked about it gave opponents of EDC opportunity to maintain that EDC should not be ratified until such a meeting had been tried. Situation is thus embarrassing for Bidault in his efforts to obtain prompt ratification EDC.

Secretary explained that type of conference suggested by Churchill did not solve Bidault’s problem because it was impossible for President to spend the time necessary to participate in a conference which would itself work out concrete settlements. Secretary also reminded meeting that both President and he were anxious to show desire to discuss problems with Soviets under conditions which give some prospect of specific and concrete success and mentioned as evidence of this desire President’s April 16 speech3 and Secretary’s United Nations speech4 as well as possibility that [Page 712] President may reiterate this desire in speech before United Nations prior to adjournment GA.

Eden said he would convey views to Churchill and that it would probably be discussed at Churchill lunch tomorrow.

  1. Repeated to Paris.
  2. See Dulte 1, Document 294.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 182.
  4. For text of Secretary Dulles’ speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 17, see Department of State Bulletin, Sept. 28, 1953, pp. 403–408.