396.1 BE/2–1254: Telegram

No. 460
The Secretary of State to the President

top secret

Dulte 67. For the President from the Secretary. At the close of the restricted session February 11,1 and with the prior agreement of Bidault and Eden, I raised the question of concluding the conference. I pointed out that as everyone knew I had a long-standing engagement at the quadriennial meeting in Caracas of the American states. I said that this would require my leaving Washington toward the end of the week after next and that I felt confident that Mr. Molotov would be the last to object to my faithful execution of my responsibilities as the representative of an American state. I reminded my colleagues of our original suggestion for starting the Berlin conference on January 4 which had been rejected by Molotov and that we had accepted his proposal of January 25. I went on to say that I would have much work to do in Washington in the way of preparation for the Caracas conference, in addition to the need for my reporting to you and the Congress on the Berlin Conference. This meant that it was necessary for me to depart before the end of next week. I said that I was anxious to lay this consideration before my colleagues in ample time so that we could effectively ration the use of our remaining days. After brief discussion it was agreed that we would appoint a quadripartite committee from our delegations to make recommendations to the four of us regarding the schedule of our remaining tasks.

Eden is as anxious as I am to break away as soon as possible. Bidault does not seem disturbed. Molotov was impassive but left with me the impression that he was a little shaken by my raising the issue at this point.

The foregoing, of course, is still secret but I think it is important to let the press know shortly that we are working toward adjournment next week in light of my prior commitment. The earlier this becomes known the less risk there will be, in my judgment, of European opinion blaming the US for abruptly bringing the conference to a conclusion. Molotov undoubtedly has additional rabbits in his briefcase but I am inclined to think the remaining ones are of modest size.

There is no doubt that Bidault is in difficulty on the question of an Indochina conference which we have been discussing, as you [Page 1053] know, in restricted session but he is holding up well and I am inclined to think that we will come out of this all right. In many ways this is the most tricky aspect of the conference.

We are meeting twice a day and we will meet on Sunday in the effort to carry the conference as far as the Russian position permits it to be carried.

  1. The U.S. Delegation record of this session is printed supra.