No. 214
The Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Merchant) to the Chief United States Negotiator in London (Thompson)
top secret

Dear Tommy: At the risk of affronting your modesty, I want to pass on to you the following extracts from a summary of the first White House conversation between Prime Minister Churchill and the President, in which most laudatory references were made to the skill and ability you have shown in the Trieste negotiations:

“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 for ensuring a settlement. It was agreed that matters both in regard to Trieste and Iran were going well.…1

“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.

[Page 465]

“There was some further discussion of Trieste, on which it was agreed that the UK–US negotiators 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.”2

I may add that the Secretary has also recently expressed to me his impression that your negotiations on this problem have been as masterful as any technical diplomatic negotiations he has ever known.

It is, of course, superfluous in the circumstances for me to add my congratulations but, in any event, I do so, in all humility, most sincerely.


  1. Ellipsis in the source text.
  2. Turkish Prime Minister Adnan Menderes headed an official delegation which visited Washington June 1–5, 1954, for talks with U.S. Government officials. No record has been found in Department of State files or at the Eisenhower Library of a conversation during this period between Prime Minister Menderes and President Eisenhower. Memoranda of Menderes’ conversations on June 2 and 4 with Secretary Dulles are printed as Documents 489 and 490, respectively.