Memorandum by Lucius D. Battle, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State

top secret

Following the meeting at the White House today which the Secretary, Mr. Lovett and General Bradley attended with the President, the Secretary told a group in his office the results of the discussion.

[Page 92]

Regarding Indochina and Southeast Asia, he said that they had gone over the paper which he took with him.1 He said the military people were agreed on what was to be done now. They said that unless Congress cuts the funds badly there would be funds available. He said that Mr. Lovett and General Bradley both mentioned the importance of having a better government in Indochina.

The representatives of the military establishment as well as the President agreed on the necessity for the warning statement. They felt that there must be some measure of agreement on this statement but not necessarily on all points. The JCS have prepared a paper2 criticizing our paper but apparently not violently. The Secretary said the only point General Bradley mentioned concerned the last sentence of our paper.3 The points seem to be that they interpret this as a direction to fight a kind of war they fear they could not win.

The Secretary said we would go ahead with the NSC paper on Southeast Asia and were to run this one and the NSC paper through side by side.

As to what the Secretary says in his discussions with Mr. Eden and Mr. Schuman, he is to stress the necessity for getting ahead with the native army, stress the importance of a warning to prevent the Chinese from coming into the conflict, and to try to get the largest degree of agreement possible on the content of this warning.

[Here follows discussion of the Berlin question.]

  1. “Position Paper on Indochina for Discussions with the French and the British”, May 15, an annex to a memorandum for the Secretary dated May 17, not printed. (751G.00/5–1752)
  2. Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense of May 19, signed by General Bradley for the JCS, printed as an enclosure to Lovett’s letter of May 20 to Acheson. For text, see vol. xiii, Part 1, p. 147.
  3. “We believe that the USSR will be less likely to make war on the Western powers over China alone to the degree that operations against China are designed to strike against Chinese Communist capabilities to wage war in the particular areas involved, i.e., to minimize or avoid provocative attacks on areas of China proximate to the USSR, and to the degree that the USSR does not believe that the Peiping regime is threatened with destruction.”