Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 108

United States Minute of Bipartite Foreign Ministers Meeting With the United Kingdom 1




  • US.
    • The Secretary
    • Ambassador Jessup
    • Ambassador Dunn
    • Ambassador Gifford
    • Mr. Perkins
    • Mr. Stabler
  • UK
    • Mr. Eden
    • Sir Oliver Harvey
    • Sir Pierson Dixon
    • Mr. Roberts
    • Mr. Shuckburgh

Southeast Asia

The Secretary said that the US is now ready to proceed with discussions with the UK and France on Southeast Asia. We had no specific solutions in mind but thought it would be useful to explore the avenues through which solutions may or may not be found. We believed it would be desirable to step up development of the Associated States Armed Forces which would give confidence to the Vietnamese. [Page 97] We must give some hope to the French by increasing our assistance in financial, technical and supply fields. The U.S. on the basis of the Korean experience could give considerable assistance in the technical training of the Associated States armies which now is being done by rather outmoded French systems. The Secretary went on to say that all our efforts concerning Southeast Asia could be defeated if the Chinese Communists took aggressive action. It was therefore necessary for the UK, the US, and France to consider the possibility of issuing a warning, perhaps privately, to the Chinese Communists.
It would be necessary also to consider what we would do if the warning was not heeded. The Secretary said there were three main thoughts on this question: (1) We are lost if we lose Southeast Asia without a fight; (2) We must do what we can to save Southeast Asia; and (3) We must do it without starting a world war.
The Secretary said he would speak to Schuman and propose talks concerning the political and military fields in the near future. He also mentioned that Letourneau was coming to the U.S. next month.2
Mr. Eden said he entirely agreed with the Secretary’s views and he would be prepared to discuss this question whenever we wished. He said that Churchill understood the importance of Southeast Asia more than he did before and realised the gravity of the situation there. Mr. Eden also mentioned the extreme delicacy of the UK position in Hong Kong affecting this entire problem. Sir [Oliver] Harvey said that the French believed they can hold in Indochina as long as the Chinese Communists do not come in.
Mr. Eden said there was no UK objection to a blockade of the China coast as a specific response to a Chinese intervention in Indochina. The UK’s objection was to general talk of a blockade of China unrelated to specific acts. He agreed political talks on this subject might be continued in June when the Secretary was in Europe and that military talks might take place in Washington.
  1. Meeting held at the Residence of the British Ambassador. U.S. participants not previously identified are Philip C. Jessup, Ambassador at Large; James C. Dunn, Ambassador to France; Walter S. Gifford, Ambassador to the United Kingdom; Wells Stabler, Officer in Charge, Egypt and Anglo-Egyptian Sudan Affairs.

    British participants not previously identified are Sir Oliver Harvey, Ambassador to France; Sir Pierson Dixon, Deputy Under Secretary of State, Foreign Office; Frank Roberts, Deputy Under Secretary of State (German Affairs), Foreign Office; Charles Shuckburgh, Private Secretary to Eden.

  2. See footnote 1, supra .