Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 115

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State



  • Sir Oliver Franks
  • Mr. Acheson
[Page 106]

The Ambassador1 called at his request.

Among other things, he mentioned a matter which he asked me to consider before coming to any conclusion.

He had received a telegram from Mr. Eden who said that he had discussed with Mr. Menzies the desirability of having a United Kingdom observer at meetings of the Pacific Council. The telegram mentioned three reasons why this was desirable. First, that the United Kingdom was presently engaged in common defense planning with Australia and New Zealand for the area covering those countries, Borneo, part of New Guinea and Fiji. He thought that all of these plans should be coordinated. Secondly, he believed that the Commonwealth relationship would be fortified by such procedure. Thirdly, he thought the British opinion would be much comforted and reassured by it. Mr. Eden had discussed the matter with Mr. Menzies who had expressed himself favorably and said that he would raise the question with us.

I inquired whether Mr. Eden had discussed the question with representatives of New Zealand. Sir Oliver thought this had not been done, but believed that there would be no question about the New Zealand attitude. However, I pointed out that it would not be desirable for two of the countries concerned in the Council to consider this matter without participation by the third.2

I then asked whether it was the British idea that the observer should be present at the Council meetings or whether Mr. Eden wished the British observer at any working group or military staff talks. Sir Oliver did not know the answer to this question but said that we should assume that the request would be made across the board.

I said that we would discuss this matter in the Department and with the Pentagon and would be prepared to consider it with Mr. Menzies when he broached it to us.

  1. British Ambassador to the United States.
  2. In a memorandum of his conversation with Ambassador Munro June 2, Under Secretary Bruce stated that Munro had raised the question of a U.K. observer. “I said that the attendance of the U.K. observer would make difficulties for us in that it would lead other governments to press to have observers at the Council meetings. I added, however, that we saw no reason why it should not be possible to keep the U.K. Government fully and currently informed of the proceedings of the Council. Ambassador Munro said that he personally appreciated this viewpoint and would communicate it to his Government.” (790.5/6–252)