The Secretary of Defense (Lovett) to the Secretary of State
Dear Mr. Secretary: Reference is made to Department of State draft negotiating paper TCT D–5/12b, dated 26 December 1951, entitled [Page 6] “Defense of Southeast Asia”,1 which discusses U.S. interests in the defense of that area.
In their comments on this paper, the Joint Chiefs of Staff oppose any statement, expressed or implied, that U.S. support will include the commitment or involvement of any United States armed forces to the Southeast Asian area; and they therefore recommend, in the interests of clarity, preciseness, and completeness, that the sections of the basic paper headed Position to be Presented and Discussion be revised as indicated in their comments. However, they do agree to a meeting with the British and French in Washington in early January on the subject of Southeast Asia, this conference to be without commitment on the part of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Inclosed herewith are the detailed comments of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with which I concur.
- Not printed. (CFM files, lot M 88) TCT D–5/12b was prepared by the Steering Group for the Truman–Churchill talks.↩
All of the modifications suggested in this memorandum were incorporated in TCT D–5/12c, Jan. 2, not printed. (Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 99)
In the minutes of the third formal session of the Truman–Churchill talks, held Jan. 8, Acheson’s remarks on Indochina are summarized as follows:
“Turning to Indochina, Secretary Acheson stated that the United States Government had not decided upon its course of action in the case of new developments in the area, such as a Chinese invasion. However, the United States Government was currently giving fullest consideration to this matter and its views would shortly be presented to the President for his consideration. In the meanwhile we had agreed to staff talks with the UK and France concerning the military problems in that part of the world. The West is indeed faced with a dilemma: if we do nothing it would be most unfortunate yet it is most difficult to see how we can do something effective. In any event the western powers must work closely together.” (Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 100)
Full text of this minute is printed in the compilation on relations of the United States and the United Kingdom in volume vi.↩