396.1 GE/7–1954: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Delegation1


Tosec 587. For Under Secretary from Secretary.

Re Eden’s formula for moving ahead on collective defense in SEA (Secto 6742 as amended by Tosec 5793) we have assumed that Eden would not extend formal invitations to any of Colombo Powers unless such powers had previously indicated informally that they would accept invitation. Is this assumption correct? In our view it would be counter-productive to send a formal invitation and to have such invitation formally rejected. Furthermore, it would greatly complicate our ability to deal with fact that neither ROK nor Formosa will be invited.
Also we had not envisaged that US-UK invitations would be made public but rather that after invitations are extended, those governments accepting would make simultaneous and identical announcements in capitals in the form of a declaration of agreement to appoint Reps to meet together to prepare recommendations on establishment of SEA collective defense. This would make clear their common purpose and fact that their decision was on basis of common initiative and agreement and not something that US and UK had pushed others into.
Now that Geneva Conference has produced agreements, assume Eden will proceed immediately with further consultation Colombo Powers to determine their attitude toward establishment collective defense SEA. As he knows, Philippines and Thailand are ready to proceed. We will concert with British Embassy here immediately to initiate necessary further consultation with French.
Hope consultations with Colombo Powers will produce early indication attitudes those powers so that if they are willing to participate, invitations can be extended and announcements made (paragraph two above) as far as possible in advance August 7 deadline. In our view, timing is still the important element particularly in view of the fact that public reaction to Geneva Conference is as we expected portraying Indochina agreement as great victory for Communists.
Please discuss above with Eden.
  1. Drafted by MacArthur.
  2. Dated July 19, p. 1465.
  3. Dated July 20, p. 1470.