396.1 GE/3–154

Memorandum by the Deputy Director of the Executive Secretariat ( Kitchen ) to the Acting Secretary of State


In addition to the points covered in this morning’s Staff Summary concerning preparations for the Geneva Conference, the following emerged from Saturday’s meeting1 with the Secretary on this subject:

The Secretary’s basic approach is that this Conference, particularly as it relates to Indo-China, is a holding action in order to provide time for the French to ratify the EDC and to permit a favorable military build-up and execution of the “Navarre plan”. For this reason, the Secretary does not wish us to approach the French and the British with a view to settling as many procedural and substantive problems in advance as possible, but rather to merely obtain the views of those governments and indicate that we believe it best for most problems to be settled by direct conversation after the Secretary has arrived at Geneva.
Top priority is to be given to consulting with the Government of Korea with a view to the establishment of a mutually acceptable position or line of action on Korea2 which we will then discuss with the British and French.
The Secretary wants all participating countries to contribute to the cost of the Conference. He does not want the Four Powers to act as “hosts”.
The Secretary believes that the group should “hire” the UN physical facilities and secretariat at Geneva for the administration and conduct of the Conference.
We do not expect that all smaller nations contributing forces to the Korean fighting will be represented at the Conference nor do we wish to encourage their participation at this time.

In connection with plans for the Conference, Mr. MacArthur indicated that he had considerable doubt as to the desirability of proceeding at this time toward the conclusion of a Mutual Security Pact with the Government of China which had been proposed earlier in the week by Mr. Robertson.3 Both Livy Merchant and David Key had indicated their doubt in writing on the staff study on Friday. The Secretary instructed that this matter be turned over to Bob Bowie for submission to the National Security Council’s Planning Board for consideration. He hoped to have the NSC Staff’s reaction in ten days upon his return from Caracas.4 Apparently his intention was that the State Department should submit the question without a recommendation. He asked that the matter be handled with extreme caution because any leak would cause controversial discussion and many difficulties would arise as a consequence. Mr. Bowie has been informed of the Secretary’s instructions.

Jeffrey C. Kitchen
  1. Feb. 27.
  2. For documentation on pre-Geneva Conference discussions between the United States and the Republic of Korea, see pp. 14 ff.
  3. Robertson proposed this pact in a memorandum to the Secretary of State on Feb. 25; for the text, see volume xiv .
  4. For documentation on the Tenth Inter-American Conference, Caracas, Venezuela, Mar. 1–28, 1954, see volume iv .