Memorandum of Conversation, by the Officer in Charge of French-Iberian Affairs (McBride)
- Order of Priority of Discussions at Geneva
- Mr. Millet, Counselor, French Embassy
- Mr. McBride, WE
Mr. Millet called at Ambassador Bonnet’s instruction to state that the Ambassador was concerned over the statements attributed to Mr. Suydam at the daily press conference today. He said that the statement carried in the UP to the effect that the French Government “understood” that the Korean phase would come before the Indochinese discussions at Geneva was not correct, and that the French Government, on the contrary, hoped the talks would take place simultaneously.
I stated that the position of the U.S. Government was, so far as I knew, governed by the Berlin communiqué from which it would certainly seem clear that in fact it was intended to start talking about Korea before getting to Indochina, which seemed definitely to be item No. 2 on the agenda. Therefore, the AP and UP stories quoting Mr. Suydam did not seem to be out of line, and Mr. Suydam’s statements were in accordance with my understanding of the situation.
Mr. Millet concluded that the French Embassy here did not see it that way, and anyway the National Assembly now expected the two subjects to be discussed concurrently. Finally he said statements of this nature would cause harm to public opinion in France. I said I was sorry he felt that way, but did not see what other line we could take in response to queries. I concluded that we were in no way seeking publicity for our views, but pointed out that the Geneva meeting was a subject of great interest, and that accordingly the press would doubtless be following it continuously. I promised to convey the Ambassador’s views to Mr. MacArthur as the Ambassador requested.1
- The Department of State in telegram 3166 to Paris, Mar. 15, informed the Embassy about this conversation and indicated that the Berlin resolution implied that the Korean discussions would begin first at Geneva. There was no indication as to how soon after the start of the conference the Indochina phase should begin. The Department felt this question should be left open pending further development of the procedural arrangements and the U.S. position regarding Indochina. (396.1 GE/3–1254)↩