The Head of the United States Delegation (Smith) to the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Eden)1
“We are pleased at the progress reflected in Eden’s proposal toward some visible form of UK and French participation in collective planning before the end of the Geneva Conference. From our point of view, there are, however, still major defects, most serious of which is that all five powers on the staff agency are non-Asian. Asian opinion would resent non-Asian staff agency becoming the nucleus of military, political and economic planning. Communist propaganda would seize on absence of Asian charter membership. Particularly unacceptable from US point of view would be absence of Philippines. We want to (1) move forward rapidly to create a coalition in case of loss of Indochina, (2) avoid any impression that Associated States have been written off, and (3) leave for decision in the light of Geneva outcome the question of inclusion or exclusion of some or all of Associated States.
“We propose that to secure these objectives we move forward concurrently on two parallel lines: (1) The first line should be staff talks by the five powers, to be exclusively concerned with the development of military plans (and so without the attachment of political or economic experts), with such military plans being regarded as developed for the benefit of all countries directly threatened in Southeast Asia; (2) The second line would be a continued effort to construct, at the political level, a collective grouping of Asian and Western countries for defense. As this grouping assumes definite form, the results of the work of the five power military group would be contributed to the entire group.
“The way public announcement is made, if at all, of five power military planning activity is crucial from point of view of Asian opinion. We are eager to see draft of possible announcement. It might, in fact, be better to avoid a formal statement. We are inclined prefer Washington [Page 762]for the talks since they could be held less ostentatiously and would avoid speculations resulting from conversion to a high level of the Singapore military talks.”
I am rather pleased with this, and if you agree I will report to Washington that you are undertaking to present it to London. Also, that you consider, as do I, that it might be as well to avoid any formal public statement. If, however, it becomes necessary to make such a statement in Washington, a coordinated Washington-London statement should be issued. I would therefore be grateful if you would send me the text of the one which we agreed on this Noon.
Under Secretary Smith’s letter was delivered to Eden on the morning of May 11 by Reinhardt of the U.S. Delegation. Shuckburgh informed Reinhardt that Eden would have some comment on the letter later in the day and added, as his personal view, that “the only thing which seemed to be troubling Eden was whether or not we were moving a little too quickly with respect to the Ten.” (Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 308)
Shuckburgh’s reference to “the Ten” was probably to the issue of whether the five-power staff talks between Australia, France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States should be expanded to include additional nations such as Thailand, the Philippines, and some of the Colombo Powers (India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Indonesia, and Burma).
For Eden’s reply to Smith, May 11, see p. 774.↩
- Telegram Tedul 48, May 9, p. 745.↩
- Contents of telegram Tedul 48 presented orally to Eden on May 10; for a report of this discussion and other related comments, see telegram Dulte 66, May 13, p. 791.↩