751G.00/5–1654: Telegram

EdenSmith Meeting, Geneva, May 15, Evening: The United States Delegation to the Department of State

top secret
eyes only

Dulte 72. Repeated information Paris 279. Eyes only for the Secretary. Eyes only Ambassador. Eden came to see me yesterday evening obviously quite irritated and bringing with him a copy of the Paris edition of the Herald Tribune for Saturday, May 15, which headlined Ned Russell’s article “US–France To Discuss Terms For Intervention In Indochina Conflict”. His irritation seemed to be less because we were moving positively than because the British had not been informed, particularly at a time when the Prime Minister and others are continually being forced to answer Parliamentary questions with regard to five-power discussions and relations with and position of the United States. I read him extracts from Deptel 4023 to Paris, repeated Geneva Tedul 54, and Paris to Department 4383, repeated Geneva 237.1 He left in a more amiable frame of mind. I would suggest, however, that in matters of this kind we keep the British informed as far as possible in advance. It will assist them in meeting political situations and will encourage them to move further in our [Page 816] direction if they believe we are giving them a considerable measure of confidence. There will be disagreements and we will be obliged at times to tell them that we are going ahead whether they agree or not, but I think they would infinitely prefer this than to be surprised with a press story.2

  1. For telegrams 4023 to Paris and 4383 from Paris, May 11 and 14, pertaining to U.S. policy on intervention in Indochina, see volume xiii.
  2. The Department of State in telegram Tedul 75, May 17, instructed Under Secretary Smith that as the result of newspaper stories “we are informing British and ANZUS Ambassadors in general terms regarding our talks with French.” The Department asked Smith to report “urgently any specific points in Tedul 54 [telegram 4023 to Paris, May 11] which you did not cover with Eden.” (751G.00/5–1654) Smiths reply is contained in telegram Dulte 80, May 17, not printed. (Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 245)

    Under Secretary Smith reported to the Department of State in telegram Dulte 76, May 17, that Eden had recommended to Churchill that he treat lightly in Parliament press reports of French-U.S. talks on U.S. intervention in Indochina. Eden “suggested Prime Minister say that talks had not yet begun, that there had been slight slip-up in British not being informed such talks were in contemplation but that they had now been informed, that Eden was satisfied, and that he was sure they would continue to be kept informed.” Smith recommended that “we must continue to keep them informed and Eden would prefer that it be done here while he is here.” (751G.00/5–1754)