790.5/5–1854: Telegram

The United States Delegation to the Department of State

top secret

Dulte 84. Repeated information Paris 293, London 182. Paris and London eyes only Ambassadors. Re Dulte 83.1 Eden handed me following copy draft terms of reference for Five-Power military staff talks which he is submitting to London. I believe they are generally acceptable and would appreciate Department’s views as soon as possible.2

[Page 842]

Begin verbatim text.

Venue—start in Washington, with the right to move elsewhere later, e.g. Singapore, if found advantageous.
Terms of reference—the Five-Power Staff Agency representatives will undertake military planning studies in order to recommend possible courses of action to enable an effective line of resistance to further Communist aggression or infiltration in Southeast Asia to be established. They would examine all possible courses of action in the light of the current situation and of the known capabilities of the anti-Communist countries concerned in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific.

Informing participating and non-participating powers.


Participating powers.

Australia and New Zealand to be informed in Geneva by UK. France to be informed by US-UK in Geneva.


Non-participating powers.

US Government to inform Siam and Philippines.

HMG to inform Colombo powers and Canada.

Non-participating powers to be informed that the object of the exercise is “to examine without commitment the various contingencies with which we may be faced, including practical means of help for those nations of SEA who may call for it”. This was the wording used in the House of Commons, and we would prefer it to the wording proposed by Washington, which was “to explore means by which the Five Powers can assist the countries of Southeast Asia in a cooperative effort to defend themselves”.

Comment: I see no objection to British taking this line with Colombo powers, but believe we should feel free to inform Thailand and Philippines as we deem best. End comment.

Start of meetings—first meeting to be called by US military authorities in Washington through normal military channels.
Publicity—no public announcement at the beginning of the talks, and no information to be given to the press as the talks proceed. Questions to be answered on the lines already taken in the House of Commons (see above) if there is a leakage.

End verbatim text.3

  1. Smith reported in telegram Dulte 83, May 18, not printed, that Eden stated he had received authorization from London to go ahead with the five-power military talks. (Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 245)
  2. Department’s and Joint Chiefs of Staff’s views are contained in telegram Tedul 93, May 20, p. 858.
  3. The Secretary’s Special Assistant, Roderic L. O’Connor, in a memorandum to MacArthur, May 19, indicated that the Secretary had read telegram Dulte 84 and had noticed that the concept of a cooperative effort had been left out of the proposed British text and felt strongly that this concept should be included in the statement. O’Connor said that the Secretary was also disturbed by the idea of an agreement with Eden on division of functions with the British talking exclusively to the Colombo powers. The Secretary wondered if “we had made any specific agreement with Eden which would exclude us from dealing directly with the Colombo powers if we so desired. I told him that I did not think there had been any very specific agreement at all but that I would check.” (Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 289)