790.5/5–2254: Telegram

The United States Delegation to the Department of State

top secret

Dulte 97. Eyes only Secretary. Re Teduls 931 and 88.2 Eden left early this morning for Paris and London before I had time to analyze or to speak to him regarding our JCS recommendations on the British text re five-power staff talks.

Since I received these comments in Tedul 93, you have probably seen Avis Gento 32 of 21 May3 reporting summary given him by Colonel Monckton, British military adviser. You will note that the British propose these talks be conducted at Chief of Staff level, Australia and New Zealand concurring. They intend to send to Washington the Army Chief of Staff, General Harding, with advisers of major general rank from the other three services. This automatically lifts talks above level of “five-power staff agency”.

You will also note the comprehensive items for discussion proposed by British delegation here to British Chiefs of Staff, which I assume will be adopted.

Under these circumstances, I am extremely reluctant to open up again the whole matter with Eden on the basis of our JCS comments, some of which I think are no longer pertinent, and most of which I think should be settled by these senior staff officers themselves when they first meet in Washington.

Department’s assumption that omission of informing Associated States from Eden’s memo is an oversight, is correct. He understands [Page 888] they will be informed. He also understands that the information which will be given by the several participants to their Asiatic protégés as to terms of reference will vary. His wording is that which he proposes to use to those nations that will be informed by Britain, and I told him that we would probably modify it to a certain extent in speaking to the countries whom we are to inform.

I have pushed this matter pretty hard with Eden because I believe that these talks were desirable to lay some of the dust which has been raised about disunity, and also because I believe that serious military technical discussions are imperative.

So far as joint participation in staff conversations are concerned, the first objective has already been accomplished by the press. The scope and effectiveness of the second will depend very largely on the ability of the soldiers to get down to serious business, and as we have quite enough points of friction here, I would hope to be relieved of the necessity of going again to Eden on this matter unless a real major issue arises.

Monckton informed us that Eden is very concerned about the leak to the British press of details regarding the five-power talks and that a thorough investigation is being made both at London and at Geneva to determine the source.4

  1. Dated May 20, p. 858.
  2. Dated May 19, p. 856.
  3. Not found in Department of State files. In a note (attached to the source text) Kitchen informed the Secretary that “we have made arrangements to obtain the reference Defense message (Avis Gento 32 of 21 May) from Defense as quickly as possible.”
  4. Memorandum of conversation, May 21, between Colonel Monckton, Colonel Ferguson, and Colonel Taber, not printed. (396.1 GE/5–2154)