Luncheon Meeting of Dulles, Eden, and Bidault, Geneva, April 28, 1 p.m.: Memorandum of Conversation, by the Ambassador in Switzerland ( Willis )1

top secret


  • France
    • Mr. Bidault
    • (Mrs. Bidault)
  • UK
    • Mr. Eden
    • (Mrs. Eden)
  • US
    • Secretary Dulles
    • Ambassador Willis

After the luncheon had progressed a few minutes, the Secretary stated that he would like to give consideration to the question of how to get the conference on Korea beyond the preliminary stage. He remarked that at the rate it was going the entire week might be taken up by speeches. Mr. Eden suggested that as he would be in the chair at the afternoon meeting and as no one other than the Secretary had indicated a desire to speak at the meeting, he might suggest a break at 4:00 approximately, when it was anticipated the translation of the Secretary’s speech would be finished. During the break Mr. Eden said that possibly he might consult with the other two Presidents as to what the next step might be. Mr. Eden also tentatively suggested that it might be possible for the Bureau2 to give consideration to this question.

[Page 152]

It was agreed that one way to put an end to the introductory speeches would be to rule that no one who was not inscribed before noon of April 29 could speak in the preliminary phase.

The Secretary then indicated that the possibility of negotiation on Korea lay in the fact that if North Korea could be demilitarized and neutralized as a preliminary to unification, the United States would be willing to forego its rights under the treaty with the Republic of Korea to establish bases in the south and to withdraw its troops. He suggested that one way of getting things started would be for him to sound out Mr. Molotov along the above lines. Mr. Eden demurred at this suggestion and came back again to the possibility of getting discussions started in the Bureau. He admitted that that group was also probably too big for satisfactory discussion, but added that an approach there would not be as cumbersome as in the full conference.

The Secretary asked what Mr. Bidault and Mr. Eden would think of having the Five powers, plus the representatives of the two Koreas, meet together and consider ways of making progress. Both Mr. Eden and Mr. Bidault indicated a favorable reaction. The Secretary then asked Mr. Eden if there would be any difficulty in excluding Australia or New Zealand, to which Mr. Eden replied that he would not anticipate any difficulty on that score. The Secretary added that it would be necessary, before adopting such procedure, to clear it with the other Sixteen. It was considered that it might be possible to do this tomorrow (Thursday April 29) and that if the suggestion made earlier that an agreement could be reached that only those inscribed before noon of the 29th would be given the floor to speak in the full conference in this initial stage, then it might be possible at an early date to have a meeting of the Seven.

The Secretary indicated that he wanted very much to make some progress on this matter before his departure. Mr. Bidault replied that he also very much hoped it would be possible to begin to confer on Indochina. The Secretary concurred in this wish.

In the course of the luncheon, the Secretary also described Mr. Molotov’s visit yesterday.3 The Secretary said Mr. Molotov had come and handed him a paper in Russian, which he obviously could not read.4 As Mr. Molotov merely sat there the Secretary suggested that they might talk about Indochina. Mr. Molotov indicated assent, but said nothing. The Secretary raised the question as to why Mr. Molotov had come, as surely it could not have been merely to deliver the document. Mr. Eden expressed the opinion that possibly the motive had been to obtain the credit for having made a friendly gesture and having [Page 153] taken the initiative in calling on the American Secretary. Mr. Bidault said Mr. Molotov’s purpose might well have been to compare what the Secretary said and what he, Mr. Bidault, had said to Mr. Molotov.

In the course of the luncheon, Mr. Bidault was called to the telephone. He returned to the table at 20 minutes past two and said that he had just received information from his press attaché that Mr. Molotov’s press conference, which was to have been held at 1:30, had been postponed for 45 minutes and had therefore kept some 400 to 500 correspondents assembled and waiting impatiently. The story was going around that Mr. Molotov was going to say to them that it was his suggestion that it was agreed that the British, Soviet and Siamese representatives should act as presidents of the conference. Although it was agreed that this appeared far-fetched, Mr. Bidault pointed out that the Communists were apparently determined to give Mr. Molotov the credit for this suggestion as the same report had appeared in Humanite a day or two ago.

It was generally agreed that it was important as soon as possible to find a means of getting the conference down to substantive business.

  1. The meeting took place in Dulles’ suite in the Hotel du Rhone.
  2. Eden’s reference is to the group of 16 Allied nations.
  3. For a summary of this meeting, see telegram Dulte 15, Apr. 27, p. 579.
  4. The paper in question dealt with atomic energy; for documentation, see volume ii .