125. Letter From Foreign Minister Pinay to Secretary of State Dulles1

Dear Foster Dulles: The French Government has examined your proposal reserving the dates of 16–21 July for a meeting between the heads of Government preceded by conversation between the four Ministers of Foreign Affairs.2 It is forced to observe that choice of these dates would cause it serious difficulties. On the one hand, the commitments which the President of the Council and I, myself, have made to Parliament oblige us, in fact, to be in Paris during all the end of the month of July, a period when the program of parliamentary work is particularly heavy. I notice, on the other hand, that the [Page 202]note which we have just received from the Soviet Government indicates that it reserves to the meeting at San Francisco of the four Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the task of taking a decision on the date of the conference. If this is the case and under the best hypothesis, I do not see how we would have the time to proceed with the material preparation of the conference in the 15 or 20 days that would remain.

It seems wiser to me to envisage the second period that you suggest, that is, the second half of August. This longer delay would leave, moreover, time to prepare for the meetings with all the necessary care they require.

Concerning the place of the meeting, I believe that we would insist on Lausanne, or, if necessary, Geneva where it seems possible to provide the necessary facilities in August, and which I have reasons to believe the Soviets would finally accept. But I am ready to consider on this point any other view upon which agreement could be reached.

Finally concerning the meeting at San Francisco you know the great importance that I attach to meeting with you and Mr. Macmillan on that occasion. The senatorial elections in France take place on June 19, including the Department which I represent, and you know how difficult it is for a member of the government to be absent under the circumstances. I could arrive in New York on the morning of June 20 but I wonder whether it would not be preferable that we go directly to San Francisco and that we meet there, you, Mr. Macmillan and myself on the morning of the 21st before seeing our Soviet colleague. If these various suggestions meet with your approval and that of the British Secretary of State, I would propose the following calendar for the various three and four-power meetings and the work which would precede them:

Meeting at Bonn on the second of June of the working group charged with developing a revision of the Eden plan.
Meeting at Washington on June 4 of the working group (with Canada) charged with studying the Russian proposals of May 10 concerning disarmament from the purely technical point of view in order to reach a common position with regard to the elimination of the unacceptable points which they contain.
Meeting at Paris on June 10 of a working group to study questions concerning European security.
The representatives of our three governments would meet in Washington at the Ambassadors’ level about June 18 to prepare for the talks at San Francisco.
Meeting at San Francisco on the morning of June 21 of the three western Ministers of Foreign Affairs before their meeting with Mr. Molotov.
The month of July and the first half of August would remain available to complete our preliminary studies and make the material preparations for the four-power talks.
The meeting of the four Ministers of foreign Affairs could take place August 19 preceding that of the heads of government on August 22.

I am informing Mr. Macmillan of these views and ask you to accept [etc.]

Antoine Pinay 3
  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 489. Secret. The source text is a translation prepared in the Department of State. The French text of this note, as delivered to Murphy on May 28 in Note No. 317, is ibid.
  2. See Document 119.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.