178. Memorandum of Conversations, President’s Villa, Geneva, July 17, 1955, 4:30 p.m.1



  • The President
  • The Secretary of State
  • Sir Anthony Eden
  • Mr. Harold Macmillan


  • Eden’s Proposed Statement
  • Alpha
  • Quemoy-Matsu Situation
  • Prime Minister Nehru
  • Convertibility

The President talked with Sir Anthony Eden at the residence while I talked with Harold Macmillan at the boat house. Harold Macmillan showed me the draft of Eden’s proposed statement for tomorrow. I said I thought it was good subject to two points:

It seemed to me to deal too explicitly with the “demilitarized zone”. I suggested that it might be better to try to put it more in terms of having a gap between the forces on the two sides so that they would not be in direct contact.
It seemed to me to treat the forces of the Satellite States as permanently a part of the Soviet group to be balanced against NATO forces. I said I thought it dangerous to envisage a situation, the permanency of which depended upon the permanent hold of the Soviet Union on Satellite countries and that if, for example, Czechoslovakia should be genuinely independent the plan should still be workable.

Macmillan said he saw the force of both points and would try to get Eden to accept them. However, he said there had been so much newspaper talk about Eden’s plan for a “demilitarized zone” that it would be difficult to get away from the phrase. Also since apparently Faure was going to adopt the term there was less reason for Eden attempting to get away from it.2

The President told me that his talk with Eden had dealt primarily with the following points: [Page 358]

The Alpha project as regards which Eden had given him an Aide-Mémoire, a copy of which the President gave me and which is attached. (See Secto 28, July 173)
The President said he had told Eden it was impossible for us to put up the money to enable them to manufacture and give away Centurion tanks .… If, however, the British were prepared to carry a substantial part of the burden we might then do some of it. He said that in principle he favored the use in the Middle East of equipment of British design so as to minimize the burden upon us of replacement of spare parts in the event of war.
Eden said they were greatly worried about the Quemoy–Matsu situation and thought he should get the Nationalists out. The President said he had replied that it was easy to say this but not at all easy to do it. We had explored the possibility and found that out. Eden had said he would stand by us with regard to Formosa but did not want to get into a war about Quemoy and Matsu.
Eden had spoken of Nehru and felt that he was honest in his approach and his estimate of the Russian situation although perhaps a little too trusting.
Eden had spoken about convertibility and indicated that his Government felt that it was premature to change the situation at the present time.

The President said that he had suggested that he and I would have breakfast with Eden and Macmillan and go over these points together.

The President said that Eden also mentioned bicycles and the Chief Joseph Dam.4

John Foster Dulles5
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/7–1755. Top Secret. Drafted by Dulles. The U.S. Delegation reported briefly on these meetings in Secto 32 from Geneva, July 18. (Ibid., Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 524)
  2. In another memorandum of conversation, USDEL/MC/6, July 17, Dulles reported that he and Macmillan had also discussed the procedure for the meeting of the Heads of Government on July 19. (Ibid., Central Files, 396.1–GE/7–1755)
  3. The aide-mémoire was transmitted to Washington in Secto 28 from Geneva. (Ibid., Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 524)
  4. A copy of President Eisenhower’s memorandum of this conversation is in the Eisenhower Library, Whitman File.
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.