42. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom1

3536. Excon. Embassy London should deliver following personal message from Dulles to Eden:

(Verbatim text follows)

I want to express to you my deep concern over the few strategic trade control problems which, despite the close cooperation of our two governments on these matters, are unresolved. The problems to which I refer are in essence the hard core of separate issues remaining from last summer’s negotiations which resulted in broad agreement [Page 204] among the COCOM countries on a greatly curtailed list of strategic items. They relate specifically to the control of rolling mills, electric generators and ship sales, to which must be added the new problem of great concern with reference to copper wire and cable.

I will not burden you with the detailed aspects of these problems which have been and can continue to be capably handled by Mr. Thorneycroft and Mr. Stassen. Rather, I wish to emphasize my hope and expectation that, despite the difficulties, parliamentary and otherwise, which, in different ways, we both face, we can attach paramount weight to the strategic factors presented by these problems, i.e., the relation of the particular items to military security, and the necessity of prompt agreement on these pending issues to preserve the working effectiveness of the institutional arrangements which we and other friendly countries have supported in our mutual security interests. I appreciate that the denial of any specific shipments does not in itself assure our security, but failure adequately to limit certain items can contribute dangerously to the build-up of the Soviet war-making potential, and I believe that these particular goods should not move to the Soviets in such quantities as to constitute a real contribution to the potential military strength of the Soviet bloc. I am also convinced that by failure to resolve our differences, we endanger the continued existence and effectiveness of the multilateral organization in Paris which has been set up to deal with the whole program of security trade controls. There is a further element which I know you especially will appreciate. That element is my apprehension that avoidable, but dangerous, frictions in Anglo-American relations could result from delivery to the Soviets of such sensitive items as these to an extent which, frankly speaking, the Executive Branch of my government would find it difficult to justify in security terms to our Congress and people.

Mr. Stassen is despatching to Mr. Thorneycroft, today, a more detailed letter.2 I trust that you will share my concern and hope that our governments may soon agree on these matters and then concert to convince other participating countries of the necessity for prompt concurrence and appropriate action.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 460.509/1–755. Secret; Priority. Repeated to Paris.
  2. Telegram 3535 to London, January 7, transmitted Stassen’s letter to the Embassy and instructed the Embassy to deliver it to Thorneycroft. The letter, which detailed the U.S. positron on the sale of rolling mills, electric generators, ships, and copper wire and cable to Communist countries, was written in reply to Thorneycroft’s letter to Stassen of December 15. (Ibid.)

    Draft versions of the letters from Dulles to Eden and from Stassen to Thorneycroft were discussed in detail at a meeting of the Economic Defense Advisory Committee (EDAC) on January 3. The minutes of that meeting are ibid., Economic Defense Files: Lot 59 D 665.