59. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Kingdom to the Department of State1

5650. Excon. Reference: Deptel 6516, June 27.2

Basic British position averse to any extension controls not absolutely clear strategic necessity. FonOff officials stated Ministers took position when considering both shipping and copper wire problems that U.K. should not support any increased East-West controls at this time and that government was in fact very dissatisfied extent 1954 decontrols. According FonOff government’s increased majority has had effect firmer views that East-West controls should be modified downward rather than increased.
Although FonOff appears understand Senator George’s remarks3 do not reflect present U.S. policy statement has nevertheless aroused hope in both public and government circles that in not too distant future U.S. will reconsider need for present degree control East-West trade.
If real détente as result Big Four meeting, British may well seek further decontrol including modification CHINCOM list.
High-level … official states British regret differences with us over shipping, wire and rolling mills and do not think useful attempt resolve them until after Big Four meeting. They would then be prepared resume effort. They fully prepared support controls at any time when convinced strategic necessity exists … . However, as reported Embtel 55354 and reaffirmed today, not convinced present quantities copper wire shipments of strategic significance. Furthermore, they believe present shipment levels likely decline during forthcoming months, (statistics transmitted EmbDesp 3903, June 27,5 show exports uncovered wire declining first four months 1955—no shipments April.)
FonOff expressed willingness reconsider embargo copper wire if evidence available quantities actually contributing Soviet bloc strategic potential.
In view U.K. Ministers’ present preoccupation Big Four talks and EmbOffs most recent soundings, Embassy does not believe any useful purpose would be served by presentation note expressing alarm and concern. Re-examining most likely fruitful approach these problems after Big Four meeting.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 460/509/6–2855. Confidential. Repeated to Paris.
  2. In telegram 6516, the Department stated that it was “surprised and extremely disappointed” with the British ministerial decisions to reject both the shipping and copper wire proposals. It instructed the Embassy to “present note soonest to UK expressing serious alarm and deep concern categoric refusal accept pending proposals re copper wire and ships and effect likely have on ability COCOM reach meaningful decisions in future when such UK decisions not based on strategic considerations.” The Department also suggested that it might be useful to again suggest consultation with the United Kingdom on copper trade data. (Ibid., 460.509/6–2455)
  3. Reference is to a statement made by Walter F. George on June 11, in which he called for greatly expanded trade between Japan and the People’s Republic of China.
  4. Dated June 21, not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 460.509/6–2155)
  5. Not printed. (Ibid., 460.419/6–2755)