113. Memorandum of a Conversation Between Secretary of State Dulles and Prime Minister Eden, 10 Downing Street, London, August 22, 1956, 1 p.m.1
- Negotiating Group
Shortly before 1:00 o’clock today Prime Minister Eden asked Secretary Dulles to come to see him. The request apparently was the result of a discussion which took place at a U.K. Cabinet Meeting. This meeting adjourned just as the Secretary arrived at 10 Downing Street.
At the meeting, the Prime Minister urged the Secretary to serve personally on the small group which would seek to ascertain whether Nasser was willing to negotiate on the basis of the 5-Nation statement. The Prime Minister stressed the importance, in his opinion, of the Secretary personally serving on this group. The Secretary made no commitment to Mr. Eden, but did say that he would consider the possibility of the U.S. participating in this group and of personally participating in the initial phase of its work following which, he would be replaced by a Deputy.
Mr. Eden then raised the matter of Mr. Menzies serving as Chairman of this group. He said he was planning, at Menzies’ suggestion, to send a message to the latter’s colleagues in Australia stressing the importance of this undertaking and ask that they acquiesce in Menzies’ continued absence from his country in order to participate in it. The Prime Minister indicated he would like to say in his message that Menzies would be Chairman of the Group. He wanted to clear this with the Secretary, however, in view of his hope that the Secretary himself would also agree to serve on the [Page 257]Committee. The Secretary replied that whether or not he ultimately served on the Committee, he felt that Menzies should be designated the Chairman. The Secretary gave two reasons for this. First was that Menzies was a Head of Government, and the second was that the Secretary’s participation on the Committee (if he should accept) would be of a temporary nature.
The conversation then turned to a discussion of Shepilov’s speech at yesterday’s session of the Conference. Mr. Eden agreed with the Secretary that this was designed to continue tension in the Middle East.
The conversation ended with Eden strongly complimenting the Secretary on his masterly performance at the Conference. Mr. Eden said that he was very pleased at the large number of delegates who had subscribed to the five-nation statement, and indicated that before the Conference opened, he had not thought that so large a number could be obtained. Mr. Eden also said that he was surprised that the Conference had moved along as quickly as it had. He had thought before the Conference began it would take much longer to complete than now appeared to be the case. He indicated that both accomplishments were largely due to the Secretary’s work.
- Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 746. Confidential. Drafted by Macomber.↩