91. Message From the Secretary of State to the President1

Dear Mr. President: The principal feature of today’s meeting2 was the presentation by the Soviet Foreign Minister. It contained no surprises, being generally along the lines of the Soviet statement issued at the time they announced acceptance of the invitation to come here. There was, however, unmistakable emphasis upon features designed to appeal to the Asian countries, namely, right of [Page 219]nationalization, sanctity of sovereignty, elimination of the remnants of colonialism, etc.

The other speakers were favorable to our position, and the New Zealand and Turkish Foreign Ministers3 made particularly strong and able presentations. Japan was non-committal, and Spain put in a proposal designed to be a compromise between our position and the expected Egyptian position as regards external participation in management.

We shall probably conclude the debate tomorrow, and at its close I shall be ready to put in a US paper which we are concerting with the British and the French. Also Menzies is taking an active part, as Eden has asked him to be available to serve on the negotiating committee with Egypt, assuming one is created, in lieu of the UK itself serving.

It looks as though, of the twenty-two participating countries, twelve can be counted on to back proposals along the lines we have in mind, six will almost surely be against and four are on the fence. The danger is that the ultimate line-up will be almost entirely the West on one side and Asia on the other side with the Soviet Union on the Asian side. The governments of Iran and Pakistan are friendly, but popular sentiment is so much with Egypt that the governments hesitate to seem to commit themselves to a course which seems anti-Egyptian. This is not what we would like, but also it is not unexpected.

Next week will probably be the pay-off, and before it is over there will be some smoke-filled rooms like Chicago and San Francisco.

Faithfully yours,

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–LO/8–1756. Secret. Transmitted to the Department of State in Dulte 7 from London, August 17, 9 p.m., which is the source text, with the instruction “Eyes only Acting Secretary for President from Secretary”. The telegram was received at 5:11 p.m.
  2. Reference is to the third plenary session, which convened at approximately 3 p.m., August 17. Summary accounts of this two-part session are in Sectos 16 and 17 from London, August 17 and 18, respectively. (Ibid., 974.7301/8–1756 and 974.7301/8–1856, respectively)
  3. Thomas L. Macdonald and Nuri Birgi, respectively.
  4. Dulte 7 bears this typed signature.