65. Memorandum of a Conversation, Geneva, November 3, 19551


  • Algeria


  • M. de Margerie, France
  • M. Pink, UK
  • Mr. MacArthur
  • Mr. Wainhouse

We met last night at M. de Margerie’s request to discuss the problem of Algeria in the General Assembly. Mr. MacArthur and I described what was involved in the effort to delete the Algerian item from the agenda of the General Assembly under Rule 22 of the Rules of Procedure of the GA. We conveyed to de Margerie the difficulties and the pit-falls in this project and what would be necessary in the way of the most painstaking preparation to seek to effect a successful outcome. We pointed out that the United States cannot get out “in front” on this issue. We expressed clearly that France must take the initiative and the responsibility in this undertaking, and that their people in New York must do their “homework.” The US, we said, is prepared to make strong efforts behind the scenes to assure a favorable outcome.

M. de Margerie stated that this will require a decision by the Cabinet and his first task is to persuade M. Pinay who has great influence in the government. He inquired as to the best time to [Page 232] launch the project. We indicated that since the General Assembly will sit until December 10, it is not too soon to start now to lay the groundwork. We felt that thorough preparation would take not less than two weeks.

Mr. Pink expressed full agreement with what Mr. MacArthur and I had said and stated that the United Kingdom is prepared to assist in every way possible to effect a favorable outcome on the vote. Mr. Pink said Rule 22 was ambiguous and expressed the hope that the groundwork for overcoming this ambiguity will be thoroughly laid. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, we said, had looked into this matter and feels satisfied that Rule 22 applies to this kind of a situation.

M. de Margerie stated that he will put the case to M. Pinay in terms as follows:

The United States and the United Kingdom are prepared to help in every way possible.
Someone must be in charge of the undertaking. France cannot escape this responsibility, and France must select that person.
This undertaking cannot be effected in three or four days—a fortnight is necessary.
It must be made known that France is in favor of returning to the General Assembly; otherwise a number of states will not want to “walk the cat back.”

M. de Margerie said that he fully appreciated the complicated political management involved in this . . . . He expressed deep gratitude to us for all that we were doing.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 64 D 199. Confidential. Drafted by Wainhouse on November 4. The conversation took place during the Foreign Ministers Conference.
  2. On November 25, the General Assembly decided in Resolution 909(X) “not to consider further the item entitled ‘The question of Algeria’.” France, which had absented itself from the General Assembly since October 1, returned on November 25. Documentation concerning Lodge’s efforts on behalf of the French in this matter is ibid., Central File 751S.00.