43. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, April 9, 19551


  • Bandung Conference; U.S. Policy in the Event of Hostilities Between Egypt and Israel


  • Dr. Charles Malik, Lebanese Ambassador
  • The Secretary
  • G—Mr. Villard
  • NE—Mr.Francis Allen

The Secretary opened the discussion saying that he had just been at the White House and had told the President that the Ambassador was going to Bandung.2 The President had expressed his personal pleasure at the news. The Secretary then gave a short explanation of the legal position as regards Formosa and briefly discussed the history of the island, emphasizing that Chinese control had been tenuous for several hundred years before its formal cession to the Japs in 1895.

The Secretary then stressed, as he had the previous day, that the question of peace or war in the Far East may be determined at the conference. He explained that the Communist Chinese would probably use the conference as a means of ascertaining whether their use of force to capture Formosa would have the moral support of the [Page 83] countries of Asia as a whole. They may seek moral support for their position through a formal resolution, or possibly through informal conversations with other delegations. On the other hand, if a considerable number of delegations urge that the conference call for renunciation of the use of force in the Formosa straits, it might well deter the Communist Chinese from undertaking aggression.

The Secretary said that apart from the specific current issues at the conference there was a very real danger that it might establish firmly in Asia a tendency to follow an anti-Western and “anti-white” course, the consequences of which for the future could be incalculably dangerous. In this sense the whole concept of human brotherhood, of equality among men, the fundamental concepts of the United Nations, are in jeopardy. It was true, of course, that in the past the record of the Western powers in Asia had not been without regrettable faults. There was nothing to be gained, however, by the Asian and African powers falling into the same faults, particularly the fault of racialism, in the opposite direction. He was disturbed by Nehru’s recent speech which seemed to emphasize only the bad things about the West. If at the conference only the bad things in the record of the West are emphasized it would be easy to give impetus to an “Asia for the Asians” movement. The West, of course, has been dynamic and aggressive and frequently shown a sense of racial superiority; but it also has contributed to human welfare in the realm of technical and material progress, and it has carried with it the Christian outlook on the nature of man. The West had carried good things as well as bad to Asia. It would be tragic if the Asians should select only the bad things in the record of the West, such as racialism, to imitate.

The Secretary mentioned the Pacific Charter as an example of real improvement in the Western approach to Asia. Its language regarding the independence of nations was stronger than that of the UN charter; and it was a useful symbol of the West’s current attitudes towards Asia’s problems.

Ambassador Malik pointed out that the idea of an Afro-Asian grouping had had its origin in the Arab-Israel problem and in the United Nations, particularly in 1950–1951 when the British had encouraged the Asian, Arab and African delegations to join together as a moderating influence on what were regarded as the “too extreme” policies of the US in Korea. He had thought at the time that this was a dangerous development which might lead to the growth of anti-Western Asian racialism.

It was particularly important that the Western powers coordinate their points of view in matters affecting Asia to minimize the danger of any power seeking the support of the Afro-Asian nations against the policies of other powers since such a course of action would inevitably strengthen and encourage Asian anti-white racialism.

[Page 84]

The Ambassador said he thought the Communists would try to make a Communist “demonstration” out of the conference, and would also stress anti-white racialism. He thought it would not be difficult to deal with any direct Communist moves that might be attempted. On the other hand there would be a lot of bargaining with the Arab states representatives which might be dangerous. For example, offers might be made to support the Arabs on the North Africa and Palestine questions in return for Arab support of Communist or neutralist goals. Iraq and Lebanon would probably hold out against anti-Western or neutralist proposals, but Egypt would probably be on the other side. Both the Egyptians and the Saudis and possibly the Syrians would probably follow a neutralist or anti-Western line. On the other hand the Arabs as a bloc could be counted on to be anti-Communist; but they would be extreme on the Palestine and North African questions.

[Here follows discussion of the situation in Gaza.]

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 670.901/4–955. Confidential. Drafted by Allen. A handwritten marginal notation by O’Connor reads: “OK for dist RO’C”.
  2. During a conversation held the previous day between the Secretary and Ambassador Malik, Dulles expressed his hope that Malik would attend the conference. “The Ambassador replied that if the Secretary personally thought that it was important for him to go to the conference, it would be an honor for him to fall in with the Secretary’s wish. He would cable his government immediately that he was going.” (Memorandum of conversation by Allen, April 8; ibid., Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 64 D 199)