236. Diary Entry by the President, February 8, 19561

The Eden talks covered a number of troublesome questions on some of which the British Government and our own have held divergent views. These questions included trade with Communist China, support of SEATO, Arabian-British dispute centering at Buraimi, and the very disturbing situation existing between the Israelites and the Arabs.

I have never before attended any international talks of an official character where the spirit of friendship was more noticeable than in this one. Even our gravest differences could be discussed in an attitude of friendliest debate. With respect to China, our differences are not so great as they would appear in the headlines. Both Britain and America are interested in securing a better market for Japan so that that country may exist as a free nation. Likewise, Britain is concerned about the present prohibition on the shipment of Malayan rubber to China, although Ceylon has been shipping this item in considerable quantity. In general, Britain would like to have our controls on China trade identical with those we observe with respect to the Soviets. We, on the other hand, have felt that even though the Soviets might try to ship [Page 654] considerable quantities of supplies to China, a much longer route and higher expense were involved for the Communists, and consequently we did not see any advantage in relaxing controls in the East except insofar as the necessity for helping our friends in that region might demand.

Without reaching any substantive agreement, we did arrange that the technical experts would go over the items involved periodically, and that some of them would be shifted from a completely prohibited basis to a quantitative basis. It is possible that a very few, particularly where they pertain to Japan, may be removed from the prohibited list.

The United States, of course, maintains a complete embargo on its own shipments to that country.

With respect to SEATO, the British have promised to make certain that all the countries in that area understand that they have Britain’s warm support.

In Saudi Arabia we have come to the conclusion that only by direct talks between the King of Saudi Arabia and high British officials can the matter be settled. They are going to try this method.

In the Israel-Arab dispute, we adhere to the tripartite pronouncement of May 25, 1950. We agreed that we should meet with the French in order to examine exactly what means we would jointly use to stop a war if it should break out in that region.

Our talks covered a multitude of minor subjects, including a great deal about our European problems. However, in these there was no acute matter to be taken up and we merely reviewed our general policies, on which we are largely agreed. At the end of the meeting we issued a joint declaration which we called the “Declaration of Washington.” We also issued a communiqué outlining some of the problems that I have just mentioned.

[Here follow comments by the President on the subject of disarmament.]

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, DDE Diaries. Secret.