268. Memorandum of a Conversation, Mid-Ocean Club, Bermuda, March 21, 1957, 10:30 a.m.1



  • United States
    • The President
    • Secretary Dulles
    • Ambassador Whitney
    • Senator George
    • Mr. Hagerty
    • General Goodpaster
    • Mr. Phleger
    • Mr. Elbrick
    • Mr. Rountree
    • Mr. Wilkins
    • Mr. Morris
    • Mr. Macomber
    • Mr. Walmsley
  • United Kingdom
    • The Rt. Hon. Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister
    • Rt. Hon. Selwyn Lloyd, Foreign Secretary
    • Rt. Hon. Sir Norman Brook, Secretary to Cabinet
    • Sir Frederick Hoyer-Millar, Permanent Under-Secretary, Foreign Office
    • Sir Harold Caccia, British Ambassador to U.S.
    • Mr. P.H. Dean, Deputy Under-Secretary, Foreign Office
    • Mr. Harold Beeley, Assistant Secretary, Foreign Office
    • D.S. Laskey, Personal Assistant to Foreign Secretary
    • Mr. C.P. Hope, Foreign Office, Press Director
    • C.O.I. Ramsden, Personal Assistant to P. M.
    • Mr. F.A. Bishop, Personal Assistant to P. M.
    • Mr. T.W. Garvey, Secretary of Delegation

Before the Prime Minister made his opening statement he sought confirmation of agreement on procedural matters, to wit:

Regular meetings should be held daily at 10:30 and and 1600.
Attendance should be limited to twelve per side.
Restricted meetings might be called, if needed, by the President or the Prime Minister.
Agreement should be reached at the end of each session on the line and background for the press, which should be channeled only through the regular press officers of the Delegation, other members of the staffs to refer inquirers to the press officers.

[Page 710]

The President agreed in principle, and also stated that they should not be tied to the agenda, or to the order of discussion of agenda items.

The Foreign Ministers also might feel free to suggest changes in the agenda or its order. He reminded the Prime Minister of their commitment to the photographers at 1530 that day.

Mr. Macmillan proceeded with his opening statement. He was most gratified that the President was able to meet with him, on British soil. He recalled with warmth their association during the war. He felt that we had come to a critical point in history in which we both face difficult problems, both short-term and long-term. In the long-term he put these problems in what he called the cyclical struggle and related them also to a possible turning point in the life of the UN. He recalled the high hopes that had been engendered by the creation of the League of Nations after World War I; and attributed the failure of the League to its having sought peace, forgetting justice, and having consequently failed in both. The changes in their own lifetime had been enormous. From the relatively simple balance of power concept in the world and concert of Europe, including the stabilizing force of the Austro-Hungarian empire, we have moved to a delicate balance featured by the concentration of the principal power in the United States and the Soviet Union, and by the splitting up of Europe and Asia into fractional sovereignties all too frequently without visible economies or ability to maintain independence from the USSR.

The Prime Minister noted between these poles of power the rise of neutralism, known by various other euphemisms such as third force, presence of which he acknowledged even in some elements of the British population. He felt that there was really no place for the neutral in the present struggle where the survival of classical civilization as we know it was at stake, being threatened even by the revolutions in Asia and Africa which had their origins in Europe. He recalled that in so far as territories of the British Empire were concerned these revolutions were planned by the mother country; the primary effect of the war was to accelerate the revolutions. He mentioned specifically India, Pakistan, Burma, now Ghana, and shortly Malaya and Singapore; and outside British Empire Tunisia, Morocco and he felt sooner or later Algeria. The process could not be stopped. The question for us is can it be controlled and directed under properly-exercised influence.

He felt that the tendencies in the new countries, so-called neutralism and nationalism, could be controlled and directed by a combination of power, propaganda, assistance and services, and that unless Britain and the United States were associated in this effort the game might be lost. He recognized the reduced role of the United Kingdom but thought that its role should not be underestimated either. The [Page 711] British particularly in the matter of services (from the experience of settlers, educators and civil servants) could help new countries in curbing rampant nationalism.

European people, he said, are divided into those who watch the struggle and those who want to play a full part. The UK, he emphasized, is committed to stay in the game and to cooperate with the United States. This is based in part on sentiment but also, of course, on interest, and the British feel that while they are the junior partner the US would not care to try to do it alone. The UK feels that it can have a useful role in influencing Europe to follow the correct path and also has helpful ties with the Commonwealth. He stressed the importance Britain attached to the partnership with the U.S.

[Here follow discussion of Aqaba and Gaza (for text, see volume XVII, pages 452–458) and the flow of oil through pipelines and Lloyd’s concluding remarks (for text, see volume XII, pages 464–465).]

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 866. Secret. Drafted by Walter N. Walmsley, Jr., and circulated to appropriate U.S. officials on March 21. The Delegation at Bermuda transmitted a summary of this conversation to the Department of State in Secto 8, March 22. (Ibid., Central Files, 611.41/3–2257) For President Eisenhower’s diary account of this meeting, see Document 271.