312. Note From the British Embassy to the Department of State 0

No. 284

Her Britannic Majesty’s Embassy presents its compliments to the Department of State and has the honour, upon the instructions of Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, to communicate the following in reply to the Department’s Note of the 25th of April1 proposing discussions by appropriate military and civil representatives of the two Governments about the possible strategic use of certain small islands in the Indian Ocean area.

[Page 624]

2. Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom agree that the two Governments share a common concern for the effective defence of the whole area against Communist encroachment. In principle, therefore, they welcome the American initiative for exploratory discussions, as a first step, on the understanding that these do not commit either Government in advance to any particular course of action. In principle also Her Majesty’s Government agree that high level talks might usefully follow these exploratory exchanges. However, in Her Majesty’s Government’s view these preliminary discussions should take political and economic as well as purely strategic considerations into account.

Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom therefore would be glad to welcome in London United States representatives for preliminary discussions with the aim of clearing our minds as to objectives, and in the light thereof to produce agreed terms of reference for the United Kingdom/United States Military Planning Group, which is already in existence and provides a convenient forum. Her Majesty’s Government would be glad to welcome representatives of the American Government at any time but it would be appreciated if a paper could be communicated in advance giving the preliminary views and suggestions of the United States authorities.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 15 UK-US. Secret.
  2. Document 284.