Volume #21 - 241.|
MEETING OF COMMONWEALTH PRIME MINISTERS, JANUARY 31-FEBRUARY 8, 1955
Diary of Secretary of State for External Affairs|
COMMONWEALTH PRIME MINISTERS' CONFERENCE|
LONDON, JANUARY-FEBRUARY, 1955
Saturday, January 29, 1955
We arrived at 2.20 p.m., London time, after a very good flight. Gander, however, was in the midst of a howling winter blizzard, and it was good to get out of there. There was quite a crowd to see us off, with the usual press, TV, photographers, etc.
I dined on the plane with the Prime Minister and his daughter, Madame Samson, who was making her first flight. She seemed in better spirits about it than the P.M., who is tired and rather low in mood, and not looking forward much to the London meetings.
My own participation in the conference was so sudden that it is hard to realize that I am here. It was only on Thursday that Norman Robertson phoned from London to the effect that Eden was anxious that I should come across if at all possible; especially in view of recent developments over Formosa which he wished to discuss with me. The P.M. was, I think pleased to have me go along, but a little worried as to the interpretation which might be given to my last-minute inclusion in the delegation. I wrote him a short statement to give to the House on Thursday afternoon which attempted to explain the matter in unexciting terms, and which was pretty well received.1
We have on our delegation Jules Léger; Ross Martin and Jim Cross of the Prime Minister's office; and Don Cornett from External Affairs.
There was quite a crowd to receive the P.M. at London Airport, including Lord Swinton and Norman Robertson. However, we got through the ceremonial part without too much delay and were in the "dear old Dorchester" by tea time.
I dined that evening with Norman Robertson and Mitchell Sharp, who had come over from Geneva, where the GATT delegation are very worried by what they considered to be the completely negative approach to GATT matters we are taking in Ottawa. We talked about this for some time and I think I cheered Sharp up by telling him about my conversation on Friday with C.D. Howe and Walter Harris, as a result of which they will be given more leeway, especially in their negotiations with the Americans.2
Sunday, January 30, 1955
I motored through the country this morning to have lunch with Eden at the Foreign Secretary's new country place, Dorney Wood, which was recently given to the nation by Courtauld-Thomson. It is a rambling structure filled with the most amusing collection of Victorian furniture, bric-à-brac and odds and ends - much of it junk, but some of it very beautiful.
The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mr. Holland, (who told me to call him Syd!), was also there, and Dennis Allen, the Far Eastern expert at the Foreign Office.
We spent a couple of hours discussing Formosa, about which Eden is very worried. Our views seem to be along the same line; to do what we can to hold the Americans back from rash support for Chiang Kai-shek, but, at the same time, to appreciate the Administration's political difficulties. Holland, who had just come from Washington, is not so worried and seems satisfied with U.S. policy. I am afraid he was talking in Washington only to the "good people".
This evening I discussed GATT matters further with Mitchell Sharp who had had dinner with the P.M. and was going back to Geneva in the morning in a much happier frame of mind. He is quite right in his view that we should not sulk in the corner at Geneva, merely because we have been unable to get our own way with the Americans in the matter of the `waiver'.
I also discussed with the Prime Minister tonight his Guildhall speeches about which he is very worried. If he were in good condition he would take this sort of thing in his stride, but his fatigue and rather low spirits make him unduly apprehensive about public speeches of this kind in London; from a French-Canadian. We will have to cheer him up, and as a first step, I have undertaken, with Norman Robertson, to write him a new speech. He doesn't like the Ottawa drafts.
Monday, January 31, 1955
The Commonwealth Conference opened this afternoon at No. 10, with the inevitable preliminary formalities, photographs, etc. After that we moved to the historic old Cabinet room and got down to business at once. Sir Winston spoke two or three times during the afternoon on the international situation, and he was in really magnificent form - vigorous, imaginative, impressive, and picturesque. He also has the same old mischievous glint in his eye. Because he is deaf, his whispers become shouts, and it was amusing to hear him interrupt speakers by addressing observations to Sir Norman Brook (who is the Secretary of the meetings) some of which the rest of us were certainly not meant to hear.
It is fascinating cross section of the world which is represented at this conference, with about as many views as there are governments, but everybody very sincerely anxious to benefit from the viewpoints of the others and to find the highest common denominator of agreement. That, after all, is the value of the Commonwealth association. One could hardly imagine personalities and policies so different than those of, say, Nehru and Sir Godfrey Huggins from Rhodesia, and yet there seems to be a "family approach" to problems which is encouraging, almost unique.
Nehru, for instance, discussed the state of the world today in purely Indian neutralist terms, very friendly but very detached, while Holland kept referring to the "British Empire", and even, on one occasion, to "our England"! The South African representative, a 6'5" Cabinet Minister named Swart, made a good impression in his obvious desire to impress on the others that he was glad to be there and to show that the new Government in South Africa is not composed of isolationist ogres.
Nehru gave us a rather dramatic picture of his visit to Peking and his interpretation of recent Chinese developments in which he emphasized again that the Chinese revolution is more economic, nationalist and socialist than Communist; far more Chinese than Cominform. In his mild manner he criticized the rest of us for the basic unreality of our attitude toward China in refusing to recognize facts. Incidentally, Mohammed Ali took almost the opposite viewpoint, and was just as free with such expressions as "defence of the free world" as Menzies or Holland. Our own Prime Minister's intervention was short but effective. He commands great respect here.
Toward the end of the meeting Sir Winston made a really eloquent and moving defence of the United States against the unfair criticism which is often levelled at it. I wonder what kind of an impression this made on Nehru. He also paid a glowing tribute to his Foreign Secretary, which was echoed by other people around the table. Eden's star is very much in the ascendancy at the moment. He is no longer the heir apparent, he is the heir.
After the meeting there was the usual Lancaster House reception given by the Swintons, at which one fleetingly met everybody and got exhausted in the process.
Dined alone at the hotel and spent some time afterwards with the P.M. discussing Far Eastern matters and, more particularly, those damned Guildhall speeches.
Tuesday, February 1, 1955
The Prime Ministers' Conference resumed this morning at 11.00 - my own conference having begun at 9.30 when I saw the Canadian journalists who are here. Yesterday it was agreed at Downing Street that, as is customary, we would issue a daily communiqué which told nothing and that would be all. As is customary also, each delegation is seeing its own press and tells more. However, the Downing Street conferences really are secret, with very little press pressure, so I confine my talks with our own journalists to background, fill-ins and colour!
Eden this morning gave an impressive analysis of recent European developments leading up to the Paris agreements, during which he was good enough to say I had played some part in all this. He was clear, comprehensive and even dramatic; at his best - with Sir Winston, puffing at one of those out-size cigars he is always pressing us to smoke, quite pleased with the performance of his protégé.
Again we went round the table, with our P.M. beginning. He made a most useful statement on Canada's support of the Paris agreements.3
The "old man" (W.S.C[hurchill]) was very impressive on Germany; recognizing the element of risk but asserting that it was the part of statesmanship "to forgive and forget, and if you can't forgive, forget". "Fear from the past must not determine the pattern of the future", etc.
Only Menzies introduced a controversial note when he expressed regret that the U.K. had not consulted them before giving the 44-year pledge. Eden pleaded no time (which was true).
Nehru wondered whether 12 German divisions were worth the increased tension that rearming Germany would cause, and he was given the usual reply.
The Foreign Secretary then gave a lucid and, on the whole, optimistic review of developments in the Near and Middle East, stressing that there could be no assurance of stability in that area, however, until economic conditions had improved and the Israel-Arab feud had been healed.
Nehru didn't like the proposed Turkey-Iraq Treaty, and Mohammed Ali did!4
In the afternoon the Defence people took over at 10 Downing Street and the "old man" was in his element, with pungent comments as the Chairman of the U.K. Chiefs of Staff, Admiral McGregor, a salty old sea dog, unfolded the general defence picture, dwelling particularly on the magnitude of U.K. commitments. Then we all replied - except the Asians - by emphasizing the magnitude of our own defence efforts. Our P.M. took advantage of the occasion to explain what we and the Americans had to do in the Arctic re continental defence; now for the first time a vital necessity in the general strategy.
Harold Macmillan spoke well for the U.K. He knows his subject and is more at home explaining it than Alexander ever was.
Tonight an experience that, for me, put the conference temporarily in the shade. The Royal Box at Covent Garden, with dinner before, during and after the Ballet in a cozy little room behind the Box. That was good, but even better was the fact that it was Margot Fonteyn in Giselle - wonderful dancing. She joined us after the show for the coffee, but Winthrop Aldrich kept interfering with my efforts to become better acquainted with Margot: silly old man!
Our hosts tonight were the Waverleys. Others, the Aldrich's, the Heads (Secretary for War) and the Kirkpatricks.
Lunched today with the Butterworths (U.S. Embassy). I want to keep him informed of what is going on at 10 Downing Street. I think the Americans should know, especially, of our Far Eastern discussions - and particularly when their viewpoint on issues is being put forward. We must make sure that they do not think that the Commonwealth is "ganging up" on them. There certainly is no basis for any such view, though we are all pretty uneasy about Formosa - or rather about the obstacles in the way of the President carrying out what we hope it his policy regarding "disengagement" from the off-shore islands.
This was our P.M.'s birthday and appropriate references were made to it by Sir Winston this morning. As for Mr. St. Laurent, he gives the impression that he is trying to forget it!
Wednesday, February 2, 1955
This morning the "old gentleman" had his chance to discuss the world and the H-Bomb, and he made the most of it.
I happen to sit right across the table from him and it is a fascinating pastime to watch him; his cherubic "baby" face, at times gleeful, at times petulant, at times impish and at times sombre and dramatic, but never in repose. He also fiddles around with his hearing aid, his pencil, his inevitable cigar, like a curious and eager small boy. He seems to keep up a prodding interest in whatever Norman Brook, who sits beside him, is doing; or he busies himself with ordering the window to be opened, or something else to be done. He often peers at me over his glasses as if he is wondering what I may be up to. Everything he does is dramatized and is full of life.
He really let himself go on the H-Bomb - the shattering implications of which, on our society, he has fully grasped. His sweeping imagination and range of mind has sensed that this discovery has made all the old concepts of strategy and defence as out of date as the spear or the Macedonian phalanx. He is horrified and comforted at the same time; by the immensity of the bomb, and by its value as a deterrent against Russia. He finds solace in the fact that the Moscow men are cold blooded realists who know what power means and don't wish to be destroyed. So he thinks the bomb may mean the destruction of war, not of humanity. As he puts it in concluding his statement, "It was an ironic fact that we had reached a stage where safety might well be the child of terror and life the twin of annihilation". He loved rolling out these words.
Nehru was not comforted by the prospect. He had his own words, "of hovering indefinitely on the brink of terror". He wanted to know what we were going to do about it. Nobody seemed to know except to keep armed, keep trying to disarm and hope that the Russians would eventually - "you can't trust 'em now", said Menzies and Holland - become reasonable and stop fearing us or making us fear them.
Our P.M. remained silent, even when, later, Salisbury gave a statement on atomic development for peaceful purposes in the U.K., which rather suggested no one else in the Commonwealth had made any progress in this field.
One important statement did emerge from the morning meeting - the U.K. have decided to make the H-Bomb. They think that their own process, which they have worked out without any help from the United States, is probably better and cheaper than that of the Americans. Churchill was pleased about this, because the refusal of the United States to live up to their war-time pledge of atomic co-operation obviously still rankles.
I had a few in for cocktails this evening - Bruces, Patsy Greene, Molly Pattison and Mary, Admiral Bromley, Frederic Hudd and Peggy.
Afterwards, I adorned myself for the dinner at Buckingham Palace, but only in my second-best studs as I had loaned my best to the P.M. who had forgotten his. It was a very gala evening, with a lot of pomp and ceremony, gold plate, etc. I was between Lady Dorothy Macmillan and Lady Jowett, and had quite a long talk afterwards with The Queen - very lovely, but with a hostess's worry that people "weren't mixing up"; - also chatted with the Duke of Edinburgh. Churchill there, right to the end, in his Garter knee breeches, but it was all too much for Mr. Attlee, who fainted after dinner. Everybody much worried, but he soon came to and insisted on remaining until The Queen left.
Sir Winston sprang a shock on the P.M., and others, tonight. He wants us to agree to recommend that the Duke of Edinburgh should be given the title, "Prince of the Commonwealth". This is a silly idea and the P.M. gave it no encouragement. Norman R[obertson], Swinton, and Michael Adeane went into a huddle about it in a Palace corner. We must stop this proposal, which no one really wants but the "old man". However, he is lobbying hard and ruthlessly for it. He even buttonholed me on leaving tonight and said that I must help by persuading "my boss" to agree to his proposal.
Lunched today at the Edens. Afterwards I told Anthony and Harold Caccia about our idea for a neutral zone in the Formosa Straits, if neutralization of the island itself becomes impossible.5 They expressed great interest and I sent Caccia some details later.
Thursday, February 3, 1955
This morning was devoted to economic matters at the Conference and Rab Butler had his innings (which reminds me that Menzies is very gloomy over - not Formosa - but the Australian defeat in the Test Match). He gave us quite a lecture, in rather a school-masterish manner, about the state of the nation's and the Commonwealth's finances. By "us", however, he made it quite clear that he meant the "sterling area". The P.M. and I felt like interlopers. We could not very enthusiastically join in the cry "save dollars", "cut down dollar purchases". But the P.M. made a good statement on GATT difficulties and our problems of trade with the United States.
Sir Winston was very puckish about the whole subject. Described Rab's speech as "optimism, wrapped in caution", admitted to heretical views himself about finance, coming out for a commodity currency which would be "the servant not the master of man". He confessed, however, that he was glad that he would not be asked to convert his heresies into policies. He described South Africa as having no economic problem because all they had to do was go out with a shovel and dig up gold or uranium!
Lunched with Michael Adeane and Tommy Lascelles. The former gave me more background on the "Prince of the Commonwealth" proposal, which seems to have been conjured up by Menzies and W.S.C[hurchill]. The Palace is neutral about the idea but, strangely enough, Nehru doesn't seem to mind. Tommy, who is very wise about these things, is all against it.
No meeting this afternoon, so worked in the hotel, and discussed, unsatisfactorily, plans with Krishna Menon on how to settle the Formosan problem. Third time I have seen him!
Took another shot at the P.M.'s Guildhall speeches over which he is still agonizing. I never have seen him so worried about any other public occasion. This one has got on his nerves and he keeps chopping and changing at his drafts which, of course, get progressively worse.
Tonight, dinner at 10 Downing Street, followed by a reception there - very glittering, with the "old man" in great form. I sat between Herbert Morrison's Lancashire bride, who talks exactly like Gracie Fields, and Attlee, who doesn't talk much at all. He seemed none the worse for his mishap last night, but is aging almost as quickly as their P.M. A good little man.
These receptions are really very exhausting, especially when you have to be on your Commonwealth best behaviour.
Had some words with Eden and Nehru and suggested a private meeting between them and our P.M. for the kind of frank exchange on Formosa which we aren't having at the full meetings. Krishna and I have cooked this up, but I told him that I wouldn't pursue it unless Nehru was keen about it. Apparently Nehru is.
Friday, February 4, 1955
This morning's meeting began with Pakistan's announcement that she was going to become a Republic, but would like to stay in the Commonwealth. Mohammed Ali cut the monarchical tie very gallantly, by swearing continued devotion to the Crown and the Commonwealth. He even said that this step would have no effect on Pakistan's feeling of Loyalty, affection, etc., and then, incongruously, added "allegiance".
The "old man" was deeply moved and all his feelings were stirred by this, to him, very unhappy development. He was presiding over one more stage, he probably thought, in the "dissolution of the Empire". It was very hard for him, but he rose to the occasion and said all the right things about freedom of choice, and how happy he was that the New Republic would stay in. All the others echoed this, though Holland was a little blunt in his expressions of regret. Nehru tried to get a bit technical on the constitutional position, and Mohammed Ali pulled him up very sharply. The veneer of good feeling between those two countries is pretty thin.
It was ironical to hear Mr. Swart give approval to Pakistan becoming a Republic in the Commonwealth. I wonder if and when his government will be asking for it. Also he didn't much like the word "unity" in our communiqué on this matter, but yielded gracefully when told the expression used was exactly the same as that agreed to by Mr. Malan at the P.M.'s meeting when India was accepted as a Republic.6
Later in the morning we got back to Formosa and the Chinese blunt rejection of the invitation to go to New York. Much gloom - but all felt that it would be wise to say as little as possible and "play it easy". There was obviously no point in the Security Council going on discussing the matter, and there was also no point, and some danger, in this Conference making resounding pronouncements on the subject and offering the United States a lot of advice.
I spoke for the first time this morning. The P.M.s are supposed to do the talking, but in answer to a direct appeal from Eden, I gave my own views, which are summarily recorded in the minutes as follows:
"Mr. Pearson said that if the question were simply dropped in the Security Council, it would be a clear demonstration that the Security Council was powerless to take any effective action which was not approved by the Peking Government. The terms of the Chinese reply suggested that this might be exactly what the Peking Government had wished to demonstrate. On the other hand, if we proceeded with a resolution, it was likely to be vetoed in the Security Council, and this would inflame United States public opinion. The United States Administration might then feel themselves compelled to take some further action, in the Security Council or elsewhere, which it might be difficult for the rest of the free world to support; and if we did not support the United States, it would be seen that the Western Powers were divided, which would be a victory for Peking. We should therefore try to avoid taking any action until we saw how public opinion in the United States was developing."
The above gives a very inadequate impression of the sensation caused by my brilliant remarks!
Lunched today with Rab Butler, who gave me some advice as to how to get on with Dulles! He is a strange person - a mixture of hard-boiled arrogance, and a childish ingenuousness. He also has great confidence in his ability and in his star. He spoke of his wife, who died in tragic circumstances only a month or so ago, as if she were not present because she had gone shopping.
Went to see Madame Pandit this afternoon - a courtesy call which certainly turned out to be only that.
Tonight a very nice dinner at the Robertsons; my partner the intelligent and very nice Lady Reading. I've been lucky at these dinners, with Lady Macmillan at Buckingham Palace, and the new Mrs. Herbert Morrison at No. 10.
After dinner we went to an enormous reception at Guildhall from which I escaped as soon as possible. I'm running out of social energy and dress shirts.
Saturday, February 5, 1955
A very interesting meeting at Eden's office this morning, ostensibly to talk about Indochina, but really to exchange views - à trois - about Formosa. Nehru was flanked by Krishna (who kept whispering in his ear), Madame Pandit who kept looking disapprovingly at Krishna, and Pillai who kept looking inscrutable.7
I put forward a suggestion that, pending the appointment of a small U.N. Good Offices Committee to consider the problem, or even before considering one, we should try to get a reassurance from Washington that they are going to get Chiang's people out of all the islands; and a reassurance, via India, from Peking that they will not interfere with any of these operations. In short, the policy should be "peaceful disengagement". If we can get these assurances, then we should let each side know, privately, of the other's policy. Eden and Nehru seemed impressed by this and the British will draft the necessary message to Washington. They did so and Caccia brought it around this afternoon, when N.A.R[obertson], Léger and I suggested some changes.
Eden also read us this morning Molotov's proposal for a conference.8 The Americans will never be able to accept it in its present form, but Eden thinks the Russians are serious in their desire to avoid trouble over Formosa and will try to influence the Chinese accordingly. I wonder.
Nehru was quite bitter about American policy, and resented, as an Asian, their bullying and threatening tactics. He obviously doesn't feel the same resentment when Chou bullies and blusters, because Chou is not so much a Communist as an Asian!
Blessed relief this afternoon. Saw `Arsenal' play football from the directors' box. Very cosy.
Dined with the P.M. quietly in the hotel, when we discussed his Monday speeches (again), certain Canadian political developments, etc. Afterwards did a couple of new pages for the speech.
The news from Formosa is not good, and I have had to cancel my flight to Paris tomorrow, as there will be too much to do here and people to see. Phoned the children accordingly and I feel very sorry for myself.9
Sunday, February 6, 1955
The Butterworths and the Bruces both wanted me to lunch in the country. It was a lovely day. I hated not to go, but there were too many telegrams to study and other things to do. Incidentally, I had also been invited to Chequers where Sir Winston was entertaining the Prime Ministers, but I had to pass this up too.
During the afternoon Krishna Menon came to see me with Norman Robertson. He said that the Indian Government had already sent a message to Peking on the basis of yesterday morning's talks, advising them strongly not to interfere with any evacuation operations off the China coast. He felt that the main thing now was to keep the Security Council from meeting while we proceeded to work out some form of Good Offices Committee which might hold the line until conditions became suitable for a conference under the aegis of the United Nations. He certainly has in mind Canada and India being on the Good Offices Committee, but we gave him no encouragement on that score, even if one should ever be set up.
Krishna was much more constructive and moderate in his approach than he usually is, and was even prepared to listen, without exploding, to our defence of the policy of the American Government and the attitude of the American people.
After he left Walton Butterworth and Andy Foster of the American Embassy called to show me some messages which had come from Washington which they thought would be reassuring. I said that the thing that worried us most at the Commonwealth meeting was the possibility that the United States Government, in order to get the Nationalist Chinese out of the Tachens might have committed themselves to the defence of Quemoy and the Matsus. Butterworth produced a message from Washington which was designed to remove our fears on this score, and which stated that no such undertaking had, in fact, been given by Washington to Chiang Kai-shek.
For a change, had a "home" meal at the Bruce's which was very welcome.
Monday, February 7, 1955
At 10.45 I was led around an exhibition of Canadian paintings by Messrs. Armstrong and Hudd. It was a mixed bag, some good and some bad, and shown under the auspices of the Agent General for Ontario.
At 12.00, in borrowed formal finery, I went to Guildhall where the P.M. got the Freedom of the City in a ceremony which is almost as historical and impressive as the coronation. It is redolent of the Middle Ages, but done magnificently, as all ceremonies over here are. The P.M. was magnificent also, not only in his bearing, which is always fine on these occasions, but in his words which as it happened, and after so much `blood, sweat, and tears', turned out to be just right for the occasion. He acknowledged gracefully the Freedom, which was conveyed to him in what the Chamberlain called "a little box" which might serve as "a little memento of the occasion of his visit to London". The little box and the little memento turned out to be a most beautiful gold casket.
Afterwards lunch at the Mansion House, also with much pomp and ceremony, at which the P.M. had to speak again. This also, in spite of forebodings, went over very well, but as I told Norman Robertson afterwards, the P.M. could read the London telephone directory and make it sound sincere and moving.
The conference reconvened at 3.30, when Eden gave us a review of weekend developments, and indicated (as we had agreed Saturday) that he had sent a message to Makins to see Dulles at once and get some reassurance, if possible, that the United States was not going to intervene on behalf of Chiang Kai-shek in the off-coast islands if the Communist attacked. Makins apparently does not think much of this idea of a further approach. We then discussed the undesirability of the Security Council meeting this week, at which I put in a few words. Menzies spoke quite vigorously to the effect that it would be monstrous if the off-shore islands became a casus belli, but that it would be equally unwise not to support the Americans in the defence of Formosa.
Then the "old man", who is getting progressively more tired as the conference goes on, made a long and, as I thought, very unimpressive statement in defence of Chiang Kai-shek as an "ally whom, in honour, the United States could not abandon".
Finally, we considered the draft of the communiqué and here Sir Winston returned to his best form. He loves drafting and it was amusing to watch him play with words. It was not so amusing to hear Jooste say that the South Africans could not agree to the concluding paragraph where there was too much mention of non-discrimination and personal liberty. This made the "old man" very annoyed, but the South Africans managed to get the "offending" words omitted. Otherwise, we would have had no agreed communiqué at all.
I rushed away from the meeting to attend a small party I was giving for some British editors and diplomatic correspondents, and then rushed away from that to attend a dinner in the House of Commons given by the Tweedsmuirs for Holland. This is a husband and wife parliamentary team, John being a member of the House of Lords, and his wife being a Member of the House of Commons for Aberdeen. There was much good talk, but not many words in support of American policy in the Far East.
I took advantage of this occasion to have a few private words with Harold Macmillan, who was one of the guests. Just before the meeting had adjourned in the afternoon, Sir Winston read to us a personal letter which he was proposing to send to his old friend "Ike" - this time about Formosa. We became more and more alarmed as he went on. He was going to give the President some advice. He should adopt the following policy:
(1) Force the Chinese Nationalists to withdraw from the coastal islands;
(2) Tell the Peking Régime that any interference with this operation would mean war, with all weapons used;
(3) Assure him that the British would be behind him in this eventuality;
(4) Join the United States in a defence guarantee for Formosa.
This was a pretty startling thesis, especially when Eden was about to send a despatch to Washington advising the government to adopt a different course.
The Prime Ministers were glumly silent about it this afternoon, and tonight I told Macmillan that I thought it a great mistake for any such letter to be sent. He told me not to worry, that the "old man" was just trying it out on the P.M.s and as a result of their lack of enthusiasm the letter would never go. I wonder.
After dinner, dealt with a large mail from Ottawa and then, midnight, discussed the revised communiqué with Norman [Robertson] and Jules [Léger]. They had been at the drafting committee meeting.
Tuesday, February 8, 1955
Last day of the conference and I am beginning to feel as tired as Sir Winston now looks. The "old man" should not have tried to take in the Mansion House ceremonies yesterday. It was very sporting of him.
This morning, responding to Menzies' criticism yesterday that we were spending too much time on Formosa and not enough on Japan, Southeast Asia and other Far Eastern problems (what about Europe?), Eden gave a review of U.K. long-term policy in the Far East; what were the intentions of Peking, how would Japan move, etc.
Menzies spoke well and wisely about Japan, after which Nehru made his longest intervention, devoted to long-term developments in Asia. He argued the folly of maintaining an attitude of hostility to a dynamic revolutionary situation such as we have in China, because this merely benefits the revolutionaries. Menzies and Eden made the obvious rejoinder. How can you become friendly with a régime which, by its words and deeds, refuses you the opportunity?
Nehru at one point quoted with approval some words used by Dulles in New Delhi a few years ago. "The system of government which pays most dividends in economic betterment and human happiness to the people will win". The existing governments in Formosa, Indochina and Thailand, were reactionary and corrupt and as totalitarian as communism, and not likely to pay such dividends.
He admitted, however, that co-operation and co-existence with communist governments required the maintenance of a good supply of dry powder!
Sir Winston wound up by describing the situation in the Far East as a deadlock. But, he added, we should not forget that "we sit here under the shield of the United States, and we will not quarrel with her over Far Eastern developments, though we will advise and try to influence her."
Eden looked almost as uncomfortable as Nehru, or more so. Nehru conceals his reactions better.
This morning also we took a look at the revised communiqué, now reduced to a few paragraphs with most of the vigorous words removed. Winston played around with it for a bit but didn't get as much fun out of it as yesterday.
In the midst of our discussion a note was sent in to Eden, who passed it on to Churchill, of Malenkov's "resignation". Very dramatic, and the "old man" made the most of it, with a few pungent comments. He was vastly intrigued at the reason given for Malenkov's fall - "failure in agriculture" - and hoped that they would find a better excuse here if they ever wanted to fire him! I intervened to say that failure in agriculture certainly meant that he would soon be ploughed under. But Sir Winston felt that "he would be sent to Siberia or, more probably, to Beria!"10
Before we adjourned this morning Eden read us Makins' account of his interview with Dulles; very disturbing because Dulles indicated that if Quemoy were attacked, the United States, if requested, would come to the help of the Chiang troops. This is dangerous and frightened us all.
In the afternoon - our last session - Holland read us a message from Munro, whose talk with Dulles confirmed our earlier fears from the interview with Makins.
Eden then read a very stiff telegram he proposed to send to Washington stating quite frankly that the Americans could not count on any support from the United Kingdom if they intervened to help Chiang on these islands. We all supported this point of view, except Winston, who thought the language too strong and the policy of declared separation too risky. He was tired, depressed and spent a good deal of time playing around with Eden's draft while the rest of us sat and said nothing, until Menzies intervened very effectively, from a written brief, analyzing the dangers of the American position.
We were obviously getting nowhere - the Chairman was very tired - so I suggested to our Prime Minister that he wind up the proceedings by saying a few kind words about Sir Winston. This he did very gracefully and Churchill (deeply moved because he must have known this was the last time he would preside over a Commonwealth meeting) said a few words in reply, and then we just drifted away. It seemed a rather sad, unsatisfactory and somewhat untidy ending to our conference.
Eden wanted to see me afterwards about the Washington situation and I told him that the line he proposed to take - and from which I hoped he would not be diverted - was the one that we too would follow.
He also wanted to talk about another very ticklish matter we had been privately examining, "alerts" and "early warning" arrangements with the United States.
Met the Press with the Prime Minister afterwards at the hotel, then dinner with N.A.R[obertson] when we talked of Canada House problems. At 9.30 we went out to the airport. Soon - after the usual ceremonial farewells - we were on our way, winging across the northern skies to home.11