Foreign Affairs and Defence

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Foreign Affairs and Defence

Foreign Affairs and Defence.

E.B.  

General statement of relations with U.S. and U.S.S.R.
Propose to ascertain what Soviet wants re renewal of Treaty. This will involve us in discussg. mil. alliance. We are commd. to 4 Power agreement to contain Germany. But a bi-lateral mil. Alliance with  Soviet  will raise awkward ques. vis-à-vis U.S. – with whom we haven't and can't have a bilateral Alliance. Discn. with Zarubins.  I discussed oil, standardisation, attitude to Germany – or rather answered ques. which we had evidently bn. instructed to raise. How far shd. our talks with Soviet go?
Suggest keeping it on pol. basis. If we talk military ques. they may want to go beyond containg. Germany. Shd. keep U.S. and France currently informed.

V. delicate situation. We must have econ. and financial help fr. U.S. : but don't want to lose opporties. of friendship with R.  Don't want a situation in wh. U.S. cd. disinterest themselves in Europe : containg. Germany.
Have told U.S. we are considering it. Have had no reply – prob. won't get it before we act.
In discn. with C.I.G.S. Stalin said no objn. to Anglo U.S. mil. alliance provided it isn't directed v. R.  Don't know what this means. Believe G. is still greatest danger in Europe – risk of Powers courting G. because own disagreements. eg. 1919 : everyone looking to Bolshevist R. but in event it was G. which caused next war. Nazi doctrine is so deep in Germans, added to national characteristics tht. they are still v. dangerous. I confined to containing G. it will be much easier. Diffy. however to avoid antagonising one by drawing close to other. Special vulnerability of U.K.
J. Reaction of U.S. Govt?

E.B.

Don't know.

E.Sh. 

U.S. attitude to U.S.S.R?

E.B. 

Potsdam : they discounted us : thought 2 Power decisions cd. rule the World.
After C.F.M. Ldn. and visit to Moscow Xmas '45, R. put her price up : U.S. turned and from then to N. York mtg. there was gt. antagonism betwn. U.S. and R.  Since Marshall, U.S. w'drawn fr. China (w'out telling us): may be due only to fact that he was out there and was bitter with Chiang K.S.  May swing back to Potsdam atmosphere because Marshall was close to Roosevelt.

A.B.

What relations betwn. mil. alliance with R. and U.N.O?

E.B. 

Wd. have to accord with regional basis.
Believe R. might wish to go beyond that.

A.B. 

Possibility of trouble – not fr. G: that wd. be consequential of failure of understanding betwn. big Four. That wd. be primary cause.
If therefore R. wants alliance with us, it must be because they fear trouble in Far East with U.S. and want to see us neutralised in that event.

E.B.

Maybe. Some fear tht. U.S. will swing twds. Japan – as a satellite. That     may be alarming Stalin.

H.D. 

R. is still scared of another attack from G.  Devastation wrought in R. by G.
They cd. be excused for concentratg. on preventg. repetition.
That may be enough to a/c for this move – w'out seeking cases in F. East. May be quite simple.

A.B. 

But 4 Power proposal for that.

E.B. 

But R. hasn't favoured that.  M. attacked it violently.

R.S.C. 

Possibly because of fear of financial influence of U.S. in Europe.
Fear of central G. is 1.000 years old in Russia.
R. doesn't want U.S. in Europe : we do.

E.B.

Read fr. Zarubin interview : we can't be an outpost to save other countries.  ……………. can't repeat 1940 : collective security must be worked out to ensure simultaneous action.

R.S.C. 

Stalin's mentality is : R. can handle G. if someone will blockade her from the sea. Wants R.N. to do that.

E.B. 

R.N. cdn't do it w'out U.S. help.

R.S.C.  

You will have to get that across to him.

E.Sh. 

Idea of mil. Alliance is premature. Resurgence of G. is not an immediate reality. I wd. prefer an economic approach either mil. or political. E.g. M/East : why not invite R. to come in. Other opporties. for economic approach.

J. 

Econ. oppies. will follow the friendship secured by mil. or pol. Pact.

E.Sh. 

But a) you have 4 Power proposal.  b) Believe friendliness will be secured better by economic approach.

A.B. 

Best line : can't contemplate mil. alliance wh. reflects lack of confidence to U.N.
Don't accept analysis of R.'s fear of G. My belief is tht. R. thinks gulf betwn. them and U.S. is unbridgeable. Wants therefore a certain European frontier, while R. can fight U.S. in Far East.
Agree she doesn't want U.S. in Europe.

P.M. 

A.B.'s is negative approach. Say we will have mil. Alliance if w'in U.N.O.
Dangerous to simplify these issues. R. afraid of technological advantages of U.S. But they were behind W. Europe too and may be overtaken by them.
Right line is E.B.'s We wd. like Alliance – general : but willing to consider mil. Alliance if w'in U.N.O. Econ. approach : E.Sh. cites oil : but that wd. be viewed by R. as primarily strategic. Believe even there the mil. agreemt. must come first.
R.S.C. Advance on all fronts or none. Won't get anywhere with an econom. approach unless they are willing to have advance all round twds. greater friendships. They say they will be more useful to us econom. in the end than U.S. But not until they are ready.

N.B. 

Text of Treaty supports E.B. approach. Second part begins by decln. of purpose : and m'while promises collabn. in containg. G. We can start from there. Say we shd. like to bring in U.S. because 4 Power proposal. Try for that first. Anyway make the Treaty open to other members of U.N. to address it. If you can get it, that will open door to economic co-opn. Best route to that is to get U.S. to support loans to R. by Fund and Bank – and get R. into Bank.

E.B. 

V. dubious about bringing smaller Powers in. Let them rely on U.N.O. Otherwise intriguing for Balkan votes : no promise of security there.
Treaty shd. be with Big Powers only.
General support for this view.

J. 

Don't forget Doms.

P.M. 

Diffy. will be interchange of informn. – where all 'agreements' are with U.S.A.

A.B. 

Re-stated his "Eastern" theory.

N.B. 

That assumes tht. a major war cd. be confined to Far East.

A.V.A. 

Anyway doesn't accord with conversns. with Byrnes. U.S. are not uninterested in Europe. Econ. rights in discn. of satellite Treaties. Worried over them if our power shd. weaken. The more they develop the more they need external trade. They want us to remain their outpost and hold on until they come in.

E.B. 

I've said we can't accept that. We can't hold the fort for them : and have told them so. Have said we must arrange our co-opn. so that if we go into war they come in at once. Taken similar line with R. in Zarubin talk:

E.Sh. 

But what will be U.S. re-action to this approach to R?
We are commd. to U.S. econ. and financially : can't afford to offend them.
Wd. U.S. be informed in advance?

E.B.  

Yes. have done so.

E.Sh.  

Then if their re-action is unfavourable, do we think again?

E.B. 

No time to wait. Stalin havg. asked for revision of Treaty, I told U.S. didn't intend to ask at first re mil. Alliance but only to ascertain views on Treaty. But don't doubt it will lead to talk of mil. Alliance.

P.L. 

Suppose India leaves Commonwealth, little hope of our retaing. airfields as part of route to Far East.  U.S. wanted use of them too. What has happened vis-à-vis U.S.?

E.B. 

I stalled him off on a/c U.S. interference in pol. discn. of India. Warned him U.S. wd. prob. have to negotiate direct with an Indian Govt. Have heard no more.

C.E. 

Fellow travellers in Labour circles here. Pollit recently said most hopeful sign for Communists was tht. Labour M.P.'s constantly consulted them on line they shd. adopt.

C.A.S. 

U.S. have no idea tht. any trouble with R. wd. be confined to F/East. On contrary, all their talk assumes Europe wd. be core of the trouble – and particularly M/E.
Russia : they think in terms of land war. Don't think of sea: and a year ago they knew nothing about air war. If they are frightened, it is because of Germany, I shd. say – their western frontier.
Exchange of informn. We shd. be v. concerned if that were raised from mil. Alliance with R.  Because U.S. wd. close up at once if they thought their informn. was to go to R. In war we were on v. intimate basis with U.S. : at end/war that began to get less close. But we've tried to keep together : and U.S. have bn. open with us in all respects save atomic energy. Danger of divergence thro' new technical developments. If that contact broke, our one assurance wd. go against being left alone, to wait for U.S. support. Even if they wished to give us immediate support they cdn't do so if we had broken our peace-time contacts on "standards".

E.B. 

Will open discns. as proposed. Will report developments to Cabinet.

Taken from C.M. 15(47) - Meeting held on 3 February 1947.