Thanks for patient support. - & P.M.'s help in H/C.
B'ground v. serious) : if we can't get armistice at Geneva, risk of 3rd. war. For i) Chinese are in mood of revolutionary power, flushed with success : don't regard Korea as defeat. Tho' not wishing mil. adventure, they won't be threatened. U.S. methods v. dangerous therefore : for they threaten but don't speak to them.
No contacts save at table - except betwn. M. & me.
Cease-fire. No-one contemplates Partition. Standstill, followed by w'drawal to specified areas. Even chance of securing this.
R. wd. like it : so wd. Fr. if they dared to say so.
ii) Chou-en-lai, tho' courteous, is v. hard.
U.S. are not united. Bedell is co-operative but under instructns.
Robertson (China lobby) & Radford think this is best moment for show-down with China and that this wd. be poss. w'out involving R.
U.S. realise relative strength vis-á-vis R. will be worse 2 yrs' hence.
Risk of R. intervention therefore can be accepted more readily now than in future.
D.'s Ldn. visit. His plan was vague, but was not for S.E.A. pact.
We evolved that in discn. here. He went on to Paris. It is now said tht. he took our Ldn. communiqué as green light to go ahead negotiating Pact. That is why in W'ton he at once summoned repves. of 10 Powers. I cdn't agree to that because in Ldn. we hadn't decided who wd. be members of Pact. We had not consulted India etc., I therefore counselled delay. Their group of 10 wd. have contained only 2 Asiatics - Philippines & Siam. Such a mtg. wd. have killed whole project.
Second grievance : our refusal to support air-strike at D.B. Phu.
This need never have bn. known if U.S. correspondent hadn't made it public.
P.M.'s statement tht. we must await results of Geneva before going on with S.E.A. pact.
Impression tht. we may talk so long at G. tht. we are overtaken by mil. events. Not valid. Only bn. talking turkey for 1 wk.
Must give it 10 days or so more. M'while we are not wasting time. We suggested 5 Power mil. talks. Fr. and U.S. are also discussing joint mil. action. Only thing tht. is being held up is S.E.A. pact. Anyhow, I cdn't say tht. delay is due to Communists. M., indeed, has bn. constructive.
R. want agreement. They have every reason to want it. They are conscious of their vulnerability. (Ch. less so because they are not atomic target.) Fr. are harassed & torn in 2 directions.
I have no doubt they shd. seek quick agreemt., cutting losses.
But not easy for them to face that.
Asian Powers. I want to keep their interest, not because of mil. strength, but because we must have a good repn. of the local populus. in such a Pact. That is why I have bn. careful over Burma & India.
If we get a cease-fire, India wd. be ready jointly with Norway to play part in mil. supervision (acc. to Menon). Believe U.S. wd. welcome that.
Against this b'ground - consider memo. handed round.
Proposal that Siam shd. appeal to U.N. Tel. 418.
Difficult : i) v. diff. to do. U.N. Assembly wd. have to meet & having met, wd. be free to discuss anything.
ii) R. will say it's U.S. manoeuvre to justify their intervention in S.
iii) Our stand at G. re Laos & Cambodia (as having no Communists in it) wd. be undermined.
Wd. need 0rds majority. Shall we get it?
Another precipitate U.S. act w'out relevance to state of play at G.
But we can't go on disagreeing with U.S. at all points. Havg. explained diffies. to B. Smith, I must I suppose in end promise our support in U.N.
i) We can't support mil. intervention in I/China. Public won't have it. Not like supporting small independent State.
ii) SEA pact - we agree. But after Geneva.
iii) Siam. Silly. But, if we have to make some concession to U.S., I shd. give them that.
General. My anxiety tht. U.S. may go ahead because they think their situatn. will be worse 2 yrs' hence. In 2 yrs' time I shall feel easier. Strong deterrent to all : danger of war will then be less. Therefore, my policy wd. be to keep temperature down during next 2-3 yrs - & discourage U.S. fr. precipitate action.
Support A.E. - who is leading Confce.
U.K. can't accept further commitmts. w'out going over to war economy.
India. We must carry her along. Gt. potential value in world councils.
Endorse A.E.'s line. He will carry Commw. with him. Already has had astonishing results with Nehru.
U.S. try to play their cards too soon. Pity to get Siam appeal to U.N. so prematurely. Later, we may find India, Burma etc., wishing to appeal to U.N. Don't spoil effect of that.
What will U.S. do if no cease-fire is secured?
Depends on results of U.S./Fr. discns. I don't believe Fr. will accept U.S. "conditions". They won't want the war to be internationalised. But U.S. may give air & naval support.
Then hostilities betw. U.S./Ch. are v. likely to develop.
What influence have R. on Ch. at Geneva?
M. has made it clear to me tht. he can't answer for Chinese.
They may do things wh. R. wdn't like.
Viet-Minh, similarly, not wholly controlled by China.
We shd. seek concln. at G. in 10 days or so. Unless you are sure tht.
x| Communists are not takg. opportunity of altering mil. sitn. to our disadvantage eg. Hanoi.
If U.S. decided to intervene, doesn't follow we shd. be dissociated fr.
y| them. For we are playing, in Malaya, a part in defence on this area.
We shdn't break with them politically because of their intervention.
We cd. offer to send troops fr. E. to Malaya if they wd. help us to extricate ourselves fr. Canal.
Tho' we dislike the way U.S. are playing the hand, we mustn't forget whose side we are on.
Mil. sitn. in I/China is v. bad : and we therefore run risk of reproach at x/.
But we are not delaying anything practical. SEA pact cdn't save Hanoi. Only practical step is staff talks : & they are going on.
On y/ we must see what circs. are. Diffy. is tht. this is such a bad case. Everyone knows Viet Minh wd. win a free election in V.Nam. V. little support in U.N. for such intervention.
x/ may be eased by early start of 5 Power staff talks.
Wd. help, too, if it cd. be made known tht. Templer wd. join in later.
Is due to leave Malaya on 31/5.
Will warn him tht. we wd. like him to do this.
Taken from C. 35(54) - Meeting held on 24 May 1954.