346 Makin to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 971 WASHINGTON, 23 July 1947, 4.35 p.m.

IMMEDIATE SECRET

Your telegram No. 875.

I saw the Assistant Secretary of State, Hilldring and spoke in the sense of your telegram as well as leaving an aide-memoire.

Hilldring was most sympathetic. He stressed the desire of the Secretary of State for friendly and informal exchange of views and saw no reason why our views could not be met. The United States Government had no desire to exclude a meeting at Ministerial level but were concerned merely with the desire for an early conference and with problem of logistics. The difficulty was to find time between the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers, the Rio Conference and the United Nations Assembly when the Secretary of State could be present.

2. Hilldring asked- (A) When we thought the Conference could most suitably be held- (B) How long the Foreign Ministers would need to attend.

I replied that we had thought of meeting either immediately after the Assembly and that these deliberations would not be of an extended nature but would lay down principles to guide the subsequent work of experts.

3. Hilldring's successor Saltzman was present and mentioned the question of a two thirds majority. [1] Hilldring said that the United States Government attached great importance to this question and the proposal had only been made after most careful consideration.

4. During the interview before Hilldring had commented on our representations, the Secretary of State telephoned him to say that the Russians had now replied through the press to the United States proposal and had objected to 'unilateral action' by the United States Government which they claimed was not in accord with the Potsdam agreement which provided for action by the Council of Foreign Ministers. Marshall proposed to say at his press conference that the Potsdam agreement referred only to treaties with satellite countries and not Japan.

5. I formed a definite impression that the State Department is anxious to meet our wishes in every way possible and is chiefly concerned with the present and probable future difficulties with the U.S.S.R. The State Department is therefore likely to give more sympathetic consideration to our wishes. In this matter Hilldring said that the United States Government felt they had been 'virtuous'. There was clearest evidence of a desire for our support.

1 Charles E. Saltzman, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State, succeeded Hilldring as Assistant Secretary of State for Occupied Areas on 2 September.

[AA : A1068, P47/10/61, iii]