JANUARY 14, 1957
NEW YORK—Great Britain's recent moves make it quite evident that she is doing her best to rebuild the strained relations between our two countries. The choice of Harold Macmillan as the new Prime Minister should reassure us that in him we have a friend who understands us and who, as the son of an American mother, has a natural tie to this country.
Perhaps, on our part, recognition of our inability to achieve earlier settlements of the basic questions still to be faced in the Near East would help to bring about better feeling. The two basic objectives, of course, are an arrangement by which the Suez Canal is made a truly international waterway open to ships of all nations, and a peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israel situation. It was the lack of a solution which may have brought about some of the desperation that pushed Great Britain, France and even Israel to the use of force in an effort to achieve some kind of results.
It will always be regrettable that England and France did not go first to the United Nations. At the same time, we should begin to see the problems they faced, for we are now confronted with the same kind of difficulties. Even though we bring eighty nations together to confer on those two basic questions, we have made no great progress as yet.
From reactions here, we are evidently pleased by Mr. Macmillan's appointment, and we recognize that the personal tragedy of Anthony Eden is one of those things that happen in political life. Yet all the adjustments are not necessarily to be made only on one side. In contacts with British, French and other Western European officials, one does hear criticism of the U.S. attitude in this whole tragic situation.
Our objective is to keep the Soviets from gaining control in the Near East and Far East, and to win to our side the uncommitted nations of Asia and Africa. I think this must be done by better understanding between the U.S., Great Britain and France. When we lose our oldest allies, we lose considerable influence, and somehow I feel that this will not be permanently replaced by any short-term gains. Apparently we have almost ceased to communicate with those two nations except in the most formal fashion. Those of us who remember how World War II was won will recall that in spite of difficulties there was constant and close communication leading to better understanding and more effective collaboration.
I think this should be kept in mind, and whatever needs to be done here to regain the confidence of Great Britain and France should be done. Certainly we wish Prime Minister Macmillan every success in solving Great Britain's extremely difficult economic problems, and we hope for the sake of the security of Western Europe that our ties with both England and France will soon be firmly reestablished.