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Declaration of Common Purpose by the President and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

October 25, 1957

THE PRESIDENT of the United States and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, at the end of three days of meetings at which they were assisted by the Secretary of State and the Foreign Secretary and other advisers, issued the following statement:


We have met together as trusted friends of many years who have come to head the governments of our respective countries. These two countries have close and historic ties, just as each has intimate and unbreakable ties with other free countries.

Recognizing that only in the establishment of a just peace can the deepest aspirations of free peoples be realized, the guiding purpose of our deliberations has been the determination of how best to utilize the moral, intellectual and material strength of our two nations in the performance of our full share of those tasks that will more surely and promptly bring about conditions in which peace can prosper. One of these tasks is to provide adequate security for the free world.

The free nations possess vast assets, both material and moral. These in the aggregate are far greater than those of the Communist world. We do not ignore the fact that the Soviet rulers can achieve formidable material accomplishments by concentrating upon selected developments and scientific applications, and by yoking their people to this effort. Despotisms have often been able to produce spectacular monuments. But the price has been heavy. For all peoples yearn for intellectual and economic freedom, the more so if from their bondage they see others manifest the glory of freedom. Even despots are forced to permit freedom to grow by an evolutionary process, or in time there will be violent revolution. This principle is inexorable in its operation. Already it has begun to be noticeable even within the Soviet orbit. If the free nations are steadfast, and if they utilize their resources in harmonious cooperation the totalitarian menace that now confronts them will in good time recede.

In order, however, that freedom may be secure and show its good fruits, it is necessary first that the collective military strength of the free nations should be adequate to meet the threat against them. At the same time, the aggregate of the free world's military expenditure must be kept within limits compatible with individual freedom. Otherwise we risk losing the very liberties which we seek to defend.

These ideas have been the central theme of our conversations which, in part, were participated in by Mr. Spaak, the Secretary-general of NATO.

In application of these ideas, and as an example Which we believe can and should spread among the nations of the free world, we reached the following understanding:


1. The arrangements which the nations of the free world have made for collective defense and mutual help are based on the recognition that the concept of national self-sufficiency is now out of date. The countries of the free world are interdependent and only in genuine partnership, by combining their resources and sharing tasks in many fields, can progress and safety be found. For our part, we have agreed that our two countries will henceforth act in accordance with this principle.

2. Our representatives to the North Atlantic Council will urge an enlarged Atlantic effort in scientific research and development in support of greater collective security and the expansion of current activities of the Task Force working in this field under the Council's decision of last December.

3. The President of the United States will request the Congress to amend the Atomic Energy Act as may be necessary and desirable to permit of close and fruitful collaboration of scientists and engineers of Great Britain, the United States, and other friendly countries.

4. The disarmament proposals made by the Western representatives on the Disarmament Subcommittee in London and approved by all members of NATO are a sound and fair basis for an agreement which would reduce the threat of war and the burden of armaments. The indefinite accumulation of nuclear weapons and the indiscriminate spreading of the capacity to produce them should be prevented. Effective and reliable inspection must be an integral part of initial steps in the control and reduction of armaments.

5. In the absence of such disarmament as we are seeking, international security now depends, not merely on local defensive shields, but upon reinforcing them with the deterrent and retaliatory power of nuclear weapons. So long as the threat of International Communism persists, the free nations must be prepared to provide for their own security. Because the free-world measures are purely defensive and for security against outside threat, the period for which they must be maintained cannot be foreseen. It is not within the capacity of each nation acting alone to make itself fully secure. Only collective measures will suffice. These should preferably be found by implementing the provisions of the United Nations Charter for forces at the disposal of the Security Council. But if the Soviet Union persists in nullifying these provisions by veto, there must otherwise be developed a greater sense of community security. The framework for this exists in collective defense arrangements now participated in by nearly 50 free nations, as authorized by the Charter. All members of this community, and other free nations which so desire, should possess more knowledge of the total capabilities of security that are in being and in prospect. There should also be provided greater opportunity to assure that this power will in fact be available in case of need for their common security, and that it will not be misused by any nation for purposes other than individual and collective self-defense, as authorized by the Charter of the United Nations.

For our part we regard our possession of nuclear weapons power as a trust for the defense of the free world.

6. Our two countries plan to discuss these ideas with all of their security partners. So far as the North Atlantic Alliance is concerned, the December meeting of the North Atlantic Council may, perhaps, be given a special character in this respect. This has been discussed with the Secretary-General of NATO, Mr. Spaak.

7. In addition to the North Atlantic Treaty, the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, the Baghdad Pact and other security arrangements constitute a strong bulwark against aggression in the various treaty areas. There are also vitally important relationships of a somewhat different character. There is the Commonwealth; and in the Western hemisphere the Organization of American States. There are individual mutual defense agreements to which the United States is a party.

8. We recognize that our collective security efforts must be supported and reinforced by cooperative economic action. The present offers a challenging opportunity for improvement of trading conditions and the expansion of trade throughout the free world. It is encouraging that plans are developing for a European Free Trade Area in association with the European Common Market. We recognize that especially in the less developed countries there should be a steady and significant increase in standards of living and economic development.

9. We took note of specific factors in the ideological struggle in which we are engaged. In particular, we were in full agreement that:

Soviet threats directed against Turkey give solemn significance to the obligation, under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, to consider an armed attack against any member of the Alliance as an attack against all;

The reunification of Germany by free elections is essential. At the Geneva Conference of 1955 Messrs. Khrushchev and Bulganin agreed to this with us and our French allies. Continued repudiation of that agreement and continued suppression of freedom in Eastern Europe undermine international confidence and perpetuate an injustice, a folly and a danger.


The President and the Prime Minister believe that the understandings they have reached will be increasingly effective as they become more widespread between the free nations. By coordinating the strength of all free peoples, safety can be assured, the danger of Communist despotism will in due course be dissipated, and a just and lasting peace will be achieved.

Note: The meetings with the Prime Minister were held in Washington, October 23-25, 1957. On the day before the issuance of the "Declaration of Common Purpose," the following White House statement was released:

At the meeting this morning the President, the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State and the Foreign Secretary reported briefly the general sense of their private discussions of last night.

All four stressed the fact that this meeting was being held to study ways in which our two countries can be of greater service to the free world, and towards that end how our joint resources can be pooled and utilized to maximum efficiency.

In this connection, at this morning's meeting the President and the Prime Minister set up two study groups. These are:

1. A group headed by Lewis L. Strauss, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and Sir Edwin Plowden, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Authority.

2. A group headed by Sir Richard Powell, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defense and Donald Quarles, Deputy Secretary, Department of Defense.

The Strauss-Plowden group was assigned the duties of making recommendations in the field of nuclear relationship and cooperation.

The Powell-Quarles group was asked to make recommendations in the field of military defense, particularly those problems dealing with missiles and rocketry.

Under the directive of the President and the Prime Minister it was emphasized that the work of these two groups should be guided by the underlying principle of the meeting-namely, how our two countries can be of greater service to the free world.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Declaration of Common Purpose by the President and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233884

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