Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file

No. 473
Memorandum of a Meeting of President Eisenhower and Prime Minister Churchill at The White House, June 26, 1954, 11 a.m.

The Prime Minister came over to the President’s office shortly after 11, stayed until about 12:45. He then went back to the White House to “wash his hands” and the President went over a few minutes later for the meeting with the Legislative members.1

President first said that he was trying his hand with the “Atlantic Charter #2”2 to reaffirm principles but modifying them by practicality. He said he was tired of this business of issuing a communiqué that says “we talked about this and we talked about that.”

The Prime Minister first brought up “small point” about General Gruenther. The President explained that Secretary of Defense and others had wanted him to take Gruenther out of NATO for positions here, but that he would not do it. The Prime Minister said that he had been asked by Viscount Montgomery to put in a very strong plea to keep General Gruenther in Europe; the President said, “I will guarantee no change.”

The President then brought up the topic of “reconnaissance” in forces which the Prime Minister had referred to in conversation the previous night (i.e., a meeting of the leaders of Soviet Russia, Great Britain and the United States).3

The President would not agree to a meeting anywhere under the present Soviet rule, but did not object to Churchill’s suggestion of either Stockholm or London.

The President tried to urge the Prime Minister to (1) make the first move through diplomatic channels, and (2) include France. As to the first, the Prime Minister feels he can approach the matter obliquely, either through Malik or directly to Malenkov, by saying something to the effect, “How would you feel if you were asked to go to a big three meeting?” etc. The President tried to stress that [Page 1098] opportunity should not be given to Malenkov to “hit the free world in the face.”

They discussed Red China. Of admittance to the UN, Churchill said, “My line about recognition is that there has got to be peace first.” The President said that if they would withdraw to their own borders, release our prisoners, and say they would observe propriety in international relationships, he would consider using his influence to obtain recognition.

Some discussion of Eden’s relationship with Dulles here. Churchill said that Dulles has said a couple of things to Eden that need not have been said.

The President (going back to the question of meeting) thought it ought to be stressed that meeting would be concerned only with European affairs. Churchill thought that he could ask that Russians sign Austrian treaty. About this he said, “It is a dream; if I were a Russian I should think it would be good politics.”

Churchill said that when he came to see Truman two years ago,4 he telegraphed Malenkov about the trip; he did not inform him of this trip because he considered the “old friendship” basis so different.

Eisenhower suggested that the matter be talked over with Eden and Dulles. He again suggested ordinary diplomatic channels, but Churchill did not agree to that. He suggested Sir Winston might use as excuse his age, but Sir Winston did not agree to that.

At this point the President also said he would think favorably of The Hague as a meeting place.

Churchill does not want to inquire until he returns to England, of course; thinks he can find out 48 hours after his return.

About nations to be asked, Churchill said: “Two is company; three is hard company; four is a deadlock.”

Churchill implied that he was going to turn things over to Anthony Eden some time before their elections in fall of ’55.

Some discussion of salaries of members of Parliament and of Congress; and of their own financial situations.

Referring again to primary subject of conversation, Churchill’s tentative inquiry about Big Three meeting, he said, “I swear to you that I will not compromise you in the slightest.” The President suggested again the matter be talked over with Foster Dulles. He said this was one field where he was completely inexperienced in the kind of negotiations, and he was therefore unsure as to exactly what was right thing to do. The President, “I am not afraid to meet anybody face to face to talk to him, but the world gets in a habit of [Page 1099] expecting a lot.” He said he could conceive of going to the first day of such a conference meeting and coming home, leaving the Vice President and Foster Dulles there, and then perhaps going back for the last five days of such a conference.

Subject of rearmament of Germany brought up, and what Mr. Churchill would say at Senators and Congressmen’s luncheon.

Then Churchill read the “Atlantic Charter #2.” At the end, he said, “Damned good,” and offered two minor word changes. He said, “I can’t tell you how I like it compared to what we had to face in Bermuda with that damned communiqué.”5

. . . . . . .

President suggested that Prime Minister might want to speak at luncheon for legislative leaders, a little about Egypt, Iran & Trieste.

  1. For a record of the luncheon with the legislative leaders, see the attachment to the entry from Hagerty’s diary, infra.
  2. See Document 353.
  3. Regarding this discussion, see Document 468.
  4. For documentation on the TrumanChurchill talks, held at Washington Jan. 5–18, 1952, see Documents 311 ff.
  5. For documentation on the Bermuda Conference, Dec. 5–8, 1953, see vol. v, Part 2, pp. 1710 ff.