113. Telegram From the Department of State to the Secretary of State, at Paris1

Tedul 12. Eyes only Secretary from Acting Secretary. This afternoon I showed the President your delayed Dulte 13.2 In response to your specific question regarding Macmillan’s proposal for a conference to take place first at the level of heads of state, the President commented along the following lines:

We want to give every possible consideration to helping our friends. He is cognizant of the UK position and realizes that they would like to use his name under the present circumstances even though they apparently do not expect much of a substantive nature to come out of such a conference.
There should be some sort of a meeting at the Foreign Ministers level to work out details in advance of the top-level conference.
The Foreign Ministers meeting must say that the subsequent top-level conference will be (1) of an exploratory nature to determine the issues and subjects which the permanent staffs can continue to [Page 179]work on, and (2) for a general exchange of views at the top level but with no substantive decisions to be reached
He would like to leave any further decisions for you to work out entirely at your discretion.

The President is following your cables with the greatest of interest and again sends his warmest regards and appreciation.

(It occurs to me we may wish to consider the possibility that the Soviets might well turn down such a proposal, demanding either a substantive discussion or none at all. In such event we might have to face alternative of acquiescence or adverse repercussions.)

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1/5–955. Top secret; Niact.
  2. Document 111.