306. Letter From Prime Minister Macmillan to President Eisenhower1
Dear Friend: I have been thinking further about the questions which I raised in my last message to you, on which you sent me a preliminary reply on October 11,2 and I have now heard from Selwyn Lloyd of the long talk which he had with FOSTER yesterday afternoon.3 I agree with you that the best possible thing would be for us to meet and talk over the general situation and see whether we cannot together initiate some new approach to all these interconnected problems—military, economic, and political. It is more and more clear that we have to organise the free world as a whole in the struggle against communism. It is only by coordinating our efforts and those of our friends all over the world that we can hope to stem the tide and win over the waverers. If we could meet, we might be able to reach some general conclusions and draw up a joint directive to our staffs to enable work to be continued on specified tasks.
I was very glad to hear from SELWYN that your thoughts are also turning in this direction. It we are to meet, we should do so as soon as possible—for you have Congress and I have Parliament—and if we could meet while SELWYN is still in Washington, he and FOSTER could follow through some of the points discussed between us.
How is my visit to be explained? I have thought carefully about the possibility of some pretext like a lecture or a university degree, but these affairs are usually fixed some months beforehand and I fear that any such cover would be pretty transparent. I think it would be much better to be quite frank and issue a statement to the effect that we have both felt the time had come to take up again the personal talks which we began in Bermuda. I have had a shot at a draft of the sort of statement which we might issue, here and in Washington, and I attach a copy.[Page 789]
I could leave here on the night of Tuesday, 22nd October, which would allow me to meet The Queen on Her return to London, and arrive in Washington in the afternoon of Wednesday, the 23rd. I would have to leave you not later than the night of Sunday, the 27th. Will you let me know whether you could manage a meeting between those dates?4 It would be necessary for me to obtain The Queen’s approval and as soon as i hear from you I will arrange to seek Her consent. This of course can be done in Washington.
In order to reduce any impression that this is an emergency meeting, it occurs to me that we might say, either in the formal announcement or informally to the press, that I had hoped to be able to come to Washington on my way back from Australia in February but I had felt on reflection that this would involve my missing a further period of the Parliamentary session and that it would be better to make this visit now before Parliament reassembles.
- Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International File. Top Secret. Transmitted to the President by Viscount Hood, October 16, as an enclosure to a brief letter.↩
- See Document 303.↩
- In an October 17 letter, Viscount Hood informed the President that he had transmitted the President’s reply to this letter to Prime Minister Macmillan, who was looking forward to the opportunity of talking with the President. (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File) No copy of the President’s reply has been found in Department of State files.↩
- Top Secret.↩