317. Memorandum of a Conversation, White House, Washington, October 23, 19571



  • US–UK Cooperation


  • The President
  • Secretary Dulles
  • Prime Minister Macmillan
  • Mr. Selwyn Lloyd, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

There was general conversation and reminiscence. The PM and JFD reported to the President the thoughts which had been developed by the two of them in their afternoon conversation. The President indicated his general approval of the ideas, placing, however, emphasis upon initiative from NATO. He hoped that some arrangement could be worked out whereby the US and UK would have a primary responsibility in certain fields which would enable the President and Macmillan to meet together informally within that framework and without its causing widespread comment.

JFD threw out the idea that the next NATO meeting might be a meeting of Heads of Governments. Mr. Macmillan indicated that that would be acceptable, as did the President. However, the President thought that it would be useful if Macmillan would find a way to suggest to Spaak that Spaak should propose it to the President. There was some consideration as to whether or not Macmillan would be seeing Spaak before Spaak saw the President but nothing definitive on this topic was arranged.

Mr. Macmillan spoke feelingly of the type of association which the UK sought. They wanted to “rationalize” their effort within the context of every effort and to do with high efficiency some part of the combined task and not spread their effort thin doing inadequately the great mass of things relating to land, air and sea, all of which they could not cover with confidence.

He spoke of the cut of British standing forces to some 375,000, all to be regulars, doing away with the waste effort required of conscripts.

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JFD spoke of the China matter as one where we needed closer cooperation. He said that the US had tried to accommodate itself to the UK trade views, but that he thought that some accommodation was needed on the political side with the US views. Mr. Macmillan said that so long as he was Prime Minister he would never agree to anything which might bring the Communists into the United Nations. We have enough trouble, he said, with the Soviets there and do not want to compound it.

There was discussion as to the meeting for Thursday, including the Thursday dinner.2

John Foster Dulles3
  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 926. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Drafted by Dulles and distributed only to Whitney, Murphy, Reinhardt, Gerard Smith, and Elbrick on October 23. This conversation occurred during and/or after a dinner which began at 6 p.m. (Eisenhower Library, President’s Appointment Book)
  2. See Documents 320 and 322.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.