322. Memorandum of a Conversation, White House, Washington, October 24, 1957, 7 p.m.1



  • Conversation at President’s Dinner for Prime Minister


  • American
    • The President
    • The Secretary
    • Secretary McElroy
    • Deputy Secretary Quarles
    • Admiral Strauss
    • Ambassador Merchant
    • Ambassador Whitney
  • British
    • Prime Minister Macmillan
    • Foreign Secretary Lloyd
    • Ambassador Caccia
    • Sir Norman Brook
    • Sir Edwin Plowden
    • Sir Richard Powell
    • Lord Hood

Before dinner the President reviewed the report brought in from the Working Group composed of Admiral Strauss, Deputy Secretary of Defense Quarles, Sir Richard Powell and Sir Edwin Plowden.2 With a few minor changes it was accepted by the President and by the Prime Minister as a procedural understanding.

The President and the Prime Minister then revised the draft communiqué with participation in the discussion by the Secretary of State and the British Foreign Secretary. They did not complete, however, their review of the draft prior to the announcement of dinner.

There was no general discussion during dinner.

After dinner the party adjourned to the Red Room and there was a further discussion of the communiqué between the President and the Prime Minister with the two Secretaries of State, Sir Norman Brook and myself participating. The President had made certain changes in his own copy of the draft as had Mr. Macmillan. Before a complete review of the draft the two Heads of Government instructed Sir Norman Brook and myself to meet after dinner broke up and agree on a combined revised draft of the communiqué for consideration the following morning.

Consideration was then given to the Draft Directive and the memorandum on “Institutionalization” agreed to by Sir Norman Brook and myself ad referendum during the afternoon.

The Draft Directive was approved by the President and the Prime Minister with minor editorial changes.

[Page 823]

The memorandum on “Institutionalization” was discussed and it was finally agreed by the Heads of Government that it would be disposed of by lifting the final paragraph and incorporating that paragraph in the later sections of the Draft Directive. The revised directive was then textually worked out by Sir Norman Brook and myself for submission to the Secretaries of State and the Heads of Government tomorrow morning.3

Mr. Macmillan reported to the President on his conversation with M. Spaak during the afternoon in the course of which the suggestion was put forward that the December NATO meeting might be elevated to the level of Chiefs of Government. M. Spaak, through apparent timidity, failed to respond with the expected enthusiasm. It was surmised, however, that overnight the opportunities implicit in this suggestion would be appreciated and that at his 2 O’clock seance with the President and Mr. Macmillan4 M. Spaak would offer the suggestion that he arrange to convoke the December NATO meeting at this level. It was noted that the references in the draft communiqué to M. Spaak’s participation in the discussions should be subject to M. Spaak’s considered response at 2 O’clock tomorrow.

The Secretary and Mr. Lloyd agreed that they would meet with appropriate advisers at 10:30 tomorrow morning in the Secretary’s office to review the redraft of the communiqué and to dispose of other matters with which they had not yet dealt.5

[1 paragraph (13 lines of source text) not declassified]

There was some side discussion on the possibility of a stop in England by the President en route to or from Paris if he attended the December NATO meeting. This was dealt with in a conversation between Ambassador Whitney and the President.

By agreement between the President and the Prime Minister the draft paragraph on Chinese Communist representation in the UN and other international bodies was removed from the communiqué and Mr. Macmillan undertook to make this the subject of a private communication in the agreed sense to the Secretary.6

The dinner broke up and the guests departed shortly before 10 O’clock.

Livingston T. Merchant7
  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 926. Secret. Drafted by Merchant, approved by the White House, and circulated to appropriate U.S. officials on October 24.
  2. The report to the President and Prime Minister [3½ pages of source text] was not declassified.
  3. The draft directive presented the arguments which had led Brook and Merchant to the conclusion that no new “institutional” means were feasible to counter the Soviet threat. (Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 927) The directive, as approved by the President and Prime Minister [2 pages of source text], was not declassified.
  4. See Document 332.
  5. See Documents 323331.
  6. See Documents 336 and 337.
  7. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.