363. Notes on the Legislative Leadership Meeting0

[Here follows discussion of unrelated matters.]

Macmillan Meeting—The President commented briefly on his discussions with Mr. Macmillan, characterizing them as a very fine meeting, particularly since it was a matter of old friends getting together and all of the group were very good people.

The President suggested that it might be a good idea to begin to try to get Britain and Canada, Australia and New Zealand all together with us in one great government. If that could be done there could be an end to worrying about a number of little things that can cause divisions among independent nations. In view of the fact that the United States has now gone beyond its own shores, an idea like this—given time— might not be too difficult to sell to either side.

The President thought this had been a very productive meeting, but of course the trade business had been difficult especially when he didn’t have firm answers to these problems clear even in his own head. The President also noted the discrepancies in newspaper reports of the meeting, particularly two which Foster1 showed him which were diametrically opposed.

Messrs. Halleck and Arends2 described the effectiveness of some of Mr. Macmillan’s comments when he met with certain Congressional leaders. Also, the British Foreign Minister had suggested that internal pressures in Russia were forcing Khrushchev to do some of the things he did. The President recounted some of the events of Mr. Macmillan’s visit to Russia, particularly the Prime Minister’s firmness and perseverance in the face of Russian rudeness—and the way in which the Russians eventually came around.

The President recounted a theory held by some that Khrushchev, the only man in Russia who can make a decision, is at the point of actually wanting to make some decisions. Otherwise, the theory goes, there would be no explanation for Khrushchev’s great interest in a summit meeting, since such a meeting is not so good a propaganda weapon as to justify all the emphasis. The President added that his present guess was that a summit conference would occur. However, it could be confusing [Page 849] if too many countries became involved, and perhaps impossible should Chancellor Adenauer change his approach to the problems.

[Here follows a note regarding future meetings.]

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Legislative Meetings. Confidential. Drafted by L. Arthur Minnich, Jr., White House Assistant Staff Secretary.
  2. Secretary Dulles.
  3. Charles Halleck and Leslie Arends. The other congressional leaders present were Senators Dirksen, Kuchel, Bridges, Saltsonstall, and Williams, and Representatives Byrnes, Hoeven, Leo Allen, Taber, and Richard Simpson.