301. Delegation Record of Meeting0



  • The Secretary
  • Mr. Smith
  • Mr. Merchant
  • Mr. Sullivan
  • Ambassador Thompson
  • Mr. Wilcox
  • Mr. Becker
  • Mr. Krebs
  • Mr. Berding
  • Mr. James
  • Mr. Irwin
  • Mr. Reinhardt

Daily Analysis of Soviet Positions at Conference

1. The Secretary asked that a daily analysis be prepared of the Soviet presentations at the Conference for rebuttal purposes. Mr. Reinhardt, in coordination with Mr. Becker, will make arrangements for the production of such an analysis.

Liaison with Other Delegations

2. In reply to the Secretary’s inquiry, Mr. Reinhardt explained that certain officers have been assigned to keep in touch with the British, French, German, and Soviet Delegations in Geneva.

Tactics at Conference

3. There was general discussion of the chairmanship of the session this afternoon. It was noted that the French are scheduled to be in the [Page 701] chair today, but that with Couve ill a problem has arisen. Mr. Merchant asked whether the Secretary thought it important to encourage the French to hold the chair. The Secretary said he did not attach great importance to the French being in the chair today. It was agreed that the matter would be worked out in the Deputies Coordinating Group.1 There was agreement, however, that it would be important to have a Western Foreign Minister in the chair on Friday.2

There was discussion about whether the Western Peace Plan3 should be distributed to the delegations as a Conference document or read by the Secretary. Mr. Merchant suggested that it would be desirable for the Secretary to read the Plan. He pointed out that this would consume time and, since France and the UK are expected to follow our presentation with short supporting statements, the West would probably get a clear press tomorrow.

Timing of Subsequent Sessions

4. The Secretary inquired whether the Russians would want time to study our Peace Plan. Ambassador Thompson thought that Gromyko would probably seek full instructions from Moscow before making any significant reaction to our proposals. Mr. Merchant thought it desirable not to meet on Saturday and to try to adhere to a five-day week, at least at the outset of the Conference. The Secretary suggested that if there were no meeting on Saturday, that that day might be the best time for him to visit Rome.

NATO Consultation on Geneva Conference

5. Mr. Merchant noted that the report of yesterday’s private meeting of the North Atlantic Council had brought out no adverse criticism of our proposals.4

Czech-Polish Participation

6. Ambassador Thompson thought that the Russians would probably return to the question of Czech-Polish participation, possibly urging the participation of the Poles alone. He thought that we should begin to develop a position on participation by the Poles alone.

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Press Reaction to Conference

7. Mr. Berding said that press coverage in Western Europe and the United States has been mainly a preview of our presentation. Keen interest has been shown in the Czech-Polish issue. The Secretary’s opening statement received good play. Mr. Berding noted that the New York Times today had carried our official summary of the Plan, and he suggested that it had been given to the Times in Washington. He noted that the Russian briefing officers are singling out the French for criticism on their attitude toward the Conference.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1348. Secret. Drafted by James. The meeting was held in Conference Room 209 of the Consulate General Annex.
  2. At the Deputies Coordinating Group meeting at 10:30 a.m. Merchant, Rumbold, Lucet, and Grewe agreed that the French would retain the chair even if Couve de Murville could not attend the session. (Memorandum of conversation, US/MC/11; ibid., CF 1338)
  3. May 15.
  4. See footnote 1, Document 295.
  5. A report on the discussion of the Western Peace Plan by the North Atlantic Council on May 13 was transmitted in Polto 3256 from Paris, May 13. (Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/5–1359)