315. Telegram From Secretary of State Herter to the Department of State0

Cahto 12. For the President from the Secretary.

“Dear Mr. President:

De Gaulle’s refusal to attend a Summit meeting in the United States but his apparent willingness to let Debre attend as head of Government [Page 726] has raised questions here regarding the site for a possible Summit Conference. The British apparently dislike Geneva but the French are of course insistent that Geneva is the best place. I have stated that we do not attach too much importance to the place of the Summit and would like to accommodate others if strong feelings are expressed. However, I believe that, in spite of the de Gaulle position, we could be the determining voice in the selection because of the very valid excuse of your Constitutional problems as head of State and head of Government, and the sitting of Congress through the better part of the summer. I would appreciate knowing whether you have any thoughts on this subject so I can steer things quietly in that direction.1

There has been no real progress to date at the Conference. The statements by both sides are essentially negative to the other’s position. This sparring will probably continue the better part of the week and we tactically are not indicating overeagerness to put forward new proposals, hoping the Soviets will do so first.

Faithfully. Signed: Chris.”

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1326. Secret; Niact. Drafted by Herter.
  2. On May 20 the President replied that the location of a summit meeting made little difference to him and that Herter should feel completely free in making the decision. (Tocah 28 to Geneva; ibid., Central Files, 110.11–HE/5–2059)