319. Letter From the Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs (Wilcox) to the Representative to the United Nations (Lodge)0

Dear Cabot: While there isn’t a great deal to report from here in addition to what you have read in the press, I thought you might like to have some first-hand reactions.

At the moment it looks as though both sides were pretty well dug in. We are in the process of explaining in detail our Western Peace Plan, while the Russians will no doubt continue to debate the merits of their proposal. Rumors are flying thick and fast that the Western Powers are ready to break open their package plan in order to see whether the Russians might take a portion of it. We are holding to the line, however, that the comprehensive plan which we have put in is the only logical and equitable solution to the German problem.

Generally the Russians are doing their best to leave the impression that they have come here in a friendly and cooperative spirit and are really interested in coming to an agreement. Indeed, at a dinner the other night Gromyko commented that Khrushchev had sent him to Geneva for that purpose. Just what kind of an agreement they have in mind is certainly not clear up to this point.

[Page 735]

My own conviction is that they will do their best to get enough of an agreement to justify a Summit conference. No doubt they will do their best to get the bare minimum. It is even possible that they will argue that some kind of agreement on the nuclear testing matter should suffice for going to the Summit.

We are all very pleased with the way Mr. Herter is handling his new job. He always appears relaxed and goes about his business with a certain air of assurance. He apparently does his homework for he always seems well briefed. And, I must say, he has made quite a hit with the people here in Geneva as a friendly, understanding individual who knows what he is about.

I went to a small dinner at Mr. Lloyd’s house the other night with the Secretary. I remarked to Mr. Zorin that I did not know very much about the Russian language. Since I had heard the word “Nyet” so very much, I did recognize that. He laughed and replied that he hoped we would be hearing the word “yes” a great deal more in the future.

Meanwhile I am attempting to do a few things in connection with the Specialized Agencies and our Mission here in Geneva. As you know, this place is getting to be an international center, second only in importance to New York. This means that we must do what we can to strengthen the mission so it will be equipped to handle numerous conferences of various kinds.

I am also taking the opportunity to visit the Specialized Agencies in the area and to demonstrate in every way I can our interest in the work of these organizations.

In the first nine days of the conference I have heard very little about the United Nations. If the time should arrive when we get into any detailed discussion of the Berlin question, it is probable that various U.N. contributions will be examined. On the other hand, I do think it is a helpful experience for me to be here in a number of ways, and it is probably good to have someone on the Delegation who will keep the interests of the U.N. in mind.

If any additional thoughts occur to you in connection with this problem, or if you have anything you would like to have me do while I am here, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

With warm personal regards, I am

Cordially yours,

Francis O. Wilcox1
  1. Source: Department of State, UNA Files: Lot 61 D 91, Berlin. Personal and Confidential.
  2. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.