400. Telegram From the Department of State to Secretary of State Herter at Geneva0

Tocah 114. For Secretary from Acting Secretary. Last night after discussing details of letter to Khrushchev1 the President indicated that in view of the real possibility of an early impasse on Berlin we should consider necessary action to ensure complete solidarity of Western powers at the highest level. I inquired from him what he would think of the possibility of a Western Summit meeting with himself, Macmillan, de [Page 911] Gaulle and Adenauer which would have as its objective the clearing away of the underbrush of minor disagreements among the Western powers and the establishment of firm agreement on basic policy versus the Soviet Union. He wondered whether you would consider that such a meeting might be helpful from a public relations point of view and as a means of impressing the Soviets with the reality of Western unity of purpose.

I suggested that if such a meeting were held in London it might be of some help to Macmillan in the event a Summit Meeting with Khrushchev did not come off; I also suggested it would give a useful opportunity for the President to have a bilateral talk with de Gaulle. The President readily agreed and said he would be glad to go to London if it should be decided to have such a meeting and would then be willing to fly to Paris for a short visit with de Gaulle.

I would appreciate your views on this in case the matter should come up again prior to your return. In view of the tentative nature of the thought the President wants it held very closely, with no mention of it to the British, French or Germans at this time, or indeed to any except your most senior advisers.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1332. Secret; Niact.
  2. See Document 395.
  3. In Cahto 123 from Geneva, June 17, Herter replied that a Western summit might indicate that the solid front achieved at Geneva was not as solid as it seemed although an early meeting between the President and de Gaulle was most desirable. (Department of State, Central Files, 396.1/6–1759)