468. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom 0

579. Following for immediate delivery is text of letter from President to Prime Minister replying to latter’s letter contained Deptel Tocah 168, rptd London 567:1

“July 22, 1959

Dear Harold:

Thank you so much for sending me, for the benefit of the Vice President, some of your impressions concerning Mr. Khrushchev. Dick came in to pay a farewell call on me a little while ago,2 before departing for Moscow, and he read your memorandum. I am certain he will express his personal appreciation to you at the first opportunity.

From the tone of your message, I would conclude that you are much more hopeful than I am of any worthwhile result at Geneva. Unless there is an abrupt reversal in the Soviet attitude, it would appear to me that the accomplishment will be zero, or even a minus. I think that the only bright spot in the exercise has been the solidarity of the West on basic issues.

As you know, I have been quite ready to interpret progress in a most liberal fashion. So long as we could have the assurance of complete respect of our rights in Berlin and there could be agreed any kind of program that could be presented by the Foreign Ministers to Heads of Government for study and discussion, our own minimum criteria for the holding of such a meeting would be realized. Unless there is at least this much justification for a Summit, it is still my conviction that such a meeting would be a fraud on our peoples and a great diplomatic blunder.

I know that there has been some argument that the less the progress at the Foreign Ministers level, the more necessary a Summit meeting becomes. I am quite clear in my mind that such a feeling is not shared by the bulk of our people.

This may sound to you overly pessimistic. But you know that I have very much wanted to participate in a meeting in which there was even the slightest promise of a successful outcome. No one would be more thankful than I if my evaluation of the final Geneva outcome should be [Page 1035] demonstrated wrong. But I am trying to be realistic, based on what we know of Khrushchev and his henchmen.

With warm regard,

As ever, Ike”

Observe Presidential handling.

  1. Source: Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204. Secret; Presidential Handling. Repeated to Geneva as Tocah 171.
  2. Not printed, but regarding Macmillan’s letter, see footnote 3, Document 467.
  3. See Document 466.