477. Telegram From Secretary of State Herter to the Department of State 0

Cahto 169. For the President from the Secretary.

“Dear Mr. President:

During middle of plenary conference yesterday,1 Selwyn Lloyd sent me some of his thoughts on the present situation here in letter form, and also enclosed a draft of a wire which Harold Macmillan proposed sending to you, but on which he had first asked for Selwyn’s views.2 Only the last sentence of Selwyn’s letter is important and I quote it herewith:

  • ‘Furthermore, after what we have done together to try to keep a common position, I dread the possibility of our having to take up different positions in public’.

The draft message from Macmillan to you was an almost hysterical plea that you yourself call a summit meeting at once to take place in [Page 1052] Quebec about September 1, giving quite inaccurately items of progress at the meeting here which would warrant doing this. It was obvious that Macmillan’s draft had been prepared before receipt of your letter to him dealing with your own views on the summit.3

I persuaded Selwyn to dissuade Harold from sending you such a wire and told him I would wish to discuss the matter with him further today.

After considering overnight and after receipt of two wires from the Department this morning bringing me up to date on the status of the Khrushchev visit,4 I decided to tell Selwyn where this matter stood since it, of course, has a real bearing on the various problems surrounding this conference and a possible summit meeting. You will remember that, with your permission, I had advised Selwyn in very general terms that you had been feeling out informally with Khrushchev a possible exchange of visits to Moscow and Washington. Selwyn showed great interest and began at once speculating on how such visits might affect summit. He at first put forward idea possibility your asking Macmillan and de Gaulle to join you for informal talks with Khrushchev at some time during latter’s visit in U.S. But, after we pointed out the difficulties in arranging this type of informal meeting, he agreed it would probably be impractical. He then speculated on the possibility of your discussing with Khrushchev a summit meeting to be held late in November or December after your return from your Moscow visit. He thought possibly having such a summit agreed to in September would take care of both continuing discussions on Berlin and German problems as well as British election problem. He will be talking to Harold over this weekend and may have some thoughts on his return Sunday night.

We both speculated on possible effect contemplated September Khrushchev visit might have on negotiations here, visualizing two possibilities. First, that Khrushchev would keep Gromyko inflexible so that he, Khrushchev, could negotiate directly with you or, second, that Khrushchev would visualize desirability some agreement here in connection with public reception himself in U.S. No conclusion reached.

I am sending to Department some preliminary comments on suggested draft reply to Khrushchev which I will expect to supplement early Monday.5

[Page 1053]

I have said nothing whatever to Couve de Murville in regard to this whole situation, nor shall I do so until authorized by you. However, if you feel that I could properly give him rough outlines of the situation as it stands, it would be most helpful.

Today’s meeting at my house with Gromyko 6 indicated some little advance on the Berlin problem. All-German committee question shelved by Gromyko and we reiterated in private what we had said in public that we would not accept a link between this and a temporary arrangement for Berlin. However, I am certain Gromyko will raise it again, probably in some new form. I feel slightly more optimistic regarding keeping the negotiations going, but there is still a hard row to hoe.

We all await with great interest results of Nixon-Khrushchev talks Sunday.


Signed: Chris.”

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/7–2459. Secret; No Distribution.
  2. See Document 472.
  3. Copies of Lloyd’s message and the draft wire from Macmillan are attached to US/MC/155 in Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF1395. In addition to the sentence quoted, Lloyd explained why the British believed a summit conference was necessary regardless of progress at Geneva.
  4. See Document 468.
  5. Tocah 183, Document 474, and Tocah 182, July 23, which transmitted the text of a draft reply to Khrushchev that had been agreed by the President and officers of the Department of State. (Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1333)
  6. Transmitted in Cahto 165, these comments were that 1) the draft should be shortened, 2) the President should not get involved in negotiating over positions at Geneva, 3) the desirability of progress at Geneva if Khrushchev was to visit the United States, and 4) the exchange of visits should not be linked to a summit meeting. (Ibid., CF 1329)
  7. See Document 476.