159. Memorandum of Conference With President Eisenhower0


  • Secretary Herter, Secretary Gates, Major Eisenhower, General Goodpaster

The President began by saying that he had been considering the whole U–2 question, and that in his opinion the U–2 is now a dead [Page 415] issue—it is obsolete. Mr. Herter mentioned that General de Gaulle had been briefed on the material derived from this operation and had been most appreciative, commenting that it must go on.1

Regarding the question of Berlin and Germany, Mr. Herter said that a Soviet paper had been sent to De Gaulle,2 and is being very carefully studied. On disarmament, there is a problem with the French, who show signs of submitting a separate paper on control of delivery means, which is a wholly different approach from the work done in Geneva. With regard to the open skies idea, Mr. Herter said his people are giving attention to the concept of inspection of the type in the Norstad plan, extended to the whole world. They are also studying the proposal for the United Nations to do the overflying, and provide assurance against surprise attack.

The President said what he especially liked about the Norstad plan was that it was limited, and would be a good testing ground for development of inspection procedures.

[Here follows discussion of unrelated matters.]

The President then asked the Secretary what subjects he thought would come up for principal consideration at the Western Four-Power meeting in the early afternoon. Mr. Herter thought that, with Adenauer there, the main question would be that of Berlin and Germany. The President asked the same question regarding the Three-Power meeting, and Mr. Herter said that is planned for procedures and tactics for the summit.

Mr. Herter reverted to the problem raised by the French disarmament proposal, which he termed embarrassing to the West. The French have given no notice of this to NATO, and it is essentially a new project. We have had to reserve our position on it as a result. Mr. Gates suggested that we should directly challenge De Gaulle on this. The President said he had no disagreement with it in concept. The question is phasing, and the specific measures by which we carry out the proposal. The idea is deficient in that it omits consideration of the essential practical considerations.

Mr. Herter said the British will talk with the Soviets about arrangements for discussions on nuclear testing. He and the British both thought the meeting should be held at the British Embassy, perhaps on Wednesday or Thursday at 5 PM.

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The President said he is of the view that he should see Khrushchev bilaterally early in the sessions—immediately if Khrushchev brings up the U–2 question.

Brigadier General, USA
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, DDE Diaries. Secret.
  2. Officials from the Embassy in Paris briefed De Gaulle on the U–2 program during the morning of May 14. A report on the briefing was transmitted in telegram 5328 from Paris, May 14. (Department of State, Central Files, 761.5411/5–1460)
  3. See Document 154.