216. Message From Foreign Secretary Lloyd to Secretary of State Dulles1

We are in a Parliamentary difficulty here. Most of the House of Commons and most of the press are in favour of a Summit meeting to deal with the Middle East. They may disapprove strongly of the offensive terms of Khrushchev’s invitation and they may accept some argument upon timing, composition and venue, but are firmly convinced that a Summit meeting must take place. As I said on Sunday morning,2 I feel that what we have to extract from the present situation is a viable international settlement for the Lebanon and Jordan—something along the lines of the Austrian Treaty may be the best that we can get—leading on to a general settlement.

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I think that the best means of making progress is by some kind of high level talk with Khrushchev. As I told you, this would not be a Summit meeting in which we would have a series of speeches designed to end up with some rather phoney statements about reducing tension and world peace. It would be a high level meeting designed to procure viable settlements for two specific problems—Lebanon and Jordan.

You pointed out your difficulty in Lebanon if the President of the Lebanon were to ask you to withdraw. You are aware of the extreme vulnerability of our position in Jordan from an operational point of view. Therefore it suits both our interests to get respectable and viable settlement as quickly as possible.

Now for that kind of purpose I think the participation of Nehru and Hammarskjold has positive advantages.

If all Khrushchev’s efforts end in a settlement over Lebanon and Jordan, I think his balloon will be somewhat punctured. The card we have to play in all this is the presence of 10 or 20, 000 American troops in Lebanon, and we must not trade this great card of their physical presence in the Lebanon, except for settlement of Lebanon and Jordan.

I really do believe that a top level talk with Khrushchev is the quickest way to get what we both want. I prefer it to be limited to the Middle East. In the new situation I doubt whether he could turn it to so much advantage in the Arab-Israel controversies. The argument against permitting him to get into the Arab-Israel question used to be that his pro-Arab view would make the position of our pro-Western and anti-Communist friends in Iraq impossible. That situation unhappily no longer exists.

I have talked to Harold about this and we really both believe it is in our best interest in this present situation to press on for some kind of high level meeting.

On Sunday I accepted your view that it should not be the kind of meeting proposed by Khrushchev nor did I like the idea put from London about a special assembly of Heads of Government level. But I did like very much the sentence in your original draft,

“Article 28 of the Charter provides for Security Council meetings at which each of the members may if it so desires be represented by a member of its government. If the Soviet Union desires a meeting in the Security Council, at which members could be represented by Heads of Government or Foreign Ministers, the United States would gladly agree in following this orderly procedure.”

I believe that that is the kind of positive reaction which it is essential that we should make in these present circumstances.

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In this way we would avoid being summoned by Khrushchev on his own terms and would get a respectable and orderly meeting. I showed Harold that passage in your original draft immediately on my return and he liked it immensely. I hope that you will restore something on these lines in your reply to Khrushchev.

So far as the debate tomorrow in the House of Commons is concerned Harold and I, in order to avoid pressure to approve in principle a Summit meting of the Khrushchev type, as the French and Indians seem inclined to favour, will have to put forward some positive alternative. We should therefore like to back strongly the alternative of a special Security Council meeting which you seemed to favour last Sunday morning.

  1. Source: Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204. Secret. Conveyed to the Department of State on July 22 under cover of a note from Lord Hood which indicated that the message was personal for Dulles from Lloyd. Hood noted that part of the British draft reply to Khrushchev, incorporating the amendments suggested by Dulles was attached. The attachment is included in the microfiche supplement.
  2. See Document 204.