179. Note from Smith to Rusk, April 131

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Mr. Secretary:

The attached message from the Prime Minister is now being transmitted to Palm Beach.

When you have read this, would you call me so that we can work out an expeditious way of getting your views to the President today?

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Dear Friend,

Thank you very much for your message of April 11 sent after our telephone conversation. It seems to me that we are now very close on wording. I accept the substance of your change to my paragraph 6 but I think that the order of this paragraph ought to be changed a little in consequence. I attach for your consideration a suggested redraft which incorporates your new wording.

I also entirely accept the idea of including the reference to a quota in paragraph 5 of my draft which would now read as you suggested.

I hope, therefore, that we can now agree the text of the joint letter on the above basis. There remains the question of delivery. On the whole I think that the draft as it now appears is sufficiently arresting in tone to make Khrushchev realise that it is a genuine attempt to break the deadlock and not just a propaganda move. I therefore doubt if we need send emissaries at all at this stage; the Ambassadors could deliver the letters (I [Facsimile Page 3] suppose acting jointly). When they do this I suggest that they might indicate that the “very senior representatives” mentioned in paragraph 6 of our letters could be special envoys or could be our Foreign Ministers. Thus we should be offering Khrushchev a number of options; he would have little procedural excuse for not accepting one of them.

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If we can agree the texts and the instructions in time I would hope that we might get our Ambassadors in Moscow to deliver these messages on April 15 or 16. As you know, the Geneva meeting reconvenes on April 17 and with the Neutrals in their present mood I would like to get our message to Khrushchev before then. If we look like having to think a bit more about the precise instructions to the Ambassadors I would hope that we might at least be able to instruct Kohler and Trevelyan in the next two days to warn the Russians that they expected important messages and would like to know if they could see Khrushchev personally next week.

With warm regard,

Harold Macmillan
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We should be interested to hear your suggestions as to how we are to break out of this. For our part we should be quite prepared now to arrange private tripartite discussions in whatever seemed the most practical way. It would be our hope that these discussions would bring the matter close enough to a final decision so that it might then be proper to think in terms of a meeting of the three of us at which a definite agreement on a test ban could be reached. We are very ready to discuss the best method of reaching this position. For example, our chief representatives at Geneva could conduct discussions on the questions which remain to be settled. Alternatively, or at a later stage, President Kennedy/Mr. Macmillan and I would be ready to send in due course very senior representatives who would be empowered to speak for us and talk in Moscow directly with you. We would hope that by one method or another we would get to a point at which we, who bear the ultimate responsibility for decisions on this matter, would have clearly before [Facsimile Page 5] us the major problems which might remain to be settled. It is of course obvious that a meeting of the three of us which resulted in a test ban treaty would open a new chapter in our relations as well as providing an opportunity for wider discussions.

  1. Transmits copy of April 13 message from Macmillan to Kennedy conveying Macmillan’s suggested changes in proposed letters to Khrushchev. Appended to Macmillan’s message is the redraft of paragraph 6. Top Secret. 5 pp. Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204, MacmillanKennedy, 1963.