295. Editorial Note

Telegram 5959 to Paris, June 14, 1963, drafted by McGeorge Bundy and Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Tyler, instructed Ambassador Bohlen to see Foreign Minister Couve de Murville in order to invite President de Gaulle to the United States and to discuss with Couve “the President’s thinking about his American University speech” and the Harriman mission to Moscow. Regarding the testing question, Bohlen was to note “disturbing indications” that a new Soviet test series was about to begin and to tell Couve that Kennedy recognized that the French view of testing and the technique of negotiation with the Soviets was different from the American. “But the President wishes de Gaulle to know that if any test ban agreement should come into near prospect, he would think it essential to engage in close and careful discussion among the three Western nuclear powers to see if ways could be found to reconcile their positions in the face of any such prospective agreement. The President’s view is that in such case it would be necessary to take account of the needs of France if she were to join in a test ban agreement.”

Bohlen reported in telegram 5194 from Paris, June 15, that he had seen Couve and outlined the President’s thinking as instructed. Couve “found interesting the reference to taking into account the needs of France” if it joined a test ban agreement. “I told him that while I was speaking only personally, I thought that this meant in the event she decided to join any test ban agreement which might be reached and that if in so doing she were to forego certain technical advances to her nuclear program, then the US would be prepared to discuss what the US might do to help in those circumstances.” (Both in Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 US)