64. Editorial Note

During Chancellor Adenauer’s visit to Washington November 14 and 15, 1962, he held several meetings with U.S. Government officials. At the second meeting with President Kennedy on the afternoon of November 14, the two discussed the French situation and the U.S. balance of payments: “The situation in France had really been desperate until De Gaulle took over and if he had not come in when he did, there was real danger of a true civil war.

"The President stated that this problem was related to another one which he wished to discuss with the Chancellor. This was the matter of our dollar balance, which of course always affects the burdens we are carrying overseas. Under no circumstances did we want to retrench in our overseas defense efforts, which were costing us about $3 billion annually. (The Chancellor expressed surprise that it was so little. He had thought it would be considerably more.) For this reason the United States greatly appreciated the Strauss/Gilpatric arrangement whereby German orders would be placed in the United States in the amount of $250 million per year. Since our difficulties in October we had had to draw on our dollar resources even more and had since then heard the disquieting rumor that for budgetary reasons the Federal Republic was expecting not to fulfill this agreement this year. This would mean that our deficit would be that much higher this year and this would have a very bad psychological effect. The President hoped that Germany could see its way to making the purchases as anticipated.

"The Chancellor indicated that he was not informed in this matter and that he would look into it on his return. He would do everything in his power to see that Germany’s promise was kept.

"The President stated that we were appreciative of the aid extended so far in this respect by the Federal Republic, for instance their percentage of dollar holdings. It was important that our deficit did not go up over last year. If it remained the same, it was tolerable, but if it increased it constituted a worsening of the situation. He had heard that Germany expected to make up next year what they would not be buying this year but it would be better if it were done this year. The President then stated that he would like to give the Chancellor a one-page memorandum on this matter to take home with him.” (Memorandum of conversation, November 14; Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 65 D 533, CF 2181)

The full text of this memorandum of conversation and other documentation on Adenauer’s visit are printed in volume XV, pages 427443. See also Document 65.