228. Talking Points0

PDG–A/2

PRESIDENT’S VISIT TO DE GAULLE

Paris, May 31–June 2, 1961

Talking Points (Summary of Scope Paper)1

The President will have five sessions with de Gaulle, totaling seven and a quarter hours (approximately 50% of the time probably required [Page 657] for interpretation). Four of these meetings are alone with interpreters. De Gaulle has given only general ideas on agenda. Hopefully at the first half-hour meeting on Friday, May 31, at 12:30 de Gaulle may indicate in what order he would like to raise subjects. Since, however, he has not done so to date, the following talking points follow the order of the Scope Paper which was discussed with the President.

1)
East- West Issue: Large community of interest exists between U.S. and France and there are few disagreements on nature of threat. Stress identity of U.S. and French views on this most fundamental issue as overriding intra-alliance problems which we may have.
2)
Berlin: This is only specific subject which de Gaulle singled out for discussion. He considers it of paramount importance and strongly favors maintenance of status quo. Stress here again our community of interest and fact both U.S. and French prestige committed to maintenance of Western position on Berlin and express agreement with de Gaulle’s very firm position on Berlin. Reference could be made to need to get ahead with contingency planning in Washington and fact that French representative here may need fuller instructions from Paris.
3)
“Europe”: Another area where we are largely in agreement. Emphasize U.S. support for broad political objectives of EEC (de Gaulle’s support for European integration is likewise best means to avoid resurgent German nationalism).
4)
Africa: Another area in which our interests and policies largely coincide. Stress our support for French policy of self-determination as implemented throughout Africa south of Sahara by French and which French now seeking to implement in Algeria. We are well pleased with progress which states in Africa of French persuasion are making and orderly way in which they came into independence. While we have some minor differences regarding aid (particularly military) to the African states and a few minor divergencies elsewhere, by and large we are in accord. We strongly believe France should continue to play a major role in Africa especially in the former French territories and we emphatically do not seek to displace her. We are impressed with the strength of the cultural and other relationships between France and these territories and consider their continuation in our common interest.
5)
U.N: Here is an area of disagreement. De Gaulle’s distrust of the U.N. is widely known. He considers the U.N. Congo operation a failure which should be terminated. While there is no hope of converting de Gaulle into a U.N. supporter, we probably should review for him reasons why we consider the U.N. so important to Western policy. It could be added that without the U.N., the chaos in the Congo would have been much worse.
6)
Latin America: De Gaulle acknowledges this as area of primary U.S. responsibility. However, stress that U.S. not only not suspicious of French motives in Latin America but would like France to play a greater role both culturally and economically. We think France could be helpful in the Cuban problem. It could be mentioned to de Gaulle that we also would hope France might assist in the Latin American commodity problem by urging the Six not to give preferential treatment to African tropical products. Finally we should be entirely candid with de Gaulle on the Cuban affair.
7)
Southeast Asia: This should be discussed under the general problem of Communist aggression and penetration. It should be discussed to cover Thailand and Vietnam as well as Laos. Talks regarding the Geneva Conference could be left to the Foreign Ministers. Stress could be laid on obtaining French cooperation in creating genuinely neutral government and not one dominated by leftist elements. We should combat de Gaulle’s view that Laos is peripheral area which can be abandoned with impunity, and continue our efforts to improve the performance of the Royal Army.
8)
Tripartite Consultation: This remains one of the major issues between us. De Gaulle for reasons of pride may not raise this in view of his previous disappointments. We could reiterate our previous offer to hold tripartite military discussions, and indicate a willingness to consider occasional tripartite Heads of Government meetings. Also lay emphasis on our desire really to consult with French on substance of all issues. We place more importance on the substance than the form of consultation. We certainly are willing and intend to consult with France bilaterally on problems on same basis as with British. In addition all of the existing machinery for periodic tripartite consultation at the Foreign Ministers’ level and in the capitals, especially in Washington between the Secretary of State and the two Ambassadors, should continue in force.
9)
Nuclear Problems: We know well de Gaulle’s desire for an independent French nuclear deterrent from which he cannot be deflected. We know also his belief that the U.S. should turn nuclear “secrets” over to France. He likewise knows our unwillingness to meet him and he may not raise the problem. However, it is so fundamental, the President should consider reviewing our policy, including our views on control of nuclear weapons and against the proliferation thereof. Likewise we should give de Gaulle as full a rundown as possible of the present U.S. nuclear capability, both that committed to NATO and that existing otherwise.
10)
NATO: De Gaulle’s objections to NATO are closely tied to his views on nuclear problems. One difficulty has been de Gaulle’s doubts regarding the U.S. use of the deterrent. It could be explained the extent [Page 659] to which NATO is now a nuclear power and that the use by NATO of its nuclear forces in Europe would inevitably lead to the use of the additional U.S. deterrent (SAC). De Gaulle could also be told why we favor equipping NATO with those weapons which now actually exist such as Polaris. Our view on the need for strengthening conventional forces should also be covered. Also reiterate vital importance of NATO as a vehicle for bringing together the forces of all the allies, and the overriding importance which we attach to NATO.
  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 66 D 110, CF 1895. Secret; Limit Distribution. No drafting information appears on the source text but like the scope paper, referred to below, it was probably drafted in the Department of State.
  2. Dated May 15, a copy of this 8-page paper, PDG A/1, is ibid.