379. Message From Prime Minister Macmillan to President Kennedy0

Dear Mr. President, I was very glad to receive your recent message,1 sent through Mr. Rusk, about the continuance of Anglo-United States Understandings concerning consultation before the use of nuclear weapons, and the use of bases in the United Kingdom. I am now writing in response to your suggestion that we should communicate with each other about these Understandings immediately after your Inauguration.

These Understandings have their origin in war-time collaboration for production of the atomic bomb and for the liberation of Europe. They have been developed by successive United States Administrations, and now form an essential part of the whole network of Anglo-United States joint defense arrangements which underlie Britain’s defence policy and planning. We therefore attach great importance to them. I hope very much that you and your Administration will accept these arrangements and Understandings, and the broad principles upon which they are based, and that, in particular, you will feel able to renew in your own name the personal assurances on these matters given by President Eisenhower and President Truman.2

Yours sincerely,

Harold Macmillan3
  1. Source: Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204. Top Secret.
  2. On December 19 Prime Minister Macmillan had written President-elect Kennedy a 6-page letter discussing the major problems facing their two countries and proposing a meeting with the President. (Ibid.; and Harold Macmillan, Pointing the Way, London, 1972, pp. 309–312) In his reply Kennedy agreed on the need for a meeting, but stressed that further exchanges should wait until after his inauguration. (Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204)
  3. In a February 6 letter Kennedy confirmed the Anglo-American understandings. (Ibid.)
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.