393. Talking Points for the Acting Assistant Secretary of State’s (Tyler) Briefing of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Prime Minister Macmillan’s Talks0

1. General

Talks were informal review of international problems facing US and UK. Major decisions not intended or taken.

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Subjects discussed include:

  • Berlin and Germany
  • Disarmament
  • Nuclear testing
  • Possibility of summit meeting
  • NATO Strategy
  • Weapons research and development
  • Meeting with deGaulle
  • UK-EEC negotiations
  • US commercial and tariff policy
  • Britain and Western defense as a whole
  • Colonial problems and Western unity
  • Congo
  • Laos
  • West Guinea
  • British Guiana
  • Shipping

2. Berlin and Germany

Agreed that relaxation of pressure on Berlin made it appropriate to move ahead with talks with Soviets.

Secretary reviewed talks with Dobrynin—we were nose-to-nose on key issues, but Dobrynin did not seem agitated or desire speed things up.

US and UK should point out to Germans and French that we have made no concessions to Soviets, that we are in Berlin to stay.

Prime Minister urged we should press ahead with negotiations when we were not under disadvantage of pressure.

Prime Minister thought instead of agreement, which would involve too much loss of face for Soviets, we might eventually reach some sort of modus vivendi or agreement to disagree.

We noted Soviets are committed to peace treaty and if our rights are not respected when and if treaty is signed a dangerous situation might arise.

3. Disarmament

Agreed that Disarmament Conference should continue after June 1, when interim report to UN Disarmament Committee is due.

We noted that at present Soviets were playing the disarmament conference as a propaganda exercise.

4. Nuclear Testing

We intend wait 3 or 4 months until after our tests and Soviet tests which we expect to follow, and then consider after analyzing results whether we should make another offer for nuclear test ban limited to [Page 1071] tests in the atmosphere, or possibly an entire treaty. We would have to take into account pressures in our two countries and around the world.

Prime Minister felt that if we develop new plan of nuclear testing we should present it directly to Khrushchev.

President stressed we should not reveal that we were anticipating another test ban offer. After an analysis of the tests we may find that we cannot make such an offer. Our stand calling for inspection and fixed controls was reviewed.

The Prime Minister was anxious to say that he and the President had worked out the question of tests together and that any changes were made together.

5. Possibility of Summit Meeting

It was agreed that there was no reason for a summit meeting unless there was a prospect of agreement in some important area, such as Berlin or nuclear testing.

It was agreed that bilateral meeting with Khrushchev should be kept open as a possible alternative but that this was not the right time to have a bilateral meeting.

6. NATO Strategy

The President and Prime Minister agreed that Mr. McNamara and Mr. Watkinson were talking about this subject closely and it was better to leave it to them.

President noted that we did have difference of emphasis on question of build-up of conventional forces and asked if the differences stemmed from balance-of-payments difficulties or strategy.

Prime Minister did not think there was a great difference and agreed we must keep up credibility of the deterrent. He agreed on the necessity for a pause before escalation to stress importance not to get the Russians should not think we would not use nuclear force [sic].

The President stressed the problem of Berlin in relation to the justification for the build-up of conventional forces.

7. UK-EEC Negotiations

The Prime Minister told the President at some length how matters stood with respect to UK-EEC negotiations.

Prime Minister stressed the need to take care of interest of Commonwealth and EFTA countries.

President stated his administration like previous one has given strong support to Common Market for political not economic reasons.

President pointed out that UK could not take care of everyone in its wake as it joined the Common Market. The political effect on the UK [Page 1072] would be a serious one and would certainly accentuate US balance-of-payments problem, severely affect agriculture and could cause the US withdrawal of forces from around the world.

The President noted that there was an understanding of our respective position if not agreement. The US was prepared make many sacrifices but could not go all the way. He noted that the needs of Commonwealth countries might require preferences for a temporary period, but we were concerned that preferences be terminated by a certain date.

On EFTA neutrals, the President said we have every sympathy with Austria but are not as sympathetic towards Sweden and Switzerland who want the advantages of being in and out.

The President had Secretary Ball explain at length the US position with respect to Commonwealth preferences and the problem of the EFTA neutrals. Mr. Ball also explained the relevance of US commercial and tariff policy.

8. Britain and Western Defense as a Whole

President said we were reasonably well informed on each other’s position on question of Britain and Western defense as a whole.

It was noted that US had two concerns—first, that NATO should be built up and second, there should be no weakening of British forces elsewhere in order to strengthen NATO.

Prime Minister assured us that Britain would not weaken its forces elsewhere in the world for the purpose of strengthening the British Army of the Rhine. He went on, however, to decry the anti-colonial drive which was exerting pressure on them to leave Hong Kong and Singapore.

[Here follows the remainder of the memorandum.]

  1. Source: Department of State, J/PM Files: Lot 69 D 258, UK. Secret. No drafting information appears on the source text, but it is attached to a May 10 memorandum from Kitchen to Johnson, which states that it was prepared for a Department of State–JCS meeting scheduled for May 11. Prime Minister Macmillan visited Washington April 27–29. Memoranda of his conversations with the President are ibid., Conference Files: Lot 65 D 533, CF 2084; for a memorandum of their conversation on the UK-EEC negotiations, see Document 36.