395. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Kingdom to the Department of State0

Secto 80. Acting Secretary from Kohler. Before leaving for Oxford Secretary asked me to confirm telecon with you to effect he will personally give President and you general flavor of talks here upon return. Meanwhile following are highlights.

Prime Minister Sunday night1 was in speechmaking mood. Aside from electoral difficulties he was clearly preoccupied by economic and trade difficulties and apprehensive of worse to come. He was alarmed by stock market slump and Canadian financial problem and foresaw crash ahead. He made long speech on his favorite subject of need for “greater liquidity” in support of growing economies and expanding trade along lines he used on first visit to Washington and at Bermuda. Another repeated theme was his thesis that solution of Russian problem and at same time salvation of Britain was trade, trade, trade to make Russians fat and bourgeois. He was impatient with any trade restrictions including COCOM and Cuban limitations though he finally agreed to British acceptance of NATO reporting arrangements.
Secretary gave Prime Minister and later in more detail Home and colleagues rundown European visit along lines reporting telegrams in this series. Home was particularly gratified by impression some improvement in French atmosphere. He again made point British are very concerned that discussion of nuclear questions and NATO reorganization be stretched out or postponed in order to avoid any interference with Common Market negotiations.
While Prime Minister was vehement though vague in saying British Govt would break off negotiations rather than let down the Commonwealth, Heath seemed confident that negotiations are in good course and will be successfully concluded within reasonable time period.
Both the Prime Minister and Home seemed reasonably confident they could deal with parliamentary questions on McNamara speech2 “one way or another” though they admitted that opposition has [Page 1078] them over a barrel. Secretary stressed that emphasis must be not on independence but on integration of nuclear forces and British assured him they would try find formula along these lines. Result will be reported by Emb.
Home showed normal impatience to move ahead on Berlin and wondered whether new proposals might not be put forward while situation relatively quiet. He suggested conversion of occupation forces to “police forces” and conversion occupation status to “trusteeship status,” making clear, however, changes would be verbal rather than substantive. After some discussion he seemed agree these particular suggestions probably not very attractive to Soviets.
Both Prime Minister and Home similarly impatient on nuclear testing. Prime Minister stated flatly he felt only solution to problem of diffusion was conclusion of unpoliced ban for three to five years and then diplomatic pressure on others to adhere. Home put forward a variant of this proposal by suggesting a possibility of one year atmospheric ban with related agreement for joint study of underground testing problem. Secretary told Home we were making thorough study of all possibilities during which we could consider his suggestion.
Question of missiles for Finland was left open for further study on our side.
Home confirmed, subject to securing concurrence of President of Board of Trade, British agreement to NATO resolution on trade and credit relations with Cuba. Emb will follow up.

Full memcon talks with British being prepared.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 110.11–RU/6–2662. Secret; Limit Distribution. According to another copy of this telegram, it was drafted by Kohler. (Ibid., Conference Files: Lot 65 D 533, CF 2122) Kohler accompanied Rusk on his trip to Europe June 18–28.
  2. June 24.
  3. For text of McNamara’s commencement address at the University of Michigan, June 16, see Department of State Bulletin, July 19, 1962, pp. 64–69.
  4. Memoranda of the conversations are in Department of State, Central Files, 110.11–RU/6–2462 and 6–2562, and Conference Files: Lot 65 D 533, CF 2123.