9. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom0

5456. London eyes only Ambassador Bruce. Geneva eyes only Under Secretary Ball. Following is text President’s letter to Macmillan transmitted through British Embassy May 22:

“Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

“I have been slow in responding to that part of your letter of April 28th which deals with the possible relation of the United Kingdom to the Common Market,1 but I am sure you will understand that this is not because of any lack of interest in the problem. We have been thinking hard here about it, and about your important comments.

George Ball, on our side, has been in good close touch with your people, both here and in London, and I think he has presented our views so clearly in an aide-mémoire and in conversations that it would not be useful for me to go into repetitive detail. We quite understand that the great decision to join the Common Market will necessarily carry with it a concern for your special obligations in three fields—agriculture, the Commonwealth, and your relations with EFTA. If we also hope and trust that ways can be found to deal with these matters, it is of course because of our own conviction that the West will be greatly strengthened if the United Kingdom can become a full member of the Rome Treaty.

“Our central interest here, as I am sure you know, is political. We believe that only with growing political coherence in Western Europe can we look to a stable solution of the place of Germany. Although the success of the Six has been striking, we doubt if the weights and balances will be right without your great influence at the center.

“It is because of this political conviction that we have been willing to face the prospect of significant—although we hope temporary—economic disadvantages to the United States in the spread of the Common Market. A customs union alone would be a source of economic difficulty for us, without compensating political advantages, and we should be most reluctant to see such a result.

“For similar reasons we have hoped that perhaps the problem of your relation to EFTA might be handled in stages, always of course with [Page 21] full responsibility to your partners in EFTA, so that the accession of the United Kingdom to the Rome Treaty might be possible without awaiting complete arrangements for everyone else. We cannot help thinking that if you are once safely and strongly in the Common Market, you will be in a very good position to protect all of the interests which so legitimately give you concern at present.

“I remain at your service to raise this question with General de Gaulle in any way that you think may be constructive. It would certainly be easy for me to say to him, quite informally, the sort of thing you suggest in your letter, though of course I would want to stay clear of any appearance of judging just what special arrangements may turn out to be right. I am sure the General would dislike any appearance of pressure from me. Perhaps it may be best for me to see how our talks go. But I would like to do whatever you think wise. Will you let me know your view?

“I am looking forward more and more to our meeting in London. There will certainly be much to talk about then. Sincerely,”

  1. Source: Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204. Secret. Also sent to Geneva.
  2. Macmillan’s letter discussed European unity and attached a memorandum with two annexes that he thought the President might find useful in a meeting with de Gaulle. (Ibid.)