248. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • US-German Relations (Part 1 of 9 Parts)1


  • United States
    • The President
    • Arnold Lissance (Interpreter)
  • Germany
    • The Chancellor
    • Hermann Kusterer (Interpreter)

After an exchange of pleasantries and some discussion of local history, the President told the Chancellor of the close relationship which the American people felt for the German people, and added that he was [Page 654] especially pleased this meeting could take place so early in both their administrations.

The Chancellor was grateful for the personal privilege of meeting with the President in this private atmosphere. He noted, too, there were no serious problems between the US and Germany.

The President said the US wanted to draw the curtain over the past, work side by side, and try to live peacefully together with the other peoples of this planet. This was a major challenge. Despite the great progress in the physical sciences, comparable progress had not been made in political science, in the science of people learning to live peacefully together.

The President reminded the Chancellor that US commitments to the Federal Republic and Berlin were far reaching. He then went on to say he considered the Chancellor one of the ablest world leaders and therefore looked to the Chancellor for suggestions for improving the Atlantic partnership and reducing East-West tensions. He especially hoped that during these two days of talks, he and the Chancellor would succeed in pinpointing possible new approaches for dealing with some of the major problems facing both their countries.

At the conclusion of the talk, the President told the Chancellor he felt the conversations had been fruitful and helpful. He reassured the Chancellor of the US trust and confidence in him and promised that he could rely fully on US faith and trust.

The Chancellor said he appreciated this. He hoped their exchanges would always be candid and full. Even though his comments might sometimes not be diplomatic, the President could always be sure they were honest and straightforward.

The President said he preferred this kind of relationship. He, too, did not want to get bogged down in striped pants diplomacy. It was most important that the two of them understand and trust one another and maintain the closest possible working relationship.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 66 D 110, CF 2354. Secret; Exdis. The source text bears no drafting information, but it was approved by the White House on January 14, 1964. The Chancellor visited the Texas White House December 28–29.
  2. Parts 2, 4, and 5 are printed as Documents 249, 250, and 251. Parts 3 (European economic problems) and 6–9 (German defense budget, German assistance to less-developed countries, offset payments, and Cuba) are in Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 66 D 110, CF 2354.