467. Memorandum for the Record0


  • Daily White House Staff Meeting, 30 April 1963

[Here follows discussion of unrelated matters.]

4. Forrestal was at the meeting this morning, having arrived from Europe last evening with Governor Harriman. His presence at the table led to discussion of the following points.

Forrestal says Khrushchev seemed in fine health and that his recent remark about his advancing age was merely an aside which the Western press elected to exaggerate. Forrestal, who obviously sat in on the Khrushchev-Harriman conversation, says that the Soviets, including above all old Khrushchev himself, seemed to have practically no interest in Laos except as Laos constitutes a subject for a problem or a relationship with the United States. Despite this indifference, Forrestal and Governor Harriman apparently think that the Soviets can still, if they wish, influence the way in which the Pathet Lao, North Vietnamese, and even Red Chinese act with respect to the Laotian situation. Khrushchev did not have the foggiest notion of the geography of Laos and, when Harriman mentioned a few Laotian personalities, Khrushchev impatiently exclaimed that he did not know all those silly Laotian names or the individuals to whom these names belonged.
Forrestal said that Khrushchev seemed eager to brush Laos aside and discuss items which he considered more important, such as nuclear testing and disarmament and Germany, but of course Governor Harriman did not bite.

[Here follows discussion of unrelated matters.]

  1. Source: National Defense University, Taylor Papers, White House Daily Staff Meetings, March to June, 1962, T–208–69. Secret; Eyes Only. Drafted by Colonel Legere. McGeorge Bundy presided throughout the meeting.