225. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to All European Posts1

1500. Talks with Douglas-Home and Butler.

Missions requested draw on communiqué(sent USIS Wireless File of Feb 13)2 and following summary in discussing this week’s talks with UK leaders in Washington:

These talks can only be characterized as frank and far-ranging. We were not disappointed in our expectation that there would be agreement on most of the issues that face us. This did not inhibit either side from forcible statements of positions involving disagreements.

Specifically, the US and the UK will continue to press at Geneva for meaningful yet prudent disarmament measures. The British agreed with our intention to continue to seek bilateral agreements with the USSR where these are to our interest. On Berlin and Germany, we agreed to continue to discuss proposals in the Ambassadorial Group in Washington for possible approaches to the USSR for negotiations. Both sides remain unalterably committed to join with their allies in looking for honorable settlements with the USSR. Both were emphatically agreed that they will follow up every opportunity to pursue peace.

Obviously the conversations were responsive to the immediate problems the British face in Cyprus, Zanzibar and East Africa. The US gave full support to UK efforts to stabilize these areas. The British in turn expressed appreciation for this support and specifically for the US work in the Cyprus problem on which we are remaining closely and continually in touch.3

Southeast Asia was the subject of serious discussion, particularly the heavy responsibilities each country bears in Malaysia and South [Page 455] Viet-Nam. We concluded that the independence and freedom of both these countries are our vital interests.

The different philosophy of trade held by the two countries was clear in discussing trade with Cuba. The Prime Minister made plain UK determination neither to allow military material to be exported to Cuba nor to allow official credits to be extended to Castro for purchases of any material. But equally clear was UK determination to continue non-discriminatory treatment of all countries in trade in peaceful commodities on regular commercial terms. The PM did agree that Cuba represents a serious problem in subversion in this Hemisphere, but he could not for historical commercial policy reasons join us fully in our attempt to squeeze Cuba economically in order to isolate Castro politically. The different philosophies were reflected somewhat less starkly in the discussion of long-term credits to the Soviet Union, although the PM was again frank in his view that a “fat Communist” was a relatively safe Communist. We replied that it was not quite that simple and that controls on credit would force the Communists, if they really wanted to become “fat,” to divert resources from military expenditures, a course obviously in all our interests.

We told the UK that we were not to be dissuaded from beginning the Kennedy Round talks on time, and the British agreed this was the best course.4

On other matters, the communiquéneeds little elaboration. However, the warm atmosphere of the talks and their frankness even on Cuba trade and long-term credits cannot be overstated. The Heads of the two governments plan to meet regularly.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 7 UK. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Holloway, cleared in BNA, and approved by Tyler. Prime Minister Douglas-Home visited Washington February 12-14. Preparatory documents, briefing papers, and memoranda of conversation from this meeting are ibid., Conference Files: Lot 66 D 110, CF 2368-2369.
  2. Not found. For text of the communiqué, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1964, pp. 610-612.
  3. A February 13 memorandum of conversation regarding Cyprus is in Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. XVI, Document 12.
  4. A February 12 memorandum of conversation dealing with the Kennedy Round is printed ibid., vol. XIII, Document 9.