261. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Kingdom to the Department of State1

53. Private for Acting Secretary from Bruce. Ref: State 1116 and State 1335.2 I discussed this afternoon with Prime Minister matters raised by reftels.

He was absolutely confident he would and could avoid any embarrassment to the President during his visit Washington.

He asked me to emphasize to you following points:

He is a politician, and, as such, highly sensitive to other statesmen’s concerns. He has never yet in his visits to the President embarrassed him, and would on no account do so.
If questioned by any one, publicly or privately, on his “disassociation“3 he would reply by saying his statements on subject are on public record, and can be read in Hansard. He sees no reason to repeat or explain them.
He would like President to rest assured that “he does not believe in making a mess on another fellow’s carpet.”
The showdown with his own party will soon be over, and though it will be a violent episode, he has no doubt of winning.

He would like to come to Washington on July 29. He would particularly appreciate USG consent for him to announce this on Wednesday afternoon of this week; i.e. the day after tomorrow. He has [Page 539] an important interparty meeting that day before the big debate Thursday.

Comment: Please instruct me urgently what answer to make to above point 5. I strongly recommend approval, since I regard his assurances given me today as sincere and determined. I believe it would be helpful in forthcoming debates to have this announcement made soonest possible.

He has asked Soviet Ambassador here to communicate with Kosygin, who is now in Roumania, and ask whether, if Prime Minister comes to Moscow on July 16 or 17, or on July 23 or 24, he will be received by Kosygin personally. If answer is negative, Wilson will not go to Sov Union.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 7 UK. Secret; Nodis; Immediate.
  2. In telegram 1116 to London, July 2, Ball instructed Bruce that the President was willing to meet Wilson on July 29 on the basis of two conditions: careful preparation for the meeting and that the Prime Minister, “whatever his pressures at home, not come unless what he says here in public and in private reinforces the President’s position on Vietnam.” (Ibid., POL 27 VIET S) Telegram 1335, July 3, provided guidance for future statements Wilson might make on Vietnam. (Ibid.)
  3. Following June 28-29 bombing raids, Wilson read a statement expressing regret that U.S. aircraft had attacked targets near population centers of Hanoi and Haiphong. For text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1966, p. 822.