39. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State1

3642. Following Secretary’s departure and extensive Franco-American conversations this week in which he participated, following are Embassy’s preliminary comment on results this week’s activities in Paris insofar as our relations with France are concerned:

Secretary’s extensive program of talks with French leaders including two sessions with De Gaulle2 has effectively undercut Gaullist press argument to effect U.S. not maintaining dialogue with French. Press and public opinion has alleged U.S. policies as well. This argument has disappeared as of now, and we are in position take line with French publicly and privately that every effort being made explain in fullest detail our positions on outstanding issues to French. Couve visit to Washington next month would further strengthen this argument.
Press has also stressed that Secretary took position with De Gaulle that neither ANF nor any other U.S. policy directed against France or at French encirclement. This has likewise had helpful reaction.
Fact all talks were held in atmosphere cordiality likewise helpful in refuting argument that U.S.-French relations acrimonious. This position already refuted directly by Secretary and we will obviously continue maintain this line here. French in their briefings on these talks also apparently taking position that everything passed most cordially.
Positive results McNamara-Messmer talk3 also helpful and press has given considerable attention to conclusions that U.S. and France will coordinate their independent nuclear forces. Although there is some difference of opinion as to specifics of outcome of meeting, in general it is interpreted as promising sign U.S.-French cooperation for future even though it is realized this will not be immediate.
While there is general understanding that Franco-American differences over NATO and MLF/ANF not resolved and indeed no negotiations as such occurred, there is, nevertheless, opinion that heat taken out of ANF problem for moment. Embassy has previously reported French apparent plan relax anti-ANF propaganda for time being. [Page 71] With de Gaulle press conference scheduled for late January, Embassy believes we probably have nearly month’s respite in French attacks on this subject. Fundamental French attitudes have not changed (and some observers remain very pessimistic) but events of past week have certainly served to dampen down situation.
Parenthetically it should be noted that unfortunate event of week seems have been recrudescence Franco-German recriminations over four-power communiqué(on which Embassy reporting separately).

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 1 FR-US. Confidential. Repeated to London and Bonn.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 38. A record of Rusk’s first meeting with de Gaulle, which covered European defense and Germany, is in Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. XIII, Document 64.
  3. No record of this meeting has been found.