52. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • President’s Comments to French Ambassador Lucet on Occasion of Latter’s Presentation of Credentials


  • The President
  • His Excellency Charles Lucet, French Ambassador
  • Also present in the Treaty Room were:
  • His Excellency Michael Lukumbuzya, Tanzanian Ambassador
  • Mr. Valenti and Mr. Watson of the White House
  • Governor G. Mennen Williams, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs
  • Ambassador Lloyd Nelson Hand, Chief of Protocol
  • Mr. Walter J. Stoessel, Jr., Acting Assistant Secretary for European Affairs

During a brief conversation between the President and Ambassador Lucet when the latter presented his credentials on December 15 in the Yellow Oval Room, the President expressed his great pleasure at having Ambassador Lucet in Washington and said he looked forward to working with him. The President asked the Ambassador to convey his best wishes to General De Gaulle.

Following the formal presentation of credentials, the President met informally with Ambassador Lucet (and with the new Tanzanian Ambassador) in the Treaty Room. In his remarks to Ambassador Lucet on this occasion, the President noted that he had just read General De Gaulle’s comments in this television interview concerning his attitude toward the United States.2 The President observed that General De Gaulle had said that he was not anti-American in his views; the President was convinced that this was the case and that General De Gaulle’s position had been exaggerated and misrepresented by the [Page 108] press. He thought that, while there were obviously differences between our two countries and our approach to problems, these were caused by differing appreciations of our national interests. The President was sure that “when the chips were down” France would be with us as, indeed, had been the case in the past. He recalled that France was our oldest friend and ally, virtually from the time when the United States was conceived, and he felt sure that we could continue to count on this.

Minister Lucet said that he welcomed the President’s remarks and was most appreciative of them.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, Bator Papers, NATO-France. Confidential. Drafted by Stoessel. The meeting was held in the Treaty Room of the White House. The French Government announced that Lucet would replace Alphand on October 8.
  2. Reference is to an interview with Michel Drost of RDF broadcast on December 13, 14, and 15. For text, see De Gaulle, Discours et Messages, Vol. 4, pp. 412-440.