53. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France1

4058. Following is based on uncleared memcon FYI, Noforn, and subject to revision:2

French Ambassador Lucet called February 21 at his request for tour d’horizon with Secretary in which following important subjects discussed: De Gaulle’s press conference, Viet-Nam, NATO, and Kennedy Round.

De Gaulle’s Press Conference:3 Noting he had not seen full text but only preliminary ticker reports, Lucet commented three things had struck him: (a) De Gaulle restrained on Viet-Nam emphasizing hope for peace; (b) De Gaulle constructive on European problem stressing fact satisfactory Luxembourg settlement4 should now open way for renewed EEC movement and political possibilities; and (c) De Gaulle had reiterated French position on NATO but without lending sense of urgency to issue.
Viet-Nam: Secretary and Lucet exchanged views on respective US and French positions but indicated no new departures. Both agreed there are no lack of contacts with Hanoi. Secretary pointed out so far Hanoi consistently “hangs up the telephone” on any proposal for negotiations regardless of interlocutor.
NATO: Discussing NATO question in light of De Gaulle’s press conference, Lucet stressed French intention to adhere to the Alliance even though GOF would wish to discuss changes in its implementation. He stated Paris still studying possible specific changes but so far without conclusions. Secretary replied we will not pass French, who are the demandeurs on this issue, and will wait until De Gaulle’s views are more developed. The Secretary pointed out, however, we would not be interested in replacing present NATO multilateral structure with bilateral arrangements.

Kennedy Round: Secretary said he wished to stress importance we attach to making progress in Kennedy Round in order take advantage of far-reaching and broad mandate in Trade Expansion Act for mutually beneficial liberalization of world trade. It would be mistake to count on Congressional extension of act on present favorable basis if success not achieved. Thus golden opportunity could be lost.

Lucet stated Paris is aware of this situation. In his view GOF is quite willing to go ahead with Kennedy Round negotiations even though there may be many difficulties. Secretary replied technical difficulties, of course, must be expected but he hoped they would not be compounded by political ones on the French side. Lucet reiterated belief in French willingness to get on with Kennedy Round discussions.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 17 FR-US. Confidential. Drafted by McKillop and approved by Stoessel. Repeated to Geneva, Bonn, Brussels for the Embassy and USEC, Luxembourg, London, Rome, and to Paris for USRO.
  2. Not found.
  3. February 21. For text, see De Gaulle, Discours et Messages, Vol. 5, pp. 6-23. Extracts are printed in American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1966, pp. 316-317 and 381-383.
  4. Reference is to meetings of the European Community Council of Ministers at Luxembourg January 17-18 and 28-29, at which the Ministers accepted a compromise that achieved French demands that a rule of unanimity continue to govern Community decision-making and that limits be placed on the powers of the EEC Commission.