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

9347. Ref: Embtel 8993.2 Sensitive source known to you today gave us the following information at a luncheon with Beigel and myself.

Source confirmed information reported in reftel, with the following addition. De Gaulle at this meeting, in addition to saying that France would decide after the war started what her attitude would be, expressed the hope that it would be possible for France to stay out. Secondly, in regard to the loan of U.S. tactical nuclear warheads, source said this would only be in the event and after the French decision that France would be involved in the war. (Comment: Even so, this is a reasonably fantastic proposal.)

Source also said that Couve’s decision in Brussels, which was not a compromise but merely a face saving device in order to avoid at this juncture a confrontation of France and the Fourteen, was in effect dictated by De Gaulle’s views, emphasized at the June 2nd meeting, that there could be no automatic element in any French arrangements with her allies.

Source reminded us that, as we had known, De Gaulle’s original impulse had been to denounce the treaty, but had been dissuaded by Pompidou and Couve from putting this into effect, in part on the grounds that it would send him to Moscow with absolutely no real backing.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, France, Vol. 9. Secret; Exdis.
  2. Telegram 8993 from Paris, June 22, reported De Gaulle’s remarks regarding French strategy in the event of war. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, DEF 4 NATO)