68. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France 1

73683. 1. During courtesy call today by Ambassador Lucet on Under Secretary Rostow, latter said that he was in process of reviewing files on French-US written and oral exchanges concerning the status of the five bilateral agreements. He noted George Ball’s statement of June 6 to Lucet that USG could not accept unilateral repudiation of bilaterals but was prepared to discuss the possibility of terminating them by mutual consent.2 In the interest of tying up loose ends, he wondered what the current French thinking was on this question.

2. Lucet said that he was unaware of any change in French position which he outlined to Ball on June 6, and that in light of Rostow’s question he would communicate with Paris to see just where the matter stands.

3. FYI. Purpose of this exercise is to give GOF opportunity to reconsider its negative, non-negotiable position on this matter which Lucet presented to Ball on June 6. This in no way precludes sound suggestion in Paris tel 6113 calling for aide-mémoire stating USG position on five bilaterals.3 End FYI.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 4 FR-US. Secret. Drafted by Anderson, cleared by Stoessel and Vest, and approved by Rostow.
  2. See Document 59.
  3. Telegram 6113 from Paris, October 25, also reported that at a meeting with Couve, Rusk reiterated that the United States retained “complete reservation regarding the financial aspects of the relocation of its forces.” (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, NATO 17-1) In telegram 6263 from Paris, October 27, Bohlen reported that the Rostow approach had been interpreted in Paris “as a possible U.S. concession which would permit the whole matter to be smoothed over without any basis for claims by the U.S.” He recommended consultations with the Embassy prior to any further approaches to the French. (Ibid., POL 4 FR-US)