114. Memorandum for the Record1


  • Conversation between French Ambassador Alphand and Pete Quesada on December 5, 1964

General Quesada visited me this morning and told me that the French Ambassador had discussed the French SST program with him on December 5. He said the Ambassador went out of his way to bring up the SST program. The Ambassador said he was going to discuss the SST when he returned to France and made the following points.

The French were disturbed about the actions of the British. If the British pulled out, he doubted that the French would continue.
He pursued a reorientation of the program as a tripartite program, mentioned that the current “race” atmosphere was most unfortunate, said he was interested in retrieving the French position, and asked about our attitude towards a three-way deal.
He asked whether America was bound to the Mach 3 regime. He favored the prolonging of the program, and was disturbed by the increased costs.
He believed that the U.S. should raise any tripartite interest directly with the French rather than through the British, or rather than have the French come to the U.S. for help. He suggested that if the U.S. raised the SST problem with the French, it might help to heal some of the wounds that have come up from time to time.
He indicated that he was anxious to see General Quesada again and pursue their conversation before he returned to France next week.

General Quesada also told me he would like to make clear why he started the SST program. He said that he started the program as a result of the B–70 program and he was not advocating an SST but rather exploiting the know-how of the B–70 program and attempting to avoid duplicating programs. He said that he never conceived of the SST program being pushed the way it now is and never thought in terms of the government picking up 90% of the cost on the program. At [Page 211] best, he thought the SST development might follow a successful B–70 development by five or so years.

I thanked General Quesada for his views and told him I would inform Secretary McNamara of them.

The Special Assistant

Joseph A. Califano, Jr. 2
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1964–66, AV 12. No classification marking. Prepared by Califano on December 10. Copies were sent to Secretary of Defense McNamara, Deputy Secretary of Defense Vance, Secretary of State Rusk, and Deputy Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs McNaughton.
  2. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.