117. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1
- The French View of the Four-Power Talks
Nanteuil, head of the Mid-East department in the French Foreign Office, came in to see me with Ambassador Lucet this afternoon. He had spent almost two hours with Joe Sisco in State this noon. As you know, he came on General de Gaulle’s instructions to explain France’s position. A full summary of the main points of our conversation is attached.2
My reaction after hearing him is that France’s position is less pro-Soviet than had been thought and might even turn out to be helpful. It is probable that France is interested for domestic reasons in maintaining good relations with the U.S. They may also be genuinely concerned that we are about to start bilateral discussions with the Soviet Union and hope to participate.
In either case, we may be able to take advantage of the French attitude by pressing for some sought-after concessions with France on a bi[Page 445]lateral basis or, by ultimately entering four-power talks with France and the U.K. lined-up with us on a three-to-one basis against the Soviets. This is the flexible game plan we should seek to follow as we move down the road on this issue.