Volume #27 - 226.|
RELATIONS AVEC LES ÉTATS-UNIS
CONVERSATIONS ENTRE LE PREMIER MINISTRE ET LE PRÉSIDENT, WASHINGTON, 3 JUIN 1960
Note d’une conversation avec le Président des États-Unis|
le 9 juin 1960|
PRIME MINISTER’S CONVERSATION WITH PRESIDENT EISENHOWER, JUNE 3, 1960|
The Prime Minister and the President had approximately one hour’s private conversation before officials were called in. This memorandum, which should be read in conjunction with Mr. Bryce’s memorandum of June 4,1 records the information which the Prime Minister gave me on June 8 concerning the private part of the conversation.
Interceptors and the CL-442
The Prime Minister said that he had told the President that the figure of $105 million which the United States had set as the purchase price for 66 F-101B aircraft was unreasonably high. The President said that he had been given to understand that, bearing in mind the high cost of modern aircraft, the figure quoted for the F-101B was not unreasonable. He hoped that he had not been misled and would take steps immediately to discover how that figure had been arrived at. It was at this point in the conversation that General Goodpaster was called in and asked to secure details (see Mr. Bryce’s memorandum for Goodpaster’s report later in the conversation).
The Prime Minister said that in speaking about the F-101B he had not intimated to the President that the Canadian Government would necessarily close a deal involving the F-101B and the CL-44 even though a good bargain could be made. The Prime Minister said that officials might follow the matter up with the United States authorities with a view to determining the extent to which the purchase price for the F-101B might be scaled down from $105 million.
Exercise “Sky Shield”
The Prime Minister said that the President neither agreed nor disagreed with the position taken by the Canadian Government on Exercise “Skyhawk.”
The President had said that the United States Government attached importance to these exercises because there was no other way in which continental air defences could be thoroughly tested. After remarking that he had genuinely tried to remove the causes of disagreement between the Canadian and United States Governments, the President said that the matter of “Sky Shield” was one for the Canadian Government to decide. He hoped, nonetheless, that a decision would be forthcoming soon, and it was agreed that the Canadian Government would make its decision known to the United States Government by the middle of June.
Acquisition of Nuclear Weapons
The Prime Minister said that there had been a brief general reference on both sides to this matter. He had emphasized that the Canadian Government could not be placed in the position of having nuclear weapons “unless we exercise joint control” on the basis which prevails in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister said that the President’s reply had seemed to indicate that he did not expect that a solution of this problem (possibly the general problem of making nuclear weapons available to other allies) would be found during his term of office. The President expressed a cautious hope that in time it would become possible for some Canada-U.S. arrangement to be made which would not give rise to the spread of nuclear weapons to other states.
The Prime Minister said that in the President’s comments on the U-2 incident there had been no suggestion whatever that the United States had been in the wrong. In the course of the discussion, the President said that he had had no alternative but to admit personal responsibility for the U-2 flight once Khrushchev had stated publicly that the President might not have been aware of it. Unless he had admitted personal responsibility, he would have been criticized for not being master in his own house. The President said that the decision to admit personal responsibility had been his own decision.
NATO Heads of Government Meeting
The Prime Minister said that President Eisenhower was “all for” a Heads of Government Meeting of NATO and even thought he would like to attend it himself if it were to be held before the end of his term and in Canada. He could not, however, go to Europe.
Speaking of Mr. Khrushchev, the Prime Minister said that he had been disturbed by Khrushchev’s conduct which was becoming “irrational.” He did not believe that Mr. Khrushchev had any thought of deliberately provoking a war. The President said that while the Soviet Union was inclined to boast openly of its achievements in the field of missile production, he did not think that the West need regard these boasts as a deliberate threat to the peace in present circumstances. He might feel a sense of danger if the Soviet stockpile of missiles reached 1600.
In another comment on the possibility of future war, the President remarked that war by intercontinental missile was “a very uncertain thing.” There were all sorts of possibilities of unsuccessful firing. The President remarked in this context that the United States ICBM had reached a range of 9000 miles and that it had landed “within yards” of its target.
1Voir le prochain document./See the next document.
2Voir 4e partie, section (c) de ce chapitre./See Part 4, Section (c) of this chapter.