Prepared by Richard E. Neustadt July 6, 1964
Everyone I saw in London during June brought up ‘mlf’, usually with curses. I looked sympathetic and listened hard, trying to judge whether we might have another ‘Skybolt’ brewing if Labour comes in: another situation where the differences of interest are compounded by each side’s misreading of the pressures and procedures on the other side. I think we might. I also think we have a good chance to avoid it. On both scores, here is why.
What follows has been drawn from conversations with politicians (mainly Wilson, Gordon Walker, Healy, Brown, Mulley, Jenkins—and Heath), with officials (mainly Hardman, Cary, Palliser, Armstrong, Bligh), and with spectators (mainly Gwynn-Jones, Buchan, Beedham, Duchene). Before I left I swapped appraisals at our Embassy with Bruce, Irving and Newman. They will speak for themselves but I think we agree.
Regarding Labour’s look at us if they win in October and we in November, I think it safe to say that as of now both the prospective ministers and the civilian
When Wilson raised the subject at our first talk in mid-June I told him that I understood the President himself did seek to see the mlf brought to fruition, for good reason from his point of view considering where he took up the issue, and that after the two elections Wilson, if in office, might want to ponder Johnson’s Senate record. ‘Oh’, said Wilson, ‘a deal.’