General de Gaulle in Action: 1960 Summit Conference

By Vernon Walters


This article originally appeared in the winter 1974 edition of Studies in Intelligence.

On 14 May 1960 I left the United States with President Eisenhower to attend the Four-Power
Meeting in Paris among the USSR, France, Great Britain, and the United States. This conference had been scheduled for some time, but its convening had been in doubt following the crash of the U-2 in the Soviet Union and the capture of its pilot, Gary Powers. After a period of doubt, General de Gaulle had announced that the conference would be held as scheduled and the other chiefs of government had successively announced that they would attend. When Khrushchev announced he would attend, a worldwide sigh of relief went up.

Shortly after arriving in Paris on 15 May, I accompanied President Eisenhower on his call on
President de Gaulle. As always, the meeting between the two was most cordial, almost
affectionate. I had accompanied a number of American dignitaries to see General de Gaulle;
the two he did not really talk down to were General Eisenhower and Governor Harriman. But only to Eisenhower did he show real warmth.