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Joint Statement Following Discussions in Bermuda With Prime Minister Macmillan.

December 22, 1961

THE PRESIDENT and the Prime Minister have had two days of valuable discussions surveying the world situation. Their discussions centered mainly on the question of Berlin, on nuclear problems and on the situation in the Congo. Their talks will form the basis of continued United States-United Kingdom cooperation during the coming months on a great variety of questions.

The President and the Prime Minister examined the situation concerning Berlin in the light of the decisions taken at the meetings of the Foreign Ministers of the Four Powers and of the NATO Council in Paris. In particular they discussed the steps to be taken in regard to the renewal of diplomatic contacts with the Soviet Union. The President has agreed as a consequence of the Paris meeting that the initial contact would be made by the U.S. Ambassador in Moscow and the Prime Minister has indicated that the British Ambassador would be available to play whatever part might be found helpful. The President and the Prime Minister agreed that the purpose should be to ascertain whether a reasonable basis for negotiation can be found. The other governments directly concerned will of course be fully consulted throughout. Consultations with the other governments concerned are continuing.

The President and the Prime Minister considered the problems of the nuclear arms race. They took note of the new situation created by the massive series of atmospheric tests conducted in recent months by the Soviet Government after long secret preparations. They agreed that it is now necessary, as a matter of prudent planning for the future, that pending the final decision preparations should be made for atmospheric testing to maintain the effectiveness of the deterrent.

Meanwhile, they continue to believe that no task is more urgent than the search for paths toward effective disarmament, and they pledge themselves to intensive and continued efforts in this direction.

Serious progress toward disarmament is the only way of breaking out of the dangerous contest so sharply renewed by the Soviet Union. The President and the Prime Minister believe that the plans for disarmament put forward by the United States in the current session of the United Nations General Assembly offer a basis for such progress, along with the treaty for ending nuclear tests which the two nations have so carefully prepared and so earnestly urged upon the Soviet Government.

The President and the Prime Minister reviewed recent developments in the Congo. They noted with satisfaction that, as an encouraging step toward understanding, a useful meeting had been held at Kitona between Mr. Adoula and Mr. Tshombe. They expressed their strong hope that further progress would be made through the efforts of both parties. It seemed to them of first importance that the present discussions should be actively continued in appropriate ways. They agreed on the importance of avoiding any renewal of armed action while genuine efforts at consultation are going forward.

In a general discussion of the economic situation the President and the Prime Minister took note of progress in the negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Economic Community and expressed the hope that these would be brought to a successful conclusion.

Note: The President and the Prime Minister met at Government House in Hamilton, where the statement was released.

John F. Kennedy, Joint Statement Following Discussions in Bermuda With Prime Minister Macmillan. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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