Biden’s top foreign policy official ‘cancelled Cameron meeting’

Jake Sullivan, US national security adviser
Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser - ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP

Joe Biden’s national security adviser cancelled a meeting with Lord Cameron, The Telegraph understands, after claims the Foreign Secretary had been snubbed by US politicians on his trip to Washington.

Jake Sullivan, Mr Biden’s most senior foreign policy official, replaced the planned meeting with a phone call after “diary clashes” related to a visit from the Japanese prime minister.

Lord Cameron flew to the US on Monday evening and met Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, and Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate.

The Government hoped the Foreign Secretary could convince wavering Republicans they should vote for a bill to fund the war in Ukraine, following months of holdup in Congress.

Lord Cameron said on Wednesday that while he was not in the US to “lecture” politicians, he had arrived with a “plea” to continue American support for Kyiv.

However, two of his planned meetings were cancelled after Mr Sullivan and Mike Johnson, the speaker of the House of Representatives, said they were too busy.

The call with Mr Sullivan took place on Tuesday, after his team withdrew from an in-person meeting, citing preparations for the arrival of Fumio Kishida, the Japanese prime minister, on Wednesday.

“He has a very busy schedule and it is moving around all the time,” a US government source told The Telegraph.

Lord Cameron speaks during a press conference with Antony Blinken following a meeting in Washington DC on Tuesday
Lord Cameron speaks during a press conference with Antony Blinken following a meeting in Washington DC on Tuesday - Nathan Posner/Shutterstock

A Foreign Office source said their virtual meeting was a “good positive call and we were glad we could make it happen”.

On Wednesday, Lord Cameron said his planned meeting with Mr Johnson, who controls business in the House, was not “fixed” before his trip, despite his announcement last Friday that the two would meet.

Mr Johnson has the power to bring Mr Biden’s Ukraine supplemental spending package before Congress, but is facing opposition from Republicans who argue the war is becoming too expensive.

The meeting was described as one of the Foreign Secretary’s most important opportunities to sway Republican opinion on Capitol Hill, but Mr Johnson’s team said he was not available on Tuesday or Wednesday for a meeting.

“I had a great meeting with speaker Johnson last time I was here and I didn’t have a meeting fixed for this visit,” Lord Cameron told MSNBC on Wednesday.

“Instead, I’ve been meeting and I will be meeting with party leaders in the House. I met former president Trump yesterday, I had some great meetings with secretary of state Blinken and a good call with your national security adviser, Jake Sullivan.”

Russia firing five times more shells

Mr Johnson has so far refused to bring a package to Congress that would authorise $60 billion (£48 billion) of military aid for Kyiv, as supplies run low.

On Tuesday, Gen Christopher Cavoli, commander of the US military’s European Command, told Congress that Russia was firing five shells for every Ukrainian munition because of shortages.

Mr Johnson indicated last week that he may bring the vote to the House in the coming days, despite opposition from his own party.

The row has threatened to engulf his speakership, which he has held since the ousting of Kevin McCarthy in October.

Some Republicans, including the hardline conservative congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, have called for him to resign.

Elissa Slotkin, a Democratic congresswoman, said on Wednesday that Mr Johnson should put on his “big boy pants” and bring the Ukraine bill to the floor of the House, even at the risk of losing his job. “That’s what leadership is,” she said.

Mr Johnson is reportedly planning to deliver a press conference on “election integrity” with Mr Trump on Friday.