George Bush pulled out of a speech to the European Parliament when MEPs wouldn't guarantee a standing ovation.
Senior White House officials said the President would only go to Strasbourg to talk about Iraq if he had a stage-managed welcome.
A source close to negotiations said last night: "President Bush agreed to a speech but insisted he get a standing ovation like at the State of the Union address.
"His people also insisted there were no protests, or heckling.
"I believe it would be a crucial speech for Mr Bush to make in light of the opposition here to war. But unless he only gets adulation and praise, then it will never happen."
Mr Bush's every appearance in the US is stage-managed, with audiences full of supporters.