96. Airgram From the Department of State to Multiple Diplomatic and Consular Posts1



  • Information Program for NATO Crisis

This is a Joint State-USIA Message.

There is attached a revision of CA–10959 in the light of changes recommended at the PAO meeting, Paris, May 12–14, and comments from missions.

The attached program is now to be put into effect by all addressees. It is to be considered a check list of agreed guide lines for coordinated action. Missions are to use their own judgment and discretion in carrying out the purposes of the program. However, it is intended to be carried forward actively.

Material for rebuttal to Gaullist2 charges (Part III) and additional factual material in support of themes will be sent later.

Additional guidance as part of this program will be sent from time to time.3 (Separate messages being sent Stockholm and Helsinki.)4

Ball, Acting5
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Paper Prepared in the Department of State and the United States Information Agency6



This is a plan for an operating program of information activities in Europe in the NATO crisis.

A. Objectives: The program is directed to objectives in two separate areas.

I. In France. To insure that the basic interests of France in NATO are understood by the French public and are kept continually before it.

II. In the 13 NATO Nations Outside France.7 To strengthen the commitment of the 13 to NATO; to reduce their susceptibility to French propaganda designed to undercut support for NATO. Separate Plans for these two areas are attached.8

B. Rebuttal of Gaullist Charges: In addition to positive themes set out in Plans I and II, we must, where it would be helpful, rebut Gaullist charges against NATO and the U.S. A collection of the principal charges with factual replies is at Tab III.

C. General Considerations:

1. Within France we wish to make a strong case for the views of the U.S. and the 14 on NATO and to give the French people opportunity to understand the adverse effects Gaullist NATO policies will have on France. We wish also to rebut the arguments and allegations made by Gaullist leaders against NATO and the U.S. role in NATO.

2. Among the 13, while we may agree on the broad policy goals regarding the France/NATO crisis we will shortly be confronted by major differences in view on tactics. In this connection some of the 13 will wish for a variety of reasons to go to unreasonable lengths to seek accommodations with the French, and to gloss over or ignore the damage and problems caused by the French actions.

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3. It will be hard to sustain steady American and general Allied interest in the crisis as it stretches out and particularly as the issues before governments become complicated, e.g. how NAC should be reorganized.

4. Neither the Europeans nor we wish to see the NATO crisis unnecessarily contaminate other matters, e.g. we wish to avoid having the NATO crisis foul up the European Community and the Kennedy Round.9 But our friends in Europe should understand we will be firm on keeping NATO strong in the full realization that in its absence neither the European Communities nor the Kennedy Round could reach meaningful and enduring goals—for NATO is fundamental to both.

5. We do not wish the NATO crisis to affect France’s present role as one of the Allied Occupation Powers in Berlin and present indications are that the French also desire to continue this role.10 Speculation and comment relating France’s actions in NATO to its position in Berlin should therefore be avoided. Moreover, in implementing our Information Program concerning the NATO crisis, the U.S. Mission in Berlin will obviously need to bear in mind the special importance in Berlin itself of maintaining harmonious relationships with the French.

6. We wish to strengthen the incentive of the 13 to remain in NATO and vigorously support it—and the French to return to it—by making their peoples feel that NATO can be further developed to serve their common vital interests and such deeply felt desires as progress toward a European settlement.

7. The programs both in and outside France must be carried out over many months. Missions should, therefore, measure their activity against public acceptance. They should plan ahead to use developments in the NATO situation such as President DeGaulle’s Russian trip, the deadline for removal of French troops from NATO, the deadline for removal of French troops from Germany, President DeGaulle’s September press conference, opening of parliaments (especially the French); meetings of the European Parliament, the Assembly of the Council of Europe, the NATO Parliamentarians’ Conference, the December [Page 297] Ministerial Meeting, the election campaign in France, the deadlines for withdrawal of NATO facilities and U.S. and allied installations.

8. We are not—and we should avoid any impression that we are—carrying on a campaign against France, the French or DeGaulle in person. Our purpose is to support NATO and to show the errors and dangers of Gaullist policies that will injure NATO and its members.

[Omitted here is the remainder of the paper.]

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 306, Policy Guidance Files: 1953–1969, Entry UD WW 266, Box 317, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO to 1966). Secret. Drafted by Claxton on June 11; cleared by Marks and Weld and in S and EUR; approved by Ball. Sent to all NATO capitals, USRO, OECD, USEC, and the Mission in Geneva.
  2. Reference is to supporters of France’s President de Gaulle.
  3. In an August 2 memorandum, the Acting Assistant Director for IOC, Arnold C. Hanson, notified Akers that “IOC has instituted two actions in support of the NATO Information Paper.” Hanson continued: “IOC has a foreign policy mailer program under which selected foreign policy background information is sent periodically to the home offices of over 800 participating American corporations with overseas operations.” He also noted that IOC was “presently combing through the ICSNATO book list’ for suitable book titles for possible acquisition and distribution in Europe under the Donated Books Program.” (National Archives, RG 306, Director’s Subject Files, 1963–1967, Entry UD WW 101, Box 2, Field—Europe July—December 1966)
  4. Not further identified.
  5. Ball signed “George Ball” underneath this typed signature. Ball was Acting Secretary while Rusk attended the SEATO and ANZUS Council meetings in Canberra, June 25–July 2.
  6. Secret.
  7. In 1966, NATO member countries included: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, the United States, Turkey, Greece, and Germany. France withdrew from NATO that year.
  8. Attached but not printed.
  9. Reference is to the sixth session of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) negotiations held in Geneva, Switzerland, which opened on May 4, 1964, and were concluded with the Geneva Protocol to the GATT signed in Geneva on June 30, 1967. For general information about the Kennedy Rounds, see Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. IX, Foreign Economic Policy, Document 282; and Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. VIII, International Monetary and Trade Policy, Documents 225377.
  10. Reference is to the nations that divided the occupation of Germany, as well as the city of Berlin, following the conclusion of World War II. The Allied Occupation Powers included the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and France.