840.00/9–2248: Airgram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in Norway

top secret

A–175. For Ambassador’s eyes only. In response to their repeated requests for information as to the course of the exploratory conversations on security which we have been holding with the representatives of the Canadian, British, French, Belgian and Netherlands Governments we are giving Norwegian and Danish Ambassadors here substantially the following.

During the past year a number of governments in Western Europe have urgently and repeatedly requested U.S. assistance in strengthening their capacity to resist aggression. We have made clear that we would be glad to do what we could, provided such countries showed determination to resist aggression and made every possible effort to [Page 255] increase their own strength through the development of regional or other collective arrangements for collective self-defense. We have always insisted that our assistance must supplement, not replace, their own best collective efforts to strengthen themselves and each other.

The Brussels Treaty was concluded with our approval as a step in this direction. Having concluded it, the parties appealed to us to give concrete effect to our approval. The Vandenberg Resolution provides both the framework for and bipartisan support of such assistance. Following its passage, we agreed to the insistent requests of the Parties to the Brussels Treaty for exploratory talks as to how U.S. “association” with them was to be given effect.

These talks have now led to agreement upon and transmission to the respective governments of a paper which expressly states it represents no firm conclusions but only an agreed statement nature of the problems discussed and the steps which might be practicable to meet them. It envisages conclusion of a North Atlantic Security Pact within the framework of the United Nations Charter, based on continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid, substantially similar to the Rio Treaty (although the Brussels Treaty countries would prefer the tighter Brussels formula), and designed to fortify and preserve the common western heritage of the parties. It should contribute to the maintenance of peace and the greater national security of parties through increasing their individual and collective capacity for self-defense and demonstrating their determination fully to meet their obligations under the Charter. It would provide for agencies to implement the treaty.

It recognizes that, to be fully effective the pact must provide not only for the security of the countries participating in these talks but also for that of other countries, including Norway and Denmark, and that the effect on the security of other free European nations must also be considered. It contemplates that other countries in the North Atlantic area should be consulted prior to drafting the pact to ascertain whether they are prepared to accept the responsibilities requisite for membership.

While consultations with the Norwegians and other governments cannot be undertaken pending decision by Canadian and Brussels Treaty governments on that paper we feel Norwegian and Danish governments should be advised promptly on Top Secret basis of the trend the talks has developed. The British agree and while they feel unable to do likewise, pending discussion with the other Brussels Treaty powers, they are telling Norwegians and Danes in London that we are advising them of the trend to date.

Foregoing answers Lange’s first question (Embtel 580, Sept. 8) if [Page 256] the Norwegians are prepared to join. The answer to the second would depend on the nature of the Scandinavian pact but any rigid neutrality provision would appear incompatible with the intent of the Vandenberg Resolution and might well disqualify signatories from getting U.S. aid, at least until the requirements of members of collective arrangements such as that contemplated for the North Atlantic area had been met.

We will telegraph you when this has been communicated to Norwegians and Danes here,1 in order that you may discuss it with Foreign Ministers. In any such discussion the top secret character of the matter should be stressed.

  1. Hickerson communicated the above information to the Norwegian Chargé and the Danish Ambassador on September 23 in separate conversations. The memoranda of conversations, not printed (840.20/9–2348).