Memorandum by the Director of the Office of European Affairs (Hickerson) to the Secretary of State

top secret

Mr. Secretary: Since dictating the enclosed memorandum1 this morning regarding Mr. Bevin’s proposal for a Union of Western Europe, we have received a telegram from our Embassy in Brussels (110, Jan. 17, 10 p.m.)1 stating that the British-French proposal regarding the extension to Belgium of the Dunkirk Pact has been received. Prime Minister Spaak stated that unless this Pact was meant as a screen behind which to consider defenses against Russia, it was meaningless because of Germany’s present position. Spaak said that any defense arrangements which did not include the United States [Page 7] were without practical value. He said that if he acceded to this proposal in its present form he would “deceive the Belgian people”.

My own feeling is that while Mr. Bevin’s objective is magnificent, his first step (extension of the Dunkirk Pact against German aggression) is highly dubious. In my opinion a European Pact modelled on the treaty of Rio de Janeiro is the best answer to the security problem for Western Europe. For such a pact to be really effective, the United States would have to adhere. I believe that this country could and should adhere to such a treaty if it were clearly linked up with the UN.

I realize that you will have to consider this whole problem very carefully and confer with the President about it but my views, for what they are worth, are set forth above.

John Hickerson
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.