The Ambassador in France ( Bruce ) to the Secretary of State
4884. It is not expected that tomorrow’s debate on foreign affairs will produce any upset in regard to decisions reached at the recent Paris conference on German affairs or the government’s general policy in regard to Germany. It is very likely, however, that not merely the Communists but various deputies otherwise friendly to the United States will make use of the occasion to ventilate their views with particular emphasis on their opposition to any future rearmament of Germany. In spite of the denials by Schuman and Acheson that any consideration has been given to such rearmament, this continues to be a subject of widespread nervous speculation on the part of the public which is inclined to believe that this eventually [eventuality] whether avowed or not, is coming nearer and nearer. In all probability it will be necessary for Schuman once more to declare in the course of the debate the government’s firm opposition to any such step.[Page 343]
It is not unlikely also that some of the deputies may call for a more definite statement from the United States on this point for though the public is willing to accept as true the statement that German rearmament was not discussed at Paris, it is by no means reassured as to future United States policy.
The same nervousness in regard to the position of France in the event of a rearmed Germany, tends to heighten current French dissatisfaction with the attitude of Great Britain towards the continent since it is the general feeling that if Germany is to be integrated into Western Europe, it is essential that Great Britain should take a more direct part in the affairs of the Western European community as a counterbalance to what is regarded as the inevitable growth of the influence of Germany. Bevin’s recent résumé of British foreign policy has done nothing to reassure the French in this regard.1
Debate beginning Tuesday is expected continue Thursday and Friday.
Sent Department 4884 repeated London 40, Frankfurt 143.
- For the text of Bevin’s speech on foreign affairs, November 17, to the House of Commons, see Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, 5th Series, vol. 469, pp. 2203–2216.↩