840.20/9–2949: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in France

top secret

3773. For Dickinson from FACC, attention Ambassador Bruce and OSR. Discussion with Alphand Washington on 1950 Fr mil budget did not envisage kind of review of Fr budget suggested by list of questions (ref Paris 4064, Sept 291). FACC concerned basically with manner and extent to which Fr carrying out principle of mutual aid and self-help (without jeopardizing recovery) stated both text of WU request US mil assistance and Atlantic Pact. Specifically FACC concerned extent to which Fr fulfill undertakings re defense of Atlantic Pact area including increased military production for use defense same area. Since Fr have indicated willingness to discuss their budget prior submission to assembly, FACC believes that Emb and ECA mission shld examine Fr budget on basis its relation to achievement ECA and OEEC recovery objectives for 1950. This year ECA placing emphasis on achieving internal financial stability. Hence, attention shld be given possibilities balancing Fr budget. We assume ECA mission has judgment on ability Fr to raise and collect taxes. Within total Fr budgetary expenditures, retrenchment in spending shld not in judgment FACC be limited exclusively mil budget for North Atlantic area defense, particularly if budgets other ministries have not been examined with view to pruning. Fr mil budget might also be examined to ascertain proposed pattern expenditures in relation both Fr undertakings on defense NAT area and possibilities effecting savings such as suspending construction aircraft carriers. In this connection total budget expenditures for NAT defense need not increase same extent as budget outlays for increased mil production especially if real economies in expenditures for Fr mil establishment can be effected. Answers ur questions follows:

Fr shld, if they believe their mil budget shld be examined by WU Org prior submission to Assembly, request meeting WU Fin Min or FEC. This is matter for Fr themselves to work out with WU Org. US shld not make any suggestions on this subject. Emb Mil Attachés have no concern or responsibility in this matter.
Fr themselves shld make judgment increased efficiency Fr mil by reorg and elimination non-essentials. Basic criteria is ability Fr fulfill undertakings under WU and NAT for defense NAT area, as well as undertakings in requests WU for mil assistance. Forums wherein judgments other interested nations can express views re ability Fr fulfill these undertakings are WU Org, developing NAT [Page 668] Org, and possibly bilateral Fr-US informal discussions subject to 4 below.
We have no knowledge here of any JCS statement to Fr mil re 1950 Fr mil budget. FACC assured JCS wld not make such stmt on own responsibility since subj of mil budget is not strictly mil matter.
Absolutely no statement, formal or otherwise, shld be made to indicate US “review” Fr mil budget. US has no intention commit itself to budget of foreign Govt, particularly before such budget submitted Parliament that country. Adherence this principle imperative since US wld not want its proposed mil budget reviewed in NAT Org prior submission Congress.
You shld advise Fr that schedule is for shipments follow signing of bilateral agreements and appropriations action expected this session. For your information only there is possibility some shipments out of RFC advance prior final appropriations action, if delayed. Advise Dept and FACC on discussions with Fr.

Repeat to London for ECC as 3614.

  1. Not printed; in it Dickinson requested FACC’s guidance on procedures for analyzing and evaluating the French military budget being prepared for presentation to the National Assembly about October 18 (840.20/9–2949).