Letter by the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense ( Burns ) to the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs ( Perkins )

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Dear Mr. Perkins: As you know, there have been indications from Ambassador David Bruce in Paris, and from Mr. Bohlen on his recent visit to the United States, that M. Pleven, French Minister of Defense, is very much concerned that the Americans, Canadians, and British [Page 18] cannot divulge to the French details on our latest weapons or standardization. M. Pleven has even gone so far as to indicate that he may be forced to go ahead developing prototypes of weapons which may have been better perfected elsewhere. Since he is very anxious to achieve a degree of standardization and tends to believe that French money may be wasted unless assistance is given him, we are of the opinion that M. Pleven should be aided in this matter. The Secretary of Defense wishes me to suggest that you enlist the good offices of Ambassador Bruce to approach M. Pleven along the following lines:

[Here follows a statement that Bruce was later requested to convey orally to Pleven after presenting him with the letter referred to below. For text of oral presentation and letter, see telegram 885 to Paris, March 2, page 27.]

If you concur in this proposal I wish that you would give your assent to the enclosed draft letter which the Secretary of Defense would transmit directly to M. Pleven in order to assure him of his personal interest in this matter. It is our intention to inform the British and the Canadians of the action we are taking.

J. H. Burns