740.5 MAP/2–1750: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Holmes) to the Secretary of State

top secret

933. For FMASC from ECC. ToMAP. ECC concerned over first signs of a diminution in the strength of conviction of European public, including some thoughtful and influential persons in public and private life, of the essential lightness of NAT concept of the importance of proceeding resolutely not only with combined NAT defense planning but also with the concrete political and budgetary steps necessary to vivify the NAT concept.

Flagging enthusiasm or renewed doubts apparent in some genuinely friendly non-Communist circles. Editorials in a few respected newspapers evince confusion mingled with misgiving stemming from doubts, in face of Soviet strength as to practicability and benefit to Europe of NAT defense arrangements. Development of above indicated tendencies could lead to resurgence of the neutrality complex in West Europe and, taking account such unsettling events as announcement [Page 22] of H-bomb, Soviet successes in Far East, McMahon proposal,1 Churchill proposal2 for talks with Stalin, et cetera, could weaken the will to build Western solidarity and strength. All this aggravated by aggressive Communist propaganda aimed at NAT and MDAP which constantly encourages any existing doubts.

No evidence perceived that any NAT government is wavering in its support of NAT. However, significant decline public enthusiasm would remove stimulus to governments to take specific measures in furtherance NAT objectives, and possibly increase difficulty obtaining parliamentary approval of measures requiring strong popular support.

Without offering specific remedies this situation, ECC believes problem is worthy of your3 immediate and careful study with object of determining considered public information measures and other action, including, but not limited to, amplification VOA, greater emphasis on political activity by Council NAT and perhaps UN and other political bodies, review of total NAT organization to make it politically more effective, et cetera. Such steps should aim at bringing about renewed European appreciation of wisdom and benefits of NAT and generating resurgence European zeal for creating the necessary solidarity and improving the military posture of the Atlantic community.4

This telegram has been approved by Holmes and approved in principle though not seen by Harriman and [Handy?].

Sent Department 933; repeated Paris 169 for OSR, Frankfort 70; HICOG Frankfort pass Heidelberg for Handy as London’s 35.

  1. A proposal for a 4-year, worldwide Marshall Plan in return for agreement on control of atomic energy. The proposal was made in a speech by Senator Brien McMahon in the U.S. Senate on February 2, 1950.
  2. A proposal by Winston Churchill in a speech at Edinburgh, February 14, 1950. An extract of the speech, containing the proposal, is in Documents on International Affairs, 1949–1950, Margaret Carlyle, ed. (London, Oxford University Press, 1953), pp. 55–56.
  3. On February 20, in a circular telegram, not printed, to the Missions at Brussels, Copenhagen, The Hague, Lisbon, Moscow, Oslo, and Rome, Acheson summarized the concerns expressed by the ECC in this message and the Committee’s suggestion that the problem be given careful study, (700.00(s)/2–2050)
  4. In a memorandum dated February 24, not printed, Hans Schoenfeld of MDAP informed Edwin Martin that the FMACC discussed telegram 933 in its meeting of February 23 and wished to know whether the opinion expressed in this telegram was shared by the Chiefs of Mission in other NATO-member countries. Schoenfeld added that Harriman, then in Washington, felt there was a possible trend in the direction noted in the telegram (740.5 MAP/2–2450).