Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Perkins) to the Secretary of State


Subject: NSC Review of European Integration

The President has directed Jimmy Lay1 to speak to you about the possibility of the NSC taking up the subject of European integration. I assume that any NSC review of this problem would cover all its aspects—military, political and economic—but you may wish to clarify the scope and purposes which it is contemplated such a review would cover.

A thorough-going and all-inclusive review to establish basic governmental policy in this field would, I believe, be useful. In the field of military planning we must have clarification of the British position. This cannot be achieved without a clarification of the US position with respect, basically, to how far we use the North Atlantic Treaty as an instrument of our military planning and to what extent we remain outside it. In the political field it would be useful, particularly vis-à-vis ECA, to have top-level confirmation of our general position that we must follow the principle of gradualism and that the issue of federalism should not be allowed to arise as a matter of governmental action at this stage. In the economic field the issue is primarily with the Treasury which, supported by several other governmental agencies, seems to be taking more and more a position with respect to convertibility and non-discrimination in relation to the dollar which would cut the ground from under the European trade liberalization program.

I am not competent to determine whether or not such a review could best be undertaken by the NSC or within some other framework, such as machinery similar to that which it is planned to establish to deal with the dollar gap problem. I have some feeling that European integration is a problem, like the dollar gap, on which none of the established agencies can function with full competence. Although there, of course, are military problems, the basic importance of the political and economic aspects seems to me to make exclusive use of the NSC undesirable.

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I would hope that the timing of any high-level review of European integration would enable us to give adequate thought to the difficult issues involved and to prepare carefully the necessary papers. In this connection you may wish to have in mind when you talk to Lay the possibility of our having conversations with the British and other key European countries on this problem, among others, in the Spring. We have been planning, of course, to reappraise our position on integration for these conversations, and any high-level review could most usefully take place after our reappraisal has been completed and prior to the talks.

  1. James S. Lay, Jr., Assistant Executive Secretary of the National Security Council.