396.1 LO/4–2550: Telegram

The United States Delegation at the Tripartite Preparatory Meetings to the Secretary of State


Secto 13. Jebb opened second bilateral meeting with general summary British views of necessary development of North Atlantic Community touching upon both desirable long-term developments and immediate question of strengthening NATO. Statement summarized fully below. Began by saying that in light of discussions yesterday,1 he assumed agreement on following: a. Germany crucial both to US and to Russians; b. Desirable for UK to maintain position as a world power and not to merge identity in European section; c. That USSR had propaganda advantage at moment because they had single idea to sell. This advantage greater in east and dependent areas than Europe.

On these assumptions necessary to consider machinery which could insure German orientation west, enable UK to play necessary role and take propaganda initiative from USSR. Also important to decide where these steps might lead in long run.

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Beginning with possible long-term development, he referred Bidault’s suggestion2 which he thought would probably not be put forward officially by French although he felt it may have considerable support in France, said that in UK view Bidault suggestion was going too far, too fast and indicated UK would not support it at present time. He added, however, that as ultimate objective, he felt North Atlantic framework which would embrace US and American Republics UK and Commonwealth, and “some European entity” was desirable and that such a framework afforded opportunity essential Franco-German cooperation and provided opportunity for UK to maintain its world position.

Turning from speculation on future to present, Jebb indicated British view that new body should be set up within pact framework to deal primarily with political questions. He emphasized a number of times necessity for divorcing new machinery from military machinery of pact. One reason for separation was in order to pave way for possible future association with new political organ of certain countries mentioning specifically Sweden, Switzerland, West Germany and Austria.

With respect to Germany, although clearly contemplating some future relationship with pact, he emphasized danger of any reference to that possibility at this time and, in particular, felt that until Germany in Council of Europe, no indication should be given that we thought association in North Atlantic Pact a possibility.

Turning specifically to the functions of the proposed new pact body, he felt work in the economic field would for the time being be limited primarily to “harmonization” of economic policies. He emphasized necessity of maintaining OEEC on present basis until 1952 and probably for year or two thereafter. He felt that Secretary General should be appointed to service new pact body but indicated opposition to French “superman” concept of functions of Secretary General. Secretary General should not be in position to dictate to governments. New body would be composed either of normal diplomatic representatives or special representatives in city chosen as site and would be responsible to Council. In view of difficulty working effectively with 12 members, he indicated possibility of streamlining either through establishment smaller steering committee or working through a number of smaller groups established regionally or functionally.

Perkins, commenting on Jebb’s statement, emphasized that we had no firm position on long-term developments but had come to conclusion [Page 862] that something needed to be done immediately to strengthen NATO. He indicated that even military side of pact was not moving as fast as it should and that we felt one of troubles was lack of coordination between military and financial aspects of defense questions. He indicated his view that some permanent machinery was required to deal among other things with economic and military interrelationships. In addition, suggested that question of what could be done in the political field and coordination of information might be considered by same new permanent body. He agreed with Jebb that it was not desirable to interfere with OEEC at the present time. He questioned desirability of a steering committee and also expressed hope that it would be possible to use special representatives rather than Ambassadors since latter might not be able to devote necessary time to pact problems. He emphasized necessity for a first-rate person as Secretary General who would be able to raise problems directly with governments but agreed with Jebb that powers should reside in national delegates. Turning to long-range developments, he indicated that we had no firm views and were prepared to consider various means of associating additional countries. One possibility might be creation of a “umbrella organization” of which NATO would be the defense arm. In discussion following these opening comments, there was general agreement that it would be desirable to assign to any new machinery study of problem of future development of NATO and in particular association with it of other countries.

Other points of particular interest in discussion were flat UK statement that UK would refuse to “sink its identity” in a European Union and fact that UK concept of a North Atlantic Community is not one of federation but of cooperative arrangements. On subject of German rearmament, UK although regarding any discussion at this stage premature explicitly stated that impossible to speak of incorporation of Germany in North Atlantic Community on partnership basis without considering rearmament, and conversely that strengthening North Atlantic Treaty had to be forerunner of German rearmament. Kirkpatrick indicated undesirability of extending guarantee of pact to Germany except as now guaranteed by occupation troops. He advocated policy of gradualism in integrating Germany with west and felt each side must make contribution at each stage. One of first steps for Germans was to enter Council of Europe. UK, for its part, would support giving Germans control over foreign relations.

Although military-economic pact relationships not discussed in detail Jebb indicated that UK would be against pact body making comprehensive studies of economies of members.

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On pact central machinery Jebb suggested that in addition study functions, it be given ad hoc action jobs in political field on which broad consultations might be needed quickly. As an illustration, he mentioned question treatment of diplomatic missions by satellite governments.

Remainder of second session devoted to item 7 of bipartite agenda reported in separate telegram.3

Sent Department Secto 13, repeated Paris 650.

  1. For a report on the first U.S.–U.K. bilateral meeting, see Sectos 6 and 7, April 24, pp. 854 and 856, respectively.
  2. For documentation on Prime Minister Bidault’s proposal for a North Atlantic High Council of Peace, see pp. 54 ff.
  3. Secto 14, infra.