396.1 LO/5–350: Telegram

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

Secto 109. After withdrawal of Jebb draft on UK relationship to Western Europe (Secto 251) general subject referred to US–UK [Page 956] bilateral sub-committee which has been considering various points of difference between US and UK, primarily in economic field (see Secto 1082).

Following is text working paper on UK relationship to Western Europe which we circulated to sub-committee this morning.3 On basis quick reading British agreed to consider further and produce written comments. We indicated in particular our hope they would not only make clear their views on present limitations on closer cooperation with Europe, but also ways in which broader North Atlantic framework might facilitate their playing larger role in Europe. Sub-committee is meeting again Friday morning to agree as much of paper as possible and to point up areas where disagreement exists.4

Begin. “Since the end of the war, the Western European countries have tended increasingly to work together to solve their economic problems. Underlying the ERP was the concept that through joint efforts, self-help and mutual aid much could be done to make Europe prosperous and strong. The OEEC has made impressive progress in bringing about mutual appraisal of individual economic plans and in futhering a concerted approach to common problems.

2. It is desirable to continue this cooperative approach. If there were no problem of Germany and no Soviet threat, existing arrangements might suffice for this purpose. Given the urgency of orienting the German economy westward and the increasing intensity of the Soviet offensive, however, even greater cooperation is a necessity.

3. In any system of Western European cooperation the leadership of the United Kingdom is essential. It is essential not only because of her dominant economic position, but also for a whole range of less tangible reasons which are implicitly recognized by most of the Western European countries. Furthermore, for various reasons, partly economic and partly political, only the United Kingdom in Western Europe can provide the necessary counterweight to a reviving Germany.

4. There has been apparent an uncertainty in British leadership on the Continent and charges, partly from the European countries and partly from the United States, that the United Kingdom has been ‘dragging its feet’ in moving toward greater unity with the Continent.

5. We believe this stems from two principal causes: in part, from an uncertainty as to what the United States means by ‘integration’ and an uncertainty as to whether or not the United States is endeavoring ‘to push’ the United Kingdom into full union with the Continent; and in part from an unwillingness on the part of the United Kingdom to subject its domestic economy to the impact which would result from greater freedom of movement of goods, capital and persons within the Western European area generally.

6. We recognize that the United Kingdom has responsibilities to the commonwealth and in other areas as well as to the Continent, and that there is a point beyond which their ‘integration’ with the Continent [Page 957] will adversely affect their ties with other areas to an extent which, in the light of our common objectives, would be undesirable. The question of the point at which action taken by the United Kingdom in this respect to Europe prejudices other common objectives cannot be answered in advance. It can only be answered on a case by case basis as specific questions arise. Because no firm line can be drawn in advance, the problem will be a continuing source of irritation, but it is an inevitable one.

7. On the other hand, we believe that the emphasis which has been placed on the necessity for a further ‘integration’ of the European market is fundamentally correct and that it is necessary to press forward as rapidly as possible with the removal of trade, payments, and other restrictions to the free movement of goods, people and capital within the OEEC area. We believe that the pressures of a substantially free market will lead to the most efficient use of European resources and we do not believe that Europe can afford anything less than the most efficient use of its resources. Although we do not believe that the European countries, at the moment, could stand full competition with the dollar area, we do believe that the economies of the Continental European countries and the United Kingdom could stand increased competition from their neighbors; and that they must have this competition, if they are to make the necessary adjustments. We also believe the removal of barriers within Europe is a necessary first step to the achievement of a world-wide multilateral convertible trading system which has always been a basic economic objective. Another fundamental reason for proceeding as rapidly as possible with the program of economic ‘integration’, as it has taken shape in recent discussions in the OEEC, is to strengthen German ties with the West through joint consideration of mutual economic problems and to open up trade channels so that the reviving German industry can find outlets in the West so that German resources can contribute to the strength of the West.

8. We recognize that the strengthening of Western Europe economically requires action, apart from direct assistance, on the part of the United States and that European cooperative action alone will not be sufficient. We believe, however, that such European action is a necessary element in the building of a strong North Atlantic system.”

Sent Dept Secto 109, rptd Paris 725.

  1. Not printed; it reported that a British draft minute, which had been submitted to the United States Delegation during the morning of April 27, had been withdrawn that afternoon because the British felt it was “hastily written and was possibly not a fair reflection of real views.” (CFM Files: Lot M–88; Box 151: Secto Cables)
  2. Infra.
  3. Another record of this meeting, held at 11:30 a. m. in Sir Roger Makins’ office, is in the CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 150: UK Current Problems.
  4. For a report on this meeting, see Secto 164, May 5, p. 964.