CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 152: SFM Documents 1–40

Paper Prepared by the Tripartite Drafting Group of the Preliminary Conversations of the United States, United Kingdom, and France1

top secret

Document 9 [D–4a]

Policy Toward the Soviet Union in Light of Recent Developments

soviet intentions

The Soviet Union probably does not wish to become involved in general war in the immediate future. It may, however, engage in further aggression by proxy, either in the guise of civil war or of attack across frontiers by satellites without overt involvement of Soviet forces, even at the risk of provoking general war. It will in any case continue its sustained effort to subvert free peoples and undermine their will to resist aggression.

The vigorous UN reaction to the Korean aggression doubtless surprised the Kremlin but may induce on its part accelerated effort to improve its strategic position before Western defenses have substantially improved. The points considered under this Foreign Ministers’ agenda, plus Yugoslavia and Iran, are the most likely danger spots.

required countermeasures

Western military, political and economic measures of defense should be rapidly intensified.
These measures should be efficiently coordinated, necessary central direction established and duplication avoided. It is contemplated [Page 1171] that concrete proposals to achieve these ends in the military, political and economic fields in the North Atlantic Treaty area would be considered by the Ministers under Item II of the agenda.2
Western Europe remains the key area for the defense of the whole free world. Early agreement should be reached to increase its means of defense, including the numbers of the forces present in this area. Rapid action should be taken pursuant to such agreement.3
If the unity and confidence of the free world are to be maintained, aggression must be resisted with firmness and energy wherever it appears by all available means including, where appropriate, the provisions of the North Atlantic Treaty.4 The measures of resistance must depend on our joint capabilities in any given case but should be within the UN framework and as effective as possible, subject to the reservation that our resources should not be dissipated in so many subsidiary areas that they will be lacking in the principal theatres. Prompt study should be given to appropriate and feasible countermeasures in case of aggression at the principal possible danger points.
In carrying out these military, political and economic measures of defense and countermeasures against aggression, care should be exercised to avoid action unnecessarily provocative to the Soviet Union. The Ministers agreed in May that there was no prospect of an over-all settlement with the Soviet Union. This is still the case. However opportunities to relieve tension on specific questions through negotiations with the U.S.S.R. should not be overlooked.5
Political disagreements among the free nations, particularly relating to likely areas of conflict, should be reconciled whenever, and as promptly as, possible.
Weak spots in the organization of the Communist world, and particularly differences between the Soviet Union and its satellites, should be exploited whenever possible.
The struggle for men’s minds calls for intensified efforts to bring home to people in Asia and elsewhere the common interests of the free world and the growing possibility of successfully combating communist imperialism, and to convince them of the falsity of the Kremlin’s championship of peace, nationalism and social reform. The activities of the Western Powers in this field should be expanded, [Page 1172] intensified and coordinated but not combined and should be discreet. Local6 channels should be utilized where possible. Intensification, expansion and coordination are particularly necessary in the NAT organization, in Germany and in Asia. The three Governments should issue urgent and specific directives to the appropriate authorities.

  1. Attached to the source text was a cover sheet, not printed, which indicated that this paper had been prepared in the preliminary talks and would be submitted for the consideration of the Foreign Ministers. It is a revision of Document 4 [D–4], dated August 31, not printed, the text of which is indicated in the following footnotes. (CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 152: SFM Documents 1–40)
  2. The second sentence of paragraph 2, which was not present in Document 4 [D–4] when it was considered by the delegations, was added by the tripartite drafting group following the fifth preliminary conversation.
  3. This sentence was added to Document 4 [D–4] following the fifth preliminary conversation.
  4. In Document 4 [D–4] this sentence read: “Aggression must be resisted with firmness and energy wherever it appears if the unity and confidence of the free world are to be maintained.”
  5. The last three sentences of this paragraph were not present in Document 4 [D–4].
  6. In Document 4 [D–4] the first word of this sentence was “Indigenous.”