CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 252: Tri Docs

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Special Assistant to the Secretary of State (Battle)


Participants: The Secretary
Foreign Minister Stikker of The Netherlands
Foreign Minister Pearson of Canada
Foreign Minister Lange of Norway
Mr. Battle

Mr. Stikker opened the conversation by saying that he had been greatly concerned at reports in the paper that morning to the effect that the Foreign Ministers of the US, UK, and France had reached very basic decisions regarding European armament and German participation in European defense without any regard to the rest of the North Atlantic Council. He also expressed concern over the decision [Page 1232] of the three on the question of the admission of Turkey to the North Atlantic Pact.

Mr. Acheson discussed briefly with him the position which the US has taken on the associate membership of Turkey and explained to him that this would be coming up in the Council meeting.

Mr. Stikker said he had no quarrel with the decision of the three but objected to the way this and other vital matters affecting Europe were dealt with by the Big Three without regard to the Council.

Mr. Acheson said that there was nothing sacred about the Big Three meeting prior to the Council. He said that he did feel it was essential the meetings take place at the same time but would be very glad to have the Big Three meet after the Council meeting. He said that if Mr. Stikker made a suggestion of this nature in the Council meeting, he would be glad to go along with it.

Mr. Acheson then dealt with the question of the force for the defense of Europe and German participation in that force. He explained to the three Ministers that the Big Three had not reached decisions on these matters, and, in fact, were very far from reaching agreement. He outlined in some detail the position of the US on the question of integrated forces, combined staff, German participation, etc. He expressed the hope that he would get support from the other Ministers present and urged that a complete and thorough discussion of the problems take place in the Council. He said that he hoped no one would “pull any punches.”

Mr. Stikker indicated that he agreed thoroughly with the Secretary’s position. Mr. Lange indicated hesitant concurrence with most of Mr. Acheson’s points, but appeared to have great doubt as to the timing of any participation by Germany in the defense program. Mr. Pearson said that his Government was prepared to support Mr. Acheson’s stand.

All three of the Ministers appeared to discuss frankly and openly their feelings on these problems. They thanked Mr. Acheson for the interview, which they said had been most helpful.