751.56/2–1650: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom ( Holmes ) to the Secretary of State


900. Tomap. For FMASC1 from ECC. Communist efforts obstruct handling and movement initial MDAP shipments greatest in France and Italy, but propaganda campaign against MDAP equipment is general and intense throughout Europe and has been merged into major Communist attack on whole NAT defense concept.2

Objectives of Communist strike campaign appear to ECC basically two-fold: (1) To instill doubts in minds European public as to objectives NAT and American policy, in order to weaken European NAT fabric, and (2) to convince US Congress and US public that European countries receiving military aid are so shot through with Communists as to be unreliable allies and MDAP is money and equipment down the drain.3 This estimate of Communist intentions is convincingly presented in relation to France in Paris Embassy airgram number 148, February 3.4

Initial MDAP shipments offer Communists excuse dramatize situation in order work on Europe popular fear of war, highlighting alleged aggressive intent and provocative actions of US leading to American war with European cannon fodder. Physical interference with shipments is secondary objective and believe there are no Communist illusions as to success this effort, but violence in connection with safe movement arms might be welcomed by Communists.

ECC agrees US Government should not overtly enter into public handling this problem in Europe but at same time should make clear to European Governments its support and such cooperation, American public and private agencies as available.

ECC considers major element for Communist defeat lies in patriotic counter action by non-Communist labor, such as recent ITF resolution London exposing unpatriotic goals Communist elements and asking patriotic cooperation of workers, and other ITF and national [Page 270] labor preparations to defeat Communist plans through organized worker opposition.5

Appears to ECC that Communist skating on thin ice by asking followers thrust aside national loyalties. Strike campaign may be made to boomerang through exposure Soviet political objectives behind it, with consequent reduction Communist following, strengthening Titoist tendencies European Communist Parties, and increase in resolve anti-Communist majorities.

In relation to strike problem ECC recognizes difficulties of maintaining regular flow shipments of US arms after initial shipments arrive. However, owing psychological importance regular deliveries both regarding effect of intermittent unemployment on attitudes of port workers and continuity their non-Communist organizations to oppose strikes, ECC urges extraordinary effort to close hiatus in shipments to France, Italy, and Belgium once they are begun, even if additional expense or provision additional administrative facilities required. Same applies to provision of timely information initial and regular shipments and any special requests re shipments made by recipient countries.

Sent Department 900, repeated Paris 260 for Embassy and Harriman, Room 78, Copenhagen 34, Oslo 36, Brussels 44, The Hague 36, Luxembourg 8, Frankfort unnumbered pass Heidelberg 32 for Handy.6

  1. Foreign Military Assistance Steering Committee, an interdepartmental committee composed of Secretary of State Acheson as chairman, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson, and Economic Cooperation Administrator Paul G. Hoffman.
  2. Regarding the compaign under reference in this paragraph, see telegram 373, January 23, from London, p. 264.
  3. Telegram 218, February 21, from The Hague, not printed, agreed with the analysis presented here but suggested a third important objective of the Communist-led propaganda campaign—the paralysis of Western European peoples with the fear of eventual Soviet retaliation for the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty (756.5 MAP/2–2150).
  4. Not printed.
  5. The resolution described here was adopted by a Vigilance Committee of the International Transport Workers Federation at a meeting in London, January 23–24, 1950. Adoption of the resolution was reported upon in telegram 575, February 1, from London, not printed.
  6. Gen. Thomas T. Handy, Commander in Chief of United States Forces in Europe, had his command headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany.