320/12–1451: Telegram

The United States Representative at the United Nations ( Austin ) to the Secretary of State


Delga 665. For President and Secretary of State from Mrs. Roosevelt and Cohen. Limited distribution. We shld like you to have our personal views on the matter covered in Delga 664.

This Assembly is probably proceeding as well as might be expected in light of troubled world conditions. If the Assembly did not reflect the strife and malaise existing in the world it wld be remote from realities. But nonetheless if we wish to retain popular faith in UN and prevent disillusionment, it seems to some of us that it is important that we try to find some way of dramatizing the importance of the Assembly in world affairs and at the same time to allay the unreasoning but genuine fears prevalent in Europe and the east as to how the US may exercise the military power it is creating—fears which may increasingly handicap the operations of NATO as well as other efforts of ours to unify and strengthen free Europe and the free world.

The Sov item attacking NATO as incompatible with UN membership may give us this opportunity if we seize it boldly. We have already met the Sov attack with calm and rational explanations here and elsewhere. But something more is required to allay widespread emotional apprehension, particularly among our friends and allies.

It had seemed to some of us that if a way cld be found to have NATO, either at its own request or on the suggestion of some friendly [Page 491] states, invited by the Assembly’s President or the pol comite, to send a representative to explain the purposes of NATO and its relations to UN, and if General Eisenhower cld be chosen to act as NATO rep before the Assembly for this purpose, we cld most dramatically demonstrate to world opinion that NATO exists to uphold the principles of UN and not to undermine them, to preserve the peace and not to threaten it. In such event the General wld of course appear with due humility in civilian garb, and solemnly affirm the devotion of NATO and its members to the principles of the charter, pointing out that under the North Atlantic Treaty the parties have expressly undertaken not to use force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the charter. Such an appearance wld not in our judgment be regarded as an intrusion of a military leader into UN but the recognition by a military leader of the supremacy of the rule of law. It cld have a profound effect upon public opinion throughout the world.

We cannot believe that such an appearance wld have any adverse effect on the political situation at home. It wld, if anything, only emphasize our bipartisan foreign policy and tend to prevent any backwash from next year’s political campaign adversely affecting that policy. [Mrs. Roosevelt and Cohen.]