740.5/12–2950: Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Offices 2


325. Genl Gruenther today conveyed fol info to Standing Grp3 and Accredited Reps of NAT countries (Iceland had no rep present at Gruenther mtgs today) concerning Genl Eisenhower’s trip to Europe and estab of SHAPE. You may wish to make this info available orally to govt to which you accredited.

1. Genl Eisenhower plans leave US Jan 5 or 6 for quick survey trip to Eur. Purpose of trip is to orient himself with problems facing Supreme Commander and raise with countries any matters which [Page 393] appear appropriate at time. He will proceed directly to Paris where SHAPE Advance Planning Grp has been estab in Hotel Astoria. It is Genl Eisenhower’s hope to be able to visit all NATO countries this trip but schedule will not be completed until late Jan. 2.4

2. Genl Eisenhower is studying structure of command which he shld have in SHAPE org. One proposed plan contemplates a CINC North, CINC Central, and CINC South. A second plan proposes there be a CINC North and CINC South with the Central sector directly under SHAPE’s command. A third solution wld place all major units initially under SHAPE, deferring until later date ques of estab of CINC’s. Genl Eisenhower has formed no tentative views as to which of these solutions is preferable or even whether there may be better solution not yet being considered. One of purposes his visit to Eur will be to secure any suggestions various Chiefs of Staff might care to offer on this matter.

3. Genl Eisenhower is also studying the org of HQ but no decision on that matter will be made until command structure is determined.

4. There have been speculations in press as to designation of subordinate commanders and of senior staff officers in SHAPE. All these are without foundation. Genl Eisenhower has all these matters under consideration but will retain an open mind on them until he has made his trip.

5. Genl Eisenhower has a small grp of Amer officers in Hotel Astoria headed by Col Thurston, studying problems outlined above. This in no sense a staff altho it is probable some of the officers in this small grp will become part of staff when organized.

6. In DC 24/35 provision was made that when SHAPE HQ is organized liaison officers shld be accredited to SHAPE by those nations which will have forces earmarked for or allocated to SHAPE [Page 394] (this probably does not apply to Portugal since they are earmarking ho forces for SHAPE). Altho space in Astoria Paris is limited, arrangements can be made to accommodate liaison reps any time after Jan 4. It is suggested that initially these officers be grade of col, or not to exceed brigadier, altho it is recognized that liaison officers who are finally designated will probably be of higher rank. Col Anthony J Drexel Biddle has been designated to work with these liaison officers and will be in Paris by 5 Jan or shortly thereafter. It is anticipated arrangements for securing officers who will be on SHAPE internatl staff when organized will be made thru liaison officers.

(Note: In SG mtg Tedder brought out that under terms of para 40c, Port and Ice wld not be entitled to send natl liaison officers to SHAPE since they will have no forces allocated to SHAPE. MacVeagh shld therefore not discuss or make any commitment re Por liaison officer.)

7. Genl Eisenhower’s sched for NATO trip will be tight. He is most eager to avoid ceremonies and social affairs but give impression he is on a business trip. Within few days small public relations grp headed by Col Frank Dorn will proceed to Eur to work out public relations details. It is hoped Col Dorn will be assisted by NATO Info Service headed by Newton. It is anticipated that details of press conferences and similar matters will be responsibility of host govt in each capital and that Col Dorn and Newton will assist in every practicable manner.

8. Genl Eisenhower coming to Wash on 2 Jan for conferences. It is his plan that as soon as trip completed he will return to US to wind up his affairs at Columbia after which he will return to Eur.

9. Genl Eisenhower has not selected any site for SHAPE HQ. Col Brown who was his HQ Commandant at SHAEF in World War II is now in Astoria studying various areas from tech standpoint to ascertain which are suitable. Among sites being considered are Fontainebleau, Versailles, Rheims, Compiegne, Orleans, Lond, and others. Not even tentative decision has been reached on this point and none will be made by Genl Eisenhower until he has had opportunity to study problem more thoroughly.

10. It is important that psych impact of Genl Eisenhower’s arrival in Eur be correct one and his assts here are giving much thought to that problem.

11. Date of assumption of command by Genl Eisenhower was raised in a ques. Reply given was that Genl Eisenhower has no staff yet and that he therefore does not have means to exercise command and that some interim command arrangement will be made.

13.6 SG and Mil Reps were asked to submit any suggestions they might have in connection with proposed trip, command structure, and [Page 395] org of HQ. All indicated agreement with arrangements in progress and expressed high hopes for new command.

  1. This telegram was sent to Brussels, Ottawa, Copenhagen, Paris, The Hague, Oslo, Rome, Lisbon, and London and was repeated to Reykjavik and Luxembourg. This telegram was drafted by European Regional Affairs Deputy Director MacArthur. The numbered paragraphs of this telegram are virtually identical with paragraphs 2–13 of a memorandum of December 29, 1950, from SHAPE Chief of Staff Designate Lieutenant General Gruenther to Assistant Secretary of State Perkins. (740.5/12–2950)
  2. The executive agency of the North Atlantic Council Military Committee, located in Washington, composed of representatives of the Chiefs of Staff of the United States, United Kingdom, and France.
  3. Circular telegram 330, January 2, to all NATO capitals except Reykjavik, reported the tentatively approved itinerary for General Eisenhower’s forthcoming trip to Europe. The telegram observed that Eisenhower’s very tight time schedule would not permit a series of meetings with individual officials in each capital and expressed the hope that arrangements could be made for him to call on the Chief of State and to limit himself to another single meeting at which appropriate defense and cabinet officials would be present. Although Eisenhower had expressed a willingness to hold press conferences in each capital if so requested, he did not wish to give the impression that he was seeking publicity. (740.5/1–251) Circular telegram 356, January 6, to all NATO capitals, drafted by MacArthur, stated that, while General Eisenhower would of course wish to consult with the Chiefs of Mission and to keep them informed of what transpired at his meetings with NATO Chiefs of State and appropriate foreign officials, it would toe an error to have the Chiefs of Mission accompany Eisenhower when he made his calls. It was felt that such a procedure would negate Eisenhower’s international stature as Supreme Allied Commander and could be exploited by Communist propaganda. Eisenhower concurred in that view. (740.5/1–651)
  4. The reference here is to a NATO Defense Committee paper (DC 24/3), December 12, 1950, dealing with NATO command structure, which was approved by the North Atlantic Council on December 18, 1950, as document C 6–D/7 at the Council’s Fifth Session in Brussels. Regarding DC 24/3, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. iii, p. 548; see also footnote 6, p. 70.
  5. There was no paragraph 12 in the source text.