740.5/1–551: Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Offices 1

top secret

354. Personal for Chief of Mission, from the Secretary. Gen Eisenhower and I had a long and very satisfactory discussion yesterday on where we stand with respect to the NAT and how best we shld proceed to implement it.2 We are in full agreement on objectives and how best to go about the task. We have now reached the stage where we must translate plans into action if our whole effort to develop adequate defensive strength in Eur, which is the foundation of free world strength, is not to bog down. The principal task of the US is to give the necessary leadership, assistance, and direction, and to galvanize the Eur countries into action so that they will press forward and make the necessary effort and sacrifices essential if we are to deter aggression or contain it shld it occur. The Eur countries must be convinced that the task is within their capacities and their enthusiasm must be aroused for getting the job done.

We are in full agreement that our tactics in bringing other countries along with us must not consist simply in constant pressure and warnings that others must do more. We must, if we are to succeed, not only exert continuing influence on the Europeans to do what is necessary, but we must also by encouragement and by the example of our actions, establish firmly in their minds that the task is manageable and that the US is determined to press forward and do its utmost if the Europeans make a full and equal effort.

The US is most fortunate in obtaining the services of Gen Eisenhower for this great mission. His task however is formidable and he can only succeed if we all give him whole-hearted and all-out support. This I know you will do and have so informed him.

  1. This telegram was personally drafted and signed by Secretary Acheson. It was sent to the Missions in the capitals of the other NATO nations and to Frankfurt for HICOG.
  2. According to the Secretary’s calendar of appointments, General Eisenhower was scheduled to call on the Secretary on the morning of January 4. No formal memorandum of this conversation has been found in the files of the Department of State. The brief account of this meeting in Acheson, Present at the Creation, p. 493, indicates that General Gruenther accompanied General Eisenhower. The Secretary’s “presentation” summarized in that account appears to be a summary of the substance of the memorandum printed infra.