740.5/1–1451: Telegram

The Chargé in Norway (Snow) to the Secretary of State


725. Eisenhower’s short visit here January 12–13 was successful beyond our high expectations, due in great measure to his unique combination of forcefulness and tact, intense concentration on objectives and yet obvious breadth of knowledge and understanding. His personality radiated confidence and had instant effect on press [Page 420] and on crowds thronging hotel lobby and sidewalks outside, as well as on officials in conference and elsewhere.

High point was 2 hour conference Saturday morning January 13 with cabinet members and top military officials. First hour consisted Norwegian presentation of defense program. Then Eisenhower and Gruenther led discussion with comments and questions. Eisenhower put his finger on sore and weak points and commented with complete frankness but so constructively and with such manifest good will that it was perfect performance. Good results are bound to follow.

Prime Minister1 told Foreign Minister2 he agreed with everything he heard Eisenhower say. Justice Minister3 remarked on vitality and drive of Eisenhower but also especially on insight and sensitivity shown in his comments. He had somehow expected a blunt forceful duty bound soldier without the intellectual grasp and balanced perception exhibited by the General. Many other comments all similar to these. Defense Minister4 had been prepared for tart criticisms of Montgomery variety and was almost pathetically relieved and grateful because of Eisenhower’s method of approach.

Eisenhower said Norwegian concept of citizen army resting mainly on conscription and on refresher training for reserves was probably a good one for Norway provided the reserve training was concentrated enough and included sufficient staff training as well as field exercises.

As for marked shortage of commissioned officers and NCO’s the problem would need to be faced of providing an adequate pay scale so that the military profession would offer suitable attractions to the right kind and number of men. If the reserve call up began to impinge upon productivity, thought might be given to substituting women as far as possible in productive jobs.

He directed their attention to the size of the military force they should expect to put under arms in case of war saying that rule of thumb was about 10 percent of total population.

He explained necessity of being able to convince US Congress and public that NATO partners were doing their share. Almost impossible to measure comparative national efforts fairly. Only way to proceed was for each to strive to outdo the others rather than to hold back on assumption it was doing more than its share.

Ended on note of reassurance that European defense was clearly manageable if each country did its utmost to prepare. He was certain US would do its part.5

  1. Einar Gerhardsen.
  2. Halvard M. Lange.
  3. O. C. Gundersen.
  4. Jens Christian Hauge.
  5. For a more detailed résumé of General Eisenhower’s conversations with Norwegian Government and military officials as well as summaries of his conversations with King Haakon and Crown Prince Olav, see telegram 3902, infra.