740.5/3–1651: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Bruce) to the Secretary of State 1

secret

5448. From MacArthur. Re Para 2 Depto 602 (London repeat reftel to Brussels).2 Fol is record that part of General Gruenther’s conference with liaison officers on February 16 indicating how top SHAPE appointments wld be filled. Record this mtg was reproduced and given all liaison officers.

“How do we intend to fill those other positions? We are looking over very carefully available officers in countries who might be able fill positions of D/C’s and A/C’s.3 We have so many Americans in staff there is danger of over-Americanizing it. Perhaps we have too many here now. It may be good way to get Americans interested in Europe and on other hand it might give impression Americans are trying dominate staff.

“Question of natl prestige comes up in selection of officers. I hope very much that feeling does not develop. Jobs are extremely important—difficult ones to fill. It is going to be matter great urgency that we get best man for each job. We can make mistakes. Considering problems we have had, we must have men of wide experience. Certain nations might feel they shld have man in certain position. We want avoid handling it that basis, but on ability of officers. If Chiefs of Staff feel they do have officers who cld fill these posts, I wld be very glad have that info. Wld also be very grateful that when you felt strongly when certain man isn’t put in given position, for instance, there won’t be any hard feelings. Principle of rotation (one year) is very definitely in General Eisenhower’s mind without any rigid control. I don’t think question of natl prestige will come up but if it is to be problem I want to be told about it. We must have harmonious relationships, because inherent nature of our problem is difficult one—if we started out with any friction we will be in bad way. Prestige that any country shld acquire due to an officer being in certain position is not so great. Real prestige is going to come in measure of forces that are furnished by countries. Prestige matters are relatively insignificant [Page 497]ones. I welcome your frank views this matter. We shld like have your cooperation so that when we do make decisions you will do your best to see they are presented in proper light. Obviously there are going to be subsections in each staff section—there will be representation all nations. Natl point of view isn’t going to be one of things members of staff will be representing anyhow. That is why you are here.”

[ MacArthur ]
Bruce
  1. Repeated information to London for Spofford as 1319 and to Brussels as 254.
  2. Not printed; it contained Spofford’s report of March 9 of a conversation with a staff member of the Belgian Delegation to the Council of Deputies in which the Belgian had asked whether Eisenhower had selected his top staff appointments as a “result bilateral conversations British.” He was informed that the United States Delegation to the North Atlantic Council “was neither consulted nor informed’ by SHAPE on such matters presumably because of their exclusively military nature. (740.5/3–951)
  3. Presumably the reference here is to deputy and assistant chiefs of staff.