740.5/3–2451: Telegram

The Chargé in France (Bohlen) to the Secretary of State 1


5683. In course of Assembly debate re provisional twelfth of mil budget, Gaullist Deputy Jean-Paul Palewski proposed amendment requiring govt to “define its policy re Western def strategy” and in particular re NATO staff appointment. He referred to critical newspaper editorial in Le Monde of Mar 22 which called attention to “singularly reduced prerogatives” of General Juin as central sector commander as compared with these of Admiral Blind (who in northern sector has direct command over air forces). Le Monde attributed difference between Brind and Juin authority to contrast between expression of natl consciousness in Britain on occasion of Fechteler appointment, and “virtual lack of public interest re Atlantic staff appointments in France.”

Pleven replied for govt, pointing out complexity of problem, organization of coalition command being unprecedented in peacetime, and added: “each nation putting up an important contribution to collective security must have feeling that it assumes functions which correspond to (extent of) its contribution. This principle has always guided French Govt and gen staff in their discussions with American mil authorities and govt.” Pleven explained further that since northern sector command involves principally naval and air forces, command problem is different there from central sector and that French Govt, “has obtained what it considers essential,” namely placing of all central ground forces under command of a French General. Pleven also indicated that General Norstad is deputy to Juin for purposes of tactical support while reporting directly to Eisenhower re strategic air.

The Palewski amendment (which was beaten 356 to 32) is in line with recently stepped-up Nationalist propaganda line of EPF Member of De Gaulle’s directing council, referring to the General’s recent question about US air facilities in Morocco (Embtel 5032, Feb 27),2 has recently indicated to Embassy that such themes can be expected to bulk still larger in EPF propaganda as election campaign gets underway, that “no unfriendliness to US is implied” and that underlying such propaganda is policy of “not letting nationalist appeal become monopoly of Commies.”

  1. Repeated to London as 1390.
  2. For documentation concerning U.S. interests in air facilities in Morocco, see volume v .