740.5/4–2051: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Gifford) to the Secretary of State 1


5528. Embtel 5518 April 19.2 In reply to Churchill in NATO Command debate last night, Shinwell stated opposition’s threat to reduce his salary was “of little consequence” to him. However, what really mattered was “maintenance of most friendly relations between UK and America,” and “any criticisms, any suggestions, any utterances calculated to exacerbate feelings and relations wld render great disservice not only to both countries but to all countries concerned with NATO.” He said he regarded command organization which has resulted from negotiations among NAT powers as “considerable achievement.” As consequence considerable pressure “we were able to persuade” Pres to appoint Eisenhower to Command of West. In addition, Brit were able to secure designation Montgomery as Deputy [Page 511]Supreme Commander and appointment of Englishman as Deputy Supreme Air Commander.

Shinwell took issue with Churchill’s statement that naval appointments determined at low level. On contrary they had been decided by UK and US Chiefs of Staff together with those of other NAT members. Brit had not initiated proposal that Amer be designated Supreme Commander Atlantic. However, they concurred in view post shld be established as part of unified control designed to avoid mistakes and errors last war. Furthermore, Brit Admiral who wld have command East Atlantic wld exercise control over what wld likely be “main operational area” running from southern tip Greenland to Cape Finisterre. Also Brit wld have “exclusive control” UK coastal waters and Deputy Supreme Commander Atlantic wld be Brit. Shinwell stated command Mediterranean was still under discussion and expressed hope that by referring to matter Churchill had not “thrown spanner into works.” Re Royal Navy, which from tone his remarks Churchill apparently seeking to “denigrate”, Shinwell said it was still “very strong” and wld be integral part of defense organization “we are building up in conjunction with eleven nations.”

He concluded with expression hope that “feelings between ourselves and US will not be strained as result this debate” and that “very shortly” NATO Command organization wld be completely finalized “to advantage all countries concerned.”

As anticipated proposed motion of censure which terminated debate was defeated by vote of 291 to 280.

Full text debate by airpouch.

  1. Repeated to Paris as 2068 for information MacArthur.
  2. Not printed.