740.5/7–351: Telegram

The United States Deputy Representative on the North Atlantic Council (Spofford) to the Secretary of State

Depto 10. Personal for Secy from Spofford. Believe date for next council session shld be fixed in near future in order that specific preparation by govts and staff can be expedited. Since timing of possible 4 power FonMins mtg is so indefinite, suggest we proceed to fix date for council on basis for earliest timing for fruitful discussion of major suggestions. Principal topics will probably be:

Gap,1 and perhaps,
Burden sharing.

First cld be discussed probably any time after mid-Jul but it seems doubtful that others cld be adequately prepared before early Sept. Nov session in connection UNGA wld be too late and Sept 15 is almost too close to latter date. Accordingly suggest Sept 15 as target if agreeable to you and Gen Marshall. While Todep 4972 gives me auth to work out timing and other matters with deps I wld not wish to suggest date without being sure it was agreeable to you both.

While Rome wld seem satisfactory for Sept mtg, it may be well to avoid decision on place at this time in view of possibility 4 power mtg in Wash might develop.3 Rome wld also seem suitable for Nov or Dec mtg in connection with Paris UNGA and you and Gen Marshall might therefore prefer a Sept mtg in US or Canada. Pearson has expressed mild interest in having it in Ottawa but believes Van Zeeland shld keep chair until end of ’51.

  1. The word “gap” began to take on special meaning in the early 1950’s when used in discussing NATO problems; it was usually meant to imply the difference between the force requirements established by the Medium Term Defense Plan and what each member country had actually committed itself to provide by way of its own defense program. For documentation concerning problems relating to this “gap,” see pp. 1 ff.
  2. Not printed; it informed Spofford that he should seek agreement with the other Council Deputies concerning the questions of agenda and the time and place of the next meeting (740.5/6–851).
  3. For documentation concerning the Four-Power Exploratory Talks in Paris, see pp. 1086 ff.