Memorandum by the Director of International Security Affairs ( Cabot ) to the Secretary of State 1
Subject: Time and Place of Next NAT Council Meeting
A recommendation from Ambassador Spofford with respect to the next meeting of the NAT Council is contained in Depto 10 which is attached.2 He concludes that plans should be laid to hold a meeting about September 15. He suggests that if there is to be a meeting in Europe in connection with the General Assembly, a September 15 meeting might be held in Washington or Ottawa.
Questions involved in deciding upon the date and place have been discussed with interested persons in the Department and with representatives of ECA and Defense. There is general agreement on the following appraisal of the situation.
Since no meeting has been held since December, it would be highly desirable, from the standpoint of public interest in NATO and of a get-together of NATO Foreign Ministers and Defense Ministers, to have a meeting at the earliest possible date. On the other hand, the long lapse of time makes it unwise to hold a meeting without reasonable prospects of substantial achievements.
The three big subjects pending are admission of Greece and Turkey, arrangements for German rearmament, and acceptance of uncommitted force requirements under the Medium Term Defense Plan.
Discussions of the problem of Greece and Turkey in the Deputies can be wound up in a couple of weeks. It is unlikely that agreement can be reached without a Council meeting. It might be possible to have a successful Council meeting by the first of August on this subject. From the standpoint of our relations with Turkey, it would be highly desirable to take action at the earliest possible date. Defense Department does not appear concerned from a military standpoint about delay until September or October.
While it is difficult to forecast when German rearmament proposals will be ready for Council action, they will clearly not be ready by the first of August. It is even doubtful if we will be ready by September 15. October 15 would be a much safer date. It will be very difficult, in view of public interest in this problem, to hold a Council meeting at which no action is taken on it.[Page 622]
An early decision as to the assignment of the force gap is desirable from the standpoint of military, financial, and production planning. On the other hand, there is some belief that this is not a good time to ask our European partners to accept a major new assignment. Moreover, the MTDP is being reviewed by SHAPE and substantial revisions may result. This review is scheduled to be completed early in September. The JCS is reconsidering its decision of May 28 to submit a U.S. proposal for allocating the gap to the Standing Group now, and may decide to delay action some time. While a September 15 date to consider this problem is possible, an October date would be preferable. August is out of the question since there must be not only military but also economic recommendations for consideration by the Council.
It is probably also out of the question to expect the French to be ready on any of these subjects by an August 1 date and it may well be difficult for them to be organized with final positions by September 15.
The U.S. position at a Council meeting would be stronger if Congress had acted favorably on Foreign Aid Legislation, possible but not likely by September 15.
If the meeting is put over to October 15 there may not be any need for another meeting this calendar year in connection with the General Assembly.
In view of the urgency of getting ahead with Greece-Turkey, in view of the desirability of an early Council meeting from the general political standpoint, and in view of the tendency of some countries to procrastinate in making the difficult decisions that are involved in these agenda items, it is recommended that we instruct Spofford to seek to secure agreement of the Deputies for September 15 as a planning date for a Council meeting including these three topics. It should also be understood, however, that the final decision cannot be made until some time after the first of August, when it may prove necessary to postpone the meeting into October.
No decision should be made at this time about a meeting in connection with the General Assembly.
In view of the uncertainty of a meeting in connection with the General Assembly and the desirability of having the next meeting in Rome, it is recommended that plans be made on the basis of holding a projected September 15 meeting in Rome.
That you secure the agreement of Secretary Marshall to this position.