The United States Vice Deputy Representative on the North Atlantic Council (Achilles) to the Secretary of State 1
Depto 112. Dept advise Ottawa. In Deps’ discussion yesterday of date and agenda of Council mtg, it was agreed that if mtg held in Sept it shld be in Ottawa September 15. (UK suggested opening formalities and procedural questions cld be dispensed with 15th and work get under way promptly on 17th. Accommodations will be available [Page 625] until 22nd and, if necessary, for smaller groups after that). Canada believed that with Fon Mins in San Francisco and Fin Mins in Washington, opportunity for mtg in North America shld not be missed, said Deps shld take definite decision soonest and make public announcement; held target date principle not practical and decision imperative within next few days if accommodations and transportation are to be arranged.
US (Todep 512 not then received) with some support from France maintained that date shld be tentative until certain that definitive action possible on major questions such as Eur Army and Ger, the GAP, burden-sharing infrastructure, and Greece-Turkey. Nor without instructions. All others wished fix Sept 15 date immed.
Belg and UK argued that mtg of Mins to exchange views even if major issues not ripe, highly desirable. UK said question of Greece and Turkey cannot be carried further by Deps, that interim report on burden-sharing expected from FEB by late Aug, that UK proposal, to be introduced soon, may facilitate agrmt on infrastructure, and, altho tripartite mtg on Ger anticipated in early Aug, that Council mtg shld not be deferred pending definitive tripartite action at unpredictable future date. UK and Canada held that there wld be sufficient material ready to justify Sept mtg and that other issues and final decisions cld, if necessary, be deferred for Rome mtg before GA.
In view of consensus that Sept mtg desirable and that, because of necessary preparations, accommodations, and transportation, it is impractical further to defer decision, US agreed to report discussion with view to obtaining before July 30 yes or no decision of govt on Sept 15 mtg. If answer favorable, shld also inform Secretariat soonest of approx size of delegation. (Pls instruct urgently. Expect approx eight wld go from USDep staff not including clerical assistance.)
In reviewing list of possible items for agenda (D–D (51) 1803), most Deps agreed that NATO reorganization, formula for sharing civilian costs and civilian budget estimates, and formula for sharing SHAPE and subordinate HQ costs and budgets need not appear as agenda items but wld be covered in Deps’ report to Council and might of course be commented upon by Mins. Altho it was pointed out that Deps can act for Mins, UK Dep doubted that he wld be authorized to approve budgets and thought Gaitskell wld wish these on agenda for Mins’ personal sanction. Most others believed Deps shld approve budgets as matter of principle.
Addition of infrastructure to agenda wld depend on progress in WG.
UK, Belg, Fr, Neth suggested that agenda include “progress of rearmament program” for discussion by Def Mins and that this shld [Page 626] be based on reports of mil agencies and might include statements from those who wished to make them on natl programs (which UK thought wld be useful in dispelling suspicion that all members not doing then full share). Agreed that Deps’ shld include sections by DPB and by FEB on econ impact of defense effort and burden-sharing which UK hoped wld lead to Fin Mins’ discussion of overall econ problems, and Mil Comite report on such questions as development of command structure and revisions DC/28.4
Altho Nor not sure that discussion of Grk-Turk had been carried as far as possible in Deps, there was genl agrmt that if WG summary of earlier discussions completed and referred to govts next week and resulting views raised in Deps about August 15, that subj wld then be ready for Council consideration. Fr and UK expressed view that no political decision possible until mil questions of command structure settled.
Fr suggested Eur Army and Ger participation in defense shld be considered together. UK doubted that tentative Aug tripartite mtg will have carried subj by Sept to point where Council cld take definitive action, but with Belg, believed Mins’ discussion useful in any case. Nor believed that question shld not be raised if govts had not had time to study latest developments. US indicated that it considered usefulness of Council mtg wld depend considerably on possibility of progress on Ger question. Also pointed out that if Council customarily met at brief intervals, public wld not expect important results but with present interlude of nine months, psychological effect of unproductive mtg wld be unfortunate.
Deps will meet July 30 to consider WG report on Grk-Turk, complete discussion of Soviet foreign policy and act finally on Council mtg. Will probably then adjourn to permit govts to study major open questions, and meet again about August 15.