740.5/7–2851: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Deputy Representative on the North Atlantic Council ( Spofford ), at London 1
top secret

Todep 58. State-Defense message—pass Dept of Defense. Have had thorough discussion at highest level of prospects Council mtg in middle [Page 627] Sept followed by annual mtg around end rather than middle Oct. Have considered carefully and appreciate comments reed so promptly to Todep 51.2 Situation seems to us here to be about as fols:

It wld probably not be possible make any major progress on Ger problem or gap problem at Sept Council mtg.
To attempt to prepare for any careful discussion of these problems at such mtg would divert time and energy of persons working on problems themselves and might even delay final solutions. This we cannot afford.
Important that public reaction to Council mtg after 9 months lapse not be one of severe disappointment, especially as about that time crucial decisions may be in the making on US aid legislation.
If Sept meeting is held we must get favorable action on Greece and Turkey at such mtg. This will involve securing active Brit support without resolution of command problem which it now appears will have to be delayed until after Turkey’s admission to NATO.
We are keenly aware of desire of other NATO countries to have Council mtg in Sept and place great emphasis ourselves on morale factors involved.

In these circumstances, best course of action we have been able to develop wld involve public announcement by Van Zeeland of time and place for annual mtg of Council which presumably is Kome end Oct. He wld also announce simultaneously that advantage wld be taken of presence in U.S. around mid-Sept of many of the FonMins and FinMins to hold preliminary mtg of these Ministers in Ottawa for general discussion of current non-military NATO problems. This meeting will not include military matters now before DefMins in preparation for end Oct meeting.

In background discussion with press an effort wld be made to give impression that this was in part mtg to receive useful progress reports but that decision to meet was primarily because of strong desire of members to take advantage of favorable opportunity to get together. This of course is desirable per se because of important issues on which wholehearted cooperation of members will be required over coming months. We cld also point out that to hold these two mtgs was in accord with view that Council shld meet more frequently which has not hitherto been possible.

Privately to Deps, you shld make it clear that US is most anxious that at this mtg final action on Greece and Turkey be taken; otherwise we face great risks of losing full support of Turkey. U.S. does not believe that alternative methods other than full NATO membership of associating Greece and Turkey with West are satisfactory. If Turkey is not promptly more closely associated with West, we believe that the overall risks to the West will be gravely increased.

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It wld be desirable to keep very close fact that definitive action on Greece and Turkey wld be sought. If Greece and Turkey are voted in as we expect, we wld of course have desirable achievement to announce.

It is important to note for reasons given above that no subj shld be scheduled for Sept mtg which wld require either MC to meet prior to such mtg or presence of DefMins at such mtg. Thus at Sept mtg reports on such subjs as command structure, revision DC/28, reorganization of NATO military structure will not be submitted but will be deferred for annual mtg end Oct.

You should present above position to Mon mtg. We realize other Deps will bring forward specific subjs for Sept 15 mtg as in fact they already have (Deptos 1123 and 117,4 Jul 26) and that they may wish to agree on specific agenda for that mtg. If possible you shld endeavor prevent adoption at this time of any formal agenda for Sept mtg and certainly prevent any announcement thereof. We have, however, no objection to preliminary listing of subjs to be placed on agenda for annual mtg.5

  1. Drafted by Martin and Parsons and cleared with Jessup of S/A, Cabot of S/ISA, Perkins of EUR, Nitze of S/P, and McGhee of NEA; repeated to Paris for MacArthur and Schuyler, Frankfurt for McCloy, and all other NATO capitals.
  2. Dated July 25, p. 623.
  3. Supra.
  4. Not printed.
  5. In telegram Todep 59 to London, July 28, the Department informed Spofford that he should not allow the agenda to become crowded with secondary subjects. While some of these topics were important and must be discussed, the Department felt that the Council should deal primarily with the most vital issues to help build its prestige as an important body (740.5/7–2851).