740.5/7–3151: Telegram

The United States Vice Deputy Representative on the North Atlantic Council (Achilles) to the Secretary of State 1

Depto 139. Ref Depto 138.2 Private discussion with various deps before yesterday’s mtg on US proposal re Sept council session (Todep 583) elicited generally favorable initial reaction from Fr, Ital, Canada and Nor.

UK agreeable on two stages, avoidance at Ottawa of substantive discussion on Ger and gap, and primary emphasis on fin and econ questions but insistent on linking ME command with Gr-Turk decision and on importance Shinwell attached to early personal discussion by [Page 629] Def Mins of progress and shortcomings of def effort. Hoyer-Millar had just come from mtg with Shinwell at which strong telegrams had been approved on these points to Franks and Elliot as result reports from them. Fol my talk with him in morning, he conferred again with FonOff and Def Min so that his statements at afternoon mtg were made in light of their consideration of US proposal. He also reiterated privately importance which Eisenhower had attached in his conversation with Morrison to early mtg attended by all three Mins. He admitted having advised several other Deps privately of UK views on ME command structure and thought Northerners at least wld insist on settlement of that before final action on Greece-Turkey.4 (This was substantially borne out at afternoon mtg.)

Belgians and Danes were insistent Def Mins attend, former in view previous decision that first mtg of reorganized Council shld be attended by all three Mins and because Belg Def Min strongly wishes attend,5 latter due to importance his govt attached to knowing what ME command wld be before making final decision on Greece and Turkey. He stated possibility of inclusion in ME command of non-NAT countries other than Greece-Turkey increased his govt’s hesitancy on agreeing to full Greek-Turk membership and it wished to know exactly what was involved in order to assess possible indirect commitments.

Alphand, while in gen agrmt with US position, was inclined to prefer skipping Sept mtg. He indicated Schuman wld prefer not to go to Ottawa or even to Wash for tripartite mtg and that he himself wld strongly prefer not to take time out from EDF discussions for either purpose.

Iceland and Luxembourg took no part and will presumably accept any gen agrmt.

Position of others in summary is as fols:

Gen agrmt that Sept mtg, if held, shld (a) be announced as preliminary to Oct mtg, (b) not undertake serious substantive consideration of Ger or gap, and (c) seek final decision on Gr–Turk but otherwise devote primary attn to non-mil aspects NATO problems.
Fr and probably Nor and Neth wld prefer no Sept mtg. (First due to preoccupation with Ger, second with Greek and Turk and last due to apparent impasse.)
Italy supports US but has no strong views other than desire for early decision on Gr–Turk.
All except US and Italy believe presence of Def Mins at Sept mtg essential if Greece–Turkey to be settled and desirable for gen discussion of progress in def and production fields.

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In circumstances, we recommend from USDep point of view that US agree to Sept mtg which wld (1) be announced as preliminary to Oct mtg, (2) avoid major susbtantive discussion of Ger or GAP, (3) seek final action on Greece-Turkey, (4) be attended by all three Mins, and (5) “deal with such problems as may be ready for discussion or action”.

Principal disadvantages of this course wld be:

Possibility of failure to secure decision on Gr–Turk. On this point am confident Nor wld not block gen agmt if it can be reached with others.
Diversion of time of def personnel. Believe this nevertheless necessary for some personnel if agmt on Gr–Turk to be achieved and worthwhile for others if general discussion designed to invigorate def effort.
Public disappointment over meager results. Believe this cld largely be met by proper info handling at prelim mtg.
Probability that fin and econ problems and measures to deal with prod deficiencies cited by Herod will not be prepared adequately for more than preliminary discussions. Nevertheless, believe prelim discussion of these wld be useful.

Principal advantages wld be:

Sept decision on Gr–Turk.
Stimulus to def program from personal exchange of views by all three mins at that date on progress and impediments.
If possible, enough prelim info on Ger and gap being given non- SG govts to facilitate Oct agmt on these problems.
Demonstration of US willingness to go along with majority view where major interests not involved but nevertheless, recognize weight of enumerated disadvantages, particularly (4). If you consider they outweigh advantages, recommend we seek abandonment of Sept mtg entirely.

  1. Repeated to Paris, Ottawa, and Frankfurt.
  2. Not printed; it reported on the discussion within the Council of Deputies meeting, of July 30 during which the U.S. Deputy recommended that the Council hold its regular session in Rome in late October with an earlier meeting in Ottawa beginning on September 15 for consideration of nonmilitary questions (740.5/7–3151).
  3. Supra.
  4. For documentation concerning the problems relating to the creation of a Middle East Command, see pp. 460 ff.
  5. For documentation concerning the reorganization of the Council and other organs of NATO, see pp. 1 ff.