Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 092.2 North Atlantic Treaty

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ( Bradley ) to the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe ( Eisenhower )
top secret   us eyes only
operational immediate   noforn   no distribution

As you know, the problem of admission of Greece and Turkey to NATO and the associated question of a unified Middle Eastern Command under a British Commander to include Turkish forces is foremost on the Agenda of the Ottawa Meeting. This project is fully supported by the US and UK, but a few nations are doubtful and hesistant primarily for political reasons. However, present reading of the situation indicates eventual acceptance during the Ottawa meeting.

France concurs in admission of Greece and Turkey to NATO but advances two conditions to her acceptance of Middle East Command concept. One condition to her acceptance relates to the status of a French senior officer in the Middle East Command. We believe this can be satisfactorily resolved. The second condition relates to a French Naval Command in the Western Mediterranean.

US position in this matter has been governed by JCS guidance which reads as follows:

  • “(a) That there should be only two principal allied Naval Commands in the Mediterranean, one subordinate to SACEUR and the other subordinate to SACME, each primarily responsible for the support of his respective supreme commander.
  • (b) That all naval activities in the Mediterranean be within and subordinate to either of these two Naval Commands except coastal activities.
  • (c) That all naval operations in the Mediterranean be conducted by these two Commanders and in those areas and tasks where responsibilities overlap, the necessary coordination of plans and operations be worked out by them or their delegated subordinates.
  • (d) That in view of Shapto 25,1 it is appropriate to recognize French and Italian naval responsibilities in the Western Mediterranean with the understanding that these commands will be within the Naval Command structure for CinC Southern Europe for overall command and coordination, and for the assignment of tasks along either area or functional lines as necessary for the accomplishment of the primary mission of support of SACEUR’s southern flank.”

In order to meet the demands of the French and the desire of our Department of State, it has been suggested that we go somewhat beyond [Page 671] this position and your Shapto 25 by submitting the following proposal to the French:

“The Standing Group agrees that the Naval Command in the area of the Western Mediterranean situated west of Sardinia should be exercised by a French admiral.

“This Command will be within SHAPE’S Southern Naval Command. The latter will retain and exercise in this zone such functional responsibilities as may be necessary for the accomplishment of his missions. Overall command will be exercised by the Naval Commander under CinC Southern Europe.

“Subject to the foregoing, the Terms of Reference of the French Naval Commander will be in harmony with those of the Commanders of adjacent areas.”

The last sentence in this proposal considered in relation to the first sentence is primarily for French public consumption at the time of the announcement of the British Commander Middle East and US Commander of the Atlantic. Our interpretation of this last sentence would place the French Command west of Sardinia in co-equal status with a corresponding possible Italian Command east of Sardinia, and on this basis the paragraph appears acceptable.

The French have not accepted this proposal and we are advised that this proposal somewhat modified may have been discussed by the French Government with you.

We are reluctant to get into the details of your previously approved Command arrangements but may be forced to do so for French political reasons in order to assuage French public at the time of the announcement of the other two Commands. I am presenting this picture to you in order that you may know my views on the matter and to invite your comments should you desire to send them. Should you desire to comment, your views should reach us as soon as possible, as the Greek and Turkish problem will be voted on in the Atlantic Council prior to adjournment on Thursday.

[ Bradley ]
  1. Not found in Department of State files.