740.5/9–1851: Telegram

The United States Delegation at the Seventh Session of the North Atlantic Council to the Acting Secretary of State 1
secret

Secto 16. Re final paragraph Secto 15.2 Shinwell opened Defense Ministers consideration country reports on defense effort emphasizing concern over readiness existing NAT forces in being. SACEUR report to SG cause for concern since not only was prospect mtg overall requirements not encouraging but worse still existing commitments not being effectively met. He stressed vital necessity of having existing forces and those currently being raised battle worthy. Not only must standing forces be battle ready but majority of reserves must be ready for action by D plus 30. If reserves only ready subsequently might be too late. Shinwell felt situation required frank discussion.

De Greef (Belgium) chairing Defense Ministers agreed on necessity effective forces which in turn depend on length military service, proper mobilization procedures, basic and advanced unit training, etc.

Bidault agreed in principle and indicated French program wld achieve this result.

Claxton gave long detailed report on Canadian effort assuring Canada wld meet DC–283 commitments on time.

Danish rep indicated Denmark planning meet commitments.

De Greef stressed importance Defense Ministers needling govts to agree on infrastructure. Also asked General Bradley to specify adequate length of military service. Bradley replied that this involved different national considerations of geography, manpower, etc. and felt it unappropriate for him to answer. If Defense Ministers wished this they shld request it of MC.

Shinwell then proposed Defense Ministers recommend council ask SG to request SHAPE and other NATO commands to report to MC prior Rome council meeting on readiness of NAT forces allocated and earmarked for SHAPE. Defense Ministers agreed on test of recommendation to be submitted to afternoon plenary session. Fol is text of recommendation subsequently approved by council which also agreed invite General Eisenhower to Rome meeting (See immediately following telegram4): “In accordance with request of council, Ministers of Defense recommended: (1) forwarding reports on each country’s defense effort to standing group and military rep comite for transmission to SHAPE and other commands as appropriate; (2) asking standing group to request SHAPE and other NATO commands: (a) to submit [Page 674] to military comite for next meeting of council in Rome an appreciation of the readiness and effectiveness of forces allocated and earmarked for NATO which, in their view can be immediately available for battle in event of war breaking out; and (b) to suggest any military steps which shld be taken to improve immediate availability of forces.”

  1. Repeated to London, Paris, Copenhagen, Brussels, Luxembourg, The Hague, Oslo, Lisbon, Rome, and Reykjavik.
  2. Supra.
  3. See footnote 4, p. 626.
  4. Infra.