Memorandum of Conversation, by the Ambassador at Large (Jessup)
Subject: NATO Matters
|Participants:||Foreign Minister Lester B. Pearson (Canada)|
|Mr. Philip C. Jessup|
At luncheon today the Secretary discussed with Mr. Pearson the plans for the Rome meeting. He outlined the ideas which General Gruenther and others at SHAPE had concerning the procedure and the arrangements at Rome with particular reference to the participation of General Eisenhower. Mr. Pearson said that he had also discussed the matter with General Eisenhower and was in general agreement with the plans and thought they could be carried out. He said that the present plan was to open the meeting on Saturday with a public session of one hour from twelve to one at which he would speak and de Gasperi would follow as the representative of the host country. Foreign Minister Kraft of Denmark was also very much pleased at the prospect that he could speak at that time since he had the feeling that it was usually Stikker and Lange who spoke on behalf of the smaller countries. Mr. Pearson said that some remarks from Mr. Eden as a new member of the Council would also seem to be appropriate. The Secretary indicated that he did not wish to speak at that time.
Mr. Pearson then referred to the meeting which would be confined to the military and the defense ministers at which purely military matters would be discussed. There would then be the regular Council meeting at which there would be the presentation on behalf of SHAPE followed by the statements of Mr. Harriman and General Eisenhower. He agreed with the Secretary that there should not be any immediate off-the-cuff discussion of the statements, but that there should be time for the members of the Council to consider them over night and make any comments the following day.
The Secretary said that he thought the Rome meeting should not be considered merely as preparatory to a January meeting. In fact, there are important decisions to be arrived at and these should be fully discussed and concluded at Rome. The action in the January meeting should register government approval of these decisions. He said, for example, that Stikker and others should bring out clearly whether there are serious constitutional difficulties in the way of approving the European Army plan. There should be no attempt at Rome to gloss over these difficulties but they should on the contrary be brought out very frankly so that we would know whether it was possible to continue along this line or whether some entirely different approach had [Page 713]to be followed. Similarly, in regard to the report of the Wise Men there should be frank discussion and an indication of the direction in which the governments intended to move. The Secretary stressed that this was a time at which we really had to come to grips with the question whether the entire effort was going to bear fruit or whether we needed to plan on some entirely different basis. He said that this was a problem which could be successfully solved only if Mr. Pearson would devote himself to bringing out the real results which we needed at the Rome meeting.
[Here follow discussions concerning a possible meeting place for the January meeting of the North Atlantic Council and a brief mention of French monetary problems.]