740.5/1–2751

The Secretary of State to the French Minister for Foreign Affairs (Schuman)1

My Dear Mr. Minister: We warmly welcome your Government’s initiative in calling a conference of the interested European powers to consider possible ways and means to implement the French proposals concerning the creation of a European army and its participation in the integrated Military Force for the defense of Europe which was established at the recent North Atlantic Council meetings at Brussels.

As I have said to you on more than one occasion in the past, the United States has given every evidence in statements, actions, and treaties of the depth and permanence of its interests in Europe, its support for closer European association, its willingness to cooperate [Page 760]with Europe. That this will continue and increase, is, I am convinced, the will of the American people.

If your Government, in close consultation with the German and other European Governments who wish to participate, can evolve the main outlines of a plan for bringing the free nations of Europe more closely together in the spirit so well represented by the Schuman Plan, we can reasonably hope for long term solutions of many of our problems, be they political, military or economic.

I do not need to remind you of the attitude which the Government of the United States has displayed on innumerable occasions, and in many forms, toward European Integration. My Government strongly favors it. If the European countries can work it out in a practical manner, a sound basis would be laid upon which military and economic strength can be built. A rallying point will be created around which a free and civilized Europe can muster its energies for a successful defense of its beliefs and the traditions of its history.

We know you also agree with us that it is of primary importance to press forward vigorously with the strengthening of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. We are convinced that the broad framework of the Atlantic Community, embracing a strong Europe, is an essential part of the free world structure and the attainment of global security under the United Nations.

The Government of the United States is happy to accept your invitation to send an observer to the conference which you have called for February 6 and will do its best to assist in bringing its deliberations to a successful conclusion.

Sincerely yours,

Dean Acheson
  1. A draft of this letter had been handed to Foreign Minister Schuman by Ambassador Bruce on December 22, 1950, with the general understanding that it would not be released until after or simultaneously with the issuance of a French invitation for a European Army Conference and in no case without preliminary consultation with the United States (telegram 3699, December 29, 1950, from Paris: 740.5/12–2950). The draft letter is included in the documentation on the concern of the United States with the defense of Western Europe presented in Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. iii, pp. 1 ff. Certain minor revisions in the draft letter (incorporated in the text printed here) were transmitted to the French Foreign Minister in mid-January. Schuman was agreeable with the revisions and promised to notify the United States well in advance of the convening of the European Army Conference (telegram 3738, January 16, to Paris: 740.5/12–2950 and telegram 4140, January 18, from Paris: 740.5/1–1851). The signed text of the letter printed here was formally transmitted to the Embassy in France under cover of instruction 351, February 3, which explained that minor drafting changes had been made in the earlier version in order to attune the text to the coming European army conference instead of to the conclusion of the North Atlantic Council session in Brussels in December (740.5/2–351). The letter was delivered to the French Government on February 5, and the text was released to the press the following day. Telegram 4465, January 29, from Paris, reported that Schuman preferred a delay in the publication of this letter which he intended first to use privately vis-à-vis other NATO governments (740.5/1–2951). Telegram 4000, January 31, to Paris, expressed the Department of State’s reluctance to such use being made of the letter and indicated a preference for its earliest publication (740.5/1–2951). For a further explanation of the modalities of this letter, see telegram 945, February 10, to The Hague, p. 764.