740.5/1–2951: Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Offices 1

secret

439. Fol represents prelim guidance from polit viewpoint on projected Paris conference on Eur army and related polit institutions. It will be supplemented after Gen Eisenhower and Def officials have had opportunity to consider subj in relation to his responsibilities.

1.
We have advised Fr Govt that we will, if invited, be represented by an observer and do our best to assist in bringing deliberations to [Page 761]successful conclusion. We believe its successful conclusion is important to realization of certain major objectives which we share with Western Eurs, including (a) Basic Franco-Ger rapprochement; (b) Cement Ger into the West; (c) Strengthen common Atlantic def; (d) Closer assoc in Eur and North Atlantic communities. By “successful conclusion” we mean one which will effectively and realistically contribute toward attainment of these objectives. We emphatically do not mean acceptance by other countries of original Pleven proposal which was hastily conceived without serious mil advice and which Fr mil agree with all other NAT mil auths was unrealistic and undesirable.
2.
“Eur” idea has strong popular appeal in many Eur countries including Ger. We should seek to utilize it to best advantage in working toward these objectives. At the same time, all aspects of Eur def must be constantly scrutinized and developed from viewpoint of overriding common objective of developing maximum collective strength of NAT countries, plus Ger, in minimum time and maintaining maximum unity of purpose and action. In terms of US interest, this means obtaining maximum cooperation from strong and loyal Allies in integrated def of North Atlantic area.
3.
In all these fields basic criterion from US viewpoint is, of course extent to which any given action by Eurs promotes or prejudices US security and basic interests. North Atlantic community, which finds increasingly concrete expression in NATO, is accordingly framework within which we seek maximum development of common action in pursuit of basic objectives common to North America and Western Europe. Within this framework we can also support purely Eur actions insofar as they promote our common interests and strengthen North Atlantic community.
4.
Although present differences in natl attitudes between (1) Ger; (2) France, with some support of Lux, Belgium and Italy; and (3) Others led by UK present severe handicaps, we believe these dangers can be avoided and substantial advances made toward attainment of objectives enumerated in 1 above, provided all concerned can be induced to subordinate local interests to overriding common interest of developing maximum integrated strength of North Atlantic community in minimum time.
5.
Primary criterion by which we will judge result of conference is whether or not it serves to strengthen North Atlantic community. Insofar as conference deals with purely “Eur” institutions, our role will be strictly that of observer. We can, however, properly exert influence in seeking result which will meet that criterion. To extent that conference consciously devotes itself to strengthening North Atlantic community by developing Eur cooperation within and in support of NAT, we can [Page 762]take a more active role. Other Eur nations who do not contemplate participating in “Eur Army” may well take similar position.
6.
It is recognized that there may be a conflict between our long-term and immed objectives; i.e., it is conceivable that a constructive program for a militarily sound Eur army and supporting politically sound institutions cld result from the conference, but cause material delay in the build-up of our defensive strength. In such a case, we wld insist that there be no let-up in our def efforts, including a Ger contribution thereto, while agreeing that forces created in the meanwhile, including all Ger forces, wld be merged into the Eur army when activated.
7.
Foregoing is intended as background guidance for any discussions of subj you may have rather than for any specific representations at this time. We wld welcome your comments.
Acheson
  1. This telegram was sent to Brussels, Ottawa, Copenhagen, Paris, Home, The Hague, Oslo, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Frankfurt, Reykjavik, and Luxembourg. This telegram was drafted in the Office of European Regional Affairs and was concurred in by the Offices of Western European and British Commonwealth and Northern European Affairs, the Bureau of German Affairs, the Bureau of European Affairs, and the Ambassador at Large.