Editorial Note

The Conference for the Organization of a European Defense Community (or European Army Conference) was convened in Paris on February 15, 1951, and continued throughout the remainder of the year. The origins of the conference from its inception as the “Pleven Plan” in late 1950 are briefly described in the Department of State briefing paper Pleven D–2/1a, January 26, page 755, and in the paper prepared in the Embassy in France, page 789. Invitations to participate in the conference were addressed by the French Government on January 26, 1951, to all the European signatories of the North Atlantic Pact and to the German Federal Republic. At the same time the United States and Canada were invited to be represented at the conference by observers. Four of the invited governments, the German Federal Republic, Belgium, Italy, and Luxembourg, promptly agreed to join France in taking an active part in the conference, while the remaining invited governments (Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the United Kingdom) decided to limit their participation to observer status. The United States and Canada agreed to send observers to the conference. Regarding the formal expression of support by the United States for the convening of the conference and the decision to send an American observer to the conference, see Secretary of State Acheson’s letter of January 27 to Foreign Minister Schuman, page 759, and footnote 4, page 757.

The opening of the conference, initially planned for early February, was delayed until February 15 because of the French-Italian conversations at Santa Margherita, February 12–13. (For materials on these French-Italian meetings see volume IV.) The first meeting of the [Page 766] conference was presided over by French Foreign Minister Schuman; see telegram 4846, February 15, from Paris, infra. Thereafter, Hervé Alphand, French Permanent Deputy Representative to the North Atlantic Council, served as president or chairman of the conference, aided by a secretariat drawn from the French Foreign Ministry.

The heads of the delegations to the conference were as follows:

France: Hervé Alphand
Belgium: Baron Jules Guillaume, Belgian Ambassador in France
German Federal Republic: February–March: Walter Hallstein, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs; March–June, Conrad Roediger; June: Theodore Blank, Bundestag deputy (June 1951)
Italy: Prof. Paolo Emilio Taviani, Parliamentary Deputy
Luxembourg: Pierre Majerus of the Luxembourg Foreign Ministry
United States: David K. E. Bruce, Ambassador in France
Canada: Maj. Gen. George P. Vanier, Ambassador in France
Denmark: Karl Kruse, Counsellor of the Danish Embassy in France
Norway: Rolf Andvord, Ambassador in France
Netherlands: Baron van Boetzelaer, Ambassador in France
Portugal: Marcello Mathias, Ambassador in France
United Kingdom: Sir Oliver Harvey, Ambassador in France

During the first phase of the conference, February 15–July 24, the principal forum for the conference was in plenary sessions attended by both participating and observer countries. Three committees (military, financial, and juridical), composed of representatives of the participating countries and chaired by the French representatives, carried on detailed consideration of conference proposals and papers. These three committees were supervised by a Steering Committee chaired by Ambassador Alphand and composed of the heads of the delegations of the participating countries. The Steering Committee reported periodically to the plenary sessions of the conference. In the first phase of conference activity there were 10 plenary sessions, 29 sessions of the Steering Committee, 15 sessions of the Juridical Committee, 14 sessions of the Military Committee, and 9 sessions of the Financial Committee. For a summary description and evaluation of the work of the conference through June 1951, see the analytical paper prepared in the Embassy in France, page 789.

Sessions of the conference were held in private, but the press was occasionally briefed after plenary sessions. The Embassy in Paris reported [Page 767] by telegram on all plenary sessions of the conference and on most of the committee meetings. The Embassy also submitted to the Department of State periodic reports and evaluations on the course of the conference and related events and transmitted by despatch to the Department copies of the official documentation (records of meetings and formal conference documents) of the conference. These telegrams, despatches, and papers are included in the central files of the Department of State under file 740.5. A selection of the most important reports and papers is presented in the following pages. A comprehensive collection of conference records and papers, American delegation reports and memoranda, and related messages and papers for the period 1951–1952 is preserved in the EDC files, Lot 57 M 44.