740.5/2–1551: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Bruce) to the Secretary of State 1


4846. Schuman opened conference for organization European army February 152 with speech outlining along already well known lines political and military purpose of French proposal and its general content and noting for benefit Germans that all participants in conference were on basis of equality. It was agreed chairman would be French throughout and next meeting fixed for afternoon February 16 when Alphand will take over. French circulated document being summarized in separate message that is designed in FonMins words “serve as basis for discussion”.3

As to purpose Schuman placed this proposal in same context as coal and steel pool plan insisted that “there is a European to organize” and that “this truth holds for organization of defense” since a European army within Atlantic force will be “permanent instrument for security of our continent an essential element of European integration” in pointing out that army was to be “accompanied by establishment of political institutions” he declared “work to which it (French Government) has invited your governments is in its opinion as much political as military”.

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Schuman also insistent however that French plan has an immediate military purpose namely “to construct a military tool of sure efficiency to prove not only to our technicians but to our peoples that army of United Europe is fit to be used against an eventual aggressor with cohesion and vigor at least as great as in case of national armies”.

FonMin particularly emphasized that French wanted European army wholly compatible with and a help to integrated Atlantic forces saying “if our initiative were to result in imperiling or simply in slowing up Atlantic defense if that were proved we would not hesitate to withdraw our proposal”. Philosophy behind is summed up as follows:

“Atlantic defense and European defense have nothing incompatible about them—do not duplicate each other but are placed on different planes. Atlantic organization is a coalition system of national armies grouped under a single command. European army will be a supranational army being substituted for national armies progressively but definitively.”

As to content of proposal core will be “a European defense commissioner collaborating with a Council of Ministers under supervision (controle) of an interparliamentary assembly”. Schuman emphatic that such institutions necessary for army of democratic countries. Job of Commissioner will be to assure recruitment and training of contingents furnished by each country and “formation of European units”.

Whole process will be gradual according Schuman who said French paper proposes certain processes and stages toward eventual goal of leaving only ceremonial troops (troupes de souverainete) and police and security forces at disposal of national governments. Within European army there will be no discrimination but in preliminary stages facts of situation dictate maintenance of separate forces by countries having overseas responsibilities. European army will be “constantly augmented by all units formed of available [forces?] that are to be used for European defense”. Powers of Commissioner will increase as European army takes form.

In addressing delegations FonMin declared FedRep invited join with Atlantic Pact powers because “we cannot conceive of Europe without Germany”. As to countries which had chosen to send observers he hoped latter would follow debates “with desire to be convinced that objectives proposed for part of the reality of Europe now being born”. He declared presence of US and Canadian observers “proves importance that our American friends attach to our European undertaking”.4

  1. This telegram was repeated to London, Oslo, Copenhagen, The Hague, Brussels, Rome, Lisbon, Ottawa, and Frankfurt; a copy was sent to Luxembourg, and copies were made available to the Department of Defense.
  2. Regarding the convening, membership, and organization of the conference, see the editorial note, supra.
  3. Telegram 4847, February 15, from Paris, not printed, transmitted a digest of a French Foreign Ministry summary of the 25-page French memorandum presented to the conference (740.5/2–1551). For the text of the official French summary, see Folliot, Documents on International Affairs 1951, p. 216, or L’Année politique 1951, p. 625. The complete text of the French memorandum was transmitted to the Department of State as an enclosure to despatch 2323, February 16, from Paris, neither printed (740.00/2–1651).
  4. For the text of Schuman’s address, see L’Anneé politique 1951, p. 626. The speech is also extensively quoted and paraphrased in Adenauer, Memoirs, p. 348.