740.5/3–951: Telegram

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

top secret

5293. French circulated today draft convention as basis for discussion which sets forth in 72 articles ideas they have previously advanced on institutional framework for European army. Document now being translated and will transmit airpouch.2 Summary follows:

(1) First eight articles devoted general principles and institutions and give global figure on European forces projected. Institutions comprise defense commissioner, council of ministers, assembly, and court.

Commissioner invested with powers direct action and supervision which would enable him make decisions, formulate recommendations, and give advice. Decisions would be obligatory, recommendations would require application of objectives but leave means open, and opinions would not be binding. Council given task harmonizing action commissioner and governments including exchange of information and reciprocal consultation. Under provisions to be set forth in convention commissioner obliged to obtain opinion of council before taking decisions or formulating recommendation. Assembly composed of representatives of the peoples of the contracting states and exercises a control power over the administration of the commissioner. Court would assure respect for law in interpretation and application of convention.

European ground forces would be composed of infantry and armored divisions within which would be combined elements of different nationalities composed of homogeneous combat teams. To these divisions would be attached general reserves and logistical support. Tactical and defense air forces, composed of groups of elements of different nationalities would be established. Light European naval forces could be established on same principles. After establishment, European armed forces would be put at the disposal of Supreme Commander for European Defense.

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Establishment of European defense organization to be realized in successive stages (etapes). First stage would be establishment of ground forces of 30 divisions with general reserves and logistical support sufficient for their own needs within the framework of Atlantic forces earmarked for European defense. Air forces would consist of 40 tactical groups (encadres) of three squadrons each and 12 defense groups of three squadrons each. Naval forces unstipulated.

First stage will include two phases (stades), as follows: contracting states will prepare the elements for the first echelon of forces, which would include 12 divisions of ground forces and 12 tactical groups and 6 defense groups for the air forces. The first echelon will be established at the beginning of the second phase by bringing together its constituent elements. In the course of this second phase the first echelon of forces so constituted will be progressively increased until objective fixed in the first stage is obtained.

(2) Articles 9 through 25 outline projected development during first stage and place obligation on contracting parties to prepare units destined eventually to be placed at disposal of commissioner. Duration of first stage not stipulated.

Commissioner should be appointed by common agreement and on basis of competence as soon as convention in effect, with renewable term of office of three years. Upon appointment commissioner defines armament and equipment needs of first echelon and establishes supply program. He furthermore will draft general regulations harmonizing national regulations on essential points and will organize and direct training schools. He will present a provisional estimate of financial expenses and will exercise supervision over the national forces earmarked for European army.

Re passing to second phase of first stage, commissioner will draw up plans for European air forces, organic texts regarding recruitment and general organization, regulations for administration and tactical and technical methods, a program for the unification of instruction, and plans for the integration of the first echelon of forces. He will likewise draft a plan for equipment of the second echelon of forces and a program for production of European armaments. For the execution of these projects commissioner will have disposal of sufficient personnel and financial resources to be provided by the contracting parties.

Council will be designated at same time commissioner chosen and each state will be represented by one member or deputy. Council will convene as often as necessary and at least every three months. Voting rights not stipulated, but weighted system implied. Commissioner will make regular reports to council. Council will fix provisional budget or organization. Any contracting government may oppose decision or recommendation of commissioner and council can annul by ⅔ majority.

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Commissioner will submit his plans for second stage to council, which fixes final text by unanimous or ⅔ vote depending on subject matter of plan.

(3) Articles 26 through 46 set forth in some detail development envisaged during second phase of first stage, relationship of commissioner to council and his powers over European army itself. Assembly would be established at beginning of second phase and hold annual session. Its composition left open. Commissioner would present annual report to assembly, whose principal power would be right to dismiss commissioner by ⅔ vote. Court of justice, which would be that for Schuman Plan, would interpret convention and could on specified grounds annul assembly or council deliberations. Advisory opinions could be requested of it.

(4) Articles 47 through 56 relate to financial questions and provide that commissioner will draft annual budget which can be decreed by council with ⅔ majority. Expenses would be governed by payments from contracting states. Percentage of contribution by states not stipulated.

(5) Articles 57 through 65 relate largely to certain administrative matters such as seat of organization, official language, and immunities. It is specified that relation of organization with contracting states, other states, NATO, SHAPE, and Schuman Plan organization entrusted to commissioner.

(6) Articles 66 through 72 concern supplementary accords, amendments and ratifications. Ratifications by all signatories required before convention comes into effect. Convention open to all European states, but new state can be admitted only on unanimous favorable vote in council.

(7) Draft convention includes reference to military and financial annexes, but no text of either presented by French delegation.

  1. This telegram was repeated to London, Brussels, The Hague, Copenhagen, Oslo, Rome, Lisbon, Luxembourg, and Frankfurt, and copies were made available to the Embassy in Ottawa and to the Department of Defense. It was originally sent to the Department of State in error as 5264.
  2. A copy of the French draft convention summarized here was transmitted to the Department of State as an enclosure to despatch 2621, March 14, from Paris, neither printed (740.5/3–1451).