The Ambassador in France (Bruce) to the Secretary of State 1
5443. European army conference reconvened today in plenary session instead of steering comite because Ger desire to make prepared statement in elaboration of plan submitted last mtg. Ger proposal discussed in our tel 52872 was limited to exposé of the size of minimum effective national contribution which as stated cld not be less than a basic operational unit. This, as described, amounted to small division. Today’s Ger exposé indicated level at which European integration wld take place.
To this end they proposed that the basic European unit would be the army corps to be made up of 2 or 3 operational units (divisions) of separate nationalities. They proposed that support and supply wld be primarily a corps responsibility. To this end the corps staff and command wld have to have sufficient service units composed of different nationalities. In addition the corps wld have assigned directly certain mixed supporting arms of types where linguistic homogeneity is not of decisive importance, such as anti-aircraft and engineer elements. These might also include certain reserve elements and corps troops such as heavy armour and artillery. In summary the Ger proposal is to effect European unification at corps instead of divisional level and accentuate the unified nature of the corps by indicating the possibilities of blending nationalities in selected service and support elements.
Germans proposed that the details be referred to the Military Subcomite for study. They recognized that the question of tactical air forces and their integration wld also require expert analysis. They [Page 779]rptd, however their adherence to the principle of creating a unified and effective force animated by an European morale.
Alphand in reply stated that there seemed to be accord on the principle of integration, but difficulty arises on level of integration, as indicated above. Agreed however that proposals cld be studied by Military Comite altho Fr Del not now authorized to accept Ger proposal. Fr pointed out that in essence Ger view was to create European corps of 2 or 3 small national divisions as opposed to Fr view to build large European divisions consisting 2 or 3 national RCT’s.
Taviani said Ital representatives approved examination by Military Comite but believed this Comite wld eventually have to receive political directives. Inevitable that Military Comite in proposing solution will run against political realities and, therefore, suggested presence of political representatives at Military Comite mtgs. Conference agreed that Military Comite wld meet tomorrow.3
Alphand then asked for comment on draft convention which evoked remarks from Itals to effect that powers granted under convention wld certainly be of great interest to Parliaments of participating countries. He also asked whether financial charges wld be in addition to military budget or wld be substitution taken from existing military budget. Alphand replied that the expenses wld naturally depend upon the size of the European Army, but that in early stages it wld be question of budget substitution rather than supplemental charges.
Taviani suggested a small comite of jurists to discuss institutional questions. Alphand agreed that this wld be advisable and comite will meet March 174
After this week conference will interrupt its work for Easter recess, resuming probably March 29.
- This telegram was repeated to London, Copenhagen, Brussels, Frankfurt, Rome, Oslo, The Hague, Lisbon, and Luxembourg.↩
- Telegram 5475, March 16, from Paris, not printed, reported that the meeting of the Military Committee of the European Army Conference was primarily given over to questions and answers on the French and German proposals regarding the composition of European army units (740.5/3–1651).↩
- Telegram 5567, March 20, from Paris, not printed, reported that a meeting of a Committee of Jurists of the European army conference had resulted in no particular answer to the questions raised (740.5/3–2051).↩