762A.5/3–1751: Telegram

The United States High Commissioner for Germany (McCloy) to the Secretary of State 1


Subject: Ger defense contingent.

7841. Bérard yesterday informally advised me that predicated on his own recent visit to Paris and subsequent discussion with Theodor Blank [Page 780] he has distinct impression mutually satis solution will be evolved for present divergent Ger-Fr views re Ger defense contingent and particularly differences concerning unit size and command. Stated Blank had indicated his hopeful view was based on report which Adenauer and he had recd from De Maiziere that definite progress is being made at Paris mtgs. Bérard stressed importance which Fr and Adenauer and Blank attach to creation true Eur army as real step toward Fr-Ger rapprochement. Further indicated Fr prepared and believes Ger similarly ready make concessions in view political importance achieving Eur army concept rather than adhering to rigid proposals their respective mil experts. Also indicated chief Fr concern is not so primarily with regard to actual unit size or other technical factors but rather to safeguard against any possible recreation of a Ger army. Fear of latter possibility is apparently chief Fr objection to NATO concept. Particularly emphasized that as time is important requisite for obtaining Fr-Ger agreement on major broad aspects of matter US shld refrain from urging haste or exerting pressure either here or in Paris or via NATO. Stressed that Fr consider Eur army is most far-reaching factor for genuine Eur integration and development better Fr-Ger relationship far surpassing Schuman Plan toward achieving this all important end. Further urged that since creation Eur army realistically depends on Fr and Gers it shld so far as feasible be left to these two elements to work out satis solution. Bérard conceded US cld probably force a solution on Fr but was certain Fr people wld ultimately recognize and resent such pressure thereby long range purpose of better Fr-Ger relationship wld be defeated.

Expressed hope I wld therefore counsel against haste or pressure on US part in this matter and in favor of giving Fr further opportunity play major role in working out satis solution with Gers. Bérard thought this wld be facilitated through discussion being handled primarily by non-mil reps with political considerations playing important role rather than sole emphasis on technical mil aspects. Have not checked with Blank correctness of Bérard’s report of Adenauer-Blank attitude.2 I stated that US position had consistently been to permit full opportunity for Paris negots to produce results and provided negots are not too protracted and results are militarily practicable this wld presumably continue to be our attitude. I naturally made no commitment [Page 781] which wld preclude our resuming active role any time we consider Fr-Ger efforts not producing desired results and in meantime to do nothing which cld appear to be putting pressure on Fr, particularly in regard to units which issue can be better settled in Paris. I feel this is practicable as a number of issues remain which can be explored here without any deliberate dragging of feet.

  1. This telegram was repeated to Paris and London.
  2. Telegram 640, March 20, from Bonn, not printed, reported that Blank had told American representatives in Bonn that he was most pessimistic about the European army talks in Paris and did not expect any concrete results to emerge. Blank said that the French had made it obvious that they would not accept German units large enough to play an autonomous military role for fear that the Germans would use them to involve the French in a war of liberation of the east German territories and that, despite French agreement to discuss mixed corps in the Military Committee of the conference, they had privately told the Germans that French public opinion would never agree to such an arrangement. (762A.5/3–2051)