740.5/6–2851: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in France 1

top secret

7155. For Bruce. We have considered, along with McCloy, problem of moving forward on question of Ger contribution to defense. Delay in initiation of Ger participation since Brussels Conference has seemed unavoidable in view polit situation in Ger, unacceptability of certain terms of Brussels Agreement to Gers, time-consuming preparation for termination of occupation regime, Fr elections, possibility of Four Power mtg, etc., etc. We believe that time for attempting remove this deadlock now at hand and US leadership shld be directed energetically towards that end.

The three Govts have already received report of HICOM on mil talks with Gers at Bonn.2 We are attempting, through dipl channels, secure agreement of Fr and Br Govts that this report shld be studied forthwith by reps of their natl Chiefs of Staff on Standing Group in Wash.3 In presenting this point of view we have asked Bruce emphasize to Fr this suggested procedure was in no way an attempt to rush final action on Bonn report prior to consideration of anticipated progress report on Eur army conference at Paris, but merely to start work now at hand. It is our desire to give the report from Paris fullest consideration and to have same group of mil reps consider Paris report as it affects Ger and give recommendations on a possible conciliation of the two approaches. If Fr and Brit agree this procedure, ground work will at least be laid for a mil consideration of both Bonn and Paris approaches to problem of Ger contribution.

Time element involved between an agreement with Gers on their participation in defense and realization of fully trained Ger troops [Page 802] leads us to conclusion every effort must be made to start this process at earliest possible date. We realize that fulfillment of this objective will mean return of substantial polit equality to Ger nation. This Govt is willing take this step rapidly, not only with a view towards facilitating Ger entry into defense but as a step designed facilitate whole-hearted Ger alignment with West, which seems as capable of fulfillment now as in future, and possible more so at present time than if occupation were continued indefinitely. This subj will be considered separately with Fr and Brit. It is not a part of problem presented herein except perhaps on question of Ger membership in NATO. It is our view Three Powers shld, in conjunction with anticipated defense and polit agreements with Gers, support her for full NATO membership.

On mil side we may still have same perplexities that confronted us before and at Brussels. On one hand we had at that time US proposal for integration Ger units into a straight mil org of the Continent under NATO and on the other Fr proposal that Ger contribution shld be through the concept of a strictly Eur army along lines of Pleven Plan. The so-called Spofford compromise gained Fr acceptance that Ger contingents cld be formed and integrated under the US concept as an interim measure while plans for creation Eur Army under NATO were developed at Paris. For reasons well known to you, it was not possible create Ger units on this interim basis and a complete plan for a Eur Army under Fr concept has not been completed. We therefore still seem to face same dilemma as before.

A word may be in order as to our basic policy towards Eur Army concept. We favor this solution as a long term approach to problem of Eur defense as long as it is clearly a part of and under NATO umbrella. We must look forward to a future in which in one manner or another tension between East and West will be at least temporarily ameliorated. From such long term view point it is probably neither practical nor in best interests Eur or US that there shld be a US Commander in Eur or substantial numbers of US forces on Continent. We wld, however, regret to see concept of internatl forces that is now accepted ever disintegrate to point where nothing wld remain on Continent except natl forces solely under natl control. This is particularly important as regards Ger. We hope, therefore, that a complete and workable Eur army concept can be perfected. All practical steps shld be taken in this direction as long as in short run they do not unduly interfere with efficiency of forces for defense of Eur or complicate command structure, especially during present period of initial formation and training of forces. We think it most important any command structure which might evolve from a successful implementation of Eur Army be part of SHAPE command or org so long as that exists, and during its evolution shld not conflict in any way with realization of SHAPE command which is now in process.

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In our view Ger counter proposals at Bonn have on whole been reasonable. It wld seem that logic wld be on our side if we firmly pressed the Fr to agree to many of the Ger suggestions as acceptable and desirable modifications of Brussels Agreement, and that Three Powers shld join in recommending such alterations to NATO as a whole. On the mil side this wld presumably remove Ger opposition to proceeding under Brussels Agreement and allow rapid decision on their part join defense effort.

We realize Fr may vigorously oppose this approach with argument that plan for a Eur army, now partially completed, wld be jeopardized by Ger adherence to an interim arrangement under NATO. This wld seem inconsistent with agreements Fr have already made but evidence we have here makes it seem this might be case.

We believe it unwise deviate materially from, above approach, as it wld, if accepted, produce Ger units at earliest possible date. We also believe, however, that it is in interests our long range objectives in Eur to find some method of adding greater emphasis to Eur army concept if this is at all practical without undue delay in buildup of an effective defense of Continent. If possible we must find a means of obtaining Fr cooperation instead of reluctant acceptance or worse. Otherwise, we may anticipate being faced, as in past, with no appreciable advance in policy, particularly as regards Ger.

In view above, we have considered approaching Fr at early date with a proposal somewhat as fol: It has seemed to us from observing Paris talks on Eur Army concept that problems presented might be divided into three fields: (1) mil; (2) fin and econ, and (3) over-all polit direction by govts. The first or mil aspect problem seems to us to be quickly capable of solution through combining results of both Bonn and Paris talks in maimer to be acceptable among Allies and to Gers themselves. Questions of fin and econ support of Eur army structure and supra-national polit direction of force appear to us to be more difficult, and, particularly as there has been less progress to date in these than in mil fields, to require a considerably longer time for solution. If there cld, however, be a conciliation of Bonn and Paris approaches to mil side of problem at early date, we wld be prepared lend our utmost efforts to Fr in supporting, or even helping devise, if they so desire, methods for completing a workable civilian super structure for Eur Army. In interim, while working out this process, formation of Ger units must proceed without further delay.

As regards point (1) above the important thing to impress upon Fr is that concept of a Eur force can never be realized until there is an organized force in the field and that once this process is in motion it will automatically ease solution of many problems now appearing difficult. This cld be obtained from very beginning on mil side by simple procedure of combining within NATO Army mil units of nations [Page 804] that participated in Paris conference into internatl Corps, Armies, etc. This wld mean in practice that, as far as practicable, Ger, as well as other Eur troop units, wld only be combined with other Eur units. The command structure need not be a problem at present but it is fortunate that a Eur, Gen Juin, is already in command of ground forces of Central Sector. Thus from point of view of forces on ground, heart of Eur Army wld be already in existence. For present phase certain exceptions in Northern and Southern flanks wld probably be necessary as well as regards control of Air Forces on Continent but these wld represent minor elements which cld be easily adjusted as situation so changes to make SHAPE Command no longer necessary in its present concept. At that time Eur Army Command wld be able to fill gap. It shld of course be clearly understood that SACEUR wld have auth to deploy and assign units of Eur Army to achieve greatest mil efficiency.

If this system cld be put into effect, with such conciliation of Bonn and Paris studies to date as is acceptable to our mil reps, it wld seem simple practical and immediate approach to problem. Appropriate instrs cld be given SACEUR that, as far as mil situation permitted, he wld so organize and train forces to further Eur concept. The backbone of Eur Army wld be in existence and nothing more wld be needed initially except agreement of all concerned to further and complete the process.

Inasmuch as it is our desire, along with Fr, to insure that concept of a truly Eur army will be fully realized in future, we wld suggest that a polit protocol or treaty of simple form be concluded, by Eur nations indicating their determination to see concept of their forces in Eur being placed together under Eur supra-national civilian control put into effect at earliest possible date. This shld be in form of a commitment to each other that various natl forces in Eur wld never again return to a system of individual natl control. (In this connection, it seems to us the Eur concept is as acceptable in Ger as it is generally in France and that Fr shld be reassured by now that Ger is as susceptible to this approach as many of the nations on Continent). Treaty shld also provide for perfecting as soon as possible after signing of Treaty the machinery which wld be necessary to operate Eur Army. In interim other methods of furthering Eur concept might prove possible of inauguration at a very early date. For instance, in fin field an interim comite of fin ministers of various Eur nations might be established to coordinate their policies with respect to the support of armed forces and plan for permanent fin machinery of future. There might be pending completion of Paris plans such an ad hoc and interim arrangement among Def Mins, etc. These comites shld be able to accomplish a great deal towards effecting a common approach to such matters as length of service, pay standards, mil school system, etc. We [Page 805] realize that above represents an over-simplification of many problems involved but feel we must proceed along simple lines.

After receiving your comments and obtaining a governmental decision in the matter, it is our plan approach Fr Govt quickly and on highest level in an attempt determine their intentions and sincerity of approach to problems presented by Eur army concept and a Ger contribution to defense. It must be emphasized that our goal wld be to secure an agreement which wld so clarify mil aspects of Ger participation that, when coupled with a broad polit agreement with Ger, wld present a package which we cld conscientiously consider for our own part as being reasonably acceptable to Ger Bundestag. We wld hope clarify both of these fields to that extent during next few weeks or at least by end of Aug.

Request your comments.

Defense is cabling Eisenhower for, his views mil aspects above approach.

  1. The presumed first draft of this telegram is included in the files under cover of the following memorandum of June 25 from Byroade to Acheson, Webb, Matthews, and Perkins:

    “The attached message was drafted subsequent to the meeting on Friday [June 22] with the Secretary on problems raised in connection with the question of German participation in defense. McCloy and I are now in agreement as to its contents, but it has not been cleared elsewhere in Washington. In view of the time urgency, it is hoped the draft will be considered adequate as basis for an early meeting with the Secretary.”

    The draft telegram, which was largely identical with the text printed here, contained the following initial sentence: “The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and Joint Chiefs of Staff have considered jointly the problem of moving forward on the question of the German contribution to defense.” The meetings referred to or implied in Byroade’s memorandum and the draft telegram have not been further identified. High Commissioner McCloy was in Washington for consultation.

    The telegram printed here was also sent to London for Gifford and Spofford as 6196 and was repeated to Frankfurt as 8914 and to Paris for MacArthur. Substantially the same message was sent by Secretary of Defense Marshall to General Eisenhower as Def 95320, June 29, not printed.

  2. For the High Commissioners’ Report of June 8 under reference here, see p. 1044.
  3. See telegram 6988, June 21, to Paris, p. 786.