740.5/7–351: Telegram

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

top secret priority

25. Dept pass urgently to Harriman; To ISA. Re your 7155, June 28.2 During the past several weeks, I have had number of conversations exploring situation regarding Eur army conference and Ger defense contribution. These conversations induce belief that United States, by wise and decisive leadership, can contribute greatly to further integrating West Eur defense effort and speeding Ger contribution on sound basis. In many respects my views parallel gen line of action proposed in your cable, but with certain important modifications outlined below. Analysis of situation and comments on your cable are as follows:

General Comments:

1. I heartily concur in view your cable that US shld actively support Eur army for reasons of long-range security and other interests. If successful, such integrated army and related financial and econ steps, in conjunction with Schuman Plan, wld certainly further Eur federation. This seems only solution of Ger problem which will tie Ger closely to West and offer hope for constructive and peaceful [Page 806] future for Europe. This goal appears so basic in relation to long-term security of United States that no effort shld be spared to achieve it.

2. Any Ger contribution to defense outside Eur army framework seems certain to be serious blow to our objectives in Europe. US has officially stated its opposition to re-creation of German natl army and Ger gen staff. Many Americans and Europeans other than Fr are profoundly skeptical that Ger national character has so altered since last war that Ger People can be trusted not to succumb once more to that ardent Ger militarism, which has caused so much suffering in the past. Gers themselves have expressed preference to participate in defense through Eur army partly to promote Eur unity and partly from domestic fear of Ger army and gen staff by important Ger demo elements.

3. Yet Petersberg proposals3 appear to create nucleus for Ger natl force through inspector gen and army corps commanders and their staffs. Step to gen staff wld be very short. After US commander and US troops are withdrawn, natl components in NATO will surely revert to separate natl armies unless there is permanent Eur political structure. Revival of Ger natl force wld make permanent Franco-German rapprochement most unlikely because of its effects on both French and Ger attitudes.

4. In addition to long-term aspects, I feel just as strongly that Eur army is best method of achieving our short-range objective of rapidly building Eur defense, including Ger contribution. This involves not only recruiting and training soldiers, but also promptly mobilizing and applying econ resources of continent for defense. Even in short run, efforts to rearm continent by natl action coordinated through committees will be costly and wasteful in time and resources. An integrated Eur defense structure shld produce effective defense more quickly, and strengthen NATO, by reducing number of its major elements to three: United States, Brit, and Europe. If these conclusions are correct, they strongly reinforce long-range reasons for supporting Eur army and emphasize vital importance for US to do all possible to bring it to reality. For this reason, I am stating below in some detail reasons for believing Eur army is also best and quickest way to obtain Ger contribution and effective defense.

German Contribution:

5. Your cable assumes that German contribution will be unduly delayed if it awaits completion and ratification of treaty for European army. You therefore propose interim solution based on Petersberg report and Brussels Decision. I believe, however, European army will [Page 807] not delay but can speed up German contribution compared to efforts to force interim solution.

6. On this issue it is essential to analyze timing of either course on realistic basis. Petersberg report makes it clear that even if German proposals there were adopted in toto, substantial time is bound to elapse before German soldiers will be recruited. That report reiterates fact that the Germans will not move until contractual arrangements and related political issues are settled. Even with full cooperation from French, British and Germans, this seems likely to require at least four to five months, so that German defense action cld hardly begin before December at best. According to Petersberg report, Germans estimated that after such political decision had been taken, another four months would be required for preparation before any Germans cld be recruited, and that in following four months not more than 15 percent of total force would be in training. On this schedule, even if contractual relations were worked out by December 1, first soldiers would be recruited on April 1, 1952 and not more than 35,000 wld be in training until August 1, 1952.

Moreover, any such schedule is likely to be long delayed if US seeks to abandon many military safeguards embodied in Brussels Decision unless done within framework of European army. French and perhaps other countries will strongly oppose such change in NATO decision. Furthermore, if we force French acceptance of method of German rearming which they consider endangers their security, it is clear they will also not cooperate in rapid working out of contractual relations. On other hand, I believe that they will cooperate in dispensing with most of such safeguards and in working out contractual relations in conjunction with adoption of European army plan.

7. Even on above optimistic schedule, it wld seem that German contribution could be obtained on basis European army about as rapidly as under Petersberg proposals if French and Germans cooperate energetically to speed its completion, and US actively supports it. This depends on time required (a) to complete treaty, (b) to prepare for action under it, and (c) to start training.

8. One of main reasons for relative slowness of Paris conference has been uncertainty about real United States’ attitude toward European army. Both Germans and French have had doubts whether United States really favored this solution. Even so, conference has succeeded in reaching agreements on many basic issues, although some difficult ones remain. Interim report to be submitted July 10 will show present status. With active help from United States and SHAPE, unsolved problems before conference should be resolved soon enough to permit treaty to be submitted for ratification by member countries by time contractual agreements with Germans are completed.

[Page 808]

9. If that proves to be so, main issue is how long will be required to begin operations under such treaty. Conference so far has talked in terms of transitional period of 18 months during which each member country would train its forces with a view to later integration. During this period Defense Commission would (1) harmonize national regulations for training schools, pay standards, promotions, discipline, general organization, etc.; (2) supervise recruitment and training by member states of first units to be placed within European army; (3) make programs for integration of mil production. Various methods cld be found, however, to shorten very materially time required for getting European Army started.

10. With this [in] mind, Fr are already pressing conference to begin work at once with SHAPE in developing organization, regulations and other elements required from European def force. This wld aid accomplishment of SHAPE mission and therefore shld be of direct interest to it. Within European Army framework, Fr will go far in accepting larger units and foregoing other safeguards as proposed by Ger at Petersberg, especially if SHAPE works with comite of conf to agree on proper organization for effective mil force. If this course can be actively pursued, it shld be possible to have much of this preparatory work done in time to enable European Def Commissioner to organize necessary staff and assume his active responsibilities practically as rapidly as Ger agency cld be created under Petersberg proposals.

11. In transitional period, under current proposals, training of units of European Army wld be done by member nations for later integration, but Gers wld operate under allied supervision. Gers are almost sure to consider this discriminatory and not accept. Furthermore, like Petersberg proposals, this plan has serious disadvantage of entailing creation of Ger national staff not only for supply and admin of troops but for training even though under allied supervision.

12. A way out of this difficulty might be to create Eur Army as soon as treaty is effective. All existing troop formations of adhering nations and new recruits, including Ger, wld be assembled as European under Eisenhower’s command for training and organization. These European forces composed of solely national formations could be integrated into European Army formations as fast as mil situation and technical conditions permit. Ger forces wld in this way enjoy full equality from start. As quickly as recruited, troop formations, including Ger, wld be immed European as they wld be transferred immed to Eisenhower’s or European command. It wld thus not be necessary to create Ger national structure for training. Moreover, as you point out, fact that General Juin wld be logical commander and initial Fr preponderance [Page 809] in forces shld tend to reassure Fr as contribution from Ger is gradually created. This solution might, therefore, foe key to obtaining Fr and Ger cooperation in rapid recruitment of Gers for integrated European force, under conditions of equality demanded by Gers.

13. If these several courses followed, Ger contribution cld be obtained and training started at least as quickly under European Army as any other means.

European Army shld not complicate SHAPE command structure but somewhat simplify its problems. Paris conference wholly agreed that European Army wld operate within NATO structure and its forces be assigned to SHAPE command exactly as other national forces forming part of NATO integrated defense production.

14. I agree with you that financial and econ aspects of integrated continental defense grouping are probably more difficult problems. These problems will have to be solved, however, either with or without creation of European defense community (European Army).

Main problem of integration in North Atlantic grouping is basically continental. Defense production in US and in UK provides very high proportion all needs of their forces and can, therefore, be coordinated on national basis. On continent, however, much more than coordination is required if it is ever to achieve comparable level of self-sufficiency in production of expensive modern weapons. There shld be central authority to standardize weapons and equipment and to specialize production in order to avoid waste and duplication of facilities.

Moreover, size of defense forces we will wish European countries to maintain in active status after 1954 build-up can be permanent only through really integrated continental defense, less-expensive through better utilization of resources and supported by all who benefit from the defense.

15. We have been attempting to solve these financial and econ problems of integration thru NATO. So far they have proved insurmountable in this forum. Reason is that NATO organizations DPB and FEB cannot achieve satisfactory “burden-sharing” and integration of mil production without receiving some real centralized powers. Stated above, major need for such powers is with regard to continental efforts.

Present draft treaty of conf envisages common budget and del of authority to commissioner to establish common requirements and carry out procurement, thereby enabling effective mobilization of production for defense. This willingness of continental countries to give these necessary powers to what is in essence a common Eur Min of Defense cld also be utilized to give substance to NATO efforts in DPB and [Page 810] FEB. Therefore, it is encouraging that you are prepared to use utmost efforts in supporting and helping to devise necessary civilian framework for an integrated continental defense under supra-national authority.

16. We also must soon face related problems of participation of Western Ger in NATO and of adequate contribution from Ger industry for Western def. A self-supporting continental defense effort is not feasible unless it is based on adequate contribution in defense production from French and Ger. However, Ger defense production as well as men under new Ger state must not be used again to threaten peace of European partners. One way to try to prevent this wld be through special controls on Ger, but Ger will not be willing to make defense contribution under such an approach. Adequate controls wld in themselves probably prevent Ger from making needed and desired level of contribution. Only alternative policy yet devised is to try to prevent rebirth of aggressive national aspirations by placing Ger resources and men in the service of all European countries by full integration on equal basis. The Schuman Plan gives promise of solving the problem of coal and steel in Ruhr in this matter. A similar policy for placing Ger manpower and munitions industry within framework of European Army has been endorsed by reps of Fed Govt. This policy shld facilitate acceptance by other countries of equal Ger status and contribution by reassuring them that added strength will be used by and with them and not against them.

17. Building strong, integrated, permanent force, depending upon same sources of supply, using same weapons, and trained and equipped according to same standards must, of course, be progressive, and urging adoption of interim methods to begin progress even now is appropriate. Your suggestion of interim comites of Fin Mins and Defense Ministers should be explored. Perhaps appropriate committees of European army conference could also work with SHAPE and NATO on other transitional and planning problems. Transitional duties of Defense Commissioner will include drawing up a list of requirements and programming European production. Staff-work now could probably shorten length time to perform this aspect of duties in transitional period.

Conclusions and Recommendations:

18. Conclusions from this analysis are as follows:

Creation of effective European defense community, including European army and defense authority, is essential to achieve objectives of United States for European defense as well as for long-term security and other interests of United States.
German contribution can be obtained at least as rapidly through the European army as by any other means.
In interest of speed, economy and level of out-put, even for short-range, military production on continent will have to be integrated far more closely by delegation to strong central agency with power to decide and act. This is most vital during heavy buildup in next few years, moreover, if not done promptly, later integration will be prejudiced seriously.
United States should, therefore, actively support speedy creation of the European army and shld make that its primary objective.

19. In light of these conclusions, I agree in large part with your views as to policy and action US should follow. I believe, however, that greater emphasis on prompt creation of European army will best promote short-term objective of rapidly organizing, training, and equipping effective defense forces. Further, I think that if your proposed approach to French were adopted by US, it might jeopardize prompt creation of European army by leading French to fear and Germans to think we view it as something to be worked for in future and not closely related to immediate problems. United States must make both realize that it views quick creation of army as of pressing and critical priority. That is only way to attain promptly our objectives of effective European defense with German contribution.

20. I agree that Petersberg and Paris reports should be considered together. But since estimates about timing and political feasibility are at heart of their evaluation, I doubt whether NATO should assign them first to military group to consider. French are likely to suggest their consideration in some other forum than Standing Group for this reason.

On military aspects, it might be wise to submit them to SHAPE for analysis and recommendations, as NATO agency responsible for organizing European defense. Also, SHAPE is best fitted to reach decisions promptly, especially since prestige of Eisenhower will make it easier for French and others to accept decisions and to work out compromises. Moreover. SHAPE will have to carry out whatever solutions are adopted and should therefore have part in working them out. Fact that conference is likely to propose starting work with SHAPE on certain of problems also underlines the value of SHAPE participation.

21. Accordingly, I recommend that:

US should make explicit its strong support for setting up European army and its political framework promptly as most effective means for European defense and security now and in future.
US should make clear to French that army must be effective as military force, and must provide basis for German contribution on real footing of equality from beginning. Thus, size of units, authority [Page 812] of commissioner and transitional provisions must meet these criteria. Support of US depends on acceptance of this approach and genuine effort as speedy solutions.
US should press conference to work out with SHAPE method of training troops in initial period such as to assure speed without risk of creating German military agencies. European force should be created from existing forces of member states as quickly as military and technical conditions permit.
US should press conference to begin work promptly with SHAPE on plans for organizing army, and for other military aspects, with view to having these preparatory steps completed by time commissioner appointed. This will ensure closest coordination between SHAPE and European army.
US must insist that French recognize that German contribution depends on return to Germany of substantial political equality and French must therefore cooperate actively in bringing about contractual arrangements with minimum essential restrictions. If this course not sincerely adopted, proposal for European army is clearly not serious. In other words, French must recognize that German integration with European community through Schuman Plan and European army must be their main safeguards and are not consistent with restrictive occupation policies.

22. This approach seems to flow logically from French proposal for European army. By taking this line, we are in best position to insist that French carry it through with its full implications, and modify certain of their present positions. If it then should become clear that new French Govt lacks sufficient authority and purpose to carry their proposal to early completion, we must face unhappy risks involved in pressing for creation of German forces on Petersberg basis for contribution to SHAPE, doing whatever we can to minimize prejudice to later absorption of these and other national units into a future European defense organization. French will certainly accept latter course, if at all, with bitterness and after long delays. Such rift in Atlantic community would be most damaging and great opportunity would have been missed to create real situation of strength in Europe, perhaps for period far into future.4


  1. This telegram, which was transmitted in six separate sections, was repeated for information to London as 4 for Spofford, to Frankfurt as 3, to OSR for Katz, and to Paris for MacArthur.
  2. Supra.
  3. The reference here is to the meetings at Bonn between representatives of the Federal Republic of Germany and Allied Deputy High Commissioners on aspects of a German contribution to Western defense; for the June 8 report on these meetings by the Allied High Commissioners, see p. 1044.
  4. Telegram 132, July 7, from Paris, not printed, transmitted the text of a telegram from General Gruenther to Secretary of Defense Marshall, the substance of which was as follows:

    “… we have seen copy of US Emb cable Paris Nr. 25 dated 3 July and feel that the degree of SHAPE involvement in European Army question envisaged therein may be open to some misinterpretation. We have now held staff discussions with US Emb on problem and feel it is the intent of the Emb cable as well as that SHAPE cable reference as above [see telegram 131, July 7, from Paris, p. 820] that SHAPE’s role shld be primarily one of advising and assisting European Army agencies during their formative stages. We are inclined to feel that assumption by SHAPE, even on an interim basis, of any of the functions actually envisaged for the European army organization wld, in fact, tend to delay rather that to expedite establishment of that organization as a going concern.” (740.5/7–751)