Memorandum by the Secretary of State, As Revised by the Ambassador at Large (Jessup)1

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German Rearmament and Problems of the Defense of Europe

1. There are several groups of problems which present obstacles—and indeed serious threats—to the creation of an adequate defense for Europe. As a long-range policy we are interested in approval of progression toward closer European integration. Such a goal can be accepted in general terms without the necessity for delaying the immediate defense effort until solutions are found for the highly complex constitutional, political, economic and financial problems which would [Page 828] be involved in the eventual stages of integration. This memorandum deals with three of the groups of immediate problems.


[Here follow numbered paragraphs 2 through 15 which were identical with Part I (less the final paragraph) of the Secretary of State’s memorandum of July 6, printed p. 813.]

16. Therefore, not only does progress have to be made in satisfying all points of view simultaneously, but it must be made by stages. And there must be sufficient guarantees to inspire faith that, while ultimate goals on every question cannot be reached at once, the ultimate goals are accepted by binding promises.


[Here follow numbered paragraphs 17–19 which were identical with the first three paragraphs of Part II of the Secretary of State’s memorandum of July 6, printed p. 813.]

20. To some extent this comes from the fact that the Europeans have not taken hold of the problem of central European planning and direction in the military field as they did through OEEC in the economic field. We are at least partly to blame in so far as we have emphasized bilateral dealing with each nation. The European nations believe that often we have not kept the whole picture in mind and that guiding and driving hand is that of the United States.

21. I believe that this situation can be remedied and that it can be remedied in part in connection with the solution of the problems mentioned under I above.


22. The third group of problems is related to the financial, economic, and production operations under NATO.

23. The least satisfactory operations of NATO are those connected with the FEB (Financial and Economic Board) and the DPB (Defense Production Board). The reason for this is, in part, connected with the discussion under II above and, in part, comes from the fact that NATO is too large and too disparate an organization to deal with financial, economic, and production problems as a whole. Nobody really expects that NATO is going to make decisions in these fields which will control action in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. These countries are able to work out programs for themselves and coordinate the programs.

24. The situation is different with the continental countries. Their problems are much more similar to one another than they are to those of the partners over water. These are problems which Europeans have [Page 829] to work out in the framework of continental Europe and then be assisted by the other partners.

25. Within the general NATO structure there is need for the development of organizations and procedures which will enable the continental partners as a unit to deal with their financial, economic and production problems as an integral part of the NATO effort but not necessarily in a manner identical with that which is appropriate for the United States, Great Britain and Canada as other partners in NATO.

26. These difficulties can, I think, be dealt with also in connection with those stated under I and II above.

a possible method of approach

27. The approach suggested is to take the idea of the European Army and see how it can be used to aid in the solution of the problems mentioned above.

28. The object should be, in the military field, to build on what we have under General Eisenhower—doing nothing which would confuse that military organization, but using it and stressing it for the purpose of creating what is in reality a European force in the field. It would be true that at present and for some time to come—perhaps for a long time—that force would be strengthened and stiffened by British and American contingents. But it would be a force which, as a military force, would not have to be changed in any fundamental way whenever the time came that the overseas contingents might be withdrawn. To state it differently, the force at General Eisenhower’s disposal instead of being composed of perhaps twelve separate national forces would be composed ultimately of a European Army contingent plus national contingents from those NATO partners who do not participate in the European Army. For the purpose of this memorandum it is immaterial whether the European Army at any given stage includes three, four, or more national participants so long as the French and Germans are among those included. Military units within the European Army, like units from other national contingents, would be subject to General Eisenhower’s disposal in accordance with SHAPE’S military requirements.

29. The continuance of the European Army as a European force could be guaranteed by the most binding treaty obligations and by the creation over a period of time of supporting political institutions, dealing with financial support, economic support, production support, and the ultimate political bodies which would control the action and use of the army. Certain steps could be taken in all of these fields at once, but I doubt whether they could be final and perfect steps. Advantage should be taken of the fact that, due to the commitments of the United States and Britain in Europe and the presence of their [Page 830] troops there, factors of guarantee and safety are provided while these institutions are being subjected to actual experience and improvement.

30. Factors Relating to the Military Force in the Field. At the present time it can be stated that there is a European Army—not complete in all respects, but not very far from complete. At any rate it is complete enough to take as a working basis.

31. It might be stretching things a bit to say that this European Army is the army commanded by General Eisenhower. Perhaps from the French point of view it might be a sounder approach to concentrate on the central ground force, commanded by General Juin. Here, one can say, is an army which will be fully organized and integrated in a command structure, at the head of which is a French General. It would have in it the bulk of the continental forces, and could have all of the forces of the nations participating in the European Army if there were a simple treaty provision that, upon any dissolution of the NATO Supreme Command, this would occur. From this point of view, General Juin would be wearing three hats—one as a general in the French Army, a second as Commander of the European Army, and a third under Eisenhower’s command as Command [er] -in-Chief of the central ground force. If SHAPE were dissolved, the third hat would be disposed of but the second as well as the first would remain.

32. It would be into this European Army that German contingents would be integrated. If this could be done, then it could be said that the possible withdrawal of British and American troops would not affect in any way the military integration of the German contingents.

33. This, of course, is probably over-simplified and undoubtedly deals with only a small part of the problem. But it might furnish the beginning of a pattern and enable the French to accept some of the Petersburg ideas of the size and structure of military formations of Germans for incorporation into this European Army.

34. Training. Mr. Bruce has suggested that, if the training of the European contingents destined for the defense of Europe, were turned over at the moment the troops were raised to General Eisenhower’s command (and in the case of the central ground forces, this would mean to General Juin’s command), the need for a purely German military training organization would be removed and Germany would be on an equality with the other continental partners. Since it appears that General Eisenhower does not wish to have SHAPE assume basic training functions it might be possible to establish this function under General Juin’s command in his capacity as Commander of the European Army rather than as a subordinate of General Eisenhower. In any case it would appear that the preliminary basic training might be organized on national lines without creating the kind of German military structure which the French fear and which we also oppose. These [Page 831] are matters on which military advice is required but the idea seems worth exploration.

35. There would in any case be need in Germany for an organization to perform many functions connected with the raising of troops, but I think that the French would have to give way on their demand that all of this should be under a European commander, with no German institutions supporting him.

36. The European Defense Commissioner. It would seem to me that, outside of the weapons field, there would be great need for standardization among the European partners of many things, such as, the length of service, exemptions from service, pay and allowances, training schools, promotions, etc.

37. Here is a field in which the functions of a European Defense Commissioner might begin as the Chairman of a European Defense Committee, including a German official, and possibly end by having for all the continental partners such authority as any executive official would have over such matters in any of the countries. Perhaps the treaty might establish him with certain beginning functions, set out certain goals to be achieved, and provide for their achievement over a period of time in the light of experience. It should be possible to work out a formula which would give to the European Defense Commissioner requisite authority during the interim period. Subject to appropriate coordination with SHAPE, it might be agreed for example that at least certain parts of military aid would be made available only after certification by the Defense Commissioner that his specified requirements had been met.

38. A European Finance Minister for Defense. It might be possible for the treaty to provide for such a minister to begin as the Chairman of the Committee of the Financial Ministers of the European partners. He would provide the focal point for coordinating the financial efforts of the members of the European Army and with those of the European members of NATO. He would also provide the central point for discussion of American, Canadian, and possibly British, assistance.

39. Goals might be set for the development of his office, possibly involving a requirement that his budget estimates for each of the countries after approval by his Committee would have to be incorporated without change in the various national budgets presented to their legislatures.

40. A European and Production Supply Minister for Defense. The treaty might set up such an office, the occupant of which might deal with the national ministers in the same way that the Financial Minister would deal with his counterparts, and who would also take over for the European partners executive functions under the DPB, and should be [Page 832] the point of contact on production matters with the United States and others.

41. Provision might also be made for these three officers to form a Cabinet under one of them. They might start with the right to appear before the legislative bodies of the Cabinets of the continental partners. Appropriate organizational relationships between such a cabinet or its members and the NATO Council of Deputies would have to be developed.

42. Attention must be paid to the problem of selecting the three officers, having in mind the national jealousies involved. A possible approach would be to consider individuals who might be available and acceptable, for example Spaak as European Defense Commissioner and Stikker as European Finance Minister for Defense.

[Here follows the remainder of this revised memorandum (numbered paragraphs 43through 52) which was identical with the final 10paragraphs of the Secretary of State’s memorandum of July 6, printed p. 813, beginning with paragraph “Study might be given …”]

  1. This memorandum was transmitted by Jessup to the Secretary of State on July 12 under cover of a brief memorandum which explained that this revision had been prepared, in consultation with Perkins and Knight, in accordance with the Secretary’s request of the previous afternoon. The memorandum printed here is a revision of Acheson’s memorandum of the same title of July 6, p. 813. Substantial portions of the Secretary’s original draft of July 6 remained unchanged in this Jessup revision and are not reprinted here. Editorial interpolations in the appropriate places indicate those major portions of the Secretary’s draft which remained unchanged. Other briefer sections (numbered paragraphs 22–23, 26–27, 30, 33, 36, and 40) have been repeated here even though they were unchanged from the Secretary’s original draft.

    The memorandum printed here appears to be the text considered by Secretary of State Acheson and Secretary of Defense Marshall and their advisers at their meeting at the Pentagon on July 13; see Acheson’s memorandum, July 16, p. 836.

    A copy of this memorandum was transmitted to Ambassador Bruce in France under cover of a brief personal letter from Acheson which began as follows:

    “We in the Department have been giving very careful thought to the problems of German rearmament and the defense of Europe. In order to clarify our own thoughts on these matters and isolate the various issues involved, I have prepared the attached paper, which is something of a ‘think piece’. We have discussed it a bit here and Ambassador Jessup has gone over my draft and made some changes in it.”

    Secretary Acheson acknowledged that the memorandum covered matters already raised in telegram 7155, June 28, to Paris (p. 801) on which Bruce had already fully commented but urgently asked for his comments in the light of any additional thoughts that were developed in the memorandum. The Secretary further noted that the suggestions in the memorandum were put forward for criticism and “… there is no requirement that this criticism be constructive.” In a handwritten postscript to the letter, the Secretary observed:

    “This is a purely personal effort on my part greatly helped by your excellent cable. If you would get any ideas that Doug MacArthur and Gen. Eisenhower would have—again for my enlightenment and not as a governmental project—it would help. DA”