740.5/8–2751: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Holmes) to the Secretary of State 1


1073. Re Deptel 1010 Aug 17, Paris 1031, rptd Frankfort 12062 Fol is Embassy assessment of probable Brit attitude towards EDF and Ger defense contribution during Sept talks and suggested approach to Morrison.

Brit no longer regard EDF as visionary and unreal Fr scheme. Spurt of activity which produced interim report,3 realization that US favors EDF, and recent press accounts that Eisenhower will support it have had cumulative effect of dispelling some of Brit’s original fears about EDF, and positively, of awakening interest in it, at least to point of seeking precise info as to what it will entail. FonOff rep has said Brit still tend to be of two minds about EDF (Embtel 969 Aug 214) and we believe that this will be reflected in Morrison’s approach to subj in Washington talks. It is likely that he will come with a reserved and faintly skeptical attitude, but willing to be convinced.
To this end we believe it essential that US support for EDF buttressed by statement from Eisenhower be presented to him in forthright terms. He will probably desire assurance that support for EDF will not weaken close US–UK relationship or detract from build-up NATO forces. It will be helpful to assure him that we are not thinking in terms of Brit participation in EDF, and that our commitments in Eur are such as practically to preclude development of Eur, with forces united in EDF, into any kind of “third force” or pressure bloc against UK or other non-participating WE members of NATO.
Frank Roberts told EmbOff’s Aug 27 Brit consider it essential to have mil talks by SG reps on mil aspects EDF and Ger contribution prior to ministerial talks. Mil talks cld use Petersberg report for technical purposes.
Brit mil experts generally tend to be more conservative in their approach to EDF than civilian officials. This is due in great part to historical Brit distaste for continental mil combines. It can be overcome by forceful presentation of arguments listed above (statement By Eisenhower and/or Montgomery wld have particularly persuasive effect on Brit mil) and detailed explanation why we now convinced [Page 872] EDF most practical method of obtaining Ger troops for west def, since Brit mil have solid appreciation of Ger soldierly qualities and value of significant Ger contribution.
  1. This telegram was repeated for information to Paris and Frankfurt The text was subsequently included as a supplement to document WFM T–4, August 29, 1951, a briefing paper identified in footnote 1 to the paper prepared by Nunley, August 24, p. 862.
  2. Not printed, but see footnote 2, p. 856.
  3. For the Interim Report of the European Defense Community Conference, July 24, see p. 843.
  4. Not printed.