740.5/12–1051: Telegram

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


3446. Personal from Bruce to the Secretary. Ref Embtel 3442 Dec 9.2 Subject is end-item assistance to European defense community.

1. As presently drafted, EDC treaty provides that its executive shall handle questions regarding financial or material external aid furnished to the community. French paper on common armament and supply program, recently submitted to conference, contained similar provision, that “executive will have charge of directing and administering outside aid to the community, under general direction of Council of Ministers”. In discussion, Alphand, for French, stressed importance of this provision in relation to preparation and execution of common budget and supply program. Blank, for German delegation, stated that FedRep wld fight for this approach. Other delegates, by implication or silence, appeared to approve.

2. Later Alphand, at suggestion of German and Belgian delegates, asked on behalf of conference that I obtain official US Govt position on whether US wld accept administration of military end-item assistance by executive of EDC in place of member states. Alphand asked for assurance that US wld arrange for US military authorities and SHAPE to deal directly in these questions with executive and military authorities of community instead of member govts.

3. I suggest US reply that it wld handle end-item assistance through community as proposed. Mandate under Mutual Security Act to use aid “to further encourage the economic unification and political federation of Europe” and our support of creation effective forces under EDC concept seem clearly to require this position. Any other attitude [Page 958] wld obviously undermine common armament program, which both French and Germans stated to be indispensable for agreement on EDC treaty, and wld indeed by inconsistent with whole EDC concept of single integrated force equipped by community. Any bilateral agreements necessary under act shld reflect this arrangement.

4. Question may also arise about our attitude on external aid to Belgium or Netherlands, if they shld fail to join an EDC created by remaining countries. It wld probably be inappropriate to state that US military assistance to these countries wld be conditional on participation in common defense and procurement program. However, I suggest reply shld state (a) that US views creation of single force as increasing effective military strength; (b) that US in allocating military assistance wld continue its present policy of giving priority where defense build-up is most useful and effective; and (c) this policy might affect allocation of equipment between forces within community and continental forces remaining outside community. De Staercke, new Belgian delegate, implied that such statement by US might be useful in securing support of Belgium for larger degree of a central authority in production, finance and planning.

5. Our reply shld also be drafted with a view to aiding the various govts with their Parliamentary problems. It wld be very helpful for French Govt in assembly debate on EDC, scheduled for late Dec or Jan, to be in position to refer to this concrete support by US of system of common supply with its inherent safeguards against creation of separate German national military forces.

6. Request of conference on this proposal provides opportunity to help speed action on draft treaty. A prompt response, giving vigorous support to the common armament program of EDC, shld materially assist in resolving some of present differences by posing issue in sharper terms for Benelux countries. Moreover, such action cld not be misrepresented as improper pressure or inteference since conference has asked for expression of US position.

7. This subject was discussed with Byroade in Paris before his departure. I think matter of sufficient importance for you to discuss with Lovett. I will explore further with Harriman here.3

[ Bruce ]
  1. This telegram was repeated to Bonn for the eyes only of McCloy.
  2. Not printed; it reported that at the meeting of the Steering Committee of the European Defense Community conference on December 6, there was a discussion of a French draft paper on the armament and procurement problems of the EDC (740.5/12–1051).
  3. In a telegram of December 9 from the SS Independence, Secretary Acheson stated the following:

    EDF conf proceeding on assumption community will be recipient mil assistance. Bruce feels would be helpful if US cld soon announce our acceptance this procedure provided EDF becomes workable institution. Pls check present legislative flexibility and attitude other depts prior my return.” (740.5/12–951)

    In his telegram 688, December 11, from Bonn, not printed, High Commissioner McCloy heartily endorsed Ambassador Bruce’s position and urged a prompt reply along the lines he suggested. McCloy concluded:

    “It would seem that at just this time it would be particularly eloquent of our serious intent in regard to the economic and political federation of Europe.” (740.5/12–1151)