Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs ( Perkins ) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Administration ( Humelsine )


Subject: Future Handling of NAT program in Department of State

I understand there are two general schemes in mind concerning the responsibilities of Mr. Cabot here as related to NATO. One is that NAT operations remain the primary responsibility of EUR, with supervision, general policy direction and integration into the world situation by Mr. Cabot and his organization.1 The second one is that [Page 17] Mr. Cabot and his organization take over the full responsibility for operating all matters connected with NAT.

I want to register very strongly that we in EUR believe that the first course is essential. As I understood, and still understand, the regional setup in the State Department it is that the Regional Bureaus were to be responsible for affairs in their areas with, of course, due and proper coordination and supervision from higher echelons. The North Atlantic Treaty is the heart of the policies and operations in EUR. It is the most important single item in our relations with the European countries. It also has an important bearing on our relations with the European countries and other countries under EUR which are not directly associated in NAT. To eliminate EUR from the work on this matter would, I believe, hopelessly compromise the influence and effectiveness of EUR as an operating agency. The NAT is more than a military arrangement. It enters into political and economic questions as well, and it is, therefore, at the very core of all EUR work.

I cannot sec that moving the work in connection with the NAT to some new central agency would provide any operating advantages. The NAT problem is big enough and of sufficient importance to justify in itself a component and effective staff. But it is equally true that it cannot be adequately understood and dealt with as a thing apart from other European problems. As part of EUR such a staff has the advantages of being integrated closely with the Office Directors and desk Officers who are working constantly on all problems of the countries affected by the NAT.

I think I should again point out, as I have often before, that EUR needs additional strength in personnel to discharge its functions properly in connection with NAT. This, I think, we have all recognized for some time, and the only reason we have not moved on strengthening and increasing the personnel was the uncertainty as to what the central organization would be and where it would be.

I have, as you know, long favored the establishment of a position such as Mr. Cabot’s. I believe there is a very important function to be performed in establishing departmental-wide policies, in correlating the activities of the Regional Bureaus, in establishing priorities in working out inter-departmental relationships, and in carrying an integrated program to the Congress. These functions seem to me to be enough to tax anyone’s ability.

Now a word further on inter-departmental organization. It seems to me that the idea which we had sometime ago of a worldwide interdepartmental coordinating committee with subsidiary regional coordinating committees is desirable and efficient. Certainly there should be regional committees for EUR and FE, and probably also for ARA and NEA.

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I am attaching hereto a memorandum which Ed Martin has prepared which goes into further detail on some aspects of the situation, and also a list of the personnel in EUR which is now involved in NAT matters.2

  1. The reference here is to the International Security Affairs Committee. See footnote 3, p. 21.
  2. Neither printed.