No. 188

762A.5/11–1051: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Bruce) to the Acting Secretary of State 1
top secret   priority

2806. Toeca.

Basic issue confronting Fr Govt in discussions referred to Embtel 2753 of Nov 92 is finding means to place France in a position to make an appropriate def contribution in Eur in forces and fin. Combination of increasing burden in Indochina and inability to obtain nec imports, threaten to keep Fr def forces in Eur at a level bringing success of entire Eur build-up into ques. This situation, of course, has an immed impact on improving Fr policy towards Ger. Gradually, France has been shifting from policy based on restrictions on Ger to one of integrating Ger into Eur community on a partnership basis. For such an approach to be acceptable to Fr [Page 438] public and officialdom it must of nec be based on France’s contributing a mil force at least equal to that of Ger in the Eur community and on the prospect of this essential equality being permanent.
The questions of France making an adequate contribution to def of Eur and of relation of this contribution to that of Ger have recently become much more complicated:
After planning figures ranging from 1250 to 1400 bil francs based on situation outlined in Embtels 8170 and 8171,3 first real estimate for France’s total mil budget for 1952 was brought down to 1070 bil francs as given in Fr TCC presentation.
Cost of Indochina will rise from 310 bil francs in 51 to 400 bil francs in 52.
Altho decisions not final, Fr have further complicated ques by proposing that Fr deep-seas Navy, 4 divs, gendarmérie, police, pensions, etc., wld remain outside of EDF. Such forces shld take up around 370 bil francs more of Fr mil budget.
On basis of mil budget presented to TCC (which assumed cost of Fr forces in Ger wld continue to be paid by Ger) the most which France wld thus have available for Eur def wld be around 300 bil francs or a little over 4 bil DM. To an extent this figure is artificially low because nearly all reductions in TCC presentation were in mil production and infrastructure. Both of these items wld be in EDF budget and both wld presumably be increased at expense of other items in any balanced program at level of 1070 bil francs. On the other hand, if there were to be an adjustment in external value of franc, Fr contribution expressed in dols or marks wld probably be further reduced, making equalization of Fr-Gr financial contributions even more difficult.
France’s bal of payments difficulties may force further reductions in total mil budget estimate submitted to TCC. Other mil expenditures being relatively fixed (Indochina, pensions, etc.), most of these reductions will necessarily come out of France’s contribution to def in Eur.
Moreover, unless Fr can diminish expenditures in Indochina in order to make contribution in Eur, disparity with relation to Ger will become greater as financing of def build-up in Ger gets underway; therefore certain Fr def officials are tempted to favor Brit position of absolute parity for continuing occupation costs as a means both of financing part of Fr costs and of holding down size of Ger forces.
Most Fr officials accept that Eur def community, which is to be permanent institution, cannot be satisfactorily built around exceptional and temp situation arising for France because of Indochina. In their view, France shld go ahead and draw up EDC arrangements, both in terms of forces and financing, on assumption that Indochina burden on France will somehow be reduced before EDC treaty is ratified. They also agree that an effort shld be made [Page 439] to include as large a volume of France’s mil activity as possible inside Eur def forces. They have been pointing out in cab mtgs that desire for natls forces outside EDF limits Fr contribution to EDF; that this in turn tends to limit def contributions of Ger and other countries below their possibilities because level of their contribution will be related to certain percentage of Fr contribution to EDF; and that such a Fr policy thus wld tend to hinder rearmament of Eur. They point out that reverse is also true in that by increasing her contribution to EDF to figure adequate for def of Eur, France wld place pressure on other EDF countries to increase size of their def contributions. In gen, all Fr officials are of view that satis solution cannot be found until Fr cab and assembly can be assured that France is in a position to make a contribution adequate for Eur def.
Present difficulties can be expected to give rise to Fr hesitations on Ger questions in many contexts but it was almost immed apparent in internal discussions concerning volume of Ger def contribution in forces and fin. It was this situation and not EDF common budget or interim common financial arrangements that was essentially responsible for vagueness of Fr position in London.
  1. Repeated to London and Bonn.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Documents 171 and 172.