No. 350

Editorial Note

A memorandum from Bonbright to Matthews, dated November 28, reported that members of the Department of State, including Snow, had met members of the Department of Defense with inconclusive results. It stated that “lower level Defense representatives are firm in their position” and the Department of State could either acquiesce or approach Defense at a higher level. (711.56357/11–2851)

A December 3 memorandum from Bonbright to Matthews informed him that a discussion with the Pentagon at General White’s level had not changed the Defense position and suggested [Page 768] that the Department of State not push Defense at that time. It recommended, however, that it would be “desirable to record our concern over the possible political effects of a public agreement and to make clear that our willingness to proceed in this way rests mainly on the fact that the Norwegians themselves have not on the record opposed the public agreement procedure.” (711.56357/12–351)

On December 4, Matthews, for the Acting Secretary of State, wrote a letter to the Acting Secretary of Defense stating the Department of State position on the matter of an agreement with Norway. He informed Defense that the Department of State would prefer an informal, unpublished arrangement with the Norwegians, but in the absence of a formal objection by the Norwegian Government it would not object to the government-level agreement preferred by Defense. He concluded by saying that the Department of State “must, however, be in a position to inform the Norwegians, if the point arises, that the United States is not seeking to effect an arrangement which would modify the commitments which Norway has assumed under Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty.” (757.5/12–451)

An answer by the Acting Secretary of Defense, dated December 22, reported his pleasure that the Department of State did not object to the conclusion of a formal intergovernmental agreement. He requested that the Department of State instruct the Embassy in Oslo “to proceed with the conclusion of the proposed agreement as soon as possible. I would appreciate being informed of the form and substance of the agreement as negotiated prior to its final signature.” (757.5/12–2251)