460.509/6–2652: Telegram

The Chargé in France (Achilles) to the Department of State 1


8110. Excon. From Linder. Ref Embtel 8068 June 25, rptd or pouched above missions.2

In CG wind-up yesterday, summary of conclusions on US outstanding commitments proposal was taken up for clearance for record of discussions. It encountered strong movement to revise original conclusions to provide that PC responses to proposal be made to COCOM rather than US and be taken up for multilateral discussion (perhaps in CG). Some feeling that such discussion shld occur before final decision by PC’s. However, final agreed text specifies that (a) US proposal be referred immediately to govts for urgent consideration, (b) PC’s inform COCOM and US directly soonest of decisions, (c) info might be subsequently discussed at any PC’s request. If such discussion is requested, decision will then be made whether reconvene CG for purpose. Likelihood of having such discussion uncertain due imminence COCOM recess and vacation time in capitals and Charpentier expressed hope CG mtg wld not be requested. Brit and Fr not desirous have CG mtg.
Movement started from Ital objection to fact summary referred to multilateral discussion only as a possibility dependent on request by any PC and specified PC replies to US shld not be deferred or made dependent on such discussion. Noting he had already [Page 861] given his response on tankers, Denmark del nevertheless, on basis of principle, strongly supported idea that there be multilateral discussion, since US proposal entails multilateral considerations and is one of most important matters group has faced. He also felt discussion shld be in CG not COCOM, because of major polit considerations involved. Neth del supported Denmark. Fr took modified position, suggesting that, as matter of principle, responses be filed with secretariat rather than directly with US. With some support from UK (which had previously stated no intention request discussion of its case) US stressed important element is urgency and US anxious receive responses soonest. Also noted that when US first took up outstanding commitments matter at Jan CG, CG felt followup discussions shld be bilateral and, that, since then, US has not discussed its points on specific cases in COCOM, COCOM does not have full details on cases and COCOM therefore not in position express fully considered judgment. Also expressed opinion CG discussion ex post facto unlikely be productive.
US reps believe movement probably represented after thought (which Denmark grasped in order have partners in their present position) that any rejections of US proposal cld obtain support from other PC’s if taken up multilaterally, that some PC’s wld be unwilling undertake cancellations without knowing other PC’s doing same, and that keeping Battle Act implementation within multilateral framework is desirable as general principle.
In connection with above developments, US reps feel important US objective is urgent consideration at earliest responses by PC’s and that scheduling any multilateral discussions shld not delay such action. Do not see any real usefulness in ex post facto discussion and believe multilateral discussion shld be discouraged. However, if other PC’s feel strongly, see no harm. In any event difficult for US to resist. If discussion were to be of such substantive nature as to have impact on decisions and on conclusions already reached, discussion shld be in CG.
If Dept agrees, suggest missions follow above in any bilateral talks in capitals.
  1. Repeated to Copenhagen, The Hague, London, Bonn, Rome, Bern, Brussels, Helsinki, Lisbon, Luxembourg, Oslo, Stockholm, and Vienna.
  2. Not printed; it reported that the French and British Delegates to the CG, in a meeting with the U.S. Delegate prior to the convening of the CG, had agreed to review carefully trade commitments vis-à-vis the Soviet bloc made before the Battle Act was effected, but not yet fulfilled. This became known as the “prior commitment” question. (460.509/6–2552)