Memorandum by the Secretary of State to the President

top secret
  • Subject:
  • Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Europe
[Page 550]

On my return from the London Conference,1 I found that there was a general impression among the press that plans were under way to withdraw some of our U.S. troops now in Europe. I was asked about this at my press conference last Tuesday.2

This matter is, of course, one of the greatest delicacy and I had understood, in accordance with NSC Decision of August 27, 1953,3 that the handling of it was entrusted to me. In the exercise of this responsibility, I had come to the conclusion, with Admiral Radford, that nothing of this sort could be done at this time without great injury to NATO and the prospects of EDC, and that ultimate action along this line would be effective only after an educational campaign, and probably as part of some new general program for European defense.

This conclusion is in substance embodied in NSC 162–1, paragraph 38b, and was left, by subparagraph c, to “our diplomacy” to develop the matter further.4

The French at our urging have maintained and increased their forces in Indochina and are very fearful that the rearmament of Germany under EDC will leave them dominated by Germans unless the British and ourselves keep troops in Europe substantially as at present.

Even the idea that we are considering at this time a curtailment of these forces would be effectively used by the opponents of EDC to block it.

I strongly urge that the great delicacy of this matter should be realized and that no impression should be allowed to get about that we may be thinking of pulling troops out of Europe.

If any rumors to that effect come to the attention of any responsible officials, I hope they will be denied.

John Foster Dulles
  1. Regarding the tripartite Foreign Ministers meetings at London in October 1953, see the editorial note, vol. v, Part 2, p. 1709.
  2. Presumably Oct. 13.
  3. For the memorandum of discussion at the 160th meeting of the National Security Council, Aug. 27, see p. 443.
  4. NSC 162/1 is not printed; however, NSC 162/2 of Oct. 30, p. 577, contains the reference paragraphs and passages.