740.5/2–2552: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the President 1

Dear Mr. President: You will have had our reports on the latest developments in the meeting here. I hope you believe that they are good. This conference will be a success. The only questions remaining are whether (1) it will be a success or a great success and (2) whether other events, such as a government crisis in France or German developments may detract from its success.

As to the first: We have only two problems left here.

(A) Contributions to NATO infrastructure which Bob Lovett is battling out manfully,2 I think and (B) NATO location and organization, which I believe I have worked out with Eden so that, with luck that will be resolved.

As to the second: (A) France: With complete cooperation and [Page 175] agreement among your Cabinet representatives, we presented a proposal to France within US governmental authority which they have accepted and will present to the French Parliament.3 No man can do more or predict the result.

(B) Germany: Adenauer replied today to our proposals on the German contribution to defense.4 In substance he accepts. In form his govt raised too many points for German internal consumption, that, for French internal consumption the lower levels of the French could not agree on a proposal we made to resolve the problem. This is too bad. If they would have allowed Schuman to meet with Eden, who agreed, and with me, we might have had a grand slam tomorrow with all points on your European policy agreed for submission to Parliaments.

But life is never as clean as this. So the situation is about as fols: The Lisbon meeting has done all and more than was expected. Tomorrow Eden will, I firmly believe, resolve the last problems of organization5 and the financing of infrastructure will permit doing what can be done in the next year. Then the Lisbon conference will adjourn.

On Tuesday we, the British and I will try and I hope succeed, in concluding between us all German questions including the contribution to defense and the control of industry question.6 If Adenauer can agree before we leave Lisbon the structure will be complete. If it could have been agreed upon before the conference adjourned, it would have been better, but I have tried and failed to do this. The second best Four Power agreement on Tuesday is not as good but is pretty good. The third best Three Power Agreement on Tuesday and German concurrence shortly thereafter will be good enough.

We are all united doing our best and believe we can achieve either two or three above.

I write this too late at night to be sure that it is all clear or that I am.

Most respectfully,

Dean Acheson
  1. This message was transmitted to Washington from Lisbon as telegram Actel 8, Feb. 25, 10 a.m. It was obviously drafted by Acheson on the evening of Feb. 24.
  2. For the report on the final decisions of the Special Committee on Infrastructure of which Secretary Lovett was a member, see document C9–D/21, Feb. 25, from Lisbon, p. 196.
  3. See the U.S.–French memorandum of understanding, Feb. 25, p. 273.
  4. Regarding the West German reply referred to here, see telegram 20, Feb. 26, p. 262.
  5. The North Atlantic Council adopted the paper on the Reorganization of NATO (C9–D/4 (Revise)) at its fifth and final meeting on Feb. 25; see telegram Secto 79, Feb. 25, p. 157. For text of the paper, Feb. 29, see p. 198.
  6. Regarding the proceedings of Feb. 26, see pp. 161174.