740.5/11–652: Telegram

The United States Permanent Representative on the North Atlantic Council (Draper) to the Department of State


Polto 605. Eyes only for Acheson and Bruce from Draper.

Further delay in the Brit budget decision and Adenauer judgment that Ger submission shld be delayed to prevent interfering with Ger ratification of EDC make it increasingly apparent that at best only an incomplete and confused annual review report can be ready for consideration by the Military Committee and by govts prior to Dec 15 Ministers mtg.
The time available will give little opportunity for reconciliation between force goal costs and available budgetary resources even for countries whose replies are already submitted. Also the point has been [Page 340] made that no hard-boiled reconciliation negots for one country are justified before all submissions are in. If this view prevails, no reconciliation cld really begin until after the Brit case if filed Nov 20 or later which wld make any realistic reconciliation practically impossible.
Ismay announced yesterday that even a sketch 1953 goal report wld be impossible unless all replies (Ger was not mentioned) were recd by Nov 16. All except the Brit were promised by next Monday and it is still conceivable that the Brit force goals if recd about Nov 20 cld be dropped into place after only sketch examination which other countries might resent.
Much as I personally have favored pulling through a Dec 15 mtg to set at least 1953 goals and getting this much of the problem out of the way before the new administration takes office, I am fast reaching the conclusion that we may be attempting the impossible.
If the Brit do not come to a budget decision tomorrow, the problem will probably solve itself particularly when the status of the Ger submission becomes known, and without our intervention the Council will probably recognize that firm and reconciled 1953 goals cld not be determined at a Dec 15 mtg.
The alternatives are:
Postponement to Jan 8 which does not give sufficiently greater time in view holidays to assure a much better result and wld involve obvious difficulty coming just before new administration takes office;
Postpone mtg until new administration prepared to deal with AR and related problems;
Hold mtg in New York in early Dec while Fon Mins still there for GA. Probably Def Mins and Mil Comite shld attend but Fin Mins possibly not needed (i) to hear progress report from SecGen on AR, (ii) to hear report from Mil Comite, (iii) to discuss political problems including progress ratification EDC, et cetera.
Actual sitn is, as I see it, that training, equipping and building up of mil forces is proceeding slowly but surely as evidenced by maneuvers, etc., regardless of AR, and that govts have been carefully examining possibilities for further build-up and availability of budgetary resources. It seems unlikely that the AR and its resulting pressures can in any case largely increase the budgetary effort at this time and that the reconciliation will largely consist of forcing down unrealistic goals in certain cases and in attempting to apply better standards of personnel, training and other criteria. This does not mean that the AR this year is not highly important but that, except for its psychological influence, it probably wld not greatly change the immed application of resources to the mil build-up.
While either a complete postponement or a less decisive mtg in New York wld undoubtedly be ascribed partially at least to the change in administration, this might not be entirely bad since our NATO [Page 341] partners will be themselves unwilling to make too many irrevocable decisions or commitments in Dec in the face of a new administration a month later.
In view of the above, my personal view shared by Merchant with whom alone I have discussed this cable is to let nature take its course for the next few days but to be prepared, if and when it becomes apparent to the Internatl Staff and to the Council that no conclusive mtg is possible in Dec, to suggest or fall in with the suggestion that a mtg such as described in No. 6 (c) be held in New York. The change in location to New York, where the UN mtg will also be going on shld re-emphasize the NATO mtg and wld take the spotlight off the AR. It wld enable appropriate publicity as soon as possible after the decision is made to the effect that govt replies to the annual questionnaire have come in too late for final consideration of force goals in Dec and that to meet the convenience of various Fon Mins the mtg is, therefore being held in New York.
We may encounter reluctance from the British who give every evidence of desiring to go ahead with Dec 15 meeting as scheduled, notwithstanding absence conclusive AR report reflecting no doubt their reluctance to bear major responsibility for postponement. Also Ismay may desire to have first meeting under his auspices at permanent headquarters. Such arguments, however, shld not prove insuperable.

In summary, I now recommend New York meeting as the lesser of two evils (even if initiative required on our part to secure agreement in NAC), with another meeting to finalize force goals as early in 1953 as the new administration is prepared to hold it.1

  1. In his next telegram (Polto 606 from Paris, Nov. 11; 740.5/11–752) Draper elaborated on the reasoning for his recommendations. A principal consideration, he stated, was the possibility for President-elect Eisenhower and/or his Secretary of State to meet informally with the NATO Foreign Ministers and listen to their comments and suggestions. Draper believed this procedure would be welcomed in Europe and would help bridge the delay before the next ministerial meeting without giving the appearance of avoiding the European Ministers.