740.5/11–652: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in France 1


Topol 350. Eyes only for Draper from Acheson and Bruce. Ref: Poltos 605 and 606 Nov 6.2 Subj: Dec 15 min mtg.

We have considered alternatives set forth para 6 Polto 605 and comment as fols: [Page 342]
We considered postponement to Jan 8 and agreed here it was impractical and of limited value anyway as you suggest.
You of course know how strongly we feel that indefinite postponement is a last resort which we must continue to try to avoid (Topol 3083).
While recognizing advantages of having President-elect appear before NAC shld he desire to do so, we cannot agree a NY mtg in early Dec either desirable or feasible. Quick check reveals Schuman and Eden plan go home much earlier and most of other NATO FonMins wld have returned to Eur. Schuman in particular has reasons for not wishing to be in NY for more than just next week. It wld be far more difficult for me and other US members to meet with NAC in this country at time of transition than to meet in Paris as scheduled. Moreover, proposal to shift mtg to NY wld be connected in everyone’s mind with new US admin and thus we cld not entertain it without full clearance of President-elect. It wld not be possible to place all the considerations which bear on this before him in time even if we agreed it was desirable to do so. Therefore there shld be no suggestion given in Paris that US wld desire mtg be shifted to NY if no conclusive mtg is possible on AR in Dec. If it is proposed by other countries US shld oppose. Anyway first min mtg after reorg shld be at permanent NATO hdqrs.
We are still assuming that after canvass of AR situation early next week with Merchant, Nash and Martin you will send us your recommendation as to how much can be accomplished on AR at Dec mtg. Believe it still premature to reach final judgment especially as we do not yet know Brit budget decision and advice from Ger indicates Adenauer still considering possibility of sending in Ger submission before Bundestag Debate. Moreover arguments presented your para 6c to effect that buildup is proceeding anyway suggest to us that task of obtaining agreement on 1953 force goals except Ger may be less difficult than earlier assumed. In this connection hope you and others considering type of AR consideration we cld have at Dec mtg will continue give emphasis to broad essentials rather than to detailed reconciliation which there is obviously not time to accomplish.
However matters develop over next few days it is very clear that we are not in position to entertain idea of mtg the success of which wld depend on our bringing strong pressures to bear on others. Obviously too many imponderables lie ahead for US to indulge in any arm twisting to produce unrealistic goals which might well be tied to unrealistic levels of aid or other courses of action not approved by incoming admin. Any action contemplated by US must be within framework of policies and commitments already widely accepted and limited to near term. Within that framework reasonable 1953 goals can be accepted and supported by US but I neither can nor wish to come to mtg and take an aggressive line.
If in light of events of next few days it becomes obvious mtg shld be cancelled, move for cancellation shld not come from US. As you recall, we held out against mtg in Sept or Oct and insisted on Dec date. We shld therefore do nothing to give rise to impression that NAC mtgs can be held only when convenient to US. Initiative on our part to cancel wld inevitably be associated with problems in US incident to turnover to new admin rather than with AR considerations which shld be basis for cancellation. We do not wish to do anything to further impression US is powerless to act at all until after Jan 20. Therefore although you may when time is ripe indicate you do not think mtg without AR wld be profitable, you shld not yourself propose cancellation and shld do no more than try to set stage for initiative from Ismay, Kraft or some other delegation such as Canada.
If on other hand majority members shld strongly favor Dec min mtg in Paris without agreement on 1953 goals and limited to progress report as regards AR, US in that case shld not seek to prevent mtg or take rigid position in opposition. We wish to leave situation entirely open pending developments of next few days. Hope you will continue report developments in full as they occur.4
  1. This telegram was drafted by Parsons and approved by Perkins.
  2. Polto 605, supra; Polto 606, not printed, but see footnote 1, supra.
  3. Not printed; it informed Draper that U.S. agencies were unwilling for the present to abandon the plan for a December meeting and expressed the belief that the United States should make the maximum effort to hold such a meeting primarily aimed at the 1953 goals. (740.5/10–3152)
  4. On Nov. 9, Draper replied as follows to this telegram:

    “I understand your instructions and guidance and the reasons back of your thinking and we will do our level best to get sufficient agreement on 1953 goals to make a Dec. 15 meeting in Paris as useful as possible.” (Telegram Polto 631 from Paris; 740.5/11–952)