740.5/1–1152: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the Netherlands 1


904. Secy called in Neth Amb Jan 10 to discuss EDC.2 Said if there was feeling that creation of EDC lessened US interest, that this was not true. In fact quite the reverse was true. This had been made clear in great debate here last summer and in legislative history of fon aid acts that gen feelings of Amer people were that they wished to see Eur pulled together. Recognized we might over-simplify problem but nevertheless felt deeply on matter.

May be that Eur milit goals will have to be reduced. If so creation of EDC would be strong compensating factor.

Secy stressed that US had NATO as cornerstone of its fon policy. Said we were really in a time of crisis and that time factor was most important. In early weeks of 1952 considered it particularly important we move forward and not lose momentum. Noted that getting Ger [Page 581]aligned with West rests in large measure on personalities and that we have rare opportunity with Adenauer and Schuman both in office. Indicated he expected that Schuman would be able to continue in a reorganized Fr Govt.

Secy continued that at Paris meeting of EDC Ministers Fr, Ger, and Ital had been for close ties whereas Benelux countries had been for loose ties. Was not the place of US to get into details which these countries wld work out among themselves but shld be pointed out it seemed to us that Benelux views at Paris wld result in either (1) unequal treatment for Ger or (2) creation of a Ger national mil organization. Shld either of these things happen both Fr and Ger wld be lost from EDC.

Secy expressed hope that Stikker wld study how far Neth could move their position. If Stikker feared US may move away, that was incorrect. We considered it essential that Ger be gotten into Western community. Also wanted Stikker to know that if he fearful that EDC might prejudice Neth interest in favor of Ger was our view that this was covered by the TCC for year 1952 and that it should be covered in much the same way for 1953. So far as we were concerned NATO shld continue to be agency to work out that problem.

Van Roijen replied that his people were not as fearful that US wld move away from NATO as they were that the Fr might. He quoted Schuman as saying that “NATO was transitory and essentially ephemeral”. Dutch had gathered from this that Schuman thought NATO was an ad hoc org for a specific peril. Their main worry was that EDC might take a line independent of NATO and that EDC wld be represented in NATO with only one voice. They were neither prepared to give up their sovereignty for a purpose that was not constructive nor for purpose of destroying NATO. He thought that the commissariat problem could be worked out but told the Secy that original scheme had been that Defense Minister shld be Fr, Chief of Staff Ger, and President of Assembly Ital. The Dutch were afraid they wld not only have little say in EDC but they wld also end up with little voice in NATO. What they really wanted was assurance that the EDC wld be brought into relationship with NATO in such a way as to prevent this.3

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Secy pointed out to Van Roijen importance we attached to working out a proper relationship between NATO and EDC. Recalled our concern with that problem in Rome and the resolution that had been passed at Rome directing Deputies to take up the problem of the relationship between the two organizations.4 Secy promised we wld press the Deputies to get on with their consideration of this problem.

  1. This telegram was drafted by Scott (EUR/WE), cleared by Barnes (S/S), and signed for the Secretary by Perkins (EUR). It was repeated for information to Paris for Bruce and MacArthur, to London, and to Bonn. In a paper presented to Secretary Acheson by Assistant Secretary Perkins on Jan. 9 and concurred in by Nash (Defense), Gordon (MSA), Byroade (GER), and Ambassadors Murphy and Chapin, then in Washington for consultation, Acheson was urged to call in the Netherlands and Belgian Ambassadors as soon as possible and put before them certain arguments supporting Benelux participation in the European Defense Community (740.5/1–952).
  2. The account in this telegram is a close paraphrase of Perkins’ memorandum of Acheson’s conversation with Ambassador Van Roijen on Jan. 10 (740.5/1–1052).
  3. Counselor of the Netherlands Embassy De Beus called at the Department of State on Jan. 9 to state that his government supported the idea of a European Defense Community and wanted to participate in it, but that Netherlands’ officials were greatly concerned by the impression that they had received during the Dec. 27–30 ministerial discussions in Paris that France no longer conceived of a European Defense Community being established and functioning within the framework of an increasingly tight North Atlantic Community and particularly within NATO. De Beus was assured that the United States had no doubts but that the EDC was to function within the North Atlantic Community and specifically within the NATO framework. Nor had American officials heard any expression of views which would indicate that the French had changed their attitude on the matter (telegram 3969, Jan. 9, to Paris, repeated for information to London, The Hague, Brussels, Luxembourg, Rome, and Bonn; 740/12–551). The same Dutch concern was raised by Foreign Minister Stikker in conversations with Chargé Trimble on Jan. 8 and 10, reported upon in telegrams 686 and 692, Jan. 9 and 10, respectively, from The Hague (740.5/1–952 and 740.5/1–1052).
  4. Documentation on the North Atlantic Council session in Rome in November 1951 and on the EDCNATO relationships under reference here is presented in Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. iii, Part 1, pp. 693 ff.