740.5/1–1152: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Belgium 1

secret
priority

1023. Secy called in Belg Amb Jan 10 to discuss EDC.2 Said we felt it very important that action be taken by NATO early in 1952 in order not lose momentum. There were three things which had to be done. One was to establish the EDC; another was to complete the contractual arrangements with Ger; the third was the approval of the TCC recommendations. Situation was particularly difficult because of Fr governmental troubles at present time and possibility also that Belg governmental situation might further complicate the situation.

Silvercruys interrupted to say he was sure everyone in Belg wanted to get where we wanted them to be but there was question as to how fast this cld be accomplished.

Secy continued that perhaps US cld be helpful in situation. Observed that combination of Schuman and Adenauer both in office at same time was rare opportunity which shld be exploited in endeavor to heal breach between Fr and Ger. Recalled that in New York in 1950 we had made certain suggestions about bringing Ger into Western defense but these had not proved to be the way to accomplish this purpose. We were now persuaded that the EDC was the only way to get [Page 583]Ger into Western defense. We thought that perhaps some of difficulties which Benelux countries had might relate to fears which they had concerning US attitudes and reactions to situation. Perhaps Benelux countries were concerned lest establishment of EDC might encourage US isolationism. Secy said he was convinced that reverse of this was true. There was a great feeling in US that closer tying together of Eur countries wld be of great assistance. Wld create more enthusiasm in US for Eur aid than wld exist otherwise. Also pointed out he felt NATO was keystone of US foreign policy and that NATO org itself needed to be tightened and the US drawn more closely into it. Was sure that for a long time to come both US and UK must stay close to Eur and that this wld be so even if strength of Eur was increased. Was sure that the Belgs wld do all they possibly cld and that opposing ideas at Paris Conference cld be drawn together.

Silvercruys said he knew all leaders in Belg were for closer drawing together of Eur.

Secy interrupted him to say he had read Van Zeeland’s speeches on the matter and was sure that was true.

Silvercruys continued to effect that Belg people were a little uneasy. They wld feel better if UK were closer to EDC. They fear being left alone with Fr and Ger and perhaps Ital. These doubts wld disappear if UK were in the picture. He mentioned that Churchill had not been as outspoken recently as he had been previously in the Council of Eur at Strasbourg. He said that Belg constitutional difficulties cld be overcome if it were made clear to Belg people that joining EDC was wise thing to do. He said that Van Zeeland because of his desires for Eur unity was not happy in position he was now taking. He added there had been some progress at EDC Ministers meeting in Paris and believed more wld be made at other meetings preparatory to Lisbon.

Secy said that thing which had disturbed him about Paris meetings was that it seemed to us that if Benelux position were adopted one of two things wld happen. Either there wld be no equality for Ger or there would be the beginnings of a Ger national army. Both of these were bad because if there were no equality for Ger it wld keep Ger out of Western defense system and obviously creation of a Ger national army wld be dangerous.

Silvercruys mentioned that the Fr were keeping some forces out of EDC and thought personally that perhaps the reverse could be true of the UK and that they cld put some few [new] forces into EDC.

Secy told him was not in position to comment on what UK wld or wld not do but wished stress our view that Eur cld not stand alone and pointed out that US, UK and Canad all had troops there now.

Acheson
  1. The drafting, clearance, and transmission of this telegram was identical with that of telegram 904, Jan. 11, to The Hague, supra.
  2. The account in this telegram is a close paraphrase of Perkins’ memorandum of Acheson’s conversation with Ambassador Silvercruys on Jan. 10 (740.5/1–1052).