740.5/2–1252: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Bruce) to the Department of State 1

confidential
priority

4939. At mid-way point of Eur Army debate,2 with three more sittings scheduled before final motion is voted, it appears clear once more that parliamentary problems facing EDC in Fr are at least as great and probably much greater than in Ger. Composition of Parliament is more complicated here, the groups are more disunited within themselves, the equilibrium of Govt more precarious, suspicions re Ger deeply rooted, and general climate surrounding EDC still quite uncertain. Add to this the feeling that Ger is continually increasing its demands, that the US is putting pressure on Fr and that it is favoring Ger over Fr or at least unwilling to support Fr adequately in its dealings with Ger in final stages of EDC and related negots, also that Fr is receiving insufficient credit and support for its commitments in Asia (which make it relatively weak in Europe), and there results feeling of irritation, frustration, and assertiveness, which is the atmosphere that prevails at present in the assembly; this feeling will cool down as the debate progresses. It still seems likely that motion endorsing broad principles of EDC will be voted, but question does not so much concern this as whether there will be outright reaction to Bonn [Page 613]resolutions3 or wiser and more moderate position adopted which does not set back negots and unduly delay final settlement. It is true that early speakers have, according to the scheduling of debate, been those who attacked EDC most strongly, but what is important is pattern of response of Deps and that pattern is at present along lines described above. Jules Moch has drawn considerable applause also from the right, and Aumeran and other rightists drew applause also from the Socialists, when they spoke of dangers of encouraging Ger Irredentism and cited Ger statements viewing EDC as means for restoring Ger unity. Moch was quite clear, and appeared to be speaking formally in name of his party, when he distinguished between Ger equality within EDC and inequality in other respects. (“It does not follow that it has right to become our associate also in every other respect.”) Assembly appeared clearly to desire be reassured on this principle, and there appears little doubt but that motion will emphasize limits to Ger equality, need for safeguards (for instance in security controls field), necessity for making new efforts to obtain Brit participation, and possibly even to take into account work of UN Disarmament Commission.

There obviously exist strong reservations with respect to EDC not only among Socialists, whose draft motion has still not seen light of day (they are continuing to hold meetings on subject as debate progresses), but more surprisingly also in MRP. Majority of radicals appear to agree with Delbos, who strongly supported Govt, rather than with Daladier who even was ready to dare US to withdraw from Eur. Among Independents, majority appears to favor Govt and expose by De Beaumont, who eloquently warned against US isolationism, was apparently quite effective. But there are rumors that Govt does not feel it can afford too strenuously to oppose number of points in forthcoming motion, such as those dealing with NATO, security controls, Saar, and that it also considers it needs to have its hands strengthened in further international dealings to persuade US and UK that there are limits beyond which Fr simply cannot go in order to obtain agreement on Eur army.

Bruce
  1. This telegram was repeated to Bonn and London for information.
  2. In telegram 4919, Feb. 11, from Paris, Ambassador Bruce reported that the debate over French participation in the proposed European Defense Community which was scheduled to begin in the French National Assembly that afternoon would reach its crucial stage on Feb. 13 when there would be voting on motions by which the government would be guided in future international negotiations on the Defense Community (740.5/2–1152). A summary of the debate appears in L’Année politique 1952, pp. 307–312.
  3. Regarding the Bundestag resolutions under reference, see telegram 1499, Feb. 9, from Bonn, supra.