740.5/2–1452: Telegram

The Chargé in France (Bonsal) to the Department of State 1

confidential
priority

4989. Part 4.2 In our opinion French Govt showed unexpected courage in drafting of compromise motion re Eur army (Embtel [Page 614]49773) of which Faure finally put question of confidence. Debate had gone badly practically up to the time when Faure made his concluding statement, and when faced with the Gaullist maneuver of support for the disastrous motion put forward by the Socialists, govt obviously was tempted to make concessions which might have made it unnecessary to force the issue. Such concessions, particularly to anti-German sentiment and to the most ignorant of the critics of EDC, would have simply traded internal political headache for new headaches in connection with Franco-German relations. Govt has faced up to challenge and has not yielded to opposition on any material point.

Compromise motion appears to be the best that could be obtained under the circumstances, and the question indeed is whether it is yet perhaps too good to gain acceptance by a majority, in view of its moderation and the sometimes elaborate tactfulness of its wording. There is no mention in it at all of Ger Saar issue, which as matter of fact was not prominent in the debate after Schuman’s opening statement (Embtel 4926, Feb 124). Motion does not exclude Ger NATO membership outright but merely speaks of it as not being “linked” to Germany’s entry into EDC. As we expected, it contains request for US and UK guarantee against Ger withdrawal from EDC. This had been contained in the Pleven and Guerin de Beaumont versions (and in the Socialist draft) and apparently has support of all groups of the majority. We note on other hand that request is not specific with respect to implementation of the desired guarantee. In this it is softer and easier to deal with than similar thoughts expressed in predecessor drafts that were withdrawn.

On other hand, the reference to “necessary guarantees with respect to arms production, police and distribution of financial burdens” connection with contractual arrangement may represent Fr Govt effort to strengthen its bargaining position. Wording, however, is vague and would appear to give them some flexibility, altho it seems to make it imperative for Fr Govt to resist having restrictions on arms production placed in form of unilateral German declaration. Point (d) calling for equality between French forces in EDC and those of any [Page 615](rather than “all”) other members, is new not far from involving difficulties it represents more accommodating position of Fr Govt than that which it had provisionally put forward at EDC conf. At same time, it is more specific than Socialist resolution was on this point.

Large portions of Socialist motion, though little of substance of restrictive provisions, have been accepted into compromise draft, incl first 4 paras (up to “build-up their strength”), points about supranational authority, unanimity in Council of Ministers, common budget not subject to veto. The points about submission of treaty to Strasbourg and the wording concerning “Supranational political authority with limited but real powers” were inserted with view to their acceptability to Socialists, the phrasing in case of the latter point being allegedly considered important by Mollet in connection with any remaining hopes of later Brit adherence. On other hand, Socialist points about progressive integration, combat terms, and belligerent language about NATO have all been watered down to the point of innocuousness or eliminated.

Bonsal
  1. This telegram was repeated for information to London, Bonn, and Lisbon.
  2. This was the fourth in a series of telegrams in which the Embassy in France sought to review events in the French National Assembly and the ongoing debate over the European Defense Community. In Part 1 (telegram 4976, Feb. 14) the Embassy recapitulated the events of the all-night session on the third day of the debate over the European Army in the National Assembly which resulted in Prime Minister Faure putting a question of confidence on a compromise motion endorsed by the government (740.5/2–1452). Part 2 of the series (telegram 4977) transmitted the text of the compromise motion on the European Defense Community (740.5/2–1452). For the text of that motion, see L’Année politique 1952, pp. 488–489. Part 3 of the series (telegram 4980) transmitted the text of the motion proposed by the French Socialist Party and defeated on a test vote (740.5/2–1452).
  3. Not printed; see footnote 2, above.
  4. The telegram under reference, which transmitted a summary of Schuman’s statement to the National Assembly, is not printed (740.5/2–1252). The text of that statement appears in L’Année politique 1952, pp. 477–482.