CFM files, lot M 88, box 161, “London-Lisbon Meetings”

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State 1

We dined with Mr. Eden. There were present Mr. Eden, Mr. Schuman, myself, Sir William Strang, Ambassador Gifford and Mr. Schuman’s interpreter. The conversation before and during dinner was purely social.

After dinner Mr. Eden asked me to repeat to Mr. Schuman what I had said to him and the Prime Minister2 about the critical decisions which had to be made in the next three weeks.

Briefly, I said that in the next three weeks we had to reach conclusions on all of four subjects: The contractual relations with Germany; the EDC treaty; the TCC recommendations;3 and, connected with the latter, some solution of the French budgetary problem. I reminded Mr. Schuman of what I had said in my letter4 regarding the importance of French leadership in the last two or three years and stated that we had now brought all the matters with which he and we had been so much concerned to the critical point, and they could either move forward or the entire scheme would result in failure. I thought that in France, in Germany, in Italy, and in the United States matters were now at a crisis. We had very difficult financial and economic problems, as well as military problems, which would take us some time to solve. If we could go into this effort with a great political success coming out of Lisbon, all these things were possible. [Page 41]If we had a political failure at Lisbon, I felt that they would not be solvable.

I said that there were two extraneous matters which had been introduced into the discussions which increased the difficulty: One was the Saar matter; the other was future German membership in NATO. Our problem now was to remove these two difficulties and then reach conclusions upon the other four.

Mr. Schuman agreed with the analysis and said he thought the resolution which had been introduced into the French Parliament was the best available and expressed confidence that the vote would be favorable.5

He was going to return immediately after the funeral to Paris and come back again to London on Sunday. We agreed we would meet at eleven o’clock Sunday morning; conduct tripartite discussions through Sunday and Monday morning; he agreed that Mr. Eden might make firm arrangements for the three of us to meet with Adenauer on Monday afternoon and Tuesday. We agreed that, if necessary, we would meet through Tuesday and put off our departure for Lisbon until Wednesday morning if that should be necessary. The first meeting at Lisbon is at three o’clock. We thought we could reach there by an early Wednesday departure; but, if we had to miss the first meeting in order to reach quadripartite decisions, it would be worth doing that. The first business meeting in Lisbon is at six o’clock Wednesday evening.

We then discussed the Saar question. Mr. Schuman expressed his readiness to meet with Chancellor Adenauer and work out a conclusion on the Saar. He felt very strongly that quadripartite discussions would be the reverse of helpful at this stage, but that the British and Americans should come in later on to support Franco-German conclusions. We all agreed on this procedure, and this is to be taken up with Chancellor Adenauer.

Mr. Eden then asked whether he was correct in believing that one of the fundamental French concerns was over the possibility that Germany might, after beginning re-armament, secede from EDC. Mr. Schuman confirmed this.

Mr. Eden showed me a paper which had been laid before the Cabinet pointing this out and recommending that the Cabinet authorize some sort of British guarantee. He presented this view in a general way to Mr. Schuman.

Mr. Schuman then produced the draft resolution before the French Chamber. This requested guarantees from the United States and United Kingdom against the withdrawal of any country from EDC. [Page 42]However, Mr. Schuman stressed that the resolution in terms said that the guarantee should take the form of an assurance from the US and UK that we would both keep troops in Germany as long as necessary.

I said to Mr. Schuman that at this point I must stay within the limits of authorizations already made by the Congress. It would not be possible in a short time and particularly during the stresses of a presidential election year to introduce novel ideas. It seemed to me that the existing congressional action was quite adequate for the present purposes. The Congress had repeatedly, by legislation and resolution, stressed its support of European integration in all forms. The EDC clearly fell within this congressional approval. Furthermore, both the House and the Senate had, in connection with troops for Europe debate expressed approval of our maintaining forces in Europe as long as necessary. I felt that I could say to Mr. Schuman that in some form and within the scope of this Congressional action we could help him meet his problem.

Mr. Schuman said that what was necessary was to relate the two matters; that is, to relate the interest of Congress in European integration and the maintenance of troops in Europe. I said that this could be done and that it would probably take the form of a Presidential message in connection with the contractual relations with Germany. In this message the President could stress the relation of the contractual relations with the EDC, maintenance of our armed forces in connection with the EDC, and the fact that the continued solidarity of the EDC was a matter of the most primary concern to the US.

Mr. Eden thought that the UK could go further than this, the exact method being unclear at the present time, but it might take the form of a declaration approved by the Parliament or possibly an agreement with the EDC.

We all stressed the importance, in which Mr. Schuman fully concurred, of not having any action by either Government directed against Germany, but rather toward support of the EDC and opposition to secession by anybody.

We then briefly discussed the German relations with NATO, stressing that the important thing at the present moment was to leave that matter unprejudiced. Mr. Schuman believed that this was a possible and good solution.

We then discussed security controls. At the outset of this discussion, Mr. Schuman expressed his readiness to accept a unilateral guarantee from Germany and did not press for the inclusion in the contractual relations of a security control provision. I strongly supported this view, pointing out that there were in reality three lines of control; one would be the German declaration; the second would be provisions in [Page 43] EDC requiring member nations to produce only what was allocated to them; the third was the financial controls. These consisted, first, in the fact that all money for military purposes would go through the EDC, and, second, that this would absorb all funds which Germany could raise for military purposes and that, in fact, Germany would be financially powerless to do more than was required through EDC.

Mr. Schuman said that they would wish to discuss some possible limitations on heavy equipment. I urged that we should not go into this, because it would involve us in a technical morass which we could not solve. This matter was left for further discussion.

Mr. Eden then raised civil aircraft. I urged that he drop this because of the controls mentioned above and because it was no more rational to prevent the construction of civil aircraft for fear that would lead to military aircraft than it would be to prohibit the manufacture of motor cars because that might lead to self-propelled guns and tanks. The real control was in the funds and the use of the funds for this purpose. The idea that Germany might break away from these controls really involved the question of Germany remaining in the EDC. We had to rely on the main points rather than wholly peripheral questions. Mr. Eden was very tenacious on this matter, spoke of the British recollection of the bombing during the war, and I am sure that we will have trouble on this point.

The matter of war criminals was referred to only as a subject which Mr. Eden and Mr. Schuman wished to discuss. No matter of substance was mentioned in connection with it.

I do not recall that anything of importance was mentioned after this. When Mr. Schuman left, the Ambassador and I remained behind to urge on Mr. Eden the great importance of trying to conclude these questions satisfactorily before we left for Lisbon.6

  1. This memorandum appears to be the basis of the account of this meeting in Acheson, Present at the Creation, p. 613. A 400-word report on this meeting was transmitted to the Department of State in telegram Secto 5, Feb. 17, from London. (396.1 LO/2–1752)
  2. The reference here is presumably to Acheson’s meeting with Churchill and Eden on the morning of Feb. 14; see the two memoranda by Battle, p. 39.
  3. The reference here is presumably to the Supplementary Report of the Temporary Council Committee, Feb. 8, p. 211.
  4. Dated Feb. 4, p. 19.
  5. The French Parliament was at this time considering resolutions regarding the proposed European Defense Community and German participation therein. Regarding this parliamentary action, see telegram 4989, Feb. 14, from Paris, p. 613.
  6. At this point Acheson presumably also took up the question of Korea with Eden. It is also probable that at this time Acheson and Eden discussed the Egyptian question; see Evans’ memorandum of Feb. 15, p. 96.

    See also Acheson’s comprehensive report to President Truman of his Feb. 13 and 14 meetings with Eden and Schuman, p. 78.