740.5/2–1752: Telegram

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

restricted
niact

5048. Part 1. After withdrawal of motion on which Faure had put confidence question on Feb 14,2 and after obtaining apparent agreement of Socialists upon newly revised version of motion ending European army debate, Prime Minister Faure was forced to put new confidence question early this morning, this time for procedural reasons: As Gaullists had demanded roll-call vote (“at speaker’s platform”) in which only those who are actually present can vote. Although there was evidence that in conventional voting govt wld have the votes to put through the new motion, which embodies certain important concessions to Socialists, Faure cld not afford to leave outcome to actual physical presence of majority deputies. Confidence vote is to take place morning of Tuesday, Feb 19.

Changes of revised motion as against “compromise” motion reported in Embtel 4977 Feb 14 (London 1370, Bonn 422, Lisbon 773) are detailed textually in separate telegram. They involve four points: (1) no recruitment of German troops before Parliamentary ratification EDC treaty; (2) statement that no new member can be admitted [Page 616]to NATO without concurrence of Parliament, and that countries with territorial claims cannot be admitted to this purely defensive organization; (3) progressive character of integration into European army, in proportion as the organization comes physically into being; (4) recommendation that provision be made for possible watering-down of Supra. national character of EDC if this were capable of bringing Britain into it.4

There were several test votes in course of debate, which brought number of other important developments:

a.
Vote on according priority to newly revised motion:327 to 276. Believe that opposition total includes 15 Socialists, 6 MRP, the 23 dissident Peasants and miscellaneous Radicals and independents, in addition of course to Gaullists and Communists. (Official breakdown will become available only late today.) Under normal circumstances, this vote wld be indicative of probable outcome of Tuesday’s vote on substance of revised motion. This is subject to some qualification, however, as stated in next fol message.
b.
Vote to reject amendments proposed by Gaullists and dissident Peasants:345 to 267. This vote of interest because RPF proposed as one amendment the point about deferring any definitive decision re EDC until June report of UN Disarmament Commission, which point had originally figured in Socialist resolution (see para one Embtel 4980, Feb 14, London 13725). Majority of Socialists stuck to bargain with govt on this occasion.
c.
Vote to reject proposal put forward by Gaullists and Communists, that confidence vote take place Tuesday afternoon rather than Tuesday morning:309 to 306. This vote indicates desire of many deputies to profit from the postponement of vote to wait as long as possible for news of developments in London before casting their ballots on Tuesday.

Bonsal
  1. This telegram was repeated for information to London, Bonn, and Lisbon.
  2. Regarding the question of confidence under reference here, see telegram 4989, Feb. 14, from Paris, supra.
  3. Not printed, but see footnote 2, supra.
  4. For the text of the revised motion summarized here and eventually adopted by the French National Assembly on Feb. 19 by a vote of 327 to 287, see L’Année politique 1952, pp. 489–490, Documents (R.I.I.A.) for 1952, pp. 81–82, or 10th Report on Germany, pp. 86–88.
  5. Not printed; see footnote 2, supra.