740.5/2–1752: Telegram

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

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5049. Part 2. Although debate on the revised motion brought evidence that Socialists except for small group of dissidents, will stick to bargain with govt and vote the revised motion, debate also brought out Socialist misgivings in connection with guarantees to be sought from US and UK against possible break-up of EDC, and in connection with [Page 617]invitation to Adenauer to attend London mtg with three Western Foreign Ministers. If the vote on revised motion had taken place today, without confidence question, as had been intended by govt, motion wld have passed substantially with similar result as in vote on priority, i.e., with margin of some 50 votes. The Gaullist demand for roll call vote, which had effect of postponing the final vote, was in part doubtless motivated by hope that intervening days wld bring developments in London that wld increase Socialist suspicions and perhaps jeopardize favorable outcome of Assembly vote.2

With respect to guarantees, Guy Mollet questioned Schuman about UP message to effect that Secretary had denied that US had given, or cld give, guarantee sought by France. (AFP had apparently earlier disseminated news that such guarantees had in effect been promised by Secretary). Schuman replied that nothing had been decided one way or another and that negotiations are in progress. Faure was forced to intervene three times on this point, the last time on basis of Ins story that had just been handed to him and which tended to indicate US not unfavorable to the French request but that no decision one way or another had been made. Although it was pointed out to them that motion concerns what French are to request, and that consequently initial US reaction not relevant to the present Assembly debate, there was evidence that Socialists were disturbed by the UP dementi and that they will look with anxiety to any news from London and Washington on subject between now and when vote takes place on Tuesday.

With respect to invitation to Adenauer, Schuman cut rather unfortunate figure. He repeatedly stated that he had nothing to hide, which was in itself apt to arouse suspicions. Besides, he contradicted himself, having at first said that “it is possible” that three western Foreign Ministers wld meet Adenauer in London, but when confronted with Reuters story that invitation had already been issued to Adenauer in name of three Ministers, he stated that invitation had indeed been issued, adding that mtg had been “envisaged by Mr. Eden” for Monday evening. Schuman finally extricated himself by stating that he “considered it desirable that useful things be told to Chancellor Adenauer, particularly if we say them together, all three of us, after having arrived at common agreement.” But there was evidence of RPF and Socialists being together in suspecting that tripartite talks with Adenauer wld involve further concessions to Federal Republic.

Bonsal
  1. This telegram was repeated for information to London, Bonn, and Lisbon.
  2. Telegram 5071, Feb. 18, from Paris, repeated to London (740.5/2–1852), forecast the impending vote of confidence as follows:

    “Unless new outside developments supervene, we do not expect debate preceding vote tomorrow to be lengthy, nor vote itself to involve undue difficulty. As matter of fact, it appears possible that govts majority will be larger than that obtained in the test vote according the revised motion priority.”

    On Feb. 19, the National Assembly voted confidence by 327 to 287.