Telegraphic Summary by the United States Delegation 1
- Plenary session opened at 11:15 this morning. US requested verbatim minutes no longer be taken. Felt inhibited discussion and burden on dels to revise. Suggested any del be free to request verbatim transcript for statement about to make. This was agreed.
- Secretary stated High Commissioners and German representative dealing with restoration of German sovereignty requested meeting with Foreign Ministers and German Chancellor after afternoon plenary session. This agreed. At close of meeting working party said would not be ready for meeting today but would wish meeting tomorrow.
Chairman invited discussion of strengthening NATO and SACEUR powers. Spaak stated on basis verbatim text of Eden statement day before and draft French paper circulated informally, felt very close to agreement.
With respect to character and size German contribution, thought should start at EDC level. What happens next less clear, but suggested Brussels countries agree in Brussels on contribution of each and this be basis for submittal to NATO AR. Would also be agreed among Brussels powers this would be maximum for each of them. Referred to this as carryover of EDC plan (De Staercke later stated implication of Brussels AR not intended). Spaak felt remaining problems matter of detail. Belgium would support strengthening NATO control over forces.
Chairman stated there is new UK draft2 on these points which would be distributed.[Page 1306]
Mendes-France welcomed Spaak statement. Suggested that approach to problem should be along EDC lines and each year Brussels make decision of maximum before NATO acts and then harmonize in NATO Brussels maximum with traditional NATO minimum. Promised circulate French memo. Expressed pleasure there appeared to be no contradictions between Spaak and himself.
German Chancellor agreed that start should be as in EDC with respect size of forces but type had been agreed upon three years ago and may no longer be militarily correct.
It was agreed that reference to types should be omitted.
Chairman asked dels to appoint experts to meet on call of UK to recommend to future plenary session on principles to be adopted by this conference on points covered in C.1 of UK agenda. (Secretary appointed Ambassador Hughes as US representative).
Chairman asked for discussion question of strategic areas, C.2.a in agenda. Thought there was agreement strategic plants should not be in areas exposed to first thrust of invasion. If this agreed questions arise as to what these areas are and as to what type of armament production and research should be prohibited in them.
Martino stated exposed areas concept not clear on its face. If what is meant is similar to what was discussed in EDC, Italy will have no opposition. Asked Mendes-France to explain his proposal.3
Mendes stated prepared to accept EDC plan if others agree. If some think more elaborate solution necessary, would be glad to hear views and might arrive at formula in French text.
Chancellor suggested that question of area and type of weapons should be turned over to experts as too complex for Ministers.
This was agreed, subject possibly to reconsideration in light subsequent Spaak statement (action situation on this point not clear). (From quick checks with dels EDC countries, appear Ministers assumption there was agreed EDC solution to area question appears erroneous.)
Spaak expressed fear of giving experts too much to do without adequate guidance. Thought it was difficult to separate question of arms pool from that of strategic zone. Belgium accepted idea of control of armaments production. Though NATO logical, Belgium accepted Brussels as preferable organization politically to handle this problem and noted it would not duplicate anything NATO now doing. Spaak felt proposal to go beyond control arrangements to common production arrangements created great difficulty, raised complex issues which might delay decisions, and seems unnecessary to security. If [Page 1307] one country produces only those heavy items that its forces need, plus exports and equipment for non-NATO forces authorized by Brussels, and there are adequate controls to enforce this principle, thought it unnecessary to do more.
Beyen said Dutch were thinking along same lines as Spaak.
Mendes-France said France did not envisage production in common but agency to establish common needs, to place orders centrally for heavy equipment to meet these needs, and to distribute equipment as decided in common. In addition, though not immediately essential to their proposal, could envisage common factories owned by community or by several countries of community which seemed to be Spaak’s idea of common production. Felt these arrangements valuable to standardization. Could agree on new weapons and arrange their production in factories at interior locations. Felt larger orders would have financial advantage. Felt this collaboration in arms field important step in further cooperation in economic field. Did not feel agreement these points complex or cause for delay. This conference need only lay down principles for experts to elaborate later. Returning to substance Mendes stated that must study in common both use of existing facilities and building new ones. Principal objectives were efficiency and standardization and would not want to build new factories which duplicated those already in existence in community. Urged careful study French proposals in this field.
German Chancellor asked Mendes if he envisaged that Germany would provide soldiers but have no armaments factories. Suggested that such situation would give “uncanny feeling” to those who are to be soldiers.
Mendes-France said Germany would be expected to contribute units, armaments and arms production. Of course special question arose for exposed areas. But these need not necessarily include all of Germany or include only German territory. This question for experts. Also pointed out that Germany could share in common production in unexposed locations.
Chairman expressed view this whole question was urgent problem for conference. Believed nature of controls to be instituted must be decided in conjunction with other major issues before conference. Seemed general agreement to limit control to important items. Hoped there was agreement that it would be done by majority vote. UK agreed on use of Brussels. Invited Spaak to present paper giving his ideas on control.4 Spaak agreed.[Page 1308]
Chairman suggested that question of armaments pool raised extremely complex issues on which decisions now not clearly essential to general purpose this conference, and which would be difficult resolve in course this conference. Suggested Brussels Council plan to take them up after present round of decisions and actions have been completed.
Mendes-France urged more discussion now on armaments pool idea. Again stated should not be difficult since not new. Ground gone over thoroughly in EDC discussions. Might well secure most of what is needed by lifting provisions from EDC treaty with few or minor modifications. If did not deal with this would fail to deal with most essential point and would omit constructive aspects of French proposals.
Turning to Chancellor Mendes stated that in further response to Chancellor’s question he had never wished to prevent Germany from producing arms as foreseen in EDC. Perhaps even could be more arms production than foreseen in EDC as well as production in jointly owned plants in other sites. Felt this point should raise no difficulty.
Spaak said he felt unclear about some points in Mendes plan, what EDC provisions he would use, et cetera, and invited Mendes to present paper. Mendes agreed. Beyen indicated Dutch would also probably have paper on this subject.
- Chairman announced that at plenary session at 4:00, would take up items 3, 4, 5 covering security declarations, extension of NATO treaty duration, and US and UK declarations.
- Transmitted to the Department of State in two sections as telegram Secto 11, Sept. 29, and repeated to Bonn, Rome, Ottawa, Luxembourg, The Hague, Brussels, and Paris for USRO, CINCEUR, and Reinhardt. A 23-page verbatim record of this meeting, which, as noted in the source text, was no longer to be circulated as before and therefore was not given a document designation, is in the Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 366. The list of principal participants, not provided in the source text, was taken from the verbatim record.↩
- This is a reference to document NPC(54)11 of Sept. 29, which is printed on p. 1335.↩
- Presumably a reference to the memorandum prepared by the French Delegation, which was circulated as document NPC(54)1 of Sept. 27, printed on p. 1332.↩
- The Belgian Delegation presented its paper on the control of armaments at the Fifth Plenary meeting of Sept. 30; for the text of this paper, which was circulated as document NPC (54) 16 of Sept. 29, see p. 1336.↩