396.1 LO/9–2954

The Secretary of State to the President 1

top secret

[Dear Mr. President:] Have just come from today’s afternoon session of Nine-Power Conference,2 which was very impressive and moving occasion. The topic was the attitude which the US and UK would take toward the new proposed set-up. I spoke extemporaneously to the general theme of intense US interest in unity in Europe and that we supported it whenever it was a reasonable prospect and turned away when Europe showed signs of disintegration. I said that under present conditions it would be impossible for you to make the declaration which you had made with reference to EDC in terms of intention of continuing US participation in defense of Europe. I concluded by saying, however, that if new and reasonable hopes developed out of the meeting here, then I would recommend your making commitments similar to what had been projected in relation to EDC. Eden followed with appreciation of my statement and of what US had done, and then followed with an expression of willingness, subject satisfactory outcome this conference, definitely to commit for life of Brussels Treaty four British divisions and tactical air force to continental defense unless released by majority vote of Brussels Treaty Council.

This was regarded, and I think rightly, by other countries as an historical decision tying England to the continent in a way which has never been done before. The seven other countries made responses which were expressive of profound appreciation except that the [Page 1367]response of Mendes-France, while formally correct, was somewhat grudging and lacking in the spirit which animated the others. I think he feels that our two statements, and notably the British statement, create a situation which makes it almost impossible for France to reject a reasonable settlement of the conditions which would make possible the admission of Germany to NATO and the creation of European unity with some supranational features on basis of Brussels Treaty.

Earlier today Mendes-France had come to see me privately at my residence,3 primarily to emphasize that for him to recommend admission of Germany to NATO was a most difficult step in face of his parliament, and that if he was prepared to do this, he must in effect be able to write all other features of arrangement.

We are now at a stage where the experts are preparing various drafts. The most difficult point remains the so-called “arms pool”, which many feel is desired by France in order to exclude Ruhr industrialists from participation in arms industry and to concentrate that industry in France.

Spaak, speaking for Belgium, proposed that the Brussels Treaty should be made co-terminus with the North Atlantic Treaty which is a good formula which lets us off the hook of the former proposal that we should make the North Atlantic Treaty co-terminus with the Brussels Treaty or EDC, both of which were for a minimum of fifty years as against a minimum of twenty years for the North Atlantic Treaty.

Last night Winston gave dinner for the nine Foreign Ministers and their Ambassadors. It was an intimate and cordial affair which gave useful opportunity for private exchanges of views and direct talk between Adenauer and Mendes-France. Adenauer was seated at Winston’s right and Mendes-France at his left.

I think it would be both appropriate and helpful if you would send a personal message to Winston expressing appreciation at the contribution which Britain is prepared to make to advance European unity. He has been very reluctant to move without parallel commitment by US. I have explained to him that this was constitutionally impossible, but that I was confident he could count on our not abandoning Europe as long as it was moving toward unity and as long as the British troops were on the continent. If you could say something along these lines and commend him and Eden for their enlightened statesmanship, this would, I think, be desirable.

Best regards.

Foster
  1. The text of this message was transmitted to the Department of State in telegram Dulte 8, Sept. 29, with instructions that it be sent to the President; a notation on the source text indicates that this message was relayed to the Summer White House at Denver, Colorado, at 8:15 p.m. on Sept. 29.
  2. This is a reference to the Fourth Plenary meeting of the Nine-Power Conference; see p. 1311.
  3. For a summary of this afternoon meeting between Dulles and Mendès-France, see the memorandum of conversation by Merchant, dated Sept. 29, p. 1308.