Foreign Minister Spaak to the Secretary of State 1


Dear Mr. Dulles: I have received the message which you were so very kind as to send me.2

This comforting message touched me deeply at a time when, I must admit, I feel both disappointed and anxious. I believe that I did all I could during the Brussels Conference and the few days thereafter, to convince the President of the French Council. He proved to be unyielding. It is very difficult for me to say why.

Now the big question is to decide what we are going to do. I have the impression that here in Europe the greatest confusion reigns everywhere to some extent. It is so easy to say “no” to something and so difficult to do something positive.

In my opinion, we must, by definite action, make each one face his responsibilities. It seems clear to me that German rearmament is essential. Without the support of German divisions, Western defense can not be effective. This being the case, we must bring it about, and the simplest way. is to offer Germany her place in the Atlantic Organization.

Perhaps an attempt might be made to limit, at least in the preliminary stage, the number of German divisions that could be organized. I know that this is not consistent with the spirit of the Atlantic Pact, but it is a reservation which can be justified for political reasons. However, I am opposed to the creation of a German national army. Not that I fear that a national army would be guilty of reckless actions, but because I am certain that all the German ultra-nationalist elements would again group themselves around such a national army and the big general staff directing it.

Under these conditions, I should like to make a supreme effort to avoid such an unfortunate solution, and I wonder if, while deciding, now that Germany should begin her rearmament in NATO, we should not at the same time affirm our desire to resume discussion of the EDC treaty in the light of the ideas exchanged at Brussels.

We might fix a three-month period. At the expiration of this period, each of us would then be obliged to make a definitive choice between a defense community and the entry of Germany into the Atlantic Organization.

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Such a procedure would avoid the postponement of German rearmament and yet leave a chance to accomplish this rearmament in the right direction.

I know that this proposal is far from perfect, and that it is perhaps already outstripped by events, but I confess that I should like to attempt this last chance.

According to the news I have received from Paris, such an attempt would not necessarily be doomed to failure, for there is hope that on the day when the French Parliament really chooses between these two systems, it will vote for the better of the two.

Actually, the question has never been clearly put to the Parliament. A number of French Deputies, in rejecting EDC, hoped to prevent any German rearmament. When they see that their hope is blighted, perhaps we may trust that they will adopt a formula which, from all evidence, gives France more guarantees.

I am aware that all this rests on hypotheses that are far from being certain, but apart from pure and simple rearmament, I can see nothing else to do.

I thank you again most sincerely for your kindness in sending me your message in these difficult times, and I beg you, dear Mr. Dulles, to accept [etc.]

P. H. Spaak
  1. An official translation of the text of this letter from Spaak, a copy of which was presumably given to Embassy officials in English, was transmitted to the Department of State in NIACT telegram 244 from Brussels, Sept. 3. That same day what the Department described as an “informal translation” of the Spaak letter was forwarded to Dulles in Manila in telegram Tedul 6. (Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 350)
  2. Dated Aug. 31, p. 1119.