110.11 DU/2–353: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Dunn) to the Department of State 1


4303. Following is summary of Secretary’s and Mr. Stassen’s meetings with French Government leaders February 2. Morning meeting was with Bidault and senior US and Foreign Office officials, afternoon meeting with Mayer, Bidault, Bourges-Maunoury.

I. Morning meeting.2

Bidault statement.
Introductory. French Government considers Europe, Africa, Asia constitute single problem occasioned by Soviet pressure. Strengthening of NATO is basic element French foreign policy.
Europe and EDC. French Government has no alternative policy and firmly intends pursue course to European unity. Principal purposes of EDC are (1) augmenting European defense by German contribution; (2) diminution national antagonism. This best brought about by direct dealings between parties concerned and “intercessions and outside advice best limited to strict minimum”. Useless to try to create a perfect EDC if by so doing it would fail ratification or be long delayed.
Factors disturbing French public and Parliament are
Preservation French world position. French Government needs assurances EDC will not impair present relationship with US and UK.
Endanger integrity French Union.
Tend to split French Army.
Create a situation where German army may come into being after all.
Also absence British counter-weight is real problem psychologically which Bidault has discussed in detail with UK Ambassador. British problems not really different from those of France which also has world-wide commitments.
Present association too vague and plays into hands of EDC opponents.
Uncertainty re May 27, 1952, protocols3 concerning US and UK presence in Europe. Furthermore there is need bilateral settlement Saar issue. Bidault here recalled US and UK recognition French Saar policy.
North Africa. France cannot make effort in Europe to abate nationalism and create unity, and at same time see nationalism encouraged in Africa and efforts made to undo unity there. Reform program will be carried forward leading to internal autonomy and association within French union. Stressed strategic aspect and compared French readiness grant bases to reluctance of Libyan Government.4
Asia. Bidault welcomed “belated” recognition France’s contribution in Indochina as part world-wide struggle. Indirect reference to deneutralization of Formosa: Any US decisions bearing on China should be discussed with French in view their bearing on Indochina and China might use US action as pretext for move against Indochina where France has serious manpower problem but China has none.5
Atlantic cooperation. French armament effort at present constitutes “annual improvisation” whose effectiveness seriously impaired by absence long-term coordination. Long-term plan is needed. Effort on three continents requires continuation of economic and financial support proportionate to that effort.
Dulles statement.
General. Present mission is fact-finding to allow full review policies by new administration. Certain basic policies, notably NATO cooperation, not in question. President’s State of Union message6 gives assurance no intention revert to isolationism. Full recognition global nature of threat and need for global policies to deal with it.
Europe and EDC. US opinion and Government attach greatest importance to healing breach between France and Germany and would be greatly disappointed if present policies unsuccessful. No intention to intrude into situation, successful completion of EDC depends upon European efforts. Congress, however, will require information when called upon to appropriate funds and therefore, information on EDC ratification schedule, and protocols would be very helpful.
North Africa. US does not wish to see disintegration French union which would impair both defense of free world and local interests. [Page 1559] While Soviets encourage nationalists we cannot close our eyes to fact that there is real nationalist feeling and responsibility exists for genuine progress toward self-government or giving peoples genuine hope of autonomy and self-government within framework French Commonwealth.
Asia. US fully recognizes interrelation Asiatic theatres and we prepared later to listen to French views re action which might make successful conclusion IC war more likely. (Discussed recall Seventh Fleet in light President’s State of Union message.)
Bidault reply. Point about closer NATO cooperation reserved for afternoon. Confirmation basic US policy appreciated. Text of protocols will be communicated to US same time as to EDC governments (possibly before Secretary’s return to Washington). Ratification schedule will also then be clearer. French Government also has Adenauer’s problems in mind. Bidault said Adenauer acting with courage. French Parliament will also be given opportunity to express views, but neither EDC treaty nor its concept will be changed by protocols which represent interpretations. Better, however, to have imperfect treaty than none at all. On the whole, as regards ratification, “I am not without hope”.

II. Afternoon meeting.7

Mayer statement.
Burden-sharing. Implementation NAC December statement8 (recognizing France’s Indochina effort requires NATO support) could be by two methods:
Compensating France in Europe for effort in Asia, through common NATO fund;
Probably more realistically, by giving France increased assistance for Indochina war.
NATO program coordination. Present program only theoretically long-term because national financial policies must be conducted on short-term basis. Information on weapons development needed so large-scale production not developed for obsolescent.
Need for NATO economic program. State of Union message mentions raw materials imports into US, which raises question (a) need for international allocations mechanism, and (b) common development new sources in underdeveloped areas with US help. Better application Article 2 NAT required. Trade could partly replace aid particularly if loans were granted or increased exports to US rendered possible by tariff reductions.
Monetary aspects European integration. State of Union message reference to “broader markets and more dependable currencies” raises [Page 1560] question convertibility. France firmly attached to OEEC and EPU for without them neither CSC nor EDC could function.9 Bretton Woods should be re-examined to facilitate European return to convertibility. National aspects cannot be treated singly.
Stassen reply. Outlined procedures for consideration problems raised within US Government. French will appreciate long-term approach program coordination difficult during interim before EDC becomes reality. When it comes to implementation President’s speech particularly re Indochina we will be very interested in what French Government plans are for the training of Vietnamese forces. Re raw materials developments, we will consider proposals with interest. Re currency convertibility, US Government will act through US Secretary Treasury and will appreciate national aspects cannot be dealt with in isolation.
  1. Repeated to London, Bonn, and Rome.
  2. Minutes of the morning meeting between Dulles, Stassen, Dunn, Achilles, MacArthur, Matteson, O’Connor, and Herz, on the American side, and Bidault, M. Schumann, Parodi, LaTournelle, Alphand, Charpentier, de Margerie, Seydoux, Burin des Roziers, and Falaize, on the French side, drafted by Herz on Feb. 7, are in the Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 137. There is also an informal memorandum of conversation for this meeting based on the recollection of several participants in Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 137.
  3. For information concerning the protocols signed in Paris on May 27, 1952, see the editorial note, p. 684.
  4. Documentation concerning French North Africa is presented in volume xi .
  5. Documentation concerning Indochina is presented in volume xiii ; documentation concerning China is presented in volume xiv .
  6. For the text of President Eisenhower’s first Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union, Feb. 2, 1953, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953, pp. 12–33.
  7. Minutes of the afternoon meeting between Dulles, Stassen, Draper, Dunn, Achilles, Labouisse, MacArthur, Matteson, O’Connor, and Herz, on the American side, and Mayer, Bidault, Bourgès-Maunoury, M. Schumann, Parodi, LaTournelle, Alphand, de Margerie, Laloy, and Falaize, on the French side, drafted by Herz on Feb. 7, are in the Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 137. There is also an informal memorandum of conversation for this meeting based on the recollection of several participants in Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 137.
  8. For information concerning the Tenth Session of the North Atlantic Council held in Paris during December 1952, see the editorial note, p. 348. For the text of the resolution under reference, see the Department of State Bulletin, Jan. 5, 1953, pp. 4–5.
  9. Documentation concerning the OEEC, EPU, and CSC is presented in volume vi .