110.11 DU/2–453: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom ( Holmes ) to the Department of State 1


4294. For Acting Secretary Matthews from Secretary. Reference Paris telegram 4303, repeated London 929, Bonn 615, Rome 333.2

In addition to the two plenary meetings with French referred to reference telegram, the Secretary met alone with Prime Minister Mayer, Foreign Minister Bidault and Defense Minister Pleven late afternoon, February 2.

Following is summary of this meeting:

“Mr. Mayer pointed out that his government, now only about three weeks old, was the first government seriously to undertake the task of seeking ratification of the EDC treaties. He pointed out that the political obstacles were very great and could only be removed by careful and skillful planning. He made the following four points:

  • “1. There must be protocols interpreting the treaty. These protocols, he said, would not involve any change in the treaty but would, I gathered, constitute agreed interpretations of the treaty in a sense favorable to, or desired by, France. Mr. Mayer professed to believe that the protocols would not cause serious difficulty with the other associate nations.
  • “2. United Kingdom association. Mr. Mayer said it was necessary that there should be United Kingdom association in some substantial form although he recognized that full partnership was impractical. However, it would not be possible for France to proceed if it seemed that the United Kingdom was likely to disassociate itself from continental defense.
  • “3. Saar. It would be necessary to settle the future economic status of the Saar with the coming in force of the EDC treaties. Mr. Mayer professed to believe that Adenauer was sympathetic but did not know what his political position would be.
  • “4. Indochina. There must be some understanding, principally with the United States, for sharing the burden of the war in Indochina so as to make it possible for France to make a military continental contribution which would at least match that of the Germans so that France would not be submerged by German influence on the continent.

“Mr. Dulles brought up the lack of alternatives to EDC. He pointed out that there could be no successful defense of the continent either in terms of depth or of strength without substantial German contingents. He said he assumed that the French would never permit Germany to recreate a national army as a full partner under NATO and Mr. Mayer affirmed most emphatically that France would use its veto power in NATO to prevent this and, if the veto was overridden, would destroy the effectiveness of any German national army by being so strongly in opposition that in practical effect the lines of communication between Germany and the Atlantic were broken. Mr. Dulles pointed out that if this were so, it logically followed that there must either be a European army with German contingents or that adequate defense of the continent became militarily impossible and that the best that could then be worked upon would be a peripheral defense.

“Mr. Mayer said he recognized the logic of this position and that because of that his government would do everything possible to put through the EDC treaties but that he needed maximum help from the United States. He suggested that in talking about this problem, the United States should stress primarily the need of integrating Germans into the defense of Europe rather than to talk in somewhat airy terms about a ‘United States of Europe’.”

  1. Repeated to Paris for the Ambassador.
  2. Supra.