The Secretary of State to the Department of State 1
191. Following is summary of Secretary and Mr. Stassen’s conversations with Dutch officials February 6:
Secretary and Stassen called on Prime Minister Drees and Defense Minister Staf at 3 p.m.2 At Drees’ suggestion Secretary set forth US position re EDC emphasizing European unity essential if US assistance is to be meaningful in creating European security. He pointed out the feebleness of alternatives, necessity for German military contribution if Europe is to be successfully defended and necessity for a framework within which ancient Franco-German jealousies and rivalries could be reconciled, for without Franco-German understanding there can be no strength or unity in Europe, etc. Secretary concluded by brief résumé of his discussions at Rome, Paris, London, and Bonn and said that on the whole he was encouraged by his talks with European leaders.
Drees said he was more pessimistic than Secretary. He was critical of French for injecting new issues by proposing protocols; he was not satisfied with the extent of UK association with EDC; and doubted that Germany would be able to ratify until after German elections next autumn (his arguments were along same lines as those of German [Page 1573] SPD). Drees concluded by suggesting that German entry into NATO was preferable alternative to EDC. Commenting on UK association with EDC Defense Minister Staf expressed view that association in military field envisioned by UK was not very meaningful. While UK willing to have British officers on EDC military staffs, prepared to cooperate in training, and also willing to have EDC divisions incorporated in UK corps, UK was not willing to have UK units incorporated in EDC corps. This was a very important omission from the continental viewpoint. If UK could assign British division to an EDC corps, Dutch and most other continental EDC members would be glad to have such a corps commanded by a British general.
Secretary and Stassen then met with Foreign Ministers Beyen and Luns and other US and Dutch officials.3 Beyen opened with discussion of EDC saying Dutch realize necessity for Europe to unite since it cannot become strong if it is a series of separate entities. While defense is most urgent question Dutch believe that in developing European unity emphasis should be placed also on economic and political aspects. Beyen then reviewed original Dutch objections to EDC and original desire to have Germany in NATO. Since then there has been great evolution in Dutch parliamentary opinion and Dutch now fully accepted EDC concept. Dutch had been preparing to try to get parliamentary approval of EDC when French had proposed new protocols. Until Dutch knew what was in protocols Dutch Parliament could not be expected to take further action on EDC legislation. Secretary outlined US position on EDC along same lines as he had to Drees. Secretary suggested that despite delays in France and Germany if other nations went ahead and ratified EDC responsibility would then be sharply focused on those countries which had taken no action and suggested Dutch might take lead in this with Italians. Beyen replied that until Dutch knew nature of protocols Government could not urge Parliament to act. He reiterated, however, Dutch support of EDC concept and desire to see it brought into being as soon as possible.
Beyen reverted to need for economic integration and said Dutch position is being set forth in a memo which will be delivered at the Rome meeting of CSC Ministers on February 24.4 He promised furnish Ambassador Chapin with copy. He also stressed importance of supra-national authority in connection with tariff reduction citing traditional protectionist policy particularly in France.
Luns then said Dutch wish to resist Soviet aggression but are sometimes uneasy over steps which might provoke Soviet aggression. Secretary replied he believed there had been some misrepresentation regarding [Page 1574] US policy and that no one could doubt that whole basis of US policy is to work for peace. The idea of a war of liberation or a preventive war was repugnant to American people and government. Luns then referred to Japanese assurances regarding compensation to Dutch nationals and expressed hope that US would “hint” to Japanese that latter should compensate Dutch.5 He next turned to Far East and Korea saying while Dutch Government not really concerned about change of orders of Seventh Fleet because Chiang not strong enough to launch offensive against Chinese mainland, Luns most earnestly hoped that since Dutch have forces in Korea, they would be consulted before any action is taken which might spread the conflict in FE.6 He next discussed Indonesia explaining how deterioration in economic situation in Indonesia had paradoxically increased Netherlands dollar receipts.7 He expressed disappointment that Indo had failed to carry out commitments of round table conference and criticized Indo desire to terminate federal concept agreed at round table. Regarding New Guinea he said talks with Indos had twice failed and Dutch do not believe further conversations with Indos regarding status of island to which “Netherlands feels it has both de jure and de facto sovereignty” would be useful.8 He then mentioned US anti-trust action against oil companies and hoped US would proceed with “great caution” since just the announcements of original action had led Indos to take steps against Dutch oil companies in Indonesia. Secretary pointed out that new administration had requested suspension of court action for 90 days to permit full study of problem. Luns concluded by saying that if other nations are invited to join or become associated with ANZUS 9 Netherlands would like very much to be considered. Secretary replied that for present at least there seemed to be no question of extending ANZUS treaty.
Mr. Stassen said he would welcome Dutch suggestions regarding measures further to control shipments of strategic materials to Soviet bloc including trans-shipments.10 He would also appreciate any information Dutch might wish to give regarding economic situation in Indonesia as well as Indo trade with Netherlands and Western Europe. Finally MSA would carefully analyze Netherlands desires for counterpart funds in connection with defense commitments and storm damages.
- Repeated to Paris, The Hague, London, and Bonn.↩
- No memorandum of this conversation was found in Department of State files.↩
- An informal memorandum of this conversation, based on the recollection of several of the participants, is in the Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 137.↩
- Documentation concerning the European Coal and Steel Community is presented in volume vi .↩
- Documentation concerning Japan is presented in volume xiv .↩
- Documentation concerning Korea is presented in volume xv .↩
- Documentation concerning Indonesia is presented in volume xii .↩
- Documentation concerning Western New Guinea is ibid .↩
- Documentation on U.S. participation in the ANZUS Pact is ibid .↩
- Documentation concerning East–West trade is presented in volume i .↩