Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 158

McBride Minutes1
ST MIN–2 (Draft)

European Integration

Secretary Dulles suggested that the meeting open with a discussion of the European unity theme, mentioning in this context the US draft which had been circulated.2 He noted that Foreign Minister Bidault said his Government was committed to the EDC, within the NATO setup, but could not set a date for ratification. The Secretary said that we were fully sympathetic to the problems of the French Government, and realized the difficulties in the National Assembly which were of considerable magnitude and involved France’s relations with Germany and her situation in Indochina. Nevertheless, he added, he felt it was incumbent upon him to state, from the standpoint of the formulation of US policy, how important it was to have the assurances which Foreign Minister Bidault had given yesterday. He said US did not ask a fixed time-table be established in this connection but we were glad to see the genuine determination of the French Government to push ahead. He noted there might be some parliamentary action in the Netherlands on EDC this month, and that the Belgians would finish up the work in the parliamentary committees on EDC this month and would take up ratification as the first order of business when the Parliament reconvened in September. He added it was our understanding De Gasperi would also make EDC ratification an early item for consideration of the new Italian Parliament, where we believe the composition is such that he can get it through.

Secretary Dulles added he hoped the French Government would think it in order for the other EDC countries to move ahead, since it was important to mantain momentum and to have some concrete developments to point to from time to time. He noted that the press and some elements of public opinion throughout the free world had been pessimistic on the future of European integration, but added that he and the President thought the EDC was a step which must be taken now for reasons of security against the Soviet Union. He added it was imperative to draw on German military strength. The history of the past two hundred years in Europe showed that Western Europe would [Page 1623] tear itself to pieces unless the Franco-German problem were resolved. He said the results of the European wars had been a decline in the power and influence of Western civilization. At present it almost looked as if this were our last chance which would be followed by a return to the Dark Ages if we failed. The Secretary concluded, saying it was impossible to exaggerate the importance which we attach to European integration, and the tragic effects which would result if it appeared the movement were dead. In conclusion he suggested that if the US draft appeared generally satisfactory, a committee might be established to devote more detailed attention to it.

French Position on EDC

M. Bidault said the French delegation was also tabling a draft based in part on his statements yesterday, and suggested that the text be gone over together.3 He said this document reflected the permanence of France’s attachment to European integration. He said he would prefer to cover the EDC in the final communiqué rather than to have a special interim declaration along the lines of the US draft or any other. We must not forget that France is the only one of the three powers at the table which is a member of the EDC. He said he fully understood the importance which the US and UK give to the matter, and is appreciative of US aid to the continent of Europe. Furthermore, it is quite normal that this conference would discuss European integration in detail, but the direct effects thereof will be felt only in France, and France is the only one of the three which will give up any sovereignty. He questioned whether public opinion in France would fully understand if there were a special lengthy communiqué on this subject.

M. Bidault said that European integration was not a new problem and that we had attempted to integrate the Weimar Republic into the western system. However, France is vividly aware of the recent unhappy history of Western Europe, and of the need for integration to prevent further Franco-German wars. He noted that France in the past had not been able to avoid these conflicts, and had merely defended herself when attacked. He said we must now try to make “the Europe of the possible”, full European integration having become impossible the day Molotov rejected the Marshall Plan. Therefore, we are limited to the peoples outside of Soviet control.

Bidault said there was opposition to integration from many sources in Europe. Some say it is a Vatican plan, while others characterize it as “the Axis plus France.” Nevertheless, we must not shy away from this concept because of the opposition which exists, but must push ahead with both the EDC and the EPC. He said the French Government was resolved to push ahead, and he agreed we should not leave this conference without reaffirming our solidarity on European integration, [Page 1624] both political and military. In this connection he said he had agreed to the conference of the Foreign Ministers of the Schuman Plan at Baden-Baden on August 7, although it would be held at a dangerous time, only three weeks before the German elections. He said the problem of having French views taken into account was difficult, and he fully realized that many circles in the US had been critical of France because of the delays in getting ahead with EDC. He said he knew that France had been accused of lack of good faith and of dilatory tactics. He said the French Government was very glad that the US Government had confidence in France’s intentions as Secretary Dulles had stated yesterday.

He said his remark to Lord Salisbury yesterday to the effect that a 4-power conference was the only way to prove to the French people the necessity for the EDC still seemed valid to him.

He said that the difference between the French and the UK position was in the order of events. He said he did not agree we would be in a weaker position to face the Russians if EDC had not been ratified, and he believed we could perfectly well confront the Russians under these circumstances without being in a disadvantageous position since the Russians are aware of our growing strength. He said furthermore it must be realized that an important segment of French prestige in the world is based on her position as the leader of the European integration movement and that it was his intention to guard and preserve this position. He declared that in order to pass through certain difficult passages we must, however, have calm pilots.

He repeated again he agreed with Chancellor Adenauer that what we must make was “the Europe of the possible.” He said we should proceed logically from the Schuman Plan, which was already in operation, to the EDC, which was also fairly well along, and then to the EPC, for which considerable time and study was still required. He concluded, saying he was not yet ready to comment definitively on the desirability of a special declaration on European integration, as against covering this subject in the final communiqué.

British Position on EDC and Four-Power Talks

Lord Salisbury prefaced his remarks saying he agreed entirely with Secretary Dulles that this was a critical moment in Europe and Western Europe might well tear itself to pieces unless integration took place. He said this was the obvious lesson of two wars. Therefore he would welcome a declaration on European unity, and agreed in principle with the US draft although his delegation would wish to discuss drafting details with us in a small committee.

Giving a preliminary reaction to the French paper concerned Lord Salisbury declared he was glad to see the French readiness to reaffirm [Page 1625] the agreed tripartite German policy. He added it was also gratifying to note the three-power agreement on the principle of 4-power talks, though the question of timing and level required further study. In commenting on Adenauer’s letter,4 with which he noted Foreign Minister Bidault agreed, he said it appeared that Adenauer wished a 4-power meeting to discuss the question of German unity only, on the basis of the five points of the Bundestag resolution.5 He said that the UK would prefer to discuss Germany with the Soviets on the basis of the Allied declaration of September 1952, but pointed out the differences in substance between the two documents were few.

He said that his statements were not binding, but that he was very willing to put the proposal up to his Government. He expressed the hope that we could get over the difficulty of German military association with the West as soon as possible, noting that M. Bidault had said EDC ratification was not feasible until after 4-power talks were held. In this connection, he repeated his feeling that some tripartite agreement on Germany was an essential prerequisite to 4-power talks.

Continuing, Lord Salisbury repeated that recent events in the Soviet Union represented no real change of policy, nor of the aims of preventing the rearmament of the West and the integration of Germany with the Western powers. The Soviets have struggled against these developments since 1949 since they know that the Western powers without German military association cannot permanently hold their present positions in Central Europe. He said to meet this problem the French had originated the idea of the European army which the British did not criticize but on the other hand thought would give us the most effective possible control over German forces.

However, Lord Salisbury still thought it was important to obtain German military integration with the West before discussing the German problem with the Soviets, since otherwise the Soviets would have a chance to wreck the meeting and to gain their objectives. Undoubtedly the Soviets would propose free elections and presumably the unity of Germany, but as a price would prohibit the linking of Germany to the West. Accordingly, there was a great danger in proceeding along these lines. Furthermore, he added, this danger might arise whether or not 4-power talks were held unless we act quickly, since the Germans would become more and more disillusioned and tempted to look elsewhere for a solution to the unification of their country.

Discussing British association with the EDC, Lord Salisbury pointed out that the UK has indicated its readiness to be associated with the European army project at all stages, has signed and ratified [Page 1626] the UK–EDC treaty6 providing for automatic military assistance, signed the May 1952 declaration with the US extending NATO assistance to EDC,7 has agreed to station troops on the continent as necessary, and finally has now agreed to form a political association with the EDC which is believed to be satisfactory to all six members.

Additionally, the UK is willing to go further if it will assist the French and the other powers in their ratification problem, by such steps as extending the North Atlantic Treaty for an additional 30 years so that it would be co-terminus with the EDC treaty, and by making a further declaration rehearsing British engagements to the EDC. If, as appears likely, the EDC Governments prefer to have the British engagements put in a formal document of some sort, this was also agreeable to HMG. He concluded that these were not negligible contributions, but were ones which the British were very happy to make because of the importance of the problem. He reiterated that the British Government also realized the magnitude of the French political problem, but pleaded for continued efforts to obtain ratification of the EDC because of the danger of unfavorable reactions if this did not occur.

Lord Salisbury stated that he still felt German talks with the Soviets were unwise if Germany were not previously militarily tied to the West in some way, and would he thought be unpopular in the UK if held on this basis.

Priority of Four-Power Talks vs. EDC

M. Bidault thanked Lord Salisbury for outlining these steps which the UK had taken regarding EDC association, and said they represented an important contribution. He stressed, however, that the situation was quite different in France where the problem is integration itself, and not just association. Nevertheless, France would move ahead in spite of the obvious fact that the majority of the National Assembly was basically unfavorable to the EDC. He said that if his Government did not move carefully though, there might be a dramatic setback.

Continuing, M. Bidault said he was perplexed by the UK view that there should not be 4-power talks before the EDC was in effect. He repeated his statement that the idea of 4-power talks had been originated by Sir Winston Churchill. He had thought these talks held a high priority, but was now told that the German question should be settled first. The French thought that the best way to solve the German [Page 1627] problem was to have 4-power talks first, and demonstrate the impossibility of this approach as a solution, after and as a result of which the French Government could get the EDC through Parliament. He noted that the time-table of this whole complex had been held up by the long French government crisis.

Secretary Dulles asked for a clarification from M. Bidault on his views regarding a 4-power meeting. Had the French Foreign Minister said that such talks might demonstrate that radical solutions such as the EDC were not necessary, or rather that the failure of such a meeting to produce results would show that the EDC was essential.

M. Bidault replied that frankly the difficulty of discussing Germany with the Russians was that the latter might make tempting proposals. France, however, was certainly not, he said, attempting to find excuses for abandoning European integration. He said he himself had given five years of his life to this concept, which he had helped to found. He added it was essential for our defense to have European integration, and we would have to go ahead on this concept even if there were no defense problem involved.

Secretary Dulles said the French viewpoint was clearly that if a 4-power meeting were held we would not go into it with the idea that the EDC was up in the air, and subject to change as a result of whatever the meeting might bring. He noted the British position was that the EDC should be ratified before 4-power talks were held. Both the French and British, however, were agreed that we should enter the discussions with the Soviets with continued firm agreement among ourselves on the essentiality of the EDC. He remarked the French delegation preferred not to have a special declaration during the talks on the subject of European integration but would rather have the subject covered in the final communiqué.

The French Foreign Minister said he was not convinced of the utility of a special declaration, but that neither was his mind closed on this point. It was not of course necessary to reach a final decision on this question today. In response to Secretary Dulles’ question, the French Foreign Minister indicated that by the end of the day he would be in a position to give us his views on this point in a paper which the French Delegation would circulate.

Lord Salisbury said he thought the question as to whether a special declaration should be issued, or the subject covered in the final communiqué was not of great importance, but the question of getting the substance of the US paper put out in some form was vital. He said it was clear to him France would enter into any 4-power talks firmly committed to the EDC, even if the Assembly had not ratified it.

M. Bidault reiterated that 4-power talks were not a formal prerequisite which the French Government had established for EDC [Page 1628] ratification, but rather a reflection of the actual situation in Western Europe. He said the aim of 4-power talks would be the creation of a free Germany and, certainly not to re-examine such basic and agreed policies as the European army.

Lord Salisbury said that he was ready to put to his Government the Adenauer proposal, and that it had of course been vital to know the French position on the EDC before submitting the Adenauer suggestion. He said the UK continued to feel strongly that the EDC question should be settled before the holding of 4-power talks. He said he took it the US was in general support of the Adenauer proposal for 4-power talks on Germany.

Secretary Dulles said that, in the light of what Chancellor Adenauer had said on the subject of a 4-power meeting, he thought proposals for such a conference should be formulated. He noted the Chancellor believed his position would be better if such a conference were announced. Because of this reason and the French position that it was not possible to ratify the EDC before such a meeting were held, we are disposed to go along with the French and German views on having the meeting, on the assumption that the question of European integration through the Schuman Plan, the EDC, and the EPC would of course not be reopened. If these various parts of the European integration scheme, which were to be discussed at the Foreign Ministers’ meeting at Baden-Baden, were not in question, then the US was disposed to announce promptly an invitation to the Soviet Union to hold a 4-power meeting at some date very soon after the German elections, such as September 15. The Secretary concluded that while we had not previously been enthusiastic about this subject, he felt that the circumstances were now such that we should go ahead.

After a brief recess, Secretary Dulles suggested that each delegation name someone to work on the problem of putting together a single paper on Germany from the three which were now circulating—the Adenauer proposal, and the US and French drafts. He said we would have to decide how much we would base our position on the September 1952 declaration, and how much on the Bundestag five points. He stressed that there was not much substantive difference between the two. The British and French Foreign Ministers agreed. Sir Frank Roberts, Mr. Francois Seydoux and Mr. Riddleberger were designated for this committee.

Secretary Dulles said that on the EDC he did not believe much more could usefully be said until the French paper, which would be ready at the end of the day, had been circulated. He suggested the US and UK delegations study this paper tomorrow and that it be the first item of business at the Monday morning tripartite meeting.

[Page 1629]

German War Criminals

Secretary Dulles said that he would like to discuss one specific topic, that of German war criminals. He said he hoped a decision could be reached on this matter which would be helpful in our relations with Germany.

M. Bidault said that the subject was not a pleasant one for him, but that he was willing to conform to the Secretary’s wishes and discuss it. He said that there remained about five hundred persons in this category, and that a more flexible arrangement to handle the problem of the war criminals had been worked out in the French Zone, already having produced good results there. He said the French system would give Adenauer what he wanted, and at the same time avoid an action of the type which would cause a furor in France. He noted the formidable public opinion uproar in France at the time of the Oradour trials.8 He added the three High Commissioners apparently all agree that the French plan is a good one.

Lord Salisbury said that the British preferred the idea of a single mixed board on war criminals, but that the French idea of a bilateral board in each of the three zones of Germany was not unacceptable. Secretary Dulles asked M. Bidault if he could consider this point further in order to meet the US and UK views, or whether the French position was inflexible. He remarked that the US also preferred the idea of a single mixed board as envisaged by the contractual agreements.

M. Bidault said that this subject had come up three months ago, and that he was not at liberty to change his position at this time. He stressed Adenauer would actually derive all the benefits from the French plan politically speaking that he would from the mixed board. He said this matter must be handled so that it does not appear to be a triumph for the war criminals. The French plan was as far as he could go.

Secretary Dulles said that in view of the French position, we accepted their viewpoint and would be prepared to adopt procedures along the lines of those acceptable to the French. He added we would like to cover this point in the final communiqué.

M. Bidault said that if this subject were covered in the communiqué there would be unfortunate repercussions in France as well as in the other countries formerly occupied by Germany. Furthermore, he said, he thought since the German elections were still two months off, it was too soon for such a move to be of any assistance to Chancellor Adenauer. Accordingly he believed this decision should be announced nearer to the actual election date.

[Page 1630]

Lord Salisbury said he believed there was substance in what M. Bidault said regarding the desirability of not having too much publicity on this point, particularly in the favored election atmosphere in Germany. He recommended that the High Commissioners cooperate so that the terms of reference of the three boards in the separate zones will be as uniform as possible.

Secretary Dulles said we would withdraw our suggestion regarding covering this question in the communiqué, and we certainly agreed with Lord Salisbury that the High Commissioners should try to work for as much uniformity as possible in the way the three separate boards operate. M. Bidault also agreed that the terms of reference of the three boards should be as similar as possible.

Other Secondary German Problems

Secretary Dulles said the US had a paper on the conduct of current relations with Germany9 which he did not believe needed to be discussed in this forum but could be discussed by the small committee. He said in our view we should have as much flexibility as possible in our relations with Germany, particularly on a variety of relatively minor problems. He said he understood, for example, there had been differences of opinion among the Allies as to whether their flags should be flown at half-mast in honor of the persons who were killed in the Berlin riots, and also as to who should attend the funerals of the victims. He said there were many of these small problems, but that if their handling could be smoother, in the aggregate it would be helpful for our relations with Germany. He said Mr. Riddleberger would mention to the British and French experts exactly what these problems were and how we thought they might be handled.

Press Coverage

Secretary Dulles said unfortunately there was apparently little we could say about this morning’s meeting to the press but we must have some announcement to make to avoid undesirable speculation. He suggested perhaps we could simply say we had carried foward our discussions on Germany, and had appointed working and drafting groups to prepare additional material, adding frankly to the press that we [Page 1631] were at a stage in our talks where there was little spectacular to say. Lord Salisbury said it was his view the less said the better at this time.

Secretary Dulles announced the next tripartite meeting for 10:00 on Monday and the meeting concluded with the appointment of a working group on the EDC, consisting of Sir Frank Roberts, Mr. Sauvagnargues and Mr. Knight.

  1. Attached to the source text was a cover sheet which stated that the minutes were prepared by McBride and had been checked with notes taken by Knight and Kitchen, but that they had not been cleared or approved. No copies of these minutes have been found in the Department of State files. A summary of the second meeting was transmitted to London on July 11 in telegram 196. (396.1 WA/7–1153) This telegram was repeated to Paris, Bonn, Vienna, Moscow, The Hague, Brussels, Rome, and Luxembourg.
  2. The draft under reference here has not been identified further.
  3. No copy of the French draft has been found in the Department of State files.
  4. Not printed.
  5. For a summary of the five points, see telegram 89, July 6, p. 1591.
  6. For the text of the treaty between the United Kingdom and the member states of the European Defense Community, signed May 27, 1952 at Paris, see Documents (R.I.I.A.) for 1952, pp. 167–168.
  7. For the text of the Protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty extending guarantees of assistance to the European Defense Community, signed May 27, 1952 at Paris, see ibid., pp. 165–167 or Department of State Bulletin, June 9, 1952, pp. 896–897.
  8. Bidault is referring to the trial at the Bordeaux Military Court in January and February 1952 of 8 Germans and 14 Alsatians for the massacre of the residents of Oradour-sur-Glane in 1944.
  9. Not printed. This paper, ST D–1/5, stressed that the French had for some time taken an extremely negative and rigid attitude on most subjects that had arisen in relations with Germany, while the British had been neutral or passive. The paper stated that the United States should take the following talking points on this subject:

    • “1. Stress delicacy of relations with Germans in forthcoming months in light of election and Soviet moves.
    • “2. We must do everything possible to support Adenauer.
    • “3. Non-ratification by countries other than Germany should not prevent continued development of our relations with Germany in spirit of contractual.
    • “4. Allied representatives in Germany need greater flexibility.” (Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 158)