The Chargé in the United Kingdom ( Butterworth ) to the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs ( Merchant )


Dear Livie : You will have seen from my telegram 1069 of August 311 what my basic reaction was to the first draft of the Secretary’s lament on the death of EDC. I trust it did some good in helping to remove the tone of bitterness and preserve our position of leadership; the final draft was much improved.

However, I do believe that it does not help the cause of European integration—which we must not think of as dead because EDC has been defeated in a French Assembly that is by no means representative of current French opinion, as the Gaullists full well know—by presenting to the world as one of the three “basic and stubborn facts” what is neither stubborn (sic) nor a fact. The statement to which I take exception is: “The prevention of war between neighboring nations which have a long record of fighting cannot be dependably achieved merely by national promises or threats but only by merging certain functions of government into supranational institutions.” The [Page 1128] history of Europe is replete with examples which belie this assertion from Scandinavia to Iberia, not to mention the fact that after centuries of strife France and England for the last century and a half have been at peace and have grown to be allies of half century standing.

Looking at the obverse side of this sole-cure patent remedy I seem to remember as a Southerner that the existence of federal institutions is no guarantee against war even within a single nation.

The fact is that statements like this put into the Secretary’s mouth do far more harm in Europe than we generally realize, for they tend to give the impression of an ignorant or at best superficial approach to age-old and intricate human problems.

I trust that our agonizing reappraisal includes self-appraisal, and that despite the outrageous action of the French Assembly yesterday we are prepared to continue to work for the integration of Western Europe even if we have to make haste more slowly and more painstakingly than we would wish. In our present mood should we not recall that whereas it is valid to attribute to France the authorship of EDC it is equally true that it was called into being by the strident demands of the Pentagon for German divisions and, unfortunately, was not so much “framed on the assumption that Western Europe would at long last develop a unity which would make it immune from war as between its members” as precipitously to “make it defensible against aggression from without”. In my view the essential reason for our failure is because we approached this problem with the latter consideration as the catalyst. Incidentally, all this goes back to that “Cottage Club” argument that you and I and Harry 2 had at Phil’s3 apartment in Paris.

[Here follow personal remarks.]

All the best.

As ever,

  1. Not printed; it informed the Department of State of Butterworth’s criticism of the draft statement to be made by Secretary Dulles. Butterworth’s general position was the less said until constructive action was planned and underway the better. (740.5/8–3154)
  2. Presumably a reference to Harry Conover, First Secretary of the Embassy in France.
  3. Presumably a reference to Philip D. Sprouse.