No. 118
Memorandum by the Officer in Charge of Economic Organization Affairs (Camp) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Bonbright)1


Following the conversation which we had in Mr. Bruce’s office the other day,2 I have reviewed all the telegrams we have received from Strasbourg, Paris, and Luxembourg concerning the relationship between the Council of Europe and the Community of Six and particularly the action which has been taken with respect to observers, both at the Assembly of the Schuman Plan and also at the Ad Hoc Assembly (the Schuman Plan Assembly plus the additional representatives who are meeting to elaborate a treaty for a Political Authority). I do not think the decisions which have already been made either with respect to observers at the Coal and Steel Community or relations with the Ad Hoc Assembly are very satisfactory. Briefly the situation is as follows:

Ad Hoc Assembly

The Ad Hoc Assembly has been formally constituted and consists of the members of the Schuman Plan Assembly plus an additional 26 members from those Council of Europe countries that are not members of the CSC. The Ad Hoc Assembly itself adopted a resolution on September 15th which suggested that there be 13 observers from the member countries of the Council of Europe who were not members of the Schuman Plan (3 U.K., 2 Greece, 2 Turkey, 2 Sweden, and 1 each from Iceland, Denmark, and Norway). In the same resolution, which was adopted 49 to 4, it was decided that these observers would have the right to speak in committee, that these observers were to be permitted to present either oral or written observations at the time of the general discussion in the Assembly, the oral statements to take place after the reading of the report but before the closing of the debate. This resolution, it should be noted, was adopted by the Ad Hoc Assembly itself, not by the Council of Europe.

I have sent a telegram to Paris and Strasbourg asking for clarification on various points in this resolution and also as to its current [Page 206] status.3 For example, it is not at all clear whether the observers have the right to participate in all committees which the Assembly sets up or simply the Preconstituent Committee which I gather is really a Committee of the whole. Furthermore, a telegram from Strasbourg dated September 25 reports that De Neree, the clerk of the Ad Hoc Assembly, considers it probable that the Ad Hoc Assembly will be asked to revise and elaborate the rules governing observers.4

Although it seems to me that the work of the Preconstituent Committee and the Ad Hoc Assembly will be hindered rather than helped by the participation of observers from non-Schuman Plan countries, it is not at all clear from the telegrams whether the six European countries themselves have acted in response to pressure from other countries, particularly the British, or whether they, themselves, are genuinely anxious to have observers associated with the work of the Ad Hoc Assembly. The decision to invite observers was taken, in principle, by the Foreign Ministers of the six countries. Although I think that, given this decision, it would have been better to have limited the observers to participation at the Assembly and then to have done most of the work in the Preconstituent Committee, I presume that if the six countries wish to do most of their negotiating and drafting without benefit of observers from eight other countries, they can interpret or get around the resolution easily enough by setting up new working groups, etc., from which the observers are excluded. The Ad Hoc Assembly is, of course, not a supranational organization but a collection of delegates of various nationalities meeting to discuss the drafting of a Constitution. It is somewhat less anomolous to conceive of observers taking part in these discussions than it is in the discussions in the Assembly of the Schuman Plan itself which is, in many respects, analogous to the legislature of a single state.

Schuman Plan Assembly

The Schuman Plan Assembly has itself passed no resolution on the role of observers in its deliberations. The Assembly of the Council of Europe has, on the other hand, adopted a resolution which, among other things, gives observers the right to speak at meetings of the Assembly of the Coal and Steel Community and implies they should have a similar right at the Council of Ministers [Page 207] of the CSC. A telegram from Paris of September 305 indicates that the High Authority is considerably disturbed by this resolution and feels that much of it is inconsistent with the supranational character of the Coal and Steel Community. I am in general agreement with the substantive points made in the telegram as to the reasons why the Council of Europe action impinges on the authority of the CSC. Apparently the High Authority has already been in touch with Spaak and is itself of the opinion that, in the unlikely event that the resolution were to be adopted as it stands by the Ministers of the Council of Europe and subsequently agreed to by the Assembly of the CSC, the High Authority would take the question to the Court of the Community on the grounds that certain of the provisions violated the Treaty.

It seems to me that it would be unfortunate if the situation were allowed to reach the stage where the issue was resolved by the Court. I think a serious enough point is at issue, namely, whether it is consistent with the “Supranationalism” of the Community for observers to have extensive privileges in any of the organs of the Community so that we should at least assure ourselves that this point will be satisfactorily handled short of a decision by the Court. Accordingly, if you agree, I would suggest a circular telegram to the principal posts concerned, indicating that we share many of the misgivings of the High Authority on this resolution, and asking our missions to sound out the reception the resolution is apt to get when considered by the Council of Ministers. In the light of these responses we can determine whether or not it would be desirable to discuss the broad question of the role of observers, including our own, with a number of the key countries before the Council of Ministers acts. We do not know for sure when the next meeting of the Council of Ministers will be held, but there is some indication it may be in December.6

  1. Attached to the source text was a covering memorandum from Bonbright to Bruce, dated Oct. 6, which read as follows: “Here is the memorandum Miriam Camp prepared following our talk the other day. If you agree with the conclusion on p. 4 we will go ahead on that basis.”
  2. No record of this meeting was found in Department of State files.
  3. Presumably a reference to Document 114.
  4. This is a reference to telegram 99 from Strasbourg, Sept. 25, which informed the Department of State that De Neree believed the Preconstituent Committee would ask the Ad Hoc Assembly for its advice regarding observers. (740.00/9–2552)
  5. This is a reference to telegram Polto 380 from Paris, Sept. 30, which informed the Department of State of the objections that the High Authority had to Opinion 3 which was being debated in the Consultative Assembly meetings in Strasbourg. (740.5/9–3052)
  6. A handwritten notation by Bonbright in the margin of the source text read as follows: “Approved by Mr. Bruce. J. C. H. B.” With Bruce’s approval (see footnote 1 above), circular telegram 405 was transmitted to London, Paris, Rome, Brussels, The Hague, Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen, Vienna, Ottawa, Bonn, Luxembourg, and Strasbourg, on Oct. 10 as proposed in the last paragraph of this telegram. (850.33/10–1052)