740.00/1–1853: Telegram

No. 150
The Consul at Strasbourg (Andrews) to the Department of State1


269. From Koren. Subject is EPC and Council of Europe. Discussion EPC in course extraordinary session Council Europe Consultative Assembly2 served useful purpose even though it did virtually nothing further work of Ad Hoc Assembly in drafting text of EPC treaty.

General Affairs Committee decided against any review constitutional work AHA far as institutions of six were concerned. This largely consequence of fact CA officially seized only of directives of AHA to its Constitutional Committee, not of committee’s o.k. on [Page 274] report. General Affairs Committee does, however, expect CA will debate full draft treaty as ultimately submitted by AHA during its ordinary session, now scheduled latter part of May, that is, at time when governments will already have had some two months to examine AHA report. Opposition of Mollet, committee chairman, to EPC draft also contributed to failure give it detailed examination.

Furthermore, quite clear that AHA would toss aside CA suggestions offered at this time if it did not like them, as Spaak declared privately. (This will certainly be fate of CA proposal that EEC “shall” consult CA before taking any measure “which would affect interests of other member states of Council Europe”, which Spaak’s amendment No. 3 (Contel 268, January 183) failed by 38 to 32 to emasculate. British Foreign Office advisor declares he urged United Kingdom delegates vote amendment but was over-ridden by latter apparently on tactical grounds.)

Usefulness of CA debate has been in:

Reassurances to countries outside the six, as they examined work of AHA, that increasingly close unity of six will not “split Europe,” with consequence that more genuine and confident encouragement to six to go ahead is forthcoming; and
Encouragement given to six by trend among Scandinavians indicating their countries following British lead toward some status of association with community of six.

Public expression of satisfaction on these points by Spaak and De Menthon appear genuine and satisfied.

Clearest exemplification of these inter-related developments were statements by Norwegian Socialist Finn Moe that “proposed methods of liaison and association are made (by Ad Hoc Assembly) on an acceptable basis from point of view of my country” and his subsequent indication Norway might make agreement of association with EDC (Contel 265, January 18,4 and on this general theme see Contel 267, January 185). Noteworthy that Moe stressed not only close association of individual states with community but also “association mainly within framework Council of Europe,” and quoted with approval Lord Layton’s statement that all Council Europe members “must be brought close together, and there must be some sort of institution or organization in which they all meet together on exactly the same terms.” Moe added that Norway was “interested [Page 275] in strengthening Council Europe” and favored changes in statute with that purpose. (On statute amendments, see below.)

Voting showed that all delegations present from countries outside the six favor both resolution on association and liaison (Contel 258, January 176 and 268, January 18), and, with exception Scandinavian Socialists, also favored resolution on competence and institution of EPC (Contel 257, January 177 and 268, January 18) Scandinavian Socialists, following opposition of French and German Socialists part way, abstained.

In opinion British Foreign Office advisor to United Kingdom delegation, session has had additional usefulness of affording a first hand acquaintance to British and other parliamentarians who had little or no experience at Strasbourg of real problems faced by six and other Council Europe countries in developing new forms of European unity. It feels this will have important effects within national Parliaments.

Foreign Office representative fears, however, that there may be some discouragement among representatives of states not in proposed EPC from strength of opposition to EDC and more particularly EPC shown within delegations of the six. (Concrete evidence of division within six shown by fact that in key vote on report concerning competence and institutions, there were 32 votes by delegates from EPC countries (plus Saar) in favor, 16 against and 2 abstentions, whereas votes of others were 28 in favor, none against and 5 abstentions.) He fears they will conclude parliamentary majority for EPC very narrow and therefore it would take little to reverse trend toward greater unity. He did think, however, that positive attitude of delegations from countries outside the six might have beneficial effects on Parliaments of the six. (He also regrets lack of real study of AHA’s work on competence and institutions of EPC.)

Foreign Office representative declared with conviction that Foreign Office considered Council Europe would continue to be useful. Rather than have it wither away as community of six developed, it should be strengthened. This was chief reason why, at their last meeting, delegations of Committee of Ministers directed Secretariat to draft thorough revision of Council Europe statute with aim of invigorating the institution and adapting it to emergence of new community of six.

  1. Repeated to Paris (for Embassy and SRE), London, Bonn, Rome, Brussels, The Hague, Luxembourg (for Tomlinson), Athens, Ankara, Copenhagen, Dublin, Oslo, Stockholm, Vienna, Reykjavik, Ottawa, Wellington, and Canberra.
  2. For a summary of the meetings of this Extraordinary Session of the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe, which met in Strasbourg Jan. 14–17, see Minutes of Proceedings (Strasbourg, 1953); for a record of the statements made by the various delegates, see Official Report of Debates (Strasbourg, 1953).
  3. Not printed; it summarized the six amendments introduced by Spaak to the General Affairs Committee report and described the action taken by the Ad Hoc Assembly on each of Spaak’s suggestions. (740.00/1–1853)
  4. Not printed; it summarized Moe’s speech to the Consultative Assembly on Jan. 17. (740.5/1–1953)
  5. Not printed; it summarized the debate in the Consultative Assembly on the General Affairs Committee’s report concerning Directives I, II, and III. (740.00/1–1953)
  6. See footnote 4, supra.
  7. See footnote 3, supra.