751.5 MSP/1–2552: Telegram

No. 495
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in France1

top secret

4394. For Ambassador and Draper. This a State, DMS and Def message. Sec discussed urtel 4437 Jan 252 with Harriman this morning. Situation also discussed with Def. They found urtel most disturbing and share your concern re disastrous consequences reduced Fr program as outlined for EDC and Lisbon. Believe it is neces urgently to determine whether impact 1190 billion franc budget is in fact as great as indicated by Bidault. While Bidault’s views highlight situation we have recognized for some time, we find difficult believe neces Fr must demobilize existing forces and reduce length service, either of which wld have serious if not explosive consequences on our entire Eur policy.

Believe may be possible, after close examination revised Fr program, to develop with Fr an allocation of budgetary resources which wld produce better results than outlined reftel, such as in direction of priorities and economies suggested by McNarney. Consider this most urgent and suggest you call upon all US elements there, including JAMAG and US element SHAPE, to do this job as soon as possible. We are prepared send over anyone you may need from here to assist. It is essential that Fr trim judiciously or stretch out in time these plans, rather than slash in what wld appear to be fashion that jeopardizes not only Fr security but entire NATO concept.

In connection examination Fr program, adequate consideration must be given provision for natl infrastructure and to Fr contribution third and subsequent slices NATO infrastructure, in which Fr have been reluctant to participate on grounds it is not covered by budget based on TCC report (Depto 849, Jan 20, rptd Paris 15003 ). Fr have not firmly engaged even to provide land, which wld be an inadequate contribution. Lack of continued and prompt Fr participation to reasonable extent in third slice program will also have serious implications for our NATO program. Believe Fr attitudes [Page 1143] on infrastructure needs same kind of examination as budget question.

While no further FY 52 funds are available to help Fr prior to next Jul 1, over and above 600 mil dols already assured to them, we will continue explore your earlier suggestions re programming within 600 mil figure (reurtel 4251 Jan 154 and para 4 Deptel 4244 Jan 225) and in first half FY 53.

We cannot avoid impression we are being confronted by statement that may have been prepared with view to putting polit and other problems that reduction may involve in most unfavorable light. While we recognize seriousness of problem we are convinced of vital necessity of accomplishing any neces adjustments in such fashion as to do least damage to entire NATO enterprise and particularly to our hopes for EDC and successful Lisbon mtg. If for tactical purposes Bidault program does not recognize these overriding considerations it may well boomerang and jeopardize our ability to continue assistance to Fr at present and projected rate. You may wish convey this thought to Bidault as an expression of your personal views.

  1. Drafted by Vass and Beigel and cleared with Parsons, Perkins, Director for Mutual Security Harriman, and Nash of the Department of Defense.
  2. Supra.
  3. This telegram reported that the French position in the preliminary talks was that the financial contribution of France recommended in the TCC report was the total French military contribution and that no further contribution to the infrastructure program was necessary. (740.5/1–2052)
  4. This telegram summarized the status of the French Government’s consideration of the TCC report and the relationship of U.S. bilateral negotiations with France to action on the TCC report. (751.5 MSP/1–1752)
  5. This telegram requested, in paragraph 4, facts and figures concerning production contracts and information on time-phasing of French expenditures. (751.5 MSP/1–1752)