751.5 MSP/2–1152: Telegram

No. 500
The Ambassador in France (Bruce) to the Department of State

top secret

4925. Attention Lincoln Gordon. Ref Embtel 4924, Feb 11.1


French Defense Minister presented breakdown of 1400 billion budget divided as follows (all numbers in billion francs):

Army 340, Air Force 220, Navy 125, common services 125, Defense Dept civil expenditures 137, third slice infrastructure 15, and Indochina and DOT’s 438 broken down into 380 for Army, 33 for Air Force, and 25 for Navy. Defense Ministry and MAAG both estimate that expenditures of 1400, allocated according to foregoing breakdown, would support an army of 14 ⅓ divisions, but in lower state of readiness than set by SC’s particularly in divisional backup. Eighteen months’ conscription period could be maintained with somewhat slower call up. Air Force estimated as having 27 squadrons of 478 planes with better planes and effectiveness considerably greater than the 26 squadrons in being latter part of 1951 as against 33 squadrons recommended by SC’s. Navy would be same as 1951 plus two destroyer escorts and six coastal minesweepers due under MDAP.

1400 estimate contains continuation of old procurement contracts of approximately 38 for Army, 68 for Air and 45 for Navy. Provides new procurement and production contracts amounting to only 60 for Army, 19 for Air and nothing for Navy. French official states implication of small amount in new contracts for Air is that jet aircraft needed in 1953 would have to come from OSP or end-item aid. The 1400 estimate provides little production for buildup in 1953.
The 1400 budget shld give a force politically viable in relation German contribution. The buildup of French and German air forces could be kept in balance within EDC.