740.5/4–152: Telegram

No. 713
The Ambassador in France (Dunn) to the Department of State


6021. From MacArthur, Irish FonMin asked “to pay personal and informal call” on Gen Eisenhower, and visited SHAPE yesterday. Aiken opened conversation by touching very generally on Eur’s Econ, financial and polit problems. Re France he felt many of its problems stemmed from electoral system of proportional representation which he said prevented Fr from having strong and responsible govt. “When Fr Govt fails to take steps which are necessary each member of coalition blames it on another member and there is no responsibility borne by any party.” Furthermore proportional representation encouraged formation of plethora of polit parties, all of which placed party ahead of natl interests. Aiken expressed concern over Eur econ situation and felt some of deflationary steps which are being taken such as those in UK may lead to real econ recession in WE. He expressed view that while Eur shld be more unified politically, it was dangerous to press too rapidly toward total Eur econ unification since this wld result in many serious dislocations. Hence during present critical period in E–W relations Eur shld not now take premature steps which wld actually weaken and dislocate Eur econ for at least several years.

He then mentioned to Gen Eisenhower Ireland’s desire to purchase arms in US (this was obviously purpose of visit). He referred to previous conversations he had had with me (Embtels 1377 Aug 31, 19511 and 4134 Jan 112) and said anything US cld do to help Ireland build up its forces wld be much appreciated and wld add an additional increment of strength to defense of WE.

Gen Eisenhower replied that while he cld well understand Ireland’s desire to increase strength of its armed forces, it was his understanding most of items it wished to procure in US were in very short supply and US was having very difficult time meeting its existing commitments to NATO allies. He was sure Aiken wld agree with US position which was that military end-items shld go to those countries which have banded together in a collective alliance for defense of not only WE but of free world.