662A.00/4–752: Telegram

No. 16
The Secretary of State to the Office of the United States High Commissioner for Germany, at Bonn1


2523. For Chief of Mission personal from Secy. I am gratified at progress recently made at Bonn in speeding up conclusion contractual negots as result McCloy’s efforts (Bonn’s 2278, rptd Paris 711, London 6052). As time has continued to slip by since Lisbon with slower progress in Paris on EDC treaty and in Bonn on contractuals than we had anticipated, I have become increasingly concerned to find some means of successfully completing these arrangements.

Deptel 2420, rptd London 4999, Paris 5925,3 expressed the conclusion to which I have more and more come that a deadline for signing must be set and must be met or we shall be faced with the prospect that all our efforts to bring about the EDC and to estab new relationships with Ger will founder. I note similar conclusion reported Paris’ 6127,4 giving MacArthur’s and SHAPE’s views. I [Page 26]recognize and have weighed carefully the dangers inherent in establishing a deadline as set forth by Roberts of Brit FonOff (London’s 4478, rptd Paris 2092, Bonn 479) but am firmly convinced risks involved in not doing so far outweigh them. Probable trend of Ger opinion under pressure of Sov proposals on Ger unity appealing to their natl instincts causes us anxiety. Some EDC countries appear to be increasingly hesitant to take final decision to join with Ger in EDC. In addition, Congressional attitude toward MSA appropriations, which will probably be under full consideration by mid-May, cannot be predicted if real success in uniting Eur defense efforts cannot be reported. Furthermore, this session of Cong will certainly end by Jul 3 at latest, and possibly earlier. If contractuals are not submitted sufficiently far in advance of that date there can be no ratification before 1953, except in the very unlikely event of a brief autumn session of the Cong. Any such delay wld represent a severe check to our plans.

Will you therefore pls present the Fol personal msg from me to the FonMin of the Govt to which you are accredited without delay:

Begin Message.

“At the various mtgs in London and Lisbon last Feb, I was encouraged by the progress made and was led to hope that problems of concluding the treaty for the Eur Defense Community and the various contractual agreements with the Ger FedRep cld be speedily resolved. Since then I have been increasingly concerned by the slow rate of progress, which I believe is gravely imperiling all our plans. I therefore wish to make this appeal to you to join with me and our other colleagues in the countries concerned to make a supreme effort to conclude the various treaties and agreements in time for signature on a definite date in the near future.

You are, of course, well aware of the risks which delay will cause in Europe. You are perhaps less well aware of certain grave difficulties which will be encountered in the US with respect to Congressional action if there is further delay. The proposed appropriations for Mutual Security Assistance will be under active consideration by the Cong by mid-May at the latest. The Govt will be very hard pressed to present effective arguments for the voting of such appropriations in the absence of a successful conclusion of the efforts being made to establish a Eur Defense Community. Further indefinite promises of progress in this field wld, I fear, be regarded by the Cong as discouraging evidence of inability to achieve a unified defense effort in Europe.

I also wish to point out that this session of Cong will end at the very latest by Jul 3 and possibly several days earlier. If the contractual agreements with Ger are to be ratified at this session they must, therefore, be laid before the Senate by the middle of May at [Page 27]the very latest. Even this date wld make action by the Senate difficult. If the agreements cannot be completed and submitted to the Senate in time for action at this session they will have to go over until the session which begins in Jan 1953. I do not need to impress upon you the grave jeopardy in which such a lengthy delay wld place the entire Western policy with regard to the common defense and with regard to Ger.

All of these considerations have persuaded me that there is no alternative but to set for ourselves a specific date now for signing the contractuals and the EDC treaty and such other docs as must be signed simultaneously. I wld hope that we could set May 9 as the date for signing both sets of agreements. I stress the point of signing both sets of agreements, as I believe it is highly important not to permit the EDC and the contractual arrangements to be separated chronologically.

I have given a good deal of thought to the question of the place of signing. The contractual agreements cld, of course, be signed at Bonn, but I question the desirability of having the EDC treaty signed there. Paris has been suggested for the signature of the latter treaty but I consider it wld be unfortunate if the contractual agreements were to be signed in any of the three Western capitals. The signing of the two sets of agreements in different places not only is awkward from the point of view of physical arrangements for moving Ministers back and forth on the same day, or even on successive days, but likewise wld be a regrettable loss of an opportunity which it seems to me we shld grasp to make an impressive and historic ceremony of the simultaneous signing of both sets of agreements. I therefore suggest that we consider selecting The Hague. Prominently associated as it is with ideals of peace, and containing the Peace Palace where the ceremony cld occur, it wld seem to me to be an ideal site.

Most important, however, in my thinking, is the necessity for setting a date, preferably May 9, and making a public announcement of that fact without delay. This wld, of course, mean that the draft EDC treaty and the contractual conventions wld have to be initialed by the negotiators by Apr 30 at the latest in order to permit final governmental consideration of them before signing. I appreciate that this means renewed and untiring efforts on the part of the negotiators in Paris and Bonn. From the info I have at hand, however, I conclude that with such efforts on the part of the reps of every govt, the remaining points at issue can be settled during Apr. I am instructing the US reps at Bonn to cooperate to the utmost in [Page 28]achieving the result we aim at and I urge you to similarly instruct your reps at Paris [and/or Bonn].5End Message.

Paris for MacArthur: Pls inform Gen Eisenhower of above and of my earnest request that he continue his already helpful efforts to speed up negots.

The Hague: Secy went over substance this msg with Stikker in great detail but did not mention Hague as place of sig nor specify May 9 as date.6 Pls deliver substance to FonOff.

  1. Drafted by Calhoun and Laukhuff on Apr. 10; cleared by Perkins, Jessup, and Bohlen; and signed by Secretary Acheson. Also sent to London, Paris, Rome, The Hague, Brussels, and Luxembourg.
  2. Document 14.
  3. Document 12.
  4. Not printed, but see the first paragraph of Secretary Acheson’s memorandum, supra.
  5. Brackets in the source text.
  6. Stikker had visited Washington Apr. 3 and 10 for talks with United States officials on questions of mutual concern.