106. Memorandum From the Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Atomic Energy Affairs (Smith) to the Secretary of State1


  • U.S. Policy toward Proposed European Atomic Pool

In a memorandum of this date, Mr. Merchant recommends that you agree in principle that we would treat a European atomic energy authority (modeled on the Schuman plan) in the same way as we would treat a national state. He also recommends that the President make a positive statement along this line in his forthcoming message to Congress on atomic energy cooperation; that we explore modifying our atomic energy agreement just signed with Belgium to remove bars to integration; and that we hold up any more power reactor bilaterals with Schuman plan countries pending further study of integration.

S/AE does not concur with these recommendations. We have checked informally with the Atomic Energy Commission and are advised that the Atomic Energy Commission is also not prepared to agree with the proposed position at this time.

Atomic power cooperation has just been initiated with the U.K., Canada, and Belgium, the three countries with whom we have been most closely associated in atomic energy development since the war. In studying possible atomic power cooperation with any other country, difficult problems arise, and greater problems appear if multilateral cooperation under the Atomic Energy Act is considered. As a practical matter, it is not clear that the Act envisages any multilateral cooperation in the peaceful uses of atomic energy except with an International Atomic Energy Agency. The attitude of the Schuman plan countries toward atomic energy integration has by no means been officially established—especially in France and Belgium—despite enthusiastic favorable statements by individual officials. While atomic energy integration is an attractive goal, there are only vague concepts at present as to what it would mean.

With regard to modifying our just concluded agreement with Belgium, this agreement is most important to our national security and to defense of the Free World, and is also considered highly important by the Belgian Government. Modification may not prove [Page 307] consistent in important respects with either our national interest or the Belgian interest.

In view of these and other uncertainties, we should not at this point adopt a policy of support for a European atomic energy authority, even in principle, or make an announcement of such support which we may find it difficult to implement. We need first to make sure that integration is practical and is desired by the European countries, and also that the U.S. is in a position to cooperate with such an authority.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 840.1901/7–155. Secret. Drafted by Phillip J. Farley of the Office of the Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Atomic Energy Affairs (S/AE). Copies were sent to Phleger, Merchant, and Palmer.