11. Telegram From the United States Delegation at the North Atlantic Ministerial Meeting to the Department of State1

Polto 1019. Following is brief outline NAC Ministerial meeting morning December 15th. Verbatim text being air pouched.2

Agenda Item I.

SG outlined report C–M (55) 122.3 Report noted by Council.

Agenda Item II.

SG asked Chairman Military Committee outline intelligence survey (MCM–4–55).4 Highlights: (a) Soviet ground forces superior to West’s and improving; (b) Soviet naval forces real threat; (c) Soviet air force increasing in effectiveness and no NATO country beyond range; (d) USSR has nuclear weapons and has the initiative. Concluded “military threat greater than ever before.” No comments. Report noted.

Trends and implications of Soviet policy (C–M(55)121).5 Secretary Dulles led off. Described past year as kaleidoscopic. Recalled [Page 29] circumstances year ago when USSR threatening direct action if London and Paris Accords ratified and Germany brought into NATO. Said had expressed view then that ratification would not produce violence but the reverse. After ratification,6 USSR changed policy. Austrian treaty followed; Soviet pilgrimage to Belgrade,7 overtures for high level talks. West responded to test validity Soviet overtures. Summit Conference preceded by NAC session.8 Sec described Summit Conference in terms gains for both West and East. For West: evidence of sincerity of desire for peaceful settlement, as indicated by proposals for exchange of aerial blue prints.9 Gain to East: appearance of respectability. Described position of Soviet Delegation as ambiguous; smiling but hard beneath, e.g. Bulganin final speech.10 Ambiguity resolved at second Geneva meeting.11 Advantage of second Geneva was that Western positions brought into complete harmony. USSR openly repudiated agreement at Summit by refusing free elections in Germany. Geneva II brought into open rigidity Soviet position re GDR and other satellites. Security proposals of West smoked out USSR and showed that fear of Germany was not compelling motive. Showed that USSR could not contemplate election which would jeopardize Communist regimes in East Germany and elsewhere. This estimate, Sec said, was confirmed by Yugoslavs during his recent trip.12 On East-West contacts, Soviets showed similar rigidity. On disarmament, no progress.

In analyzing reasons for rigid Soviet position, Sec gave three elements—strength of Soviet armed forces, fear of satellite reaction, and return to Stalinist doctrine. Since close of Geneva II, further revelations of Soviet policy are apparent. There seems to be no present intent on part USSR to resume direct action, probably because of [Page 30] atomic capability of West. Indirect actions and threats have taken new form, more dangerous, particularly in NEA and SEA. Squeeze is definitely on Middle East, which very important to NATO, as its oil essential. Soviet method is to exacerbate old antagonisms, e.g. USSR identification with Arab States versus Israel, India versus Pakistan, Afghanistan versus Pakistan. USSR possesses three surpluses: arms (those being replaced by newer models), technicians, and words. Sec expects USSR to use all three in stirring up trouble Middle East and South Asia. In summary, year has been typical of zig-zag tactics. First threats, then smiles, then rigidity, then pressure in NEA and Asia. NATO has successfully met all threats in past and can do so now.

Pinay next speaker. Referred to two documents submitted by US under this item.13 Describing Geneva I as conference where “we didn’t learn anything we didn’t already know” Pinay said that balance of power in Europe had forced Soviets to turn to Asia and NEA. USSR has advantage of making deals with Middle East and Asian countries “without political strings.” Pointing to evidence that Soviet rate of production increasing much faster than in NATO, Pinay said USSR will have new field of maneuver as result of economic trends. NATO must develop on economic and psychological plane to keep pace. Must not relax. Forces must be maintained, but must be flexible. Unity of action among NATO countries in economic and political fields is also called for. NATO must search for ways and means meeting Soviet economic threat in underdeveloped areas. Not making a concrete proposal now, but perhaps NATO might consider proposing a plan to UN for economic development underdeveloped areas, or perhaps NATO should consider undertaking “point 4”14 activities itself. It is clear that something more than military required of NATO.

Von Brentano next speaker, described Geneva II as “disappointing” but had merit of dispelling confusion. It is clear that USSR trying to dominate all Germany. If this happened, rest of Europe could not stand. Unity of action required, vigilance, and pooling of all info re USSR. Brentano proposed regular exchange of info in NAC re Berlin. He pointed out USSR attempting to get international recognition for GDR. Said FedRep will do all required to raise agreed forces on schedule. Proposed very energetic and well coordinated riposte on all fronts. Fully supports Pinay in exploring all possible [Page 31] common measures to thwart further Soviet penetration stating that “wherever one of us loses, all lose.”

Martino spoke for Italy. Analyzed present Russian threat as attempt to undermine Western World by economic and political means. Stressed need for further European integration, cohesion and economic strengthening. Said travels of USSR leaders abroad and offers of aid had appealed to masses. West must harmonize policies to meet this. Italy believes NATO should develop in other spheres than military, particularly political and economic. Said NATO should pool its resources to answer Soviet challenge in underdeveloped areas. Would speak further on this under Agenda Item IV.

Nuri-Birgi spoke for Turkey. Said economic comparison paper very useful. Hoped work would be pressed further. Pointed out that in time USSR will have resources both for defense and for underdeveloped areas. Latter aspect demands attention view recent Soviet actions. Should not be overlooked that, while NATO strength is great, certain NATO countries much less strong economically than others. Reported on Baghdad meeting, stating that Baghdad organization will help stability of area and will support security of southeast NATO area.15 Said that cooperation between it and NATO must be improved.

Cunha spoke for Portugal. Referred to excellent presentations, agreed especially with Pinay. Stated that he believed, with von Brentano, that “a defeat of Western Powers anywhere is a defeat everywhere.” Stressed Article 1 of Treaty16 as providing opportunity for further forward movement by NATO.

Reports under Agenda Item II17 noted by Council. Morning session then adjourned.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 740.5/12–1655. Secret. Drafted and approved by Nolting.
  2. The summary, C–R(55)58, and verbatim, C–VR(55)58, records of this session, both dated December 15, are ibid., Conference Files: Lot 60 D 627, CF 643.
  3. A copy of the 19-page Report by the Secretary General of Progress During the Period May 1, 1955 to November 30, 1955, dated December 6, is ibid., CF 635.
  4. A copy of this report, dated December 10, is ibid.
  5. A copy of this 5-page report, dated December 5, is ibid., CF 633.
  6. The French Government completed the ratification process of the Paris Accords on March 27, 1955. On April 1, the U.S. Senate ratified the two pacts to which the United States was a signatory—the protocol to the 1952 “peace contract” with West Germany (Executive L) and the protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty to admit Germany to the Alliance (Executive M).
  7. Khrushchev and Bulganin visited Yugoslavia, May 26–June 3, 1955.
  8. On July 16, 1955, Dulles participated in a North Atlantic Council meeting, held in Paris at 10 a.m., during which the three Western Foreign Ministers briefed their NATO allies on the preparations for the Geneva Conference. (Secto 25 from Paris, July 16; ibid., Central Files, 396.1–GE/7–1655; summary record, C–R(55)32; ibid., Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 494)
  9. For text of Eisenhower’s “open skies” proposal made to the Soviet leaders at the Geneva Conference on July 21, 1955, see Documents on Disarmament, 1945–1959, vol. I (Washington, 1960), pp 486–488.
  10. For text of Bulganin’s speech made at the closing session of the Geneva Conference, July 23, 1955, see Geneva Conference: United States Department of State, The Geneva Conference of Heads of Government, July 18–23, 1955, Washington, October 1955, pp. 76–82.
  11. Reference is to the Geneva Foreign Ministers Conference, October 27–November 16, 1955.
  12. While attending the Geneva Foreign Ministers Conference, Dulles flew to Brioni on November 6 to meet with President Tito of Yugoslavia.
  13. Reference is to two documents: “A Report on Trends and Implications of Soviet Policy” C–M(55)121, dated December 3, and “A Report on the Comparison of Economic Trends in NATO and Soviet Countries” C–M(55)119, dated December 2. (Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 60 D 627, CF 635)
  14. Reference is to the Point Four Program, an aid program of technical assistance to underdeveloped countries, inaugurated by the Truman Administration in 1949.
  15. The Baghdad Pact Council met at Baghdad on November 21–22.
  16. Article 1 of the North Atlantic Treaty, signed at Washington, April 4, 1949, states that international disputes were to be settled peacefully and in a manner consistent with the purposes of the United Nations.
  17. See footnote 13 above.