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

Polto 1027. Following is brief outline NAC Ministers Meeting afternoon December 15th. Verbatim text being air pouched.2

Agenda Item III


The 1955 Annual Review Report (C–M(55)101)3

Defense Min Staf of Netherlands initiated discussion by complimenting Ismay on quality of report, characterizing it as concise and most useful in isolating key issues for Ministers.

Defense Min Lloyd of UK shared Netherlands view on quality AR Report, and after commenting on character of post-Geneva political atmosphere indicated UK agreed completely with basic conclusion of General Chapter for prompt reappraisal of NATO defense effort on long-term basis. Stressed quality of defense forces over quantity as key-note in implementing nuclear strategy, and urged other countries to undertake, like UK doing, long-term review of force patterns. Although he warned against overloading economies, and in this connection suggested need for possible modifications new infrastructure program, he indicated UK expecting larger defense expenditures next year than this, and because of greater costs of more modern weapons expected curve of expenditures to continue to go up. In particular case UK, Lloyd indicated further development its nuclear capability considered best contribution to collective NATO effort. UK laying great stress on missile development and prepared to share information on use and maintenance missiles with other NATO countries. Ismay characterized UK statement as most encouraging.

Secretary Wilson spoke next urging early ratification Atomic Agreement,4 indicating continuation of substantial U.S. military assistance but with progressively reduced OSP level.5 Stated US prepared to share information on production and use of new weapons including missiles, and that these weapons would be included in MDAP in accordance developing requirements and countries’ capabilities [Page 33] to use and maintain. US to continue Special Weapons and Facilities Assistance programs, but hoped Europeans would be able to progressively pick up greater burden of maintaining existing equipment. Urged early affirmative action on European air defense as high priority, and indicated US bolstering the atomic capability of its forces in Europe and displaying more air squadrons. To continue substantial deliveries US administration asking Congress for large MDAP appropriation this coming FY. Ismay characterized US statement as most encouraging and although no specific comments of reaction by other Ministers made in meeting, many delegations afterwards in corridors expressed great gratification for US position.

General Billotte stated France considered force goals in Report as desirable and feasible, and although conceding adequate air defense must be accomplished even if necessary at expense some land forces, pointed out special problem his country has in North Africa. Considered stability in NA as common concern of NATO, and mentioned that NATO had been fully informed of all deployments. Concluded by stating France now more optimistic settlement NA problems.

Statement of Minister Blank of Fed Rep which read by Blanken-horn pointed out unique character German defense program by starting from scratch. After detailing status of military legislation reaffirmed over-all time schedule, hoping to have 96,000 soldiers by end 1959. Explained naval adjustments in program, and stressed urgency of adequate air defense. In this connection expressed concern about construction of airfields in Germany and asked Council for decisions on infrastructure in January 1956. Thanked US for aid thus far committed but indicated still further US assistance needed. Lord Ismay obtained agreement Ministers to refer problem of German infrastructure to Permanent Council.

Mr. Exintaris of Greece expressed satisfaction with AR Report and indicated his government would do its best to implement recommendations. However, he was not optimistic about his country, and many others, meeting requirements of MC 48 within resources available. This was of great concern in light of developing Soviet capabilities. In case Greece, which poor country, must rely great on external assistance.

Defense Minister Campney of Canada commented on recommendations of report as they concerned Canada. Principal recommendation concerning continuation of mutual aid Canada will examine. Pointed out that of $1,300 million thus far provided in assistance to NATO Europe $300 million was equipment from new production, and $300 million for air-crew training. Canada expected to reduce slightly its assistance for coming year. However, all such assistance would be from new production. In addition Canada has undertaken substantial expenditure for North American continental air defense. [Page 34] Was happy to announce that after review Canada now able to state planned increase of escort vessels from fifteen to twenty-nine.

Foreign Affairs Minister Hansen of Denmark considered AR Report excellent. Referring to recommendations for Danish Government, he indicated they already stated [started?] on thorough review their defense effort. Had established committee for this purpose and was already in consultation with SHAPE. Although Denmark will support and expedite review, and attempt remold forces in accordance NATO military authorities’ recommendations, emphasized it would be unrealistic to expect Denmark to increase defense expenditures.

Finance Minister Schaeffer of Germany then spoke in some detail concerning the effect of German rearmament upon economy. Emphasized that in economy of full employment support of defense establishment would need be at expense other elements. Pointed out that although moneys would exceed expenditures for first two years of program, West Germany financial and economic resources would be fully employed in its defense contribution. Indicated German view that forces support of other countries, aid to Berlin, and social stability on border of iron curtain must in real sense be considered as part of German effort. Concerning need for assistance, he pointed out there would be considerable production gap for equipment which could only come from US. He indicated arrangements had already been made to negotiate to determine whether such equipment could be supplied, and if so, under what conditions, including financial arrangements.

Defense Minister Handel of Norway indicated Norwegian program dependent on continuing mutual aid and expressed gratitude for US and Canadian assistance thus far provided. Finance Minister Eftaxias spoke of the high percentage of GNP being devoted to defense in Greece and stated that if Greece eventually could bear larger portion of its defense effort a long-term program for economic expansion and growth must be accepted. In the meantime Greece would continue need for considerable external aid which would enable capital now absorbed by defense to be turned over to productive investments.

The Council noted CM(55)101 and the discussion, and approved the resolution on the 1955 AR (CM(55)125(Revised)).6

Military Progress of NATO Report No. 8 (MC 5/10(Final)).7 Was noted after General Pallis highlighted main points.
The Most Effective Pattern of NATO Military Strength for the Next Few Years (MC 48/1 (Final)). Was approved by decision in terms set forth in CM(55)127.8

Future Planning Including Force Goals and Priorities and the 1956 Review (C–M(55)120(4th Revision)).9 Mr. Tavaliani of Italy endorsed C–M(55)120, indicating that in October Italian Defense Minister had expressed view of need for collective reappraisal.

Secretary Dulles, referring to bracketed paragraph 3(a) covering the possibility of multilateral financing, indicated that US intention was not for discussion groups to make decisions on multilateral financing but simply to initiate discussion.

Minister Lloyd of UK expressed satisfaction with C–M(55)120 procedure as good approach to long-term problem. Emphasized that all requirements of MC 48 and 48/1 could not be financed within existing levels, and therefore priorities which must be financed in first instance by individual governments must be identified. Urged that all governments look far into future as possible indicating UK now planning seven years ahead. On question of multilateral financing clause in paragraph 3(a) he still believed not appropriate for incorporation in resolution as discussion financing techniques involved use of experts which not anticipated would be available for discussions proposed.

After further discussion of paragraph 3(a) language was amended to satisfaction all which would permit discussion groups to identify the cases in which multilateral financing might be a possibility, and C–M(55)120 was approved.

Air Defense Command in Control in NATO Europe (MC 54(Final)).10 General Gruenther made presentation urging approval MC 54. Pointed out that there were two factors involved; command arrangements and air defense itself. Stated MC 54 addressed only two command arrangements, and that although some countries felt paper did not go far enough, while others felt paper may have gone too far, he believed paper represented appropriate first step. Gruenther then went on to explain what was technically involved in command communication, indicating immediate necessity for two pilot projects to be established. He stated US had been asked to finance these two pilot projects. Emphasized value of West’s proposal for aerial inspection to prevent surprise attack. Concluded by turning to problem of different nature, pleading with all NATO governments to sell the NATO idea and ideals in their own countries.
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Secretary Wilson endorsed MC 54 and indicated US would finance pilot links in command communication system. He indicated this being done, however, upon condition that this equipment will become and remain property of SHAPE, and action will not be construed as precedent for financing entire system. Financing of entire system would have to be on a common cost sharing basis.

General Billotte of France agreed with General Gruenther’s concern about air defense and indicated France’s acceptance MC 54. However, pointed out that there must be limit to integration of command responsibility beyond which countries would not go as it would involve relinquishment sovereignty.

Minister Star of Netherlands took opposite tack from French and although indicating willingness to accept MC 54 as first step, believed NATO would need eventually face logic of situation wherein effective air defense could only be accepted by going much further in direction of common command. Believed natural corollary of this development would be extension of infrastructure procedure for financing. Mr. Cunha of the Portuguese Delegation regarded MC 54 as reasonable by directing attention to need for extending scope of this command coordination to include Portugal.

The Council approved the recommendations in MC 54(Final).

After conclusion of Agenda Item III Mr. Dulles indicated his happiness that Italy and Portugal had been admitted to membership in the UN.11 A number of other ministers associated themselves with Mr. Dulles’ remarks, expressing pleasure at entry of Italy and Portugal into UN and hoped that Federal Republic of Germany would soon follow suit. The Italian and Portuguese representatives expressed thanks, and Mr. Brentano of Germany also thanked speakers for their sympathetic statements.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 740.5/12–1655. Secret. Approved by Nolting and repeated to the other NATO capitals.
  2. The summary, C–R(55)59, and verbatim, C–VR(55)59, records of this session, both dated December 15, are ibid., Conference Files: Lot 60 D 627, CF 643.
  3. A copy of this 6-page report is ibid., CF 635.
  4. See footnote 5, Document 6.
  5. A copy of Wilson’s statement is in Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 60 D 627, CF 643.
  6. This resolution adopted the force plans, outlined in the Annual Review Report’s Annex II and summarized in “Summary of Country Force Plans” C–M(55)126, as agreed firm goals for 1956, provisional goals for 1957, and planning goals for 1958. Copies of these documents are ibid., CF 635.
  7. Not found in Department of State files.
  8. Neither found in Department of State files.
  9. A copy of this 4-page document, dated December 12, is in Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 60 D 627, CF 635.
  10. A copy of this 4-page document, dated December 12, is ibid.
  11. Italy and Portugal were admitted to the United Nations on December 14, 1955.