13. Telegram From the Secretary of State to the Department of State 1

Secto 24. Restricted meeting of FonMins and PermReps with two advisers was held from 10:15 to 1:00 on Dec 16. No minutes or official record kept.

Pearson, who spoke first, reviewed his Soviet trip and impressions.2 Convinced Soviets want no global war and believe peaceful interlude will serve their purposes but no sign Soviet leaders willing pay real price for lower tension or have changed objectives. One basic purpose still to destroy NATO and get foreign forces withdrawn from Europe. Hope NATO will fall apart in détente. Clear they will now unify Germany only on their own terms. Under these conditions NATO must make the situation crystal clear to public opinion and show continued support for German desire for unity. West must seek further to expose Soviet attitude, push ahead with German rearmament in NATO and European integration, and refuse recognize East German regime. In concluding he stressed value of NATO Council for discussing situation, anticipating issues and planning to meet them.

Spaak followed, fully approving views expressed by Secretary and others previously and Pearson today on general situation. Real problem is how to deal with it. Communiqué this meeting will be especially important as first statement since Geneva II. He congratulated three powers on conduct Geneva negotiations; common interests had been well defended. Soviet moves in Middle East and Asia should not lead West to think European problems solved. Must make clear that Geneva was not end and that West still supports its principles and German unity. West not doing well in propaganda battle and should take steps to improve. Strong and firm communiqué could help.

Theotokis of Greece agreed that Soviet policy had not changed but their tactics today much more flexible. Risk of war very low if West maintains defenses but West must be more effective in educating public opinion on meeting Soviet actions.

Cunha of Portugal strongly supported Spaak and Theotokis comments, and then said:

Must make clear FedRep only legitimate state; asked Brentano for comments on German situation;

Africa real weak point for West; subject to nationalist and communist propaganda …; could fall into Communist Bloc;

. . . . . . .

In Asia active policy is essential; must reply to Soviets as in US-Portuguese communiqué;3 Portugal ready to negotiate with India on Goa if Portuguese sovereignty there not questioned;
Spain should be in NATO;
Must develop better public understanding of NATO and its purposes.

Brentano fully supported Pearson analysis of Soviet policy. Failure of Geneva disappointed Germans but in Bundestag discussion government and opposition fully agreed on goals of German policy though some difference as to method. Stressed difficulty of situation with Germany divided and millions of Germans under Communist regime. Essential to convince Germans that present policy only sound one. Both government and opposition opposed any de facto or de jure recognition East German regime by others. Hoped NATO Council might reaffirm London statement on FedRep.4 Would help bolster German support general policy. Expressed satisfaction with three-power handling of Geneva and stressed importance of communiqué.

Lange of Norway made the following points:

Norwegian public had not fully understood that West did not demand Germany remain in NATO under its unity proposals; should be cleared up.
NATO should help to bolster German support for present policy.
In Europe should avoid creating small groupings which might create new divisions.
Supported earlier Pinay idea for intensifying technical and economic assistance to under-developed areas.
Must approach Asian and African peoples on basis of equality and partnership and recognize their right to determine their own future if expected to keep them on Western side and counter Soviet picture of NATO as tool of imperialism.

. . . . . . .

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Beyen of Netherlands said NATO was at turning point in its history:

Military aspects had been covered yesterday.
Entry of Fed Rep into NATO and failures of Geneva II important politically. Good that Soviet policy clearer.
NATO must be more concerned with events outside NATO area.
West has harder task since it must rely on patience and truth.
Hopes all can agree not to recognize East German regime.
Took strong issue with Lange objections to community of six which need not harm others not now prepared to go so far.
Would like further information on Middle East and Berlin situation.

Bech (Luxembourg) said that in face continued Soviet objectives and their three-fold threat, NATO must keep up deterrent to maintain peace; combat neutralist attitudes by more vigorous propaganda; and build solidarity and cohesion within NATO and underdeveloped areas by more active non-military measures.

Martino (Italy): 1) agreed with Spaak on need improve propaganda. West must constantly reiterate truth about Soviet purposes. 2) Agreed Geneva had made crystal clear Soviet aim keep Germany divided and East Germany under Communist control. 3) Concurred in Beyen’s answer to Lange on Six-State Grouping as necessary start toward United Europe, and compatible with interests of other European states. European idea only one to inspire youth and compete with Communism. Hopes other states will come to recognize need for common market and United Europe.

Macmillan made following points: 1) Geneva II showed fears that Soviet policy might split West were unfounded. Three Powers there worked in complete harmony which was greatly helped by German cooperation at all levels. Should pay tribute to staunchness Germans in face Geneva outcome on unity. 2) Soviet rejection Western security proposals Geneva showed attitude Germany unity based on political and not security reasons. Essential drive this point home. 3) Soviet desire disrupt NATO not solely military in purpose. They want destroy organization where Old and New World act in partnership and where likeminded nations can act together. If NATO undermined, Soviets could take over one at a time. 4) West must not accept stalemate but keep up moral, political, propaganda and other pressures on Soviets to solve outstanding issues. In “tearing up” Geneva Directive on free elections,5 Soviets showed they will not voluntarily surrender ground captured for Communism and fear the effects in satellites. 5) In Middle East and Asia, fluid situation and [Page 40] deep cleavages are easy for Soviets to exploit, but methods may backfire. Reaction to arms deal may help Palestine solution. But appeals to anti-colonialist, anti-Western sentiment create real danger. 6) Northern Tier Pact6 important for strategic, political and economic reasons. Great economic prospects if new wealth wisely used. Pact based on equality and partnership refutes Soviet propaganda on exploitation and domination. Hopes NATO members will support Pact. 7) Above all else, must maintain NATO unity and support Federal Republic to keep up morale of people and pressure on Soviets. UK considers self bound by London Declaration on Federal Republic7 and hopes others will associate themselves with same policy. 8) Agreed with Spaak and others on importance of Communiqué. Must show our will and determination to remain united and firm.

Hansen (Denmark) said that he just invited Moscow8 and would report to NATO Council on return. … He agreed on need for better propaganda, especially in appealing to youth.

Pinay (France) made following points: 1) After Geneva, Soviets will work have two Germanies recognized. He agrees on vital necessity keeping up West German morale. 2) Western nations should set up some group to coordinate their propaganda and develop better means for public understanding of Soviet purposes and Western policy. 3) Since underdeveloped areas are now clearly a major Soviet threat, Western nations should undertake more active program for technical and economic assistance to these areas either through NATO or UN or some other means.

Birgi (Turkey) spoke only briefly and was followed by Von Brentano, who asked Hallstein speak on question Berlin.

Hallstein then explained 1) special status Berlin under Four-Power Agreements of 1945 and 1949;9 2) Soviet transfer of authority to GDR September 1955 of “sovereignty” and control over borders and access Berlin;10 3) Three-Power protest against GDR stoppage US vehicle;11 4) significance this and other Soviet and East German move to force recognition GDR; 5) determination of Federal Republic [Page 41] avoid de facto or de jure recognition, although some technical contacts, such as postal, are unavoidable.

Ismay then said he assumed Permanent Representatives would be expected follow up suggestions made this Meeting.

Pinay thought Council should act on his proposal set up group in NATO to study more effective handling propaganda by members.

Macmillan preferred have draft resolution before taking action.

Pinay requested Ismay submit draft in order permit action, “not just talk”.

Session ended 1 o’clock.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 740.5/12–1755. Secret. Drafted by Bowie. Repeated to the other NATO capitals. Transmitted in two sections, Secto 24 and Topol 721 (which also begins with Bech’s statement).
  2. Pearson visited the Soviet Union, October 5–12, 1955.
  3. For text of the Joint Communiqué of December 2, reporting on conversations concluded at Washington between Dulles and Cunha (during the Foreign Minister’s State visit to the United States, November 31–December 2), which took issue with statements made by Soviet leaders concerning the Portuguese provinces in the Far East, see Department of State Bulletin, December 12, 1955, pp. 966–967.
  4. Reference is presumably to the Final Act of the Nine-Power Conference signed at London on October 3, 1954. See Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. v, Part 2, p. 1345.
  5. Text of the Geneva Directive, July 23, 1955, is scheduled for publication in a forthcoming Foreign Relations volume.
  6. The Pact of Mutual Cooperation between Turkey and Iraq, signed at Baghdad on February 24, 1955, was adhered to by the United Kingdom on April 5, by Pakistan on September 23, and by Iran on November 3.
  7. See footnote 4 above.
  8. Hansen visited Moscow, March 2–6, 1956, as a guest of the Soviet Government.
  9. For text of the four-power agreement on the zones of occupation in Germany signed at London, July 26, 1945, see United States Treaties and Other International Agreements, vol. 5, pt. 2, p. 2093. For text of the New York four-power agreement lifting the Berlin blockade and convoking the Council of Foreign Ministers, May 5, 1949, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. iii, pp. 750751.
  10. Reference is to the Peace Treaty between the German Democratic Republic and the Soviet Union and letters signed at Moscow, September 20, 1955.
  11. Reference is to tripartite protests against German Democratic Republic harassment of communications with Berlin.