138. Memorandum of a Conversation, Paris, December 17, 1955, 9:15–9:45 a.m.1


  • M. Monnet
  • The Secretary
  • Mr. Bowie

Monnet opened the conversation with a brief review of the status of his Committee for European integration. He said that the Committee would meet the middle of January to consider a resolution on an Atomic Energy Commission similar to the Coal and Steel Community. With energetic effort, he thought it might be possible to have a treaty adopted during the next year.

Several serious obstacles would have to be overcome, however. The first was in Germany. There the Chancellor, the unions and the SPD all supported the idea, but the German industrialists are opposing it, preferring to go their own way. Brentano is fine on the issue [Page 368] and would like the U.S. to be more firm. The U.S. must indicate that it prefers to proceed on the basis of unity instead of bilaterally and could do more for Europe on that basis. The Chancellor needs some basis for overruling the objections of the German industrialists and would welcome such an attitude.

The second problem is the British. They are actively engaged in trying to discourage further progress toward integration. Their main target has been the common market. Those favoring integration recognize that this will take years, perhaps ten years, to achieve. The Monnet Committee seeks action now on the atomic matter in the belief that if added to the Coal and Steel Community that would revive the integration movement. Then progress could be made toward the common market. The aim is not to socialize atomic industry. Monnet hoped that the Secretary would be able to speak to the British about integration at the time of Eden’s visit.

The Secretary said there were some questions under U.S. law about how far the U.S. could go in cooperating with a European agency. He said, however, that he would give a boost as best he could in his conversation with Brentano.2 The British had not spoken to him about the atomic community but had done so about the common market on the ground that it might be a high tariff area. He also referred to the Lange statement in the NATO Meeting opposing the community of six.3

Monnet expressed the view that Europe was really at a more crucial crossroad than at any recent time. In the pending French elections, Mollet was largely responsible for staving off a Popular Front by refusing to join with the Communists for election purposes. This will not be possible in the future years if some progress is not made toward European integration. Unless this occurs, we can expect to see the gradual disintegration of Europe. The German labor unions now recognize this and have told Monnet they would fully support any resolution on the Atomic Energy Community. Ollenhauer is anxious to go along. German labor considers that European integration is the only way to keep their liberties for the future. The only German opposition comes from Erhardt and the industrialists.

As the conversation ended, the Secretary again said that he would do what he could with Germans and British and that the U.S. would cooperate in trying to assist in the creation of the European atomic agency.

  1. Source: Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 64 D 199. Secret. This conversation took place at the American Embassy residence. No drafting officer is indicated on the source text. Dulles was in Paris for the NAC Ministerial meeting.
  2. Dulles met with von Brentano later that same day. See Document 141.
  3. Reference is to remarks made by Harvard M. Lange, the Norwegian Foreign Minister. For documentation on the NAC Ministerial meeting, see Documents 10 ff.