140. Telegram From the Secretary of State to the Department of State1

Secto 19. At his request Foreign Minister Spaak called on Secretary this morning. Spaak accompanied by Rothschild and De Staercke.2

Spaak began by stressing his view that German question by no means ended at Geneva. He said he detected an attitude on part French to consider with some relief that since German reunification seems impossible in immediate future, matter is “finished.” Secretary agreed that while French might prefer divided Germany, this attitude unrealistic. He handed Spaak copy his Chicago speech,3 pointing out its restatement broad US policy in many respects, and calling particular attention to two points—need maintain pressure on subject German reunification and need for closer Western European unity. [Page 370] Secretary said both fronts equally important and must not fail on either. Would be most dangerous if Germans had nothing to occupy their minds in the inevitable period of waiting that lies ahead on reunification question. They might then look to Soviets. Necessary inject creative element into situation. Further progress toward European unity can be this element. Spaak indicated he fully agreed this analysis. Said Adenauer will need all support possible.

Spaak then voiced serious concern over British attitude toward European integration. Said British have launched what can only be termed “strong offensive” against common market concept. Secretary said he had talked on subject to Macmillan.4 British fear creation trading area surrounded by high tariff wall. Spaak said that while perhaps French wish this, other five countries clearly against such a development. Spaak stressed that there is as yet no agreement on formula and therefore no basis for British condemning idea in advance.

Secretary spoke of deep sympathy and interest President Eisenhower and himself in movement for closer European integration, and referred to President’s view that if Britian had given strong support to EDC at an earlier time, EDC would have been success. British support came to late. Indicated that integration question would undoubtedly be discussed with Eden during January visit. We don’t want to see British mistake over EDC repeated.

Secretary assured Spaak he could count on President and himself to support and work hard in appropriate ways for European integration. [Page 371] Spaak deplored British lack foresight these matters. They are not thinking of what situation in Germany could be five years hence if present opportunities are missed.

Turning to specific question proposed nuclear energy pool, Spaak said German Delegation hesitant at Brussels discussions. Adenauer had assured Spaak during latter’s visit to Bonn, that he would give strong instructions “along the right lines” to Strauss on this matter. Spaak emphasized great advantages multilateral approach to nuclear energy question over bilateral, and hoped that US would indicate to Germans that latter would get greater benefits on multilateral basis than on bilateral. Secretary said he was seeing von Brentano later in day and intended talk to him on this subject.

Spaak said Brussels work had made real progress. Hopes have his report prepared by end January. Foresees difficult negotiations then beginning. Spaak made point that British offensive has been launched precisely because they believe Brussels initiatives have real chance succeed. Spaak added that British have put common market question on OEEC agenda. It is too early for it to be usefully discussed. Later, Spaak said, he will be more than ready discuss effects of proposal with countries outside Brussels group.

Spaak spoke feelingly of overriding political importance tying Germany firmly into west. Reverted to failure Britain realize this. Greatly disturbed by fact that current “very strong” British opposition is first time they have so declared themselves. Secretary noted that British worried over their financial situation. Spaak commented that British position amounts to this—they say that common market discriminates against them but when asked to join in, British answer is no, pleading commonwealth ties and preference arrangements.

Spaak then summarized basic problem in terms very similar to Secretary’s earlier analysis. He put particular emphasis that Germans must be given hope, otherwise will talk to Soviets. Indicated he feared that French, like British, are failing understand problem, although Pinay personally has been very sound. Secretary agreed, and added that cooperation among Western Ministers at Geneva Foreign Ministers meeting was best he had ever experienced.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 840.00/12–1755. Secret; Limit Distribution. Repeated for information to Brussels.
  2. André Marie de Staercke, Belgian Permanent Representative to NATO.
  3. In this speech of December 7, the Secretary stated that the United States would support European integration; for text, see New York Times, December 8, 1955, p. 8.
  4. Dulles spoke with British Foreign Minister Harold Macmillan in Paris on December 15. The Secretary summarized the conversation in Secto 6, December 16. According to the telegram, that portion of the conversation pertaining to European integration went as follows:

    Macmillan said that various OEEC nations look with some alarm on proposal for ‘tight’ integration of Community of Six as implying high tariffs and other protective measures. He felt that creation of such Common Market community would create a source of division rather than of strength. UK Government desires freer movement of money and goods in Europe and felt that European integration scheme would produce the reverse. He said that UK will ask that question of relationship of Community to OEEC and its possible effects be discussed at next Ministerial meeting of OEEC.

    “Secretary said US favors European unity not high tariffs. He said that it is important to do something to capture the imagination of the Germans and European integration offers a means to this end. In field of atomic energy it seems particularly important to create agency in Europe in which French and Germans have common interest. He did not believe Community and OEEC were mutually exclusive and felt there is adequate basis for both to develop. He said that President Eisenhower feels strongly on this subject and that Congress also favors community idea.

    Macmillan explained that it was not intention of UK to attack or undermine development of Community. He pointed out that in the past UK had possibly waited too long to make clear its attitude, as in the case of EDC. It now wishes to avoid any possible future opprobrium by announcing its intentions with respect to Common Market and Atomic Energy Agency now. He said UK would not be unsympathetic to Community if product of integration were low rather than high tariff wall.” (Department of State, Central Files, 740.5/12–1655)