2. Editorial Note

The Ministerial meeting of the North Atlantic Council held at Paris, May 9–11, was attended by the Foreign Ministers of the 15 member countries. The United States Delegation was headed by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, United States Permanent NATO Representative George W. Perkins, and Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Livingston T. Merchant.

The Secretary of State and his advisers left Washington on May 6. In a statement upon his departure from the airport, Dulles expressed his belief that Germany’s membership in the Atlantic Alliance signaled a new chapter in the “European story.” He also stated he would prolong his trip to meet with the Foreign Ministers of France, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and Austria in Vienna if the Austrian State Treaty was concluded. For text, see The New York Times, May 7, 1955.

The most extensive body of documentation of this meeting is maintained in Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 60 D 627, CF 443–447. CF 443 contains a set of briefing papers prepared for the delegation on topics likely to be discussed in Paris. CF 444 contains copies of the summary and verbatim records of the Council meetings and a complete list of each country’s delegation. CF 445 contains memoranda of conversation, minutes, and telegrams summarizing the meetings with Foreign Ministers ancillary to the meetings, while CF 446–448 include collections of telegraphic exchanges between the Secretary’s party and Washington during the Paris visit. Reports and documents which discuss preparations for the meeting and summarize the proceedings are ibid., Central Files, 740.5.

During his stay in Paris, Dulles discussed problems of mutual concern with the Foreign Ministers. He discussed German unification, European integration, and the Austrian State Treaty with Chancellor Konrad Adenauer; Vietnam and North Africa with Prime Minister Jean Faure; and the possible Four-Power Talks with both these men and with Foreign Secretary Harold Macmillan. Documentation on some of these discussions is presented in relevant compilations in other volumes of Foreign Relations.

The Council meeting followed the agenda below:

Progress Report by the Secretary General
Review of the Current International Situation
Trends and Implications of Soviet Policy, December 1954 to April 1955
European Questions for Negotiation with the Soviet Union, i.e., the German Problem, the Austrian Problem, and European Security
Disarmament Negotiations
Other Questions of Common Concern in the International Situation, including the Middle East, the Far East, including Formosa, and Other Questions
Questions Involved in the Implementation of the Paris Agreements Including Relationship Between NATO and Western European Union
Any Other Business
Date and Place of Next Ministerial Meeting
Draft Communiqué

The text of the final communiqué issued on May 12 is printed in Department of State Bulletin, May 23, 1955, pages 831–832.

Because of extensive documentation, the editors are presenting a selection of the most significant documents which best illustrate the main points of the Council’s discussions pertaining to NATO.