21. Telegram From the United States Delegation at the North Atlantic Council Ministerial Meeting to the Department of State 1

Polto 2018. Following is summary Secretary’s statement North Atlantic Council, morning May 4.2

Soviet tactics started to change last year. Trend has continued with less emphasis on violent methods and more on other ones suitable to accomplish Soviet ends.

Change inside USSR, manifested by denial of Stalin, could not have occurred without demand from within for liberalization.

Must remember Soviet tactics subject to rapid change. Could change back to threats as rapidly. No public control of foreign policy in USSR. Is still despotism, and this important respecting military situation. They appear to rely less on violence, probably due to alliances, which frustrated their aims. Khrushchev attitude London indicates change only skin deep and shows danger of Soviet military blackmail and threats if Free World weakens.

Likely Soviets may unilaterally reduce military force levels. Need manpower. Soviets like others cannot accomplish all goals at once. They can cut substantially in force levels and still leave Soviets dominant on Eurasian continent. If this happens, should not be taken as signal West can cut its forces. They have advantages of ability to call back reserves and have no logistic problem such as faces United States with transoceantic lines of communication.

New tactic of keeping force in hand but in background creates serious problem for allies.

Tactics primarily designed disrupt unity of West and bring under Soviet and ChiCom domination newly independent nations which have one-third world population and vast resources.

Must look at strength and vulnerabilities of Atlantic community. This community of four hundred million people based on views of nature of man which led Western civilization to invent, explore and carry its beliefs throughout world, with advantage both to us and to recipients.

Most important weakness is West not yet able establish peace system within own members. Recurrent wars with waste of youth and resources appears morally bad to rest of world. Though West dominated half the world, this concept of freedom and rights of man meant this domination was transitory, not permanent. The recent [Page 62] creation of many new states is tribute to Western civilization, but it is not accepted with gratitude by new nations. Resentment, sensitivity and prejudice, based on old attitude of white superiority, expose new states to Communists, who exploits these factors. We are very vulnerable concerning this vast area, once a reserve for the West, which now may become one Communists.

Soviets rapidly being industrialized and making offers to new and under-developed states. Profit system faced with statism, which does not count costs. Should remember Stalin not only said war not inevitable, but that Soviets should sit on sidelines, add a push where weakness in West appears and take West piece by piece. Soviets have never repudiated that line.

No reason be discouraged. West has vast assets; and its belief in nature of man sound will prevail as it always has against those who treat men like cogs. Fabulous production of United States possible because of free men’s desire. United States now has three times production of USSR. Though Soviet production increasing percentagewise, margin of productivity not likely to change appreciably.

Will developments of those who seek freedom be thwarted by victories abroad of Soviet pseudo liberals, who then will not have to grant greater liberties at home? “Winning cold war” could mean evolution of Soviet into respectable member of society of nations, when two or three men no longer able decide to start war, with informed public opinion affecting government decisions. There is a beginning here, which stems from firmness and unity of West. We have passed first decade with no war and some liberalization inside USSR. If we can continue do the same in second decade, liberal forces within will demand more freedom. But if they get victories before they make concessions, West will lose. This is task to which we will say more later.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 740.5/5–556. Secret. Approved by Timmons and repeated to the other NATO capitals.
  2. For reports on this meeting, see Polto 2019, supra .