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

Polto 2017. Following is summary afternoon North Atlantic Council session May 4:2

Greece emphasized its experience with Communist-inspired subversive action. Said some nations appreciated threat of CP action more than others. Tended support Italian statement morning session.3

Reiterated Greek line of December meeting4 of need for coordinated propaganda, particularly before East-West contacts occur. Should consult before contacts and approach whole problem of contacts cautiously.

NATO has been successful, witness Soviet attacks on it. Must increase awareness Communist threat. Problems should be discussed in Council. Must really do something, not just issue communiqué.

Portugal said USSR still dictatorship with no change ultimate goals. Change to sweeter tactic is for CP purpose.

Cautious approach to East-West contacts recommended. Danger of opening door too wide, particularly in countries where CP outlawed.

Should develop common political front in NATO under Article 4. This will lead to obtaining goals of Article 2. Must develop real unity, based on political consultation, so each can speak in name of all. Should not change policy on mere guess as to scope of real change within Russia.

Item II (B)

Germany said thanks to NATO defensive alliance Soviet threat diminished, but Soviet military capabilities increased and we cannot neglect any military commitment. GFR ready cooperate modernizing forces and create required divisions. Non-military NATO task is to complement, not to impair, NATO military task.

Soviet goals remain same, with new system of aggression. Free world superior so long as it coordinates its strength and retains common goals.

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Must not just react to Soviet moves, but develop own political forward strategy. Need not develop rigid rules limiting national freedom of action. Perhaps can deal with matters on case by case basis.

NATO can deal with any political problem affecting security and interests of Atlantic Community. Any modification Soviet tactics should be studied. Action can be coordinated in accordance Article 2. Help underdeveloped countries remain free as well as give financial and technical assistance. Coordinate political, economic and social action. Use unfair trade methods only in special cases. Coordinate programs to avoid race for markets. NATO not to administer aid programs, but NATO can coordinate guidelines for programs. No rules re organization; should be flexible and give major opportunity to private enterprise.

Conclusions: create NATO politico-economic working group to see what countries should be center our operations. WG to submit agreed proposals to NAC. International staff to assist in analyses. Use to maximum all present organizations national and international.

France: non-military area now more important than military. Time ripe to improve civilian infrastructure of members with full international works: communications (especially trunk highways and tunnels, e.g. under Channel), dams, prospecting for oil and minerals. NATO need not do work, but would establish principals and discuss financing which could be NATO-wide, bilateral or multilateral. If agreeable, committee of experts could study and report later.

For under-developed areas, committee of experts should study what to do. Opposed to triangular trade.

Proposes world agency for economic development under UN-ECOSOC, with steering committee of all participants, statistical office, bank or fund to lend on low or no interest. Text being pouched.5

Dutch: no change Soviet goals. Hungry lion has become hungry serpent. We need not apologize for maintaining military effort. Favors East-West contacts.

Task now more complex: (1) can no longer concentrate on European situation, (2) economic problems inherently difficult to face on unified basis.

Need greatly increased consultation all non-military matters before taking position on any matter before outside world. While certain members have different responsibilities outside NATO, must coordinate and follow common line.

Development under-developed areas will take long time. Education necessary. Soviets face same problem. No strings on aid: egotism through altruism.

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French proposal for aid through UN seems vague and unnecessary at first blush. Why not do through SUNFED?

Aid to under-developed areas should not be through NATO.

Triangular trade bad as weapon economic warfare. Use only as last report.

If we want NATO strong, should not go outside NATO to build strength and unity. Can do economic work through OEEC.

Item III(A)

Italy: should (1) reinforce unity within Alliance and give proof of progress toward political economic and social community; (2) intensify and coordinate action for aid under-developed areas.

Military threat remains and requires continuing preparedness.

NATO need not take direct action in economic and social field. Other organs exist, should be supported.

Tabled resolution (text cabled separately).6

For under-developed areas, North Atlantic Council should undertake periodic detailed review Soviet economic offensive to adjust lines of action and appoint group of high level counsellors to review problems and suggest solutions. Taking account of existing national and international organs.

NATO label on aid must be avoided.

Turkey: must not appear just react to Soviets. Closer political consultation desirable with NATO on political economic and military matters. Defense effort must be maintained.

Suggests committee of experts to study proposals so far submitted.

Discuss economic problems in NATO, as Canada suggested December. NATO should also consider political implications of economic questions. Study common economic policy and method re under-developed areas.

United States: text Secretary statement sent separately.7

Canada: agrees with Secretary on tasks before us. Must be strong, healthy and unified and publicize unity. More difficult task in view relaxation of tensions.

Must collaborate more and consult on both political and economic matters. Welcomes Italian resolution.

NATO should not be agency to administer aid. UN should be brought in more and more, not as executive agency but top coordinate [Page 66] all plans of gives and receives. Could exchange economic blueprints.

NATO could be forum for political and economic strategy coordination.

More political consultation needed but no substantial NATO organizational changes required.

Ministers should attend NAC meetings at will without waiting for all to attend Ministerial sessions.

Should become habit to take no action substantially affecting other members without prior NATO consultation.

Should refer to or advise Permanent Council on matters which one or two may have special responsibility, e.g., Germany, disarmament, etc.

Agrees with Secretary coordination of effort most important.

NATO best agency to deal with political aspects.

Norway: accepted Secretary’s definition the three main problems.

Prior consultation is way to develop unity. Consult where common policy on matters of equal concern; where special responsibility of a few, inform others and give them chance to express views.

No new economic agency within NATO needed. But NATO can handle discussion political aspects economic problems, including aid to under-developed countries.

Likes UN and SUNFED. Can find way to associate Germany with UN action.

After much debate, agreed Spaak communiqué, to be reviewed by Spaak, Pineau, Martino and Pearson and Perm Reps other states and then refer to Council.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 740.5/5–556. Secret. Approved by Timmons. Transmitted in two sections and repeated to the other NATO capitals.
  2. The summary, C–R(56)21, and verbatim, C–VR(56)21, records of this session, both dated May 4, are ibid., Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 696 and 706.
  3. See Document 20.
  4. For documentation on the NAC Ministerial meeting, December 14–17, 1955, see Documents 1017.
  5. See footnote 5, Document 19.
  6. A copy of the Italian resolution entitled “Future Action Under Article 2” C–M(56)44, which proposed that the Council review periodically progress achieved in the economic field and increase cooperation in the scientific and technical spheres, is in Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 695. It was transmitted in Polto 2015, May 5. (Ibid., Central Files, 740.5/5–556)
  7. Polto 2016, infra .