3. Telegram From the United States Delegation at the North Atlantic Council Ministerial Meeting to the Department of State1

Polto 2249. Cotel. Subject: NATO Ministerial Meeting, May 9.2

Public session went off without hitch with all Ministers making brief statements welcoming Germany into NATO and paying high tribute Adenauer. Texts all statements being pouched.3 Only exception worth noting was Portuguese who said: “Alliance is not yet complete. Not all nations which should logically belong are formally included in it—although we know they are all with us in spirit in desire to defend values of West. But it is impossible to overcome all difficulties at one time, and we must congratulate ourselves on having already got to point of taking this all important step”.
Morning plenary session devoted to SecGen Progress Report (Agenda Item I) and discussion Soviet Trends Paper (Agenda Item II(a)).4 Regarding first item Van Vredenburch announced Boyesen appointed new Norwegian PermRep.
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Secretary opened discussion Soviet Trends Paper stressing: (a) present Soviet regime continues emphasis development heavy industry and armaments. This is repudiation of Malenkov policy to raise Soviet living standards; (b) more reasonable Soviet position on Austria brought about by united stand of West and although Austrian treaty not yet finalized Soviet intentions seem to be genuine; (c) on other hand, Soviets have maintained negative position in disarmament talks in London;5 (d) furthermore, they are consolidating their Eastern military alliance and Molotov’s forthcoming meeting in Warsaw will give formal facade to something always in effect;6 (e) recent moves against Berlin, a clear violation of the 1949 agreement, are further disturbing factor;7 (f) West must proceed on assumption that basic Soviet policy unchanged and must not relax its efforts; (g) although international situation seems somewhat improved—this primarily due to fact that West is beginning see fruits its own policy—temptation to relax Western endeavors in face possible conciliatory moves must be rejected; (h) serious consideration must be given to General Gruenther’s Effectiveness Report which points out grave weaknesses in NATO armed forces;8 (i) West must not be frightened by Soviet threats or trapped into relaxation by outward manifestations of Soviet friendliness. This connection Secretary referred to December speech9 in which he pointed out Soviets always hurled threats at West whenever it took measures consolidate strengthen its position. But these measures always were followed by Soviet policies of greater moderation. Soviets now following Lenin–Stalin zig-zag policy of maneuver and West must take care not to relax because of superficial changes in Soviet policy. West was not deterred by Soviet threats—it must not now be deterred by superficial Soviet reasonableness. It must pursue its present course without vacillation, hesitation or weakness.

Turkish Foreign Minister commented at some length on dangers of Soviet inspired “peace offensive” which had in effect successfully engendered neutralist and pacifist currents in many countries. Soviet Union by dominating so many countries in Eastern Europe had disrupted European equilibrium and if neutralist trends increased real danger existed that Soviet domination would continue to expand.

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Adenauer stated that before coming to Paris he had consulted with all party leaders in his coalition Government. They all agreed they were entirely behind him and his policy of firm association with West. It was entirely incorrect to think that Germany had one eye to West and another to East. Austrian developments had no real effect on German public since situation in two countries entirely different. Adenauer commented briefly on opposition of youth in Eastern Zone, stating that partly because of church influence only about 8% of youth now attended Communist inspired ceremonies. He fully agreed with Secretary’s call for continued vigilance stating that Soviet Union would be dictatorship for some time and that dictatorships were always threat to their neighbors. Although there might now be a better climate for international conferences, such conferences must be of long duration since all world problems are intimately linked up and must be considered in time. If conference were called to consider German question this conference would probably be expanded to larger conference at later date to consider other problems; therefore other countries would have to be brought in. In any event, Soviets have not given up their basic intentions and NATO must remain strong, in fact increase its strength.

French Foreign Minister briefly commented on need for caution and cohesion and continuance of present NATO policies. Emphasis on Soviet heavy and munitions industries justifies preoccupations of West.

Belgian Foreign Minister stated that if there were any tendencies towards relaxation of tensions it was entirely due to successes NATO policies. Any future conference with Soviets must be preceded by careful preparation. Most important of all, West must decide what are objectives of such conference. Western public opinion, somewhat confused, desires such talks but does not know exactly what are Western goals. Public opinion would be badly disillusioned if conference held and no positive results attained. Spaak advocated that all NATO members be consulted in regard to objectives of any future conference, especially as to the defined limits beyond which the Western Powers would not retreat. He paid tribute to firm Western stand at Berlin conference.

At suggestion of UK Foreign Minister agreed that discussion Agenda Item II(b) would be initiated afternoon session.10

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 740.5/5–955. Secret. Concurred in by Merchant. Repeated to the other NATO capitals, Wiesbaden, and Heidelberg.
  2. The summary, C–R(55)18, and verbatim, C–VR(55)18, records of this session, both dated May 9, are ibid., Conference Files: Lot 60 D 627, CF 444.
  3. Not found in Department of State files. For text of Dulles’ statement, see Department of State Bulletin, May 23, 1955, p. 831.
  4. These items, C–M(55)47 and C–M(55)46, are in Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 60 D 627, CF 443 and CF 444, respectively.
  5. Reference is to the discussions of the Subcommittee of the U.N. Disarmament Commission in London, February 25–May 18, 1955.
  6. Reference is to the gathering in Warsaw of representatives of the Soviet Union and certain Eastern European nations in May 1955.
  7. Reference is to the Communiqué of the Sixth Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, June 20, 1949, printed in Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. iii, pp. 10621065.
  8. Not found in Department of State files.
  9. Reference presumably is to Dulles’ December 21, 1954, statement made upon his return from the NAC meeting in Paris. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, January 3, 1955, pp. 9–10.
  10. See Polto 2252, infra.