40. Editorial Note

The Ministerial meeting of the North Atlantic Council held at Paris, December 11–14, was attended by the Foreign Ministers of the 15 member countries. The United States Delegation was headed by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, Secretary of the Treasury George M. Humphrey, and United States Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization George W. Perkins. Among the senior advisers were Robert R. Bowie, Assistant Secretary of State for Policy Planning; C. Burke Elbrick, Coordinator, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs; Gordon Gray, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs; and Admiral Arthur W. Radford, USN, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Secretary of State and his advisers left Washington on December 8. In his departure statement, Dulles stated that this meeting would perhaps be the most important meeting NATO had held. He said the Council would review the international situation, discuss the need for closer cooperation among the Allies, and would draw up a new directive through their military representatives which would “take into account both the present international situation and military developments in terms of the role of new weapons.” For text of this statement, see Department of State Bulletin, December 17, 1956, pages 950–951.

The most extensive body of documentation on this meeting is in Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 62 D, 181, CF 807–828. CF 807, 808, 809, and 810 contain a set of briefing papers for the delegation on matters to be discussed at the meeting. CF 811, 812, and 813 contain papers dealing with the administrative details of the meeting. CF 814 contains copies of memoranda of conversation which summarize the bilateral talks and meetings between members of the United States Delegation and representatives of the Allies attending the Council. CF 815 and 816 have only miscellaneous documents. CF 817 includes copies of telegrams sent to Paris for information during the Council. CF 818, 819, 820, and 821 contain copies of outgoing cables from Paris, TopolPolto, DulteTedul, and TosecSecto telegrams, respectively, which summarize the meetings and bilateral talks and include the exchanges between the United States Delegation and the Department of State. CF 822 includes copies of the summary and verbatim records of all the Council meetings, copies of both the draft and final directive, and a copy of the final communiqué. CF 823 has only a copy of Dulles’ December 11 statement to the Council. CF 824, 825, 826, 827, and 828, which contain the schedule of bilateral talks and the Council meetings for December 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14, respectively, also have copies of the summary [Page 104] and verbatim records of the Council meetings and the telegrams and memoranda of conversation summarizing those talks held on those individual days. Reports and documents, which discuss preparations for the meeting and summarize the proceedings, and copies of some of the telegrams described above are also ibid., Central Files, 740.5.

During his stay in Paris, Dulles discussed problems of mutual concern with some of the Foreign Ministers. On December 10, Dulles and several of his advisers met with Lloyd. Their discussions are summarized in the following memoranda of conversations: USDel/MC/1, December 10, on Suez; USDel/MC/1/1, December 10, on the Baghdad Pact; USDel/MC/1/2, December 10, on Jordan; and USDel/MC/1/3, December 10, on United States policy on the use of force and the scheduling of another Ministerial meeting. A memorandum of conversation, USDel/MC/2, December 10, summarizes Admiral Radford’s conversation that day with Strauss on the German military buildup and the United States contribution to NATO. On the afternoon of December 10, Secretary Dulles met with Pineau; a memorandum of conversation, USDel/MC/5, December 10, describes their discussion of Suez, NATO, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Algeria (also summarized in Secto 6, December 11; ibid., 740.5/12–1156).

On December 11, Dulles met with Pearson. The memorandum of conversation, USDel/MC/3 (Secto 8 summarized the discussion about the United Nations peacekeeping force in the Middle East), is dated December 11. On that same day, Dulles met again with Lloyd when they discussed defense expenditures and forces in Germany. See Document 44.

On December 12, Dulles met with Averoff to talk about Cyprus and later met with Macmillan to discuss the effect of the Suez crisis on relations between the United States and the United Kingdom. These discussions are summarized in Dulte 14, December 12.

Dulles talked with Brentano on December 13 about German rearmament and Germany’s contribution to NATO forces. Secto 18, December 13, summarized this conversation. Dulles also met that day with Menderes; their conversation about Cyprus is summarized in Secto 20, December 14. A more complete account of this talk is in the memorandum of conversation, USDel/MC/8, December 13. The memorandum of conversation USDel/MC/8 describes Dulles’ conversation with Lange about nuclear tests, and Secto 21 describes his talk with Cunha about the impact of prospective Soviet explosives in the Arctic area; both are dated December 13.

On December 14, Secretary Dulles met first with Pineau. The memorandum of conversation, December 12, USDel/MC/12, describes their conversation about Suez. The memorandum of conversation, December 14, USDel/MC/7, reports Dulles’ talk with Bartels of [Page 105] the Suez Canal Users’ Association. The memorandum of conversation, December 14, USDel/MC/10, describes the Secretary’s talk with Averoff about Cyprus. The memorandum of conversation, December 14, USDel/MC/6, reports Dulles’ conversation with Lloyd that day about Suez.

Many of the telegrams and memoranda of conversation cited here are scheduled for publication in the relevant compilations in forthcoming Foreign Relations volumes. Copies are in Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 824, 825, 826, 827, and 828.

The Council meeting followed this agenda:

Report by the Secretary General of Progress During Period 21st April to 30th November 1956.
Review by Foreign Ministers of International Situation
Trends and Implications of Soviet Policy
Comparison of Economic Growth in Sino-Soviet Bloc and in NATO Countries
Memorandum by Turkish Delegation on Middle East
Report of Committee of Three on Non-Military Cooperation in NATO
NATO Defense Effort—Political Directive to NATO Military Authorities
Oral Intelligence Briefing by Chairman of Standing Group
Draft Directive to NATO Military Authorities from North Atlantic Council
Present Status of NATO Military Effort
Military Progress of North Atlantic Treaty Organization—Report Number 9; Report by the Military Committee
1956 Annual Review
Any Other Business
Date of Next Ministerial Meeting

Upon his return from the NAC meeting on December 15, Dulles issued a brief statement about the progress made by the Allies in their discussions. The Secretary concluded, “I have reported to President Eisenhower, and he shares my own sense of satisfaction that the Atlantic Community is showing renewed evidence of vigor and unity for its security and well-being.” The text of Dulles’ statement of December 15 and of the final communiqué of December 14, are printed in Department of State Bulletin, December 24–31, 1956, pages 981–982.

Because the documentation covering this meeting is extensive, the editors are presenting the most significant documents which best [Page 106] illustrate the main points of the Council’s discussions pertaining to NATO.