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

Polto 1407. Council met Wednesday afternoon in second plenary session2 to consider report Committee of Three on non-military cooperation in NATO (Agenda Item III, documents CM (56)1263 and 1274).

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Martino, speaking as one of three authors of report, commented on change in situation from last spring when Council called for preparation report and atmosphere was characterized by emphasis on economic aid [and] political competition with Soviet Union and much less by military threat. Wise Men have had to take account change in situation and crisis of Alliance in past month. Calling attention to political consultation session, said would be senseless talk of Atlantic unity if it will not be possible to harmonize members’ views if situations similar to that of recent months should again arise in future. Called attention also to difficulties that have existed in past between NATO members and fact that no serious effort made resolve these in re NATO. These problems seem less serious now only because overshadowed by much graver ones.

Martino then referred to two resolutions annexed to letter transmittal5 and expressed hope Council would examine and approve report and publish as soon as possible for salutary effect on public, especially in present situation.

Only solution this situation is reinforce and strengthen Atlantic unity wherever shaken, whether in political, economic or psychological field. Then called for general discussion on report, to be initiated by other two Wise Men.

Lange referred to certain doubts expressed by members concerning wisdom publishing report. Stated Wise Men never proposed publishing letter of transmittal which discusses certain internal considerations. Report, however, should be published if only because of wide spread publicity which has built up expectation and because of misunderstanding and misinterpretation which would ensue from non-publication; referred specifically to introductory section6 which reworked after recent events and he considers especially useful.

Lange referred to paragraph 437 starting with phrase “consultation within Alliance means more than exchange of information” noting Wise Men are recommending considerable degree of pooling of sovereignty. Felt that experiences recent weeks have underlined importance of willingness take this step. We should not be dismayed [Page 139] by differences of opinion which recent events and discussions this meeting show still exist, but our ultimate aim is to reach harmonization of policy and unity which comes only as result long process of consultation. To our common advantage know how partners feel. No one blind to real differences between us with regard to power and responsibilities in world and that unity of Alliance depends on those with greatest power and responsibility. Understandable that consultation with all of us may be ruled out by urgency but believe coordination among three major members is minimum requirement.

Lange concluded from discussion at meeting thus far that seems agreed NATO needs consultation on matters of central interest to it but also on items affecting interests beyond North Atlantic area. Also considered but impossible for members share in joint responsibility without sharing in full consultation and having some possibility influence action.

Pearson expressed thanks two colleagues and others who had helped and relief at being divested of “mysterious cloak of wisdom.” He stressed military cooperation as real foundation of NATO and said that the structure non-military cooperation must be built on this base. While member governments consulted in course preparing report, still responsibility three authors until adopted. Pearson stressed consultations and that it especially important for three major powers with responsibility to consult. Recognized two practical limitations on consultation, first growing out of fact that governments are responsible to electorates and second out of need for immediate action in some cases. Hoped report could be published to give people better understanding NATO aims and ideals and foster acceptance by non-members of NATO’s purely defensive purposes. Hoped Council would approve report and members, while not committing themselves in detail to views of three authors, would undertake carry out general line recommendations.

Lloyd noted report with satisfaction and stated UK can broadly accept report. Noted its recommendations will move NATO on way toward political as well as military alliance. Endorsed added powers proposed for Secretary General which he interpreted, among other things, as tribute to Ismay’s great success. Referred paragraphs 54 and 58;8 regarding former said UK believes annual political appraisal [Page 140] should be Secretary General’s own report noting events past year and what should be developments coming year. Pointed also to great responsibility Secretary General with regard settlement disputes, where confidence members must be fostered and fixed procedures should not be imposed.

Lloyd noted UK worldwide responsibility. If consultation proposals mean every member given right to criticize and obstruct every decision, not much will be accomplished. But consultation can be favorable if it looks toward a desire of sharing responsibility. Recognized, however, this may raise some doubts in members’ minds about desirability consultation.

Lloyd endorsed suggested improvements NAC procedures, singling out idea that Foreign Ministers should attend when matters particular importance up (cited Spaak report to Council after Moscow visit).9 Characterized paragraphs on economic, cultural and information matters as broadly on right line. With reference paragraph 70,10 stressed importance keeping any NATO action in line with OEEC.

In conclusion, Lloyd said saw grand design now emerging for Atlantic Community made up of three elements: (1) high military and political directorate as represented by NATO and WEU; (2) economic cooperation under and associated with OEEC, including Coal Steel community, European Payments Union, projected Common Market and EURATOM; (3) single assembly on Parliamentary lines. Report of Wise Men most valuable as contribution of first these three elements and UK welcomes it as such.

Secretary Dulles referred first to public statement he made last April with President’s approval proposing further development North Atlantic Council along political lines.11 (Verbatim text Secretary’s statement being pouched Department.12) U.S. gratified following these three distinguished and able Foreign Ministers appointed develop report as to how we could improve on functions Council. U.S. has cooperated through interest Senator George, specifically appointed by President to work with Committee of Three. Secretary associated himself with Lloyd’s expression of satisfaction over careful, scholarly and wise job, adding we can profit much by adoption of report which he hopes will occur, but also by continuing keeping before us wisdom contained therein.

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Secretary noted there were a few phrases with which U.S. not wholly in agreement and said he would clarify these points. As example cited paragraph 47 noting that statement that there “cannot be unity in defense and disunity in foreign policy” goes too far if taken literally. Foreign policies all over world need not be in harmony as prerequisite for NATO defense but he deduces that this was not in fact intent of authors. He acknowledged, of course, that some degree disunity would jeopardize defense and noted that report will help us avoid this difficulty.

Referring paragraphs 51 and 52,13 Secretary noted this might seem to call for consultation in Council before adoption any foreign policy or any pronouncement affecting others. This is principle we would strive apply within reason and limits our constitutional processes although literal application not possible. Referred to procedures in U.S. Government for policy formulation including NSC and consultation by executive with Congress and congressional committees. Secretary also noted institution of press conferences, corresponding roughly to question period in Parliament, where pronouncements rarely are of new policy but often so represented. Each member has some problems of this sort and U.S. would presume that adoption of report not intended cut across these established procedures.

Like some other members, Secretary noted, U.S. also has worldwide responsibilities and is member collective security associations, each association calling for consultation. Such arrangements exist with 44 countries, 30 of which not represented on Council. Matters of more direct concern to others cannot be put up for prior consultation in NAC. U.S. cannot have hierarchy of relationships among allies around world. Nevertheless, Secretary believed this involves no practical conflict with recommendations of report.

Secretary added consultation must not prevent timely and effective action by governments. Within U.S. Government consultation already required with so many departments and agencies that effectiveness of action already often interfered with and therefore we have added difficulties in way of consulting. Mean [Must?], nevertheless, take into account views friends and allies as far as we are aware of them. Important, therefore, that Council look into problems in advance and viewpoints members be made known to all in case quick action later required. U.S. ready discuss and explain policy on any foreseeable problem in world in NAC as, in fact, it has already done with regard situations Korea, Formosa, Japan and others. Under such an arrangement, if China should attack Taiwan, Council would know [Page 142] in advance our likely reaction if we did not consult before reacting to attack. Secretary General perhaps should have responsibility calling attention of members to troublesome matters before necessary take action on them, as we do in U.S. in NSC. Would welcome adoption this procedure in NATO and believe might avoid member seeming act without approval of allies in emergency.

Secretary recalled saying last April it would not be good drift into ill-defined relationship which could create more ill will than solve problems. If adopting report means U.S. will do nothing in world without consulting NAC, this will lead to confusion, misunderstanding and descrimination.

However, in context given by comments of three authors, believe it clear this not intended.

Secretary expressed strong hope U.S. Government that recommendations of Wise Men will not be taken as substituted for closer military, political, economic relationships European members of Atlantic community. Referring to Coal and Steel Community and possibility Common Market and others, Secretary noted greater unity in Council is no substitute for even more far reaching unity between certain members where circumstances and geography make this appropriate.

As matter personal privilege, Secretary referred paragraph 9614 stating U.S. Secretary State could hardly give more time than has in past to NATO Council meetings. Already subject to criticism this theme on account of absences for purpose. Noted political advisers group recommended by report might facilitate fruitful discussions on political matters.

Provisions on settlement of disputes particularly welcomed by Secretary who expressed view that weakness of West and loss authority enjoyed for several preceding centuries due to inability settle disputes and stop wars which resulted. Some important steps already taken through Brussels Treaty and NATO but Secretary saw need coming for more mechanism in this field and greater will by members to settle disputes peacefully among themselves. Referred to provisions of treaty Organization of American States which have worked well and hoped that procedures contemplated by report will give added assurance.

Secretary shared Lloyd’s views concerning value of increased authority for Secretary General and endorsed his praise for Ismay. Noted finally that great value of report will come not from words and form of resolution but manner in which we work under report. [Page 143] U.S. will make great effort to see that vision of Wise Men will be realized.

Brentano stated constitution will be carried out by Federal Republic to extent recommended, as well as measures required for political annual review, including preparation reports and questionnaires and assistance from delegations. Proposals in report for political cooperation represent minimum measures necessary in NATO to be effective defensive weapon against East. Federal Republic also agrees to machinery in paragraph 58 concerning settlement disputes. Would be happier if Secretary General’s position as mediator were reinforced. Brentano wondered whether he could not be empowered act as mediator on request of one party to dispute, even if both parties not fully agreeable and cooperative. Finally, he agreed with U.S. that nature development of NATO should not hinder cooperation in other European organizations.

Italian Minister Treasury Medici spoke briefly emphasizing desirability consultation and referring in particular to economic relations with Near East, in which regard he felt important beginning could be made in NATO consultation and cooperation. Italy ready make necessary economic sacrifices this connection and he hoped meeting would give specific directive for further study this point.

Pineau stated report extremely “interesting”, adding that recommendations and reservations which follow not intended as criticism. He separated action of approving report from agreement to publish, noting that if publication decided on French would require certain amendment in addition to those required to permit their approval.

Pineau first referred to some language objectionable to French regarding recent events Hungary and some implying criticism of certain powers during recent events and expressed reservation about passage on economic matters and proposing new mission for Secretary General. Then made following observations: (1) noting Secretary’s reservation about attending all Ministerial meetings, Pineau wondered whether some political person could not be appointed to speak in name government in absence Foreign Minister; (2) agreed cooperation with other European organizations not to be curtailed; (3) referred to Secretary’s point made earlier in day that Senate had prescribed NATO not to take up matters already before United Nations and also to Secretary’s statement United States foreign policy could not always be harmonized with the other NATO members when non-member countries concerned and area involved not covered by treaty. Pineau said could refer alliance inadvisible but we must be clear on how to handle instances when it is not. This connection mentioned Far East, Middle East and North Africa. Felt this point should be cleared up if we wish avoid difficulties for Secretary General.

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Gudmundsson stated Iceland agrees in all report’s recommendations. Drew attention particularly to economic cooperative clauses as meant to Iceland’s need for adequate markets in NATO area. Noted Iceland has leaned more and more on Soviets until latter is now biggest customer, undesirable situation for NATO.

Hansen stated report put proper emphasis on increased political consultation and indicated hope guiding principles of report will meet with general approval even if there are differences opinion over specific provisions. Concerning consultation among officials involved in commercial negotiations, believed this should be on ad hoc basis when need arises. Held same view concerning any special mechanism for trade controls.

Martino mentioned possibility proceeding to consideration covering note (CM(56)126) and two annexes but noted reservations expressed by French. Pointed out report is of three Ministers and not of Council and publication does not commit Council. Pineau replied that if Council adopts resolution approving report, obliged carry out recommendations. Furthermore, publication of certain passages, French believe, would have repercussions on public opinion. Pineau stated French will submit amendments which would be required before publication. Martino then proposed holding up discussion of annexes until Wise Men have taken up French reservations. Then raised question of whether resolution approving report could be adopted. Not decided at this point and it was ultimately agreed to put off consideration of resolution approving report until next day.

Discussion report then resumed, Averoff noting that provision concerning settlement of disputes does not appear to apply to those already in existence or being considered in other forums. Cunha noted his government in position approve but raised comment in particular concerning significance of Council approval, if approval given in light Secretary Dulles’ comment about report serving as guide to be interpreted with flexibility, then Portugal has no problem, but point should be clarified before we proceed. Luns made same reservation as Greeks about settlement of disputes and suggested that provision in any event be less strict and rigid.

Secretary again spoke for approval of report. Would not commit us all to every sentence but rather to approval general conclusions, inviting all states conform and asking Secretary General to establish machinery for implementation, subject to Council approval. Suggested form of approving resolution might be changed to obviate difficulty which was apparently in minds of some. Martino then referred to suggested amendment to Annex 2, inviting Council in permanent session to implement principles and recommendations made in report. Although Pearson and Spaak both emphasized desirability of flexibility in interpretation of report and urged its adoption through [Page 145] resolution framed in this sense, Pineau made it clear French still had difficulties if publication envisaged. Pineau then agreed present French reservations to Wise Men following present meeting and see if they could work out solution. Only remaining comment was Brentano’s statement he supports Pineau and also hesitates publication report. Specifically referred to paragraphs 71 and 74,15 said he also will give his ideas to Wise Men.

Chairman Martino adjourned meeting announcing restricted meeting Thursday morning16 to continue discussion international situation.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 740.5/12–1356. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Unger and approved by Elbrick. Transmitted in four sections and repeated to the other NATO capitals.
  2. The summary, C–R(56)71, and verbatim, C–VR(56)71, records of this session, both dated December 12, are ibid., Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 826.
  3. Not printed; the Letter of Transmittal of the Report of the Committee of Three, C–M(56)126, contains annex I: draft resolution on peaceful settlement of disputes and differences between NATO members; annex II: draft resolution for the approval of the report by the Council; and annex III: explanatory notes to the report. A copy of this letter, transmitted in Polto 1246 from Paris, November 28 (ibid., Central Files, 740.5/11–2856), is ibid., Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 807.
  4. The NAC at its May 5 Ministerial meeting appointed a Committee of Three Foreign Ministers to advise the Council on ways and means to improve and extend NATO cooperation in nonmilitary fields and to develop greater unity within the Atlantic Community (see Documents 2729). Although the individual members of the Committee, Pearson, Lange, and Martino, held informal consultations with some governments, the principal instrument for eliciting the latter’s proposals and suggestions was the NATO Questionnaire, drafted by the Committee at its first meeting, June 20–22, and circulated to the governments on June 28 with the request that replies be submitted by August 20. At the second meeting of the Committee, held in Paris September 10–22, the responses to the questionnaire were studied and consultations were held with the representatives of the member governments. Following these consultations, a draft report of the Committee was prepared and revised by Pearson. The report, finalized by the three Foreign Ministers in early November when they met in New York, was distributed to the governments November 16. Copies of the “Report of the Committee of Three on Non-Military Co-operation in NATO” CM(56)127, a report of 31 pages divided into 6 chapters and an annex, are ibid., CF 809 and 822. Documents on the composition of the report, including some of the replies to the questionnaire and comments on the replies, are ibid., Central Files, 740.5. The report is printed in Department of State Bulletin, January 7, 1957, pp. 18–28.
  5. See footnote 3 above.
  6. In the 10-page introduction, the authors of the report discussed the history of the Alliance, its importance to the member nations collectively and individually, and the need to transform the Atlantic Community into a vital and vigorous political reality.
  7. Paragraph 43, in a section on the scope and character of political consultation, quoted a report of the 1951 NATO Committee on the North Atlantic Community on the importance of consultation among the Allies.
  8. Paragraph 54 asked that member governments assist the Secretary General by giving him information for his annual report which would include an annual political appraisal of consultation and cooperation among the Allies. Paragraph 58 stated that the best supporters of NATO are those Members of Parliament who have had a chance to learn of its problems and to exchange views with their colleagues from other Parliaments. It stated that the Conference of Members of Parliament from NATO countries had contributed to the public support of NATO and solidarity among its members.
  9. After Spaak’s and Premier Achille van Acker’s official State visit to the Soviet Union, October 22–November 2, 1956, Spaak reported to the NAC at a special session on December 3. (Polto 1313 from Paris, December 4; Department of State, Central Files, 740.5/12–456)
  10. Paragraph 70 stated that NATO was not an appropriate agency for administering programs of assistance for economic development or for systematically concerting the relevant policies of member nations.
  11. See footnote 4, Document 19.
  12. Not found in Department of State files.
  13. Paragraph 51 listed the Committee’s recommendations in the field of political consultation. Paragraph 52 recommended that the Foreign Ministers, at each spring meeting, appraise the political progress of the Alliance.
  14. Paragraph 96 stated that the Council’s Committees of Political and Economic Advisers should help prepare the questions to be discussed in the Council. Recommendations to establish these committees are in paragraphs 56 and 72.
  15. Paragraph 71 stressed the importance of the NATO countries developing their own constructive commercial and financial policies as a counter to Soviet economic penetration. Paragraph 74 outlined four recommendations to further cultural collaboration.
  16. See Polto 1408, infra .