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

Polto 1408. Subject: Restricted NAC session 10:30 December 13.2

Martino in chair referred with regret to press leaks again today. Lange felt NATO press officer should be allowed make little fuller statement on sessions in order provide press more balanced picture. The Secretary approved this. Pearson also approved and hoped press officer could correct impression given by press that US and Federal Republic have issued cold blasts yesterday.

Ismay announced that in response his request Netherlands and Norway Foreign Ministers had offered prepare first draft communiqué3 which would be circulated delegations for comment before going to council. The Secretary asked permission have record restricted session corrected to eliminate certain errors.

[Page 146]

Council then reverted to review of situation (item 2). Brentano then spoke about situation in Eastern Europe and recent events Hungary. He made following points:

He agreed with estimate of Secretary that danger was greater. He noted Soviets have recently been re-arming their forces Eastern Europe with modern weapons. USSR by resorting brutal methods could safeguard their line of communications through satellites. And finally he agreed internal difficulties might lead such regime turn to external adventures.
He felt Hungary events reinforced need for forward strategy in order strengthen NATO as instrument of peace and freedom as Lange had said. Despite delays FedRep is pressing its military program. He welcomed statement of Secretary reaffirming our determination react against aggression. But in addition nuclear power NATO needs conventional forces against limited attack. This of special interest FedRep.
Policy toward satellites should not foster violence but should let situation ripen as it is doing in Poland, encouraging it by economic and political relations, taking care any economic help did not strengthen Soviets. We must seek especially prevent Soviets from stirring up anti-German nationalist feelings in satellites. FedRep reaffirms its pledge not resort force except for defense.
FedRep conscious dangers inherent German split. It has sought moderate reaction in Eastern Zone to recent events. Soviet satellite policy has been shaken but consequences cannot be predicted either with respect future of Gomulka Poland or Soviet position Hungary. Soviets not likely be able re-establish their former domination satellites. The October 30 declaration of Soviets4 cannot be relied on too much. The new situation might cause new Soviet initiatives on German unity. In general we will have to await developments but FedRep will continue discussions with Soviets in close consultation with its allies despite poor prospects.
NATO members should make known to Eastern European peoples their sympathy and support for freedom in area, reassuring them against any efforts interfere their affairs. For this purpose it might be desirable adopt declaration affirming
Support for self-government in full freedom
Right national independence and freedom from imperialist subjugation
Right determine own social order freely
Right be free in internal affairs from military, economic, or political pressure
Support for human rights, and
GA to insure observance these obligations.

He hoped Council might agree these principles.

Pearson said Brentano proposal important and should be carefully studied. He doubted, however, Council should say UNGA should insure observance. That would be both inappropriate and impractical. [Page 147] The Secretary suggested Brentano declaration be referred communiqué committee for inclusion at least essence subject Pearson’s comment. In main US sympathized with point of view expressed. In absence objection Martino said statement would be so referred. At suggestion of Secretary, Council then turned to discussion report of three ministers still in restricted session.

On behalf of three Martino thanked Council for expressions of confidence yesterday and replied to some comments by Council:

He stressed that report while taking account views Foreign Ministers reflected opinions of three. But recommendations had stated flexibly especially as to political and economic consultation.
He stressed three had expected consultation only on matters direct or indirect interest to members and that paragraph 475 should be interpreted this sense.

Replying to Secretary, committee while seeking harmonize policy as much as possible did not intend hamstring US President or establish hierarchy of treaty obligations. He was glad US ready discuss its policy anywhere and recognized it might have to respond to aggression other parts of world even before discussion. Where matter directly affects Atlantic Alliance there should be prior discussion but even there it might not be practical some cases. On attendance by ministers at meetings he was keenly aware criticism about absences himself but urged such attendance “where possible.” He mentioned US had proposed members be represented by top officials who could speak for their governments. He hoped committee would find it possible accept report and suggested turning to resolution for that purpose. Luns then raised question about wording resolution on settlement disputes. He thought it might imply possibility not settling by peaceful means and should be re-drafted to remove this implication. Spaak felt first question was decide on approval report itself and publication.

At request Martino, Pearson then commented on various proposals for changes in text, mainly French and German:

He was sure Luns’ objection could be met pointing out wording was now same as Article I of treaty.
Regarding paragraph 52(c)6 he felt obligation consult was flexibly stated and applied only matters significantly affecting allies. It certainly did not cover all national action or statements. He thought there was no need change language and only feared limitations too broad.
On paragraph 54(b)7 committee was willing drop reference “failures” consult as unnecessary in reference annual review by Secretary General.
On paragraph 58(e)8 French objected right of Secretary General select three permanent representatives in relation good offices. He explained permanent representatives would not be obliged act without approval their government and hoped this would satisfy French.
Paragraphs 72 to 749 had concerned several delegations. Committee thought paragraph 72 could be left in report and was not harmful even if published. They agreed, however, 73 and 74 might better be transferred confidential covering letter and additional changes made to run it into next section without new heading. French had suggested omission Chapter 7 (on organization) but committee felt was desirable publish this except for paragraph 9310 dealing with security which they would shift to confidential letter. There upon Brentano said he fully satisfied with explanations. Pineau said he too now prepared go along if resolution made clear council only noted report and approved merely conclusions. He would rely Secretary General’s discretion in using right choose three permanent representatives. Pearson said committee now favored resolution which merely approved conclusions and which would publish report as that of three ministers.

Luns said he still wondered about wisdom publishing some of statement in paragraphs 8, 21, and 2611 which suggested fear aggression had been removed. In reply Lange felt report made perfectly clear importance NATO maintaining adequate defense even though situation was not static. Luns said he would bow as majority. Pineau then proposed three wise men take last look at report before publishing it to see whether they might want revise few statements or translations. The Secretary endorsed idea of approving only recommendations and suggestion that three ministers take last look in light debate and current situation. Lange saw merit this proposal as long as three did not have to refer text back to Council. Spaak questioned whether they should attempt modernize it completely. Pearson said [Page 149] they had taken account events Hungary in preparing their draft but felt it useful look it over again.

Council took up resolution and agreed add paragraph suggested by Luns authorizing three ministers publish it on their own responsibility and approving Secretary’s proposal substitute word “recommendations” for “conclusions.” Revised resolution was then adopted. After brief discussion, resolution on disputes was also adopted with addition words in preamble and first operative paragraph making reference paragraph I of treaty.12 Meeting then adjourned until 3:30 for discussion political directive (item 4) which would be held in restricted session but with two additional advisors.13

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 740.5/12–1356. Confidential. Transmitted in two sections and repeated to the other NATO capitals and Moscow.
  2. The summary, C–R(56)73, and verbatim, C–VR(56)73, records of this session, both dated December 13, are ibid., Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 827.
  3. Not printed. (Ibid., CF 808)
  4. See footnote 9, Document 41.
  5. Paragraph 47 of the Report of the Committee of Three (see footnote 4, supra) stated that there were practical limitations to consultation on foreign policies.
  6. Reference is apparently to paragraph 51c, which stated that a member government should not, without adequate advance consultation, adopt firm policies or make major political pronouncements on matters which significantly affect the Alliance unless circumstances make such prior consultation obviously impossible.
  7. See footnote 8, supra.
  8. See footnote 8, supra.
  9. Paragraph 72 recommended the establishment of a Committee of Economic Advisors under the Council. Paragraph 73 stressed the importance of cultural cooperation among the Allies. Paragraph 74 is discussed in footnote 15, supra.
  10. Paragraph 93 recommended the member countries consider the appointment of a high official, who can speak authoritatively for their governments, to be concerned primarily with NATO affairs.
  11. Paragraph 8 stated that the political commitment for collective defense is the best deterrent against military aggression. Paragraph 21 recommended a review of NATO’s ability to meet effectively the challenge of Soviet penetration of Western Europe under the guise of coexistence. Paragraph 26 warned that while Soviet leaders may place greater emphasis on political, economic, and propaganda action, the high level of Soviet military power will be maintained.
  12. For text of the Resolution on the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes and Differences Between Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Resolution on the Report of the Committee of Three on Non-Military Co-operation in NATO, and the Report of the Committee of Three on Non-Military Co-operation in NATO, released by the NATO Information Division on December 14, see Department of State Bulletin, January 7, 1957, pp. 17–28.
  13. See Polto 1422, infra.