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

Polto 2278. Subject: Summary fourth NAC Ministerial session afternoon May 10.2

Item III—Implementation Paris Agreements.3

Spaak (Belgium) led off discussion re NATOWEU relationships by saying early doubts he had had as to which forum political questions should be discussed had, as result present meetings, been resolved in favor NATO. Emphasized following points in support this view: (1) there was no such thing as “European” defense; effective Atlantic defense required participation U.S. and Canada; (2) only NATO could take decisions as important for example as that taken by NAC Ministerial meeting last December re MC–48 concept; (3) European idea necessarily limited concept. Even small European powers affected by great power decisions re world problems and NATO forum was place where small powers could be informed and consulted as to what might affect them. Concluded by suggesting NATO political consultation during current meetings could lead toward sort of Atlantic Commonwealth analogous to British Commonwealth [Page 20] in which, without voting procedure and without specific commitments, Ministers could exchange views and then return home to work toward broad common policy. Expressed hope these ideas would find place in communiqué.

Pinay (France), Martino (Italy), and Steel (U.K.) associated themselves fully with views expressed by Spaak. Adenauer also agreed with Spaak that NAC was place in which major political problems should be discussed but pointed out WEU “must have life of its own” and free discuss whatever problems it saw fit. Lange (Norway), speaking as representative of European country not member of WEU, pointed out it especially important from Norway’s viewpoint that NATO remain principal forum for political discussion and for working out common Western policy. Said Norwegian public had evidence some worry that WEU might lead to inner circle within NATO which could limit opportunities countries such as Norway make full contribution to NATO. Cunha (Portugal) associated himself with Spaak and Lange. Beyen (Netherlands) asked Adenauer elaborate what he meant by WEU’s having “life of its own” and also asked whether Chancellor’s statement had been intended qualify views expressed by Spaak. Adenauer replied by saying functions of WEU and NATO were different; said it was WEU’s job and not NATO’s undertake control of armaments, etc. Also pointed out some of those who had helped establish WEU believed it would grow and lead toward greater cohesiveness its members in certain fields. At same time, Chancellor was in full agreement with Spaak that NATO rather than WEU was proper place discuss major problems international policy. Pinay supported foregoing views expressed by Chancellor and emphasized there no real question of competition between NATO and WEU. Zorlu (Turkey) recalled that last January Turkish Delegation had submitted memo to NAC on question NATO relations with WEU which thought pertinent to present discussion.4 Said obviously desirable insure closest collaboration between two organizations. Way to avoid duplication whenever new agency was proposed for WEU was to find out first whether any existing NATO agency could do job. Suggested this concept be incorporated in minutes of meeting. Spaak said there was no contradiction between what he had said earlier and full activity on part of WEU in field of tasks laid down in protocols. Also agreed with Chancellor that there considerable area potential development for WEU especially in economic and social fields. Pearson (Canada) agreed with Chancellor that WEU had important role to play and with Spaak that NAC must continue to be forum for working out common policy for West.

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Following above exchange, Secretary read statement expressing U.S. view that various discriminatory aspects of Peace Treaty with Italy superfluous and inconsistent with position of new Italy.5 Steel (U.K.) endorsed Secretary’s statement and Pinay (France) made similar declaration. Greece, Canada, Turkey, Belgium, Netherlands identified themselves with spirit Secretary’s statements. Latter two however said they unprepared with similar statements their own. Was agreed press communiqué working group would include statement in communiqué on lines those made by Secretary and Pinay and would also include reference to conclusion suggested by Spaak concerning relations between NATO and WEU.6

Item IV—Any Other Business.

Secretary informed Council that French, U.K. and U.S. Governments had invited Soviet Government to Four-Power Conference. Conference would have two stages: First, identification of problems to be solved and procedure for dealing with them; second, longer task of reaching concrete solutions. Secretary said believed tripartite note was in harmony with views expressed by NAC meeting previous day. Council took note Secretary’s statement.

Item V—Date and Place Next Ministerial Meeting.

Chairman Stephanopoulos (Greece) asked whether Ministers wished decide on meeting of Ministers between now and next December to consider SACEUR’s effectiveness report. Said did not think meeting of Defense Ministers alone would be effective since many of weaknesses in effectiveness report due to political or economic factors. Said full dress Ministerial meeting after September 1 might slow up 1955 annual review and therefore any meeting between now and December should be held prior September 1. Steel recalled question had already been preliminarily discussed by Council in permanent session and suggested that permanent representatives continue discuss and make recommendations to Ministers later as to date and place of next meeting. Council agreed that permanent representatives should make recommendations as to desirability holding Ministerial meeting to discuss SACEUR’s effectiveness report after they had gone more fully into question.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 740.5/5–1155. Secret. Repeated to the other NATO capitals.
  2. The summary, C–R(55)21, and verbatim, C–VR(55)21, records of this session, both dated May 10, are ibid., Conference Files: Lot 60 D 627, CF 444.
  3. For text of the Paris Agreements, also referred to as the Paris Accords, Protocols, or the London–Paris Agreements, reached at the Paris Nine- and Four-Power Conferences, October 23, 1954, see Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. v, Part 2, pp. 1435 ff.
  4. Not found in Department of State files.
  5. Not printed; a copy of this statement is in the verbatim record of the afternoon session, May 10, C–VR(55)21, in Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 60 D 627, CF 444.
  6. A general statement reaffirming that various discriminatory aspects of the Peace Treaty with Italy were considered to be inconsistent with the position of Italy as an ally appeared in the Final Communiqué issued at the conclusion of the NAC meeting, May 11, printed in Department of State Bulletin, May 23, 1955, pp. 831–832.