75. Telegram From the United States Delegation at the NATO Heads of Government Meeting to the Department of State1

Polto 1779. Following is summary first closed session NATO Heads of Government meeting held Palais de Chaillot, December 16, 3:30 to 8:00 p.m.2 Since most speeches including US released to press [Page 233] and text of all will be transmitted to Department,3 summaries individual speeches (covered in order given) considerably compressed.

1) Secretary-General.

Spaak opened with relatively brief statement. He stressed solemnity and importance of occasion. He covered aspects Soviet policy which led us form NATO and indicated these obviously remained unchanged. He said we still had hope for UN but under current circumstances nothing could replace NATO. He denied crisis in Alliance. Disagreements existed in NATO but this stemmed from fact it was alliance of equals. There was basic accord among nations though there were three or four major problems which still caused disharmony. However, all of these soluble.

Soviet rejection disarmament proposals4 had been blow to peace. These proposals now approved by over fifty nations in UN. He said this was proof good results obtainable from NAC political consultation. Spaak noted Soviet technological progress which confronted us made it essential NATO not remain inactive. Although NATO dedicated to peace it must have modern weapons. He referred to EisenhowerMacmillan talks particularly in connection with strengthening non-military aspects of alliance. He thought progress in all fields including scientific possible if there was political resolve. He concluded saying this conference should conclude with resolutions precise enough to satisfy high public expectation. He concluded with characterization NATO as association fifteen nations who wished cooperate with all who would live in peace.

2) Germany.

Adenauer opened with eloquent plea for peace and need overcome division of world. He said most important need was for disarmament agreement under adequate safeguard. He expressed regret world differences not overcome in 1957 although West made concessions. Political directions of past months showed no relaxation by Soviets. They had caused crisis in Middle East. NATO was formed to stop Soviet aggression and had succeeded though threat remains grave as ever. He referred to recent 12-nation declaration by Communists as threatening use of force5 but also keeping door open for [Page 234] negotiations if they wished. Meeting should review tasks of alliance. Since we wish strengthen alliance, doctrine interdependence outlined EisenhowerMacmillan communiqué6 is welcome. He thought need for common policies greater than ever to avoid lagging behind Soviets.

Political consultation Adenauer said was useful to combat Soviet initiatives. He thought it essential reach common positions on basic policy in order to lead concrete conclusions. He said Alliance must also act promptly on problems in Eastern Europe, Africa and Middle East. Because of special responsibilities US sometimes forced to act without consulting NAC but then should inform NAC of actions afterwards. He thought NAC might meet experts in field to discuss economic relations with Soviet bloc as means for lessening tension. Division of Germany was primary cause tension. Soviets had refused carry out commitment at Geneva for free all-German elections.7 On Berlin also we must not be defensive as Soviets were again exploring there.

Adenauer said latest Bulganin letter8 contained much that was known though language was moderate. He said he would not comment today but said we should probe Soviets’ vague words to get their meaning. So long as there was no progress on peace we must organize our military posture. Atlantic alliance needs latest weapons and organization of its forces and resources is important. He was glad NATO was beginning discuss scientific problems. He favored stressing in NATO basic research and scientific training. He also extended hand to young people uncommitted nations. He thought NATO science committee should start soon.

He concluded saying task of NATO was bring peace and avoid war. He said we would not relax in this regard and that there was no desire isolate NATO from rest free world.

3) Netherlands.

Drees after covering origins of NATO indicated his view shield forces still too weak. He thought interdependence concept insufficiently developed. He expressed gratitude at presence President Eisenhower and hope we would all leave meeting with conviction differences [Page 235] in NATO minor. He was pleased at maintenance US forces on continent and said this was one warning which contained Soviets.

He thought political consultation had limits but must be intensified. It does represent fundamental change in NATO operations. Current Soviet policy seemed directed less at military threat now than at weakening Europe’s relations with Africa and Asia. He made lengthy presentation Indonesian situation. He noted UN had been ineffectual and matter first discussed in NAC in 1956 when Dutch made predictions of things that had now happened. He said while Sukarno not Communist he was surrounded by Communists and certainly employed their methods. He concluded Indonesia was disintegrating and at least Java likely go Communist. Consequences to Netherlands financial position disastrous and might prevent her from filling her international (i.e. NATO) commitments.

Drees said Near East policy should be coordinated in NATO. He added latest Bulganin note deserved careful study. He said Soviets as afraid of nuclear weapons as we but we could not give them up as they needed for survival. There should be common NATO doctrine to combat Soviet economic offensives.

4) Italy.

Zoli said meeting called at this unprecedented level to dramatize desire NATO peoples for peace. Further objective was examination Atlantic alliance in order avoid crisis. US nuclear deterrent had preserved peace heretofore, but Soviet progress exposes us to new danger. Disarmament was only real solution but Soviet intransigence despite our concessions forced us to work in military field. We must reinforce efforts through pooling resources. Main sectors of effort were to reinforce armies with modern weapons, strengthen the deterrent and integrate weapons production.

Italian Government gratified by President Eisenhower’s statement re reinforcing alliance.9 Zoli said Italians prepared consider military integration as interdependence on military plane. In scientific field, Italy had requested fifty billion lira for cooperative projects.

Zoli stressed new military dangers and fact Soviet had initiative economic field also. We should recognize frankly we have not acted but merely reacted to Soviet moves. He thought political consultation and economic cooperation should be reinforced. Divergencies could be eliminated by consultation on constant not occasional basis. Although there were limits, and some progress made, consultation should aim at common policy for all major areas. Also we could thus forestall and anticipate events. There should be same planning in political [Page 236] and economic as in military fields. We could establish working group to examine consultation problem aid present suggestions to NAC.

There should be political cooperation re areas outside NATO especially Latin America where Communist propaganda active, while finally NATO should also support progress in social field.

5) Norway.

Gerhardsen wondered how meeting could meet high expectations aroused. He said NATO clearly defensive in purpose. NATO had met Soviet threat during past nine years through its unity. On military questions we could elaborate further at spring meeting. … He expressed interest in proposals for military thinned out areas in Europe to reduce tension. On Bulganin letter he had no opinion yet. He thought no decision should be taken on Bulganin letter until further studied by governments. He still hoped Soviets would negotiate on disarmament and we should give them chance do so. There was little chance Soviets starting war and their advances more in nature political and economic progress in uncommitted nations. Therefore we should propose economic and political measures.

Gerhardsen added there should be balanced use resources in order military should not take too much of whole. Though sometimes political consultation not possible it should be strengthened. There are some divergences but decisions should be taken in knowledge views of others. He thought we should meet adversary halfway on disarmament. Our August 29 proposals were still valid as basis for discussion though Soviets should not think they were ultimatum.

There was reason for satisfaction with NATO performance since 1949 but now we were at crossroads because of Soviet military progress. Therefore we must progress with policy of peace and eliminate “balance of terror”.

6) Belgium.

Van Acker spoke of need for reinforcing peace, and applying principle interdependence. He advocated political consultation in advance of decisions. He said Committee of Three report10 gave clear obligation to consult. If after consultation decisions were taken unpalatable to some members, it was responsibility of those making decision. He said each member had equal responsibility in this connection.

On military side he pleaded for balance with economic and social requirements. If economic and social considerations neglected, Communist propaganda made headway. He supported Spaak suggestion [Page 237] for economic aid to underdeveloped areas. He pleaded for better organization this concept through special mechanism inside or outside NATO. NATO must also follow Soviet economic policy carefully.

Outcome of meeting should not stress only military aspects. Common defense should be reinforced but NATO in past too military and must change. Multiplication of contacts in Eastern Europe, Africa and Middle East should be NATO objective. He concluded remarking NATO must appear champion peace.

7) US—Text of US presentation by President and Secretary cabled separately; see Polto 1777.11

8) France.

Gaillard said need hold Heads of Government meeting proves need re-evaluate NATO. It had arrested Soviet expansion 9 years ago but then US troops in Europe coupled with US atomic capability had ensured peace. Now Soviets have caught up technically and passed US in atomic and missile fields. All now in direct danger paralyzing attack. Though Soviets stopped diplomatically in Europe they had made great progress in Asia where primitive peoples fell for Soviet propaganda. Soviets now concentrating on obliterating remaining European influence in Asia as in Indonesia. Nationalism became tool Soviet imperialism. Situation even worse in Arab world because Europe dependent on oil from area. NATO was politically and militarily immobile in situation where Soviets had turned Europe’s flank.

Gaillard said peoples NATO countries formerly complacent are now too pessimistic. Spectacular Soviet progress coupled with breakdown disarmament talks had led to widespread cynicism. He thought internal decomposition of NATO dangerous, and conducive to neutralism. We must reaffirm confidence in NATO and revamp it to provide for scientific cooperation, economic problems, etc. Above all political cohesion required. He referred to French proposals already submitted in writing to us, stressing objective of avoiding duplication.

Gaillard said France attributed special importance to equality in weapons distribution and opposed any discrimination. He added acquiring weapons should not lead to further payments imbalances. Germany, France and Italy already cooperating in modern weapons field and hoped other WEU countries would join them and that US would collaborate. France offered use testing center for IRBMs. He was gratified US had taken up French idea atomic stockpile. However, [Page 238] no overall solution possible now and this meeting should approve only most general declaration on this subject. There were serious political difficulties involved. US had its legal troubles in this connection and France and, he thought, other continental countries had political problem with control question. French control over weapons in France was political necessity and bilateral talks were required to straighten this out.

Economic cooperation in NATO also required. We put more resources into less developed areas than Soviets but they got greater political benefit. Political reinforcement NATO necessary. Though NATO geographically limited it is most important pact and has nearest to common interests. Without changing treaty, policy interests should be harmonized at least in cases where individual members alliance injured by such divergence.

In Middle East lack of NATO unity already tremendously benefitting Soviets. This was continuing both there and in Africa. It would be great NATO victory if Africa could be tied closely to Europe. Soviet menace less dangerous than disunity which emptying NATO of meaning. NATO could be reinforced by provision for constant political consultation. He concluded with remarks re heavy responsibilities of world for preserving fragile civilization achieved only after many failures.

9) Greece.

Karamanlis said we must fortify alliance which suffers from lack of unity of aim and inconsistency of policy. This explains its failure attract uncommitted peoples. NATO must be more than military alliance. He mentioned Cyprus but passed on saying he not here discuss divisive issues.

He asked for greater coordination in defense field and elimination of present overlapping. Standardization of weapons and common production were also needed. Promotion of scientific progress would be of great help to NATO. Our defense community would work only if also dedicated to economic cooperation especially in aid to less-developed countries of NATO to assist them in their defense effort. There should be programs for furnishing military assistance and for allied military production in less-developed NATO countries. Basic European economy should be assisted and expanded. He thought otherwise free trade area could not succeed.

Karamanlis referred to Spaak’s statements on political consultation and said heretofore consultation seemed to occur after the fact or on basis incomplete information. He called for a positive and realistic policy in Middle East where we had failed psychologically so far. We must face Communism not only on military but on psychological front.

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10) Denmark.

Hansen said world expectations were aroused as to whether this meeting could promote world peace. Soviet policy however unchanged even though no repetition Hungary. We must increase effectiveness of alliance in all fields.

. . . . . . .

He welcomed PolAd and said some progress made in political consultation during past year. He said this should be evolutionary matter without setting up new rules. Committee of Three report provided good basis for future though not fully implemented yet. Policies where differences existed should be discussed at earliest opportunity. On some subjects small countries cannot contribute so they should not be asked accept responsibility therefor.

Economic well-being and rising living standards were also important to NATO. Denmark expected much from free trade area and reduction trade barriers. NATO should take lead in breaking down these barriers. Also perhaps there could be another miracle like Marshall Plan which could lead to economic integration.

There was great anxiety following Soviet missile development and fear slightest incident could touch off war. Therefore NATO had to build up military posture to deter aggression and thus retain possibility if West stayed strong, Soviets would eventually negotiate to reduce tensions and disarm.

. . . . . . .

11) Portugal.

Minister Presidency Caetano expressed Salazar’s regret at his inability be present and reaffirm faith in NATO and meet with colleagues. Expressed satisfaction at presence President Eisenhower. This was very critical moment which required realistic plan for unity to deter Soviet aggression. Present state weapons development makes war unthinkable. Soviets making more progress undermining alliance through economic pressure.

On political consultation, Caetano called for unified agreement for consultation in advance policy decisions as Committee of Three recommended. Portugal would support all efforts in this field and towards greater interdependence but was limited by physical means and responsibilities outside area. Portugal could help because she had stable government and orderly economy assuring continuity of effort. However, overseas territories required investments, and Portugal needed help here. Portugal’s territories complemented NATO area [Page 240] and were help to it. Therefore, NATO should assist Portugal in developing these territories. He concluded expressing total adhesion of Portugal to alliance.

12) Iceland.

Jonasson said since Iceland had no military forces, it could not contribute to military science development. He noted Iceland’s perpetual neutrality. He said NATO troops had been in Iceland for some years. While Iceland did not admit need for these in peacetime present situation too tense for withdrawals now. Iceland realizes need for collective defense. Deterrent is benefit to Iceland. He added NATO must be more than purely military alliance and Article Two must be further developed. Some progress noted but insufficient in political consultation field. He believed full consultation required before final actions taken. He also called for implementation Committee of Three report in economic field. Finally while we should stress pooling military resources etc., greatest emphasis should be on peaceful purposes of NATO.

13) Canada.

Diefenbaker said we are gathered to invigorate NATO alliance so it can meet the 1957 threat. Hopes for disarmament agreement frustrated by Soviets so our military strength must be built up. Disarmament remained very important to Canada however and especially safeguarded cessation nuclear testing. He remarked atomic stockpile proposal made by US today12 carried out 1954 NATO decision,13 while IRBM goes beyond this into new field and requires careful study, since it has serious policy and financial implications. As soon as military requirements studies are ready early next year there should be ministers meeting to study them. Each NATO member should make best balanced contribution. He cited NORAD as striking example this efficient cooperation.

Canada favored cooperation in advanced weapons production, and noted need for pooling human resources. For example, Canadian technicians currently underemployed and could be used elsewhere. Science committee should play important role in new weapons field. He thought Article 2 of NATO should be intensified to eliminate conflicts in international economic policies. Aid to underdeveloped [Page 241] areas should be increased. Rise standard living less developed areas still too slow prevent Soviet propaganda successes.

Diefenbaker relatively satisfied with progress political consultation and noted this was aspect of interdependence. Members should avoid taking policy decisions until after consultation if possible. If consultation not taken then other NATO members not bound.

On Bulganin letters he thought Soviets obviously insincere and summit meeting with Soviets might arouse false expectations. Cultural contacts with Soviets might be increased and perhaps later there could be substantive negotiations if Soviets give indication desire conduct them seriously. Concluded with plea for need take message back to NATO people to reassure them re real accomplishments of meeting.

14) Turkey.

Menderes expressed gratification at US “sincere and penetrating” proposals designed to advance purposes NATO treaty. He said NATO aim was to stop Soviet aggression and prevent it from dominating world. Soviets now concentrating on Middle East, have taken over Syria and are cooperating actively with Egypt. This is only beginning and real objective is Europe which is blocking Soviet ambitions. If Middle East fell, then Africa would follow and Mediterranean become Soviet area, and Europe encircled. If Syria not fully Soviet satellite, this was merely superficial appearance. Soviets wish capture Middle East without overt pressure. If we accept Syrian fait accompli, friendly Middle East states including Turkey profoundly endangered, Turkey would be encircled and none of area states could long survive. Palestine situation was also danger to area.

Menderes said Baghdad Pact helpful but not adequate yet. It needed new adherences and expanded political and military aspects. He wanted BPNATO tie which he believed would be desirable from NATO viewpoint.

Menderes expressed gratitude for US economic and military aid, and for UK efforts strengthen BP. He called for implementation US proposals in military field and said most NATO countries required nuclear weapons. He favored NATO atomic stockpile especially for those countries with common frontier with USSR. … He said IRBM proposal extremely important and strongly favored by Turkey. He said IRBMs in NATO countries could counteract Soviet ICBM. He thanked us for including Nike battalions in Turkish program.

15) UK.

Macmillan said he hoped NATO meeting could develop thoughts to extend ideas expressed in declaration common purpose. This was historic meeting and there was historic need therefor. [Page 242] Meeting resembled meeting of cabinet of alliance. He noted UK did not have predetermined policy but would decide policy in light views expressed here. NATO had clear record of achievement which many now sought improperly to denigrate. Object now is to avoid war, later it could be promote peaceful co-existence and perhaps ultimately we would reach real peace with justice. Referred to division Germany as example current injustices. He said NATO not real military alliance as consisted nonmilitary states. NATO problems were to improve military posture, guard against political subversion, economic pressure and people’s general weariness.

Macmillan noted UK responsibilities outside NATO and made plea for balanced forces. Suggested for example UK navy concentrate on anti-submarine warfare and leave striking force to US. He called for pooling of resources, assessment and assignment of specific tasks. He expressed satisfaction at US offer re procurement as assisting NATO countries.

In economic field he supported Common Market and free trade area. He praised proposal continue our US military assistance program and said NATO must not be outflanked by any means, political, economic or military. He said we must be willing discuss problems with Soviets to show we leave no stone unturned seeking for peace. He closed with procedural recommendations reported separately.

16) Luxembourg.

Bech did not speak.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–PA/12–1757. Confidential; Priority. Transmitted in five sections and repeated to the other NATO capitals.
  2. The summary record of both public and plenary sessions, C–R(57)82, and the verbatim record of the plenary session, C–VR(57)82, both dated December 16, are ibid., Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 950.
  3. For text of the President’s and Dulles’ statements made at this session, transmitted in Polto 1777 from Paris, December 17 (ibid., Central Files, 396.1–PA/12–1757), see Department of State Bulletin, January 6, 1958, pp. 3–12.
  4. Reference is to the disarmament talks which had come to an impasse after the Soviet Union voted against the 24-power draft resolution in the U.N. General Assembly on November 14, 1957.
  5. Reference is to the declaration published by the 12 members of the Sino-Soviet bloc in Moscow on November 21, 1957, following a conference of the bloc leaders, November 14–16, which reaffirmed the revolutionary nature of the world Communist movement and Moscow’s leadership of these nations.
  6. In the text of the Declaration of Common Purpose, signed by Eisenhower and Macmillan on October 25, the two leaders, recognizing the interdependence of the Free World, agreed to act in genuine partnership. See Department of State Bulletin, November 11, 1957, pp. 739–741.
  7. Reference is to the proposal for the reunification of Germany by free elections made by France, the United Kingdom, and the United States on November 4, 1955, at the Geneva Foreign Ministers Conference, October 27–November 16, 1955.
  8. See footnote 4, Document 72.
  9. For text of the President’s address made at the public session on December 16, see Department of State Bulletin, January 6, 1958, pp. 3–6.
  10. See Document 47.
  11. Polto 1777 from Paris, December 17, not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–PA/12–1757) For text of the statements by the President and Dulles on December 16, see Department of State Bulletin, January 6, 1958, pp. 3–12.
  12. For text of Dulles’ December 16 statement to the NAC that the United States was prepared to participate in a NATO atomic stockpile system within which nuclear warheads would be deployed under U.S. custody in accordance with NATO defensive planning and in agreement with the nations directly concerned, see ibid., pp. 8–9.
  13. Reference is to the approval of report MC 48 by the NAC on December 18, 1954. Documentation on the December 1954 NAC session is in Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. v, Part 1, pp. 549 ff.