138. Memorandum of Conversation0



Copenhagen, Denmark, May 5–7, 1958


  • United States
    • The Secretary
    • Ambassador Burgess
    • Mr. Reinhardt
    • Mr. Elbrick
    • Mr. Porter
  • United Kingdom
    • Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
    • Sir Frank Roberts
    • Sir Anthony Rumbold
    • Sir Roderick Barclay
    • Mr. Denis Laskey


  • Support Costs for UK Forces in Germany
Lloyd referred to the recent agreement between the UK and Germany on support costs and to an addendum to that agreement made by the German Defense Minister Strauss.1 Strauss had inserted a condition in the agreement which stipulated that there would be no reduction in British Forces in Germany without a corresponding increase in combat efficiency. Lloyd said that the British would be able to maintain their forces at the 55,000 man level through the present calendar year. In 1959 these forces would have to be reduced to 45,000 men unless NATO could find the money to finance the difference of 10,000 men. In 1960 the total would have to be reduced to 45,000 men in any case, unless conditions permitted the reduction of forces in other areas where the U.K. had commitments, or unless British forces elsewhere could be counted as part of the NATO force. On the other hand, it would be possible to maintain a level of 45,000 men in Germany indefinitely and by 1960 combat efficiency will have increased to the point where it would more than balance the reduction in actual numbers.
Mr. Burgess inquired particularly whether the British planned to delay asking permission from NATO and WEU to reduce their forces until nearer to the time when the reduction would take place. Lloyd replied [Page 328] that they would delay if they saw that funds were available for the year 1959. Lloyd referred to Secretary McElroy’s recent conversation with Sandys in Paris and his suggestion regarding the possible additional financing.2 The British Government would be interested in knowing whether there was any possibility of working something out along these lines. If there is not, the Government will be obliged to make a statement in July regarding the ultimate reduction of forces to 45,000 men.
  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 63 D123, CF 1006. Secret. Drafted by Elbrick. The meeting was held in the British Embassy Residence.
  2. The agreement in principle between the United Kingdom and West Germany regarding the support costs for British military forces in Germany was reported in Polto 3218 from Paris, April 14. (Department of State, Central Files, 740.5/4–1458)
  3. Highlights of a conversation between McElroy and Sandys at the Defense Ministers Conference in Paris on April 14 were reported in Polto 3231 from Paris, April 15. (ibid., 740.5/4–1558)