139. Telegram From the Delegation at the North Atlantic Council Ministerial Meeting to the Department of State0

Secto 20. Paris for USRO and Embassy.

Upon conclusion opening ceremony,1 First Plenary Session NATO Ministerial Meeting opened 10:15 a.m. May 5 with Spaak in chair.2
Spaak opened discussion agenda item 1—Report by Secretary General and Annual Political Apraisal—with brief comments on his report.3 Report is first pursuant recommendation 3 Wise Men.4 Points out [Page 329] two weak points: (A) Coordination of economic policies of Alliance, particularly question assistance to underdeveloped areas. (B) Information program—how can NATO get across its positions (which are good)? Basically national problem. Bigger NATO budget information needed.
Strong points noted in report are:
Defense cooperation—Defense Ministers’ Conference was good and situation fairly satisfactory.
Scientific cooperation—“New chapter in NATO opened”.
Production new weapons—Countries will have to give their representative proper political directives.
Political cooperation—Spaak said this worked almost perfectly, mentioning disarmament, replies to Bulganin, preparations for possible summit. Major countries have spoken frankly and accepted comments and criticism. On balance, state of Alliance is good, although problems remain.
Lange (Norway) congratulated Spaak on report and said it showed expectations 3 Wise Men fully justified. Paid tribute willingness “great powers” to consult. They bear heavy responsibilities for all of NATO. Warned that NATO must not allow obligation to consult to hamper quick reactions, which sometimes needed. Cited U.S. proposal for Arctic inspection zone.5 Continuous process consultation allows quick reaction by one member to be taken in light known views other members. Supported Spaak on information program. Must pay more attention presentation Western positions. They should be simplified.
Brentano (Germany) praised report and said that public not sufficiently conscious that NATO more than military alliance. Spaak must have assistance of highest order, in terms rank and appropriate salaries. While secrecy on certain matters needed, better publicity on NATO also required, so as to convince public of value NATO.
Zorlu (Turkey) in lengthy speech said NATO must coordinate efforts in political field so as contain Soviets. Reviewed developments since World War II. Soviets now pushing disengagement idea, which dangerous. Soviets have made progress in development nuclear weapons, and this makes shield forces still more vital. They must be strengthened. Spoke of need for economic and scientific cooperations, mentioning OEEC and FTA. West must meet Soviet economic expansion with solidarity and own expansion program. More efficient application [Page 330] Article II needed,6 especially as regards efforts outside NATO area.
Lloyd (UK) congratulated Spaak and endorsed Lange’s points on political consultation. On economic matters, said he believed in deterrent (citing strategic power, shield forces, and will to resist) but felt battle of ideas will decide contest with Soviets. This battle greatly influenced by economic consideration. Said NATO must feel way to greater economic cooperation. Political cooperation good and expanding. Re Paras 32 and 33 Spaak report, said assumed decision on introduction IRBM’s would be submitted to NAC, as he questioned commons on this.
Secretary spoke next. Remarks as taken from unedited verbatim record being sent immediately following telegram.7
Pella (Italy) added his thanks and expressed agreement with Secretary’s point. Italy hopes European economic integration will be starting point for economic cooperation in Atlantic community. Spaak would lead this movement. Stressed need for continuing military cooperation.
Cunha (Portugal)8 congratulated Spaak on excellent report and work it reflects. Stressed need better publicity, both by NATO and national governments. Need show NATO unity to world.
Smith (Canada) endorsed remarks of others re Spaak report and said Article II has even greater importance today in view of economic recession. “We must not export our economic troubles to others”. Economic groupings must not be restrictive. Must put special effort into economic cooperation, both within Alliance and vis-à-vis underdeveloped areas. If national policies fashioned with regard to Article II, they will automatically bear NATO label. Referred to Canadian food stockpile, offer at NATO DefMin Conference9 and endorsed parliamentarians’ resolution on NATO 10th anniversary Congress.10 Governments should exchange views on this.
Pesmatzoglou (Greece)11 spoke briefly, referring to Greece’s attachment to NATO, and need more cooperation in information, defense and economic field.
Luns (Netherlands) said Dutch consider common market only starting point for wider economic cooperation. Uppermost in their minds is political argument for FTA.
Pineau (France)12 agreed Spaak’s analysis two weak points. Soviets are having some effect Western public opinion. NATO should look again at economic section 3 Wise Men’s report and see if matter needs further study. On April 15 Gaillard had said France would speak of Algerian problem at Copenhagen, since this problem, affecting area covered by treaty, of interest to all.13 Present political circumstances in France had however prevented France from putting Algeria on agenda. Perhaps it would be raised later by new government.
Krag (Denmark)14 spoke of economic problems. Recession in U.S. causing serious concern. U.S. efforts counteract it of great importance to us all. If it spreads, will hurt common case and adversely affect defense capabilities. Said it essential that FTA negotiations be brought successful conclusion.
Larock (Belgium)15 took up economic discussion and asserted “absolute will” of Community of Six to broaden common market and make it into FTA.
On information problem, said U.S. “clean bomb” statement on Soviet test suspension did not go down well in Western Europe,16 but U.S. proposal for Arctic inspection zone was excellent reply to Soviet charges. Supported larger NATO information budget.
Spaak paid tribute to Permanent Council and international staff. Noted general agreement on NATO’s weak points and asked for “bold and liberal” attitude on economic problems.
First plenary session adjourned 12:30 p.m.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1-CO/5–558. Secret. Repeated to Paris and pouched to the NATO capitals and Moscow.
  2. The public ceremony opening the NATO Ministerial Meeting was summarized in Secto 19 from Copenhagen, May 5. (ibid.)
  3. The verbatim (C-VR(58)31) record of this session, dated May 5, is ibid., Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 1000.
  4. Spaak’s report, “Annual Political Appraisal,” C–M(58)72, April 25, is ibid., CF 998.
  5. Regarding the Report of the Committee of Three on Non-Military Cooperation in NATO, which the NATO Ministerial Meeting in Paris approved on December 13, 1956, see Foreign Relations, 1955–1957, vol. IV, p. 137. Text of this report is printed in Department of State Bulletin, January 7, 1957, pp. 17–28. To strengthen the process of consultation in the Alliance, the report called for the Foreign Ministers at each spring meeting to appraise the political progress of the Alliance, and for that purpose the Secretary General should submit an annual report, which analyzed the major political problems of the Alliance, reviewed the extent to which member states had consulted and cooperated on such problems, and indicated the problems and possible developments requiring further consultation.
  6. The U.S. draft resolution on an Arctic inspection zone (U.N. doc. S/3995 as amended), which was introduced in the U.N. Security Council on April 28, is printed in Documents on Disarmament, 1945–1959, vol. II, p. 1005.
  7. Article 2 of the North Atlantic Treaty provides that the member states promote further development of friendly international relations and conditions of stability and well-being, and seek to eliminate conflict in international economic policies and would encourage economic collaboration.
  8. Secto 21 from Copenhagen, May 6. (Department of State, Central Files, 396.1-CO/5–658)
  9. Paulo A.V. Cunha, Portuguese Foreign Minister.
  10. Polto Circular 24 from Paris, April 16, briefly mentioned that Canada suggested the NAC should reexamine food stockpile proposals in light of the danger to North American ports by missile-bearing submarines which constituted a serious threat to NATO supply lines. (Department of State, Central Files, 740.5/4–1658)
  11. Reference is presumably to the conference of NATO Parliamentarians in Paris November 11–16, 1957. The resolutions of this conference have not been found.
  12. Michael A. Pesmatzoglou, Greek Foreign Minister.
  13. Christian Pineau was French Foreign Minister in the Gaillard government, which fell on April 15, 1958. Pineau was serving as caretaker Foreign Minister until a new French government could be formed.
  14. Reference is to Gaillard’s speech on the Algerian problem to the French National Assembly on April 15.
  15. Jens Otto Krag, Danish Minister of Foreign Economic Relations.
  16. Victor Larock, Belgian Foreign Minister.
  17. Reference is presumably to the statement by President Eisenhower on March 26 that the United States would conduct nuclear tests that summer to demonstrate the reduction in radioactive fallout from the nuclear explosions. (Department of State Bulletin, April 14, 1958, p. 601)