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

Secto 37. Paris for USRO and Embassy.

Fourth plenary session opened 4 p.m., May 6 with Spaak in chair.1
Pineau summarized Soviet agenda proposals as contained in USSR note delivered to DeJean. Apparently identical with those in Tosec 31.2
General tone and contents of communiqué then discussed in informal session with no verbatim record. Secretary stressed communiqué would be most important act of meeting and that it should be effective declaration and recalled all Ministers seemed to feel stronger, clearer public opinion required.
Lloyd presented personal suggestions leading with observation Soviets have been put somewhat on defensive in past few weeks and we would risk losing this advantage if tone was too violent. Suggested stressing growth of political consultation within Alliance. Economic matters should be mentioned while making clear NATO not an instrument of economic action but a way of seeing that there is economic cooperation within Atlantic Community. Point should be made that deterrent depends not only on capability for strategic air strike but also on shield and on our determination to meet aggression. He next suggested [Page 344] reference to interdependence in military field and to progress in coordination military research and production. Communiqué should point out that NATO countries have duties and responsibilities to rest of world not just to Europe. Something should be said about the summit and the need for proper preparations. Detailed discussion of substance inappropriate but disarmament, European security, and Germany should be mentioned as summit agenda items. No need to mention disengagement though it might be discussed privately by Ministers on following day. Finally it should be stressed that summit not only place to do business and we are ready to enter into negotiations at other levels.

Smith supported desirability of positive tone avoiding recrimination. Thought reference to economic cooperation should also be positive in spirit. Expressed unwillingness to say now we would not accept principle of parity since not really clear what Soviets mean by parity. Referred to importance of inspection and control for all measures of disarmament. Suggested the NATO technical advisory group on disarmament set up following December Heads of Government meeting might begin study of inspection measures even though Russians refused to join in United Nations studies. NATO group might undertake pilot inspection project in the Arctic or possibly in Europe.

Lange agreed that communiqué should refer to progress in political consultation, to economic matters, and to summit but questioned other Lloyd items because not discussed in this meeting. Agreed main problems for summit would be disarmament, European security, and problem of Germany although last would have to be carefully phrased. Supported Smith suggestion of inspection studies by disarmament technical group and suggested possibility of offer to USSR to join in.

Zorlu stressed need for balanced communiqué. USSR has not changed and we should not enter negotiations expecting good faith on other side. We must keep up our defense effort. Communiqué must restate the danger and the need for continued military, economic and political efforts, mentioning summit as only one possibility of no greater importance than other steps to be taken by Alliance. Summit is effective phase of Soviet peace offensive. Western concessions to Soviet Union at summit would have undesirable effect on public opinion, particularly in Asia and Africa. These other areas are watching for signs of shift in power balance and are just waiting to join the stronger side. We should not show ourselves too ready to make concessions. Expressed relief that Von Brentano has clarified German position on German reunification and summit agenda. Concluded we must not expect anything from summit and thus we should not pay a price to go to the summit.

Smith said that we should try to put across idea that summit meeting would be summit number 2. We might thus decrease extraordinary, fantastic hopes of many people and avoid subsequent letdown. If we envisage [Page 345] subsequent summit meetings then only a little headway on some items need be expected. Some machinery of diplomatic activity might be set up to go on between summit meetings.

Pineau said that he thought the communiqué might take following 7 points:

Strengthening political unity of Alliance.
We move toward summit or toward any other negotiations with Russians in perfect unity. We should note recent hard Soviet attitude and express regret that it hinders progress.
We are flexible as to procedure but cannot renounce principles of UN Charter. Pineau thought this best way to deal with parity question.
Inspection and control are essential for any partial or total disarmament.
Cessation of nuclear tests is inseparably linked to shopping production of nuclear weapons materials under effective controls.
No agreements should be reached which would imperil security of Alliance or prevent German reunification. Former point refers to presence U.S., UK and Canadian troops on Continent and latter was commented on by Pineau as proper way to deal with German reunification in communiqué.
Economic cooperation.

Secretary said he liked many of suggestions made. Urged particularly emphasis on remarkable achievement of making NATO a focus for peace-time consultation among independent nations.

Suggested discussion of economic cooperation might look beyond Europe. He recalled the higher tariffs, quotas, and other nationalistic moves of early 1930’s which in Japan and Germany were contributing causes to World War II. Important maintain liberal economic policies on world-wide basis not just within NATO. Otherwise economic nationalism may result and lead again to political nationalism.

Suggested reaffirmation of support of NATO military strategy and MC–70 as endorsed by Defense Ministers. Point should be made again that NATO is more than a military alliance. Soviet Union accuses us of being aggressive military bloc and says all foreign troops in Europe are bad. Actually Alliance such as NATO is instrument for applying collective security on international basis just as individuals rely on collective security within each country: of course collective security should be universal but Soviet Union has blocked this in United Nations. We must reiterate that collective security is modern enlightened way for nations to protect themselves. We must not let neutrals believe Western collective security alliances are aggressive but instead show that they are natural and right.

Secretary said it is totally false to feel one can only negotiate at level of heads of government. There are many ways to negotiate and any one who refuses to negotiate elsewhere is putting obstacles in way of normal [Page 346] manner for nations to do business. It is thus Soviet Union which is blocking preparations for summit. However, in summit preparations we have to some extent given encouragement to dangerous popular expectation of substantive decisions at summit. 1955 Geneva meeting was not intended to solve problems but only to formulate directives to Foreign Ministers to work out solutions. This time matters have been turned around and preparatory talks are trying to identify for prior foreign ministers meeting matters on which decisions might be taken by heads of government. Secretary said little progress so far in talks. They should continue for while but seems unlikely we will find any matters on which agreement can be reached unless the West reverses its positions. Perhaps it will prove necessary to return to approach of 1955 summit meeting. Time is coming when we will have to decide what the nature of a summit meeting will be if there is to be one.

Pella said he thought Pineau’s list and Lloyd’s arguments could be conveniently combined. Agreed that nature of deterrent should be reiterated. Statement on economic cooperation should be limited to need for liaison between economic organs of Atlantic Community.

Spaak said staff had sufficient guidance for drafting communiqué except on proposal for technical disarmament studies. He asked whether intent was to invite Russians to join. Lange recalled Eisenhower letter of April 8 pointed out such invitation would simply endorse what US had more than once said to Soviet Union with negative response.3 Smith said his thought was that NATO should go ahead in face of Soviet rejection. A specific study of Arctic inspection zone or European area might be undertaken. This would be a positive note in communiqué. Secretary asked whether practical effect would be to activate technical advisory group called for at December NATO meeting. Smith said that while committee work might be the start he hoped that a pilot inspection project might develop.

Spaak stated will have draft communiqué for distribution to delegations 8:30 a.m. following morning. Every effort would be made to avoid press leaks of communiqué. Spaak said press briefing today would be confined to statement Ministers held confidential discussion of essential problems facing NATO.

[5 lines of source text not declassified] Ministers and Permanent Representatives meet in private without staff at 10:30 Wednesday to discuss Middle East and the draft communiqué.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1-CO/5–758. Secret. Transmitted in two sections. Repeated to Paris and pouched to the NATO capitals and Moscow.
  2. The verbatim (C-VR(58)34) record of this session, dated May 6, is ibid., Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 1000.
  3. Regarding the Soviet note, see footnote 10, Document 140. Tosec 31 to Copenhagen, May 5, concerns unrelated matters.
  4. For text of Eisenhower’s April 8 letter to Khrushchev, see Department of State Bulletin, April 28, 1958, pp. 679–680, or Documents on Disarmament, 1945–1959, vol. II, pp. 982–985.