145. National Security Council Report0

NSC 5910/1


General Considerations


1. Profound adjustments have occurred in the French political and economic scene since the political upheaval in Algiers on May 13, 1958, and the subsequent return of General de Gaulle to power. France is still in a period of transition. de Gaulle’s advent not only averted the threat of a military “coup d’etat” and civil war, but has brought about a large degree of national union, new governmental authority, stability and decisiveness. This has in turn permitted the institution of a series of highly significant and constructive political and economic reforms. Moreover, Frenchmen have generally agreed to entrust to De Gaulle the unchallenged leadership of the State, and to follow him along the path toward national rejuvenation and greatness which he has indicated, even though this entails some personal sacrifice.

2. But whether De Gaulle will be able to consolidate his gains over the next few years will depend not only on his continued exercise of leadership but also on significant progress toward solution of France’s most critical problem—the Algerian conflict. If he fails and the Algerian war drags on without any prospects for an early settlement, his position will be weakened and he will be less able to withstand the demands from the extremists on the right. There would probably be an increased resort to decree power in order to withstand pressure from the extreme right; if De Gaulle should pass from the scene in these circumstances, the successor regime would probably be an authoritarian regime led by rightists and supported by the military.

France’s Internal Situation

3. The present regime in France is characterized by strong personal direction on the part of the President. This is due to the crisis conditions in which it emerged, the Constitution (approved by public referendum on September 28, 1958), and the character of De Gaulle himself. In addition to the new powers specifically accorded his office, De Gaulle’s [Page 297]own personality has in effect greatly expanded the power, prestige and influence of the President in all aspects of the French national scene. The authority and continuity of the Prime Minister’s office have also been significantly enhanced, so that the role of the formerly all-powerful Parliament has, at least for the present, been markedly reduced. It is impossible to judge at this juncture whether conflicts may in time emerge between the President and the Prime Minister or whether Parliament may eventually succeed in recouping much of its former powers. As long as De Gaulle remains in office, it seems likely that he will remain the dominant force in France.

4. Although Communist strength and potential effectiveness have greatly declined from their immediate post-war peak and the Party was further isolated and somewhat shaken by the Hungarian repression, the existence of a strong Communist Party remains a major problem in France. It has a large membership (roughly 300,000, with a hard core of approximately 30,000) and a larger following of voters (traditionally about five million, or 25% of the votes cast). An important source of Communist voting strength is composed of “negative” votes. These represent primarily the discontented elements of the left who feel, given the fact that the Socialist Party has become basically a middle-class party, that to vote for the Communists is the most effective way to register a protest.

5. In the referendum of September 28, 1958, over a million traditionally Communist votes went to de Gaulle, proving that if a sufficiently appealing alternative is provided, the protest vote will abandon the Communist Party. Moreover, in the recent National Assembly elections, owing partly to the effects of the new electoral system, very few Communist candidates succeeded in getting elected. While the present capabilities of the Communists are thus limited, should De Gaulle disappear from the scene, or should the present regime fail to solve its major problems, such as Algeria, and consequently be replaced by some more rightist and authoritarian regime, the subsequent reaction could bring about a resurgence of Communist influence, and could result in the creation of a popular-front type regime. Moreover, the strength of the Communist-dominated CGT (Confederation Generale du Travail) is likely to increase as labor turns to it to protect its interests in lieu of its former representation in the Assembly. Furthermore, the Communists will probably gain increased support as the most effective critics of the regime in power.

6. There is also the increased threat of further action by the extremists on the right who, in conjunction with the military, may press for an even more authoritarian form of government. Such a threat might be realized should De Gaulle pass from the scene before he has consolidated his gains, or should he fail to resolve the Algerian conflict.

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7. France is basically one of the strongest and most prosperous countries in Europe. It is a leading manufacturing nation with abundant industrial raw materials as well as agricultural resources. With the injection of a critical margin of external resources, France recovered rapidly from the effects of the war and has expanded and modernized its economy to a remarkable degree. Today France has a high and rising standard of living and an expanding economy. The Fifth Republic has undertaken many significant economic reforms, including measures to place the fiscal system on a sounder basis, free the economy from foreign trade and exchange controls and government subsidies, and remove tariff, quota and other restrictions protecting French industry and agriculture from competition. Thus far the success of these reforms has greatly exceeded expectations. A considerable degree of internal stability has been achieved, and the external situation has improved to the extent that France’s foreign exchange holding increased by more than $1 billion in the first six months of 1959. The implementation of the European Common Market Treaty should contribute to the effectiveness of these reforms. The increasing population and the current development of nuclear energy will further contribute to France’s future economic potential.

The Algerian Problem

8. The Algerian rebellion remains France’s most critical problem. Although the French Government can probably continue to finance the Algerian military campaign in its present dimensions almost indefinitely, the over-all Algerian effort which has resulted in tieing down over half of the French ground forces, represents an enormous drain in French resources and is a source of political instability. Moreover, it would appear inevitable that Algeria will emerge with a considerable degree of autonomy, if not eventual independence. General de Gaulle announced his future program for Algeria on September 16, 1959.1 It promised self-determination to the Algerians through a referendum after pacification; this offer went far beyond that made by any previous French Government. That referendum would offer the choice of secession, assimilation into France, or a large measure of internal autonomy. The announcement has been praised by the U.S. Government, in particular for its promise of self-determination. If implemented in a manner permitting freedom of political expression in Algeria, it would be consistent with our hopes for a liberal and equitable solution which we could support.

9. De Gaulle has made clear his belief that complete independence would not be to the advantage of the Algerians. Instead he appears to [Page 299]favor an autonomy under which an Algeria would emerge whose internal status and ties with France would be determined in consultation with representatives of Algeria’s various ethnic groups. Although not completely spelled out, de Gaulle’s offer of self-determination has given rise to new hopes for a restoration of peace in Algeria. It appears to have the support of most French but is being attacked by the extremes of right and left. The rightists and nationalist elements of the European population in Algeria, which played a large role in the events of May 13, 1958, oppose it. While there has been no open opposition from the military, some army leaders are agitating against a liberal solution.

10. The PGAR (Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic) after a period of considerable hesitation during which it consulted with Algerian resistance military leaders and weighed the reactions of the U.S. and other governments, especially those of the Arab states, announced on September 28 that “as director of the Algerian resistance and liberation army” it “is ready to enter into talks with the French Government in order to discuss the political and military conditions of a cease-fire and the conditions and guarantees for application of self-determination”.

11. The PGAR statement is not exactly responsive to that of de Gaulle. The acceptance of self-determination through the electoral process by the leaders of the rebellion does, however, represent progress and may lead to undercover discussions between the French and FLN representatives, looking toward a cease-fire and the implementation of the De Gaulle program.

12. Resolution of the problem is made particularly difficult because of its unusual political, economic, and social aspects. In particular, the presence of over a million persons of European descent permanently residing in Algeria (out of a total population of about ten million) and owning the majority of businesses and productive land contributes to making this problem so difficult to resolve, even though their influence has been recently curbed by De Gaulle and the Army in an effort to convince Algeria’s Moslems of France’s goodwill. The increasing discoveries of petroleum and natural gas in the Sahara and the strategic location of Algeria add to the complexity; the French appear determined to maintain control of the development of the Saharan economy regardless of what modus vivendi eventuates. The current involvement of the French military in the Algerian issue poses a further and perhaps the most serious problem. The explosive nature of the issue was clearly demonstrated by the political upheaval of May 13 which brought an end to the Fourth Republic.

13. De Gaulle’s statement has strengthened the growing sentiment in France in favor of a settlement in Algeria, although it has also alarmed certain elements who fear that self-determination will inevitably result [Page 300]in independence. However, metropolitan public opinion has less bearing on the outcome than that of the European population and especially the French military in Algeria. Both France and the rebels are undoubtedly anxious for a settlement, and prior to de Gaulle’s proposals overtures were made behind the scenes by both sides. De Gaulle appears to be striving for an agreement with Moslem elements which would provide for evolutionary progress toward eventual internal autonomy. However, the issue of which Moslem elements are to exercise control locally constitutes at least as difficult a barrier to a French-FLN accord at present as the question of the formal status for Algeria. De Gaulle has been unwilling to enter into political negotiations with the FLN. Any steps to give the FLN or its leaders the right to campaign in Algeria for independence would presumably be resisted by many settlers and perhaps some Army elements. Yet some means of assuring the rebels that they can safely enter the political arena is clearly a prerequisite to the cessation of hostilities in Algeria. Thus the problem of Algeria has shifted from the issue of self-determination to the problem of its implementation. One of the difficulties of implementation involves the indication by De Gaulle that the Sahara would in any event remain under French control, and that even the remaining part of the country might be subject to partition as a price of independence. Another difficulty, although a lesser one, is the necessity for ratification of the Algerian choice by the French electorate.

French Policy Toward Its Black African Territories

14. The French Government under De Gaulle has taken a decisive and dramatic step toward meeting the aspirations of the Black African territories by establishing the Community in lieu of the highly centralized French Union. The territories concerned can opt for a status of autonomous republics within the Community or even immediate independence if they so desire. The autonomous republics are to some extent self-governing, with France in effect retaining foreign affairs, defense, finance and common services. This institution is now in a formative stage. It would appear that if some of the republics are not eventually to opt for independence, France will have to grant them more voice in the decisions affecting the Community.

France’s Military Role and Capability

15. a. From a military point of view, the United States is primarily interested in ensuring continued and effective French participation in Western defense, particularly within the NATO framework. Because of its strategic location and military potential, France is vital to the North Atlantic Alliance and to NATO military planning for the defense of Europe. Use of French port facilities, highways, railroads, and airfields is extremely important to our armed forces committed to NATO. This [Page 301]fact renders the U.S. NATO forces particularly vulnerable to the national decisions made and actions taken by France.

b. In full knowledge of this strategic position, De Gaulle has demanded both equal status for France with the United States and the United Kingdom in the Councils of the West and support of his policy for Algeria. He has reduced French cooperation in NATO on certain defense issues, thereby creating serious problems for NATO: he has withdrawn the Mediterranean Fleet from “earmarked for assignment to NATO“, and, as did earlier French governments but with greater firmness, he has refused to integrate the air defense of France with NATO, and refused to permit stockpiling of nuclear warheads within French territory unless under French control.

16. The current strengths and composition of the active French Armed Forces, which are based on French over-all national objectives including the NATO commitment, were, as of August 1, approximately as follows:

Army: 700,000 (19–2/3 active divisions of various types, which include heavy contingents of conscripts and reserves called up to deal with the Algerian crisis)
Navy: 87,000 (231 vessels in active service and 711 planes)
Air Force: 134,000 (59 squadrons: total 3,944 aircraft, including 1,767 in tactical units)
National Gendarmérie: 63,000 (17 Regiments and 15 Battalions)

NATO M-Day force objectives for the French Army, as set forth in MC–70,2 are 14 divisions. At present, only three and two-thirds French divisions are in Europe—two and one-third divisions in Germany and one and one-third divisions in France. It is estimated that two and two-thirds of these divisions would be capable of opposing aggression effectively during the first month of a war. The bulk of the Army, approximately 16 divisions, is deployed in Algeria, with three of these divisions intended for return to Europe in case of declared emergency.3 The over-all combat readiness of the French Air Force suffers from the diversion of experienced personnel to units operating in Algeria. Naval air squadrons are proficient in anti-submarine warfare, and the combat capability of the French Navy is relatively good in this respect. France [Page 302]has, however, withdrawn its naval forces in the Mediterranean from the category “earmarked for assignment to NATO“. Efforts are being made to work out arrangements for cooperation between French and NATO commands with regard to the use of these naval forces in the common defense.

17. Until the Algerian conflict is resolved, France will be unable to make the important contribution to NATO, both in forces and logistic reserves, which can be reasonably expected. The deployment to Algeria of French forces committed to NATO has seriously reduced SACEUR’s capability to accomplish the NATO emergency defense mission. Altogether, France has about 400,000 military personnel in Algeria, composed about equally of personnel of the NATO and national command contingents. Moreover, large quantities of military aid intended for French NATO forces are being used to support the Algerian campaign and will continue to be used for this purpose as long as the Algerian conflict goes on. The resolution of the Algerian conflict, replacement of attrited and obsolescent matériel and provision of modern and advanced weapons systems, could greatly augment the French contribution to NATO defense.

18. France and the other NATO powers look upon the maintenance of U.S. troops in Europe as vital to the defense of Western Europe. Therefore, should the United States decide to reduce the number or personnel strength of its combat units now stationed in Europe, special care would be required with regard to the timing and extent of such withdrawals in an attempt to mitigate the psychological effects thereof in France and the other NATO countries.

19. a. French forces face increasingly serious modernization problems. Despite the magnitude of U.S. aid, the substantial rate of defense spending (in 1958, $3.4 billion or 7.1% of its GNP), and a large production of military matériel, France has not provided necessary replacements for either its own or previously-furnished MAP equipment and ammunition. In order to reconstitute French forces on a basis which would enable them to fulfill their NATO missions in continental Europe, this attrited and obsolescent equipment would have to be replaced and the advanced weapons program further developed.

b. At present France has the domestic financial as well as the industrial capability of supplying the major part of its own defense needs. In CY 1958, for example, French defense expenditures totaled $3.4 billion, while U.S. MAP deliveries totaled $127 million (including $8 million in excess stocks). The political and economic changes in France over the past year have tended to produce the political will for the French Armed Forces to carry out a long-term modernization program. While it is not possible at this time, in view of the unavailability of information concerning the extent of equipment diversions to Algeria and the rates [Page 303]of attrition there, to estimate with assurance the eventual costs of improvement and maintenance requirements of French forces in either conventional or advanced weapons, if present trends toward a stronger external financial position continue, France should be able to meet the foreign exchange costs of the greater part of any necessary military procurement abroad. If, in addition, there were a substantial decrease in Algerian military requirements, France could probably finance its total NATO replacement, modernization and advanced weapons requirements including a significant increase in present expenditures for nuclear and strategic weapons programs. However, some part of the saving in military expenditures which could be expected to follow an Algerian settlement will probably be offset by increased expenditures for rehabilitation and development of Algeria. Moreover, even if major hostilities ended on any other basis than independence, France would almost certainly retain substantial forces in Algeria during a transitional period.

20. Furthermore, since modernization of her forces has been delayed by the situation in Algeria, France’s ability to meet her NATO commitments has been correspondingly reduced. Notwithstanding her improving financial status, her efforts at modernization have of necessity been confined for the most part to those elements of her military forces which are not actively engaged in the Algerian conflict. Thus failure to resolve the Algerian problem could in time result in the need for a major readjustment of MC-70 or related NATO planning. Among other things which contribute to the complexity of this problem, France appears determined to have an independent nuclear military capability, including its own strategic delivery systems for nuclear weapons, and is actively pushing its nuclear weapons program with a view to conducting tests in the near future.4 De Gaulle has continued the Fourth Republic’s policy of refusing to permit the stockpiling in France of nuclear weapons under U.S. control which has led SACEUR to redeploy nine atomic-strike squadrons from France to the United Kingdom and Germany. It is doubtful that De Gaulle would be satisfied with anything less than full and independent national control of France’s own nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. Only an early over-all disarmament agreement or a U.S. offer to supply nuclear weapons themselves to France might persuade France to cease its own nuclear weapons program after its initial test. It is possible that the French might in time be willing to share with the United States control over U.S. weapons located in France, though probably only in return for a French voice in the [Page 304]use of nuclear weapons anywhere. These policies reflect de Gaulle’s concept of what is required if France is to be one of the leading powers of the world and his desire to avoid indefinite dependence on the United States for the ultimate protection of France.

International Relations

21. De Gaulle’s own philosophy and the events surrounding his return to power have combined to mark a strong resurgence of French nationalism. De Gaulle is determined that France resume her role as a great power and that this role be recognized. To attain this purpose he seeks the establishment of a U.S.–U.K.-French arrangement for developing and coordinating global political and military strategy, including the use of nuclear weapons; support by the United States and the United Kingdom of a preponderant role for France in what De Gaulle considers to be French spheres of influence, notably in Africa; and the development of French nuclear military potential.

22. While De Gaulle is a strong believer in the validity of a military coalition of the Atlantic powers and in the need for the stationing of U.S. troops in Europe, he has basic objections to the present structure and functioning of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He apparently is not convinced of the importance of a high degree of integration in the NATO force structure. He would substitute the concept of cooperation between national commands for that of integrated forces and has advanced tripartite control of NATO strategy. At the same time, he appears to feel that France has had too subordinate a position in the NATO command structure. It is apparent, moreover, that De Gaulle resents the fact that the United Kingdom, and particularly the United States, have forces, especially SAC, that are not integrated and can act independently of NATO. It is clear that while De Gaulle may not wish to cause the break-up of NATO, his views with regard to the military role of France in the Atlantic Alliance will continue to pose serious difficulties for NATO.

23. While De Gaulle strongly favors close cooperation with other Western European powers and has taken active steps during the past year to consolidate such relations, he in no sense shares the views of European Federalists and is fundamentally opposed to any scheme for the political integration of Western Europe or for a European supranational political structure which might diminish the national sovereignty of France or interfere with its overseas responsibilities. The implementation of the Common Market and the resultant integration of Western European economies are bound in the long run to lead to pressures for increasing political integration. However, the present government would be unlikely to accept any further surrender of national sovereignty.

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24. Despite latent French hostility toward and fear of Germany as a result of three wars within seventy years, French-German relations have progressed remarkably well in recent years. De Gaulle has done much to consolidate this progress and has developed a close personal relationship with Chancellor Adenauer.

25. De Gaulle has moved toward establishing closer and more friendly relations with Morocco and Tunisia, but as long as the Algerian conflict continues, France’s relations with the countries of North Africa will be subject to continuing strains. The duration and outcome of the conflict will determine whether French influence can be maintained in this area, and will also be a significant factor in the long-term possibilities for fruitful collaboration between Europe and Africa. Increased American influence and prestige in these areas are a source of irritation to the French, who tend to believe that we are attempting to supplant French influence. It is generally in the Free World interest that strong and healthy links be maintained between France and its former protectorates.

26. Among the former Associated States of Indochina, France still maintains political influence in Laos and particularly in Cambodia, while in Viet-Nam its influence is limited largely to cultural and commercial interests. It is strongly in the U.S. interest that France cooperate more fully with us in this area than it has in the past.

27. France, together with a number of other Western European countries, is gradually becoming convinced that the UN as presently constituted is largely inimical to its national interests. Because of the recent enlargement of the UN’s membership, there is an increasing tendency in France to regard the UN as little more than an extension of the Bandung Conference. Despite this, France still recognizes certain advantages in UN membership, particularly its permanent seat on the Security Council. Thus, moves by the UN which the French consider inimical to their interests in Algeria might cause a French walk-out from the General Assembly, but it seems unlikely that France would withdraw completely.

28. As long as the Algerian conflict continues, France will be a liability in U.S. relations with the Afro-Asian bloc, as well as in the Middle East. If and when this conflict is settled, French capabilities for exercising a constructive role throughout Africa will depend on the nature of the settlement. French influence in the Middle East, other than in Israel (where it has been engaged in covert arms deliveries), will probably be limited for some time largely to commercial and cultural interests.

29. The key issue confronting U.S. policy is the extent to which it would be in the U.S. security interest to cooperate with General de Gaulle in the various means by which he is attempting to recreate French power and prestige. Whatever course is taken by the United [Page 306]States will, to a large measure, affect the future of NATO and European integration as well as the future of France itself. There is little question as to France’s importance to the Western Alliance, or that the Gaullist experiment offers the best hope in decades of rejuvenating France as a strong ally. Nor is there any argument that a strong if nationalistic France is so important to long-run U.S. interests that, to the extent compatible with other U.S. interests, we should do all we reasonably can to accommodate de Gaulle. It is equally apparent that solution of the Algerian problem is very important to French and North African stability. France has considerable control over the outcome in Algeria and must play a pre-eminent role in developing a solution. There is no doubt that de Gaulle’s ability to achieve his objectives depends to a great degree upon the United States. In this connection the manner in which we treat De Gaulle may be at least as important as what we give him: regardless of how far we go in meeting de Gaulle’s demands we must let him know that we are seeking to satisfy his demands where it is found to be practicable and in our mutual interest to do so.

30. Because of France’s importance to the Western alliance, it is imperative that we be as responsive as possible to French views. However, the crux of the problem lies in the extent to which we can actually meet de Gaulle’s proposals without sacrificing more important interests in other realms.

31. De Gaulle’s proposals of September 16, if implemented in a manner permitting freedom of political expression in Algeria, would be consistent with our hopes for a liberal and equitable solution which we could support. The statement of the “PGAR” is also encouraging in its acceptance of the self-determination process. These are the first proposals by either side which offer a basis for working toward a solution acceptable to both. It is in the U.S. interest to support discreetly a settlement generally along the lines proposed by de Gaulle. Espousing the French cause too actively could (a) give de Gaulle’s opponents in France the opportunity to attack him through charges of U.S. “interference” (b) undermine our relations with the Afro-Asian states who await evidence that de Gaulle’s program will be implemented by the French in such a way as to permit free political expression to those Algerians who advocate independence, and (c) risk driving the Algerian rebels toward closer ties with Moscow and Peiping, should they interpret our position as giving a “blank check” to the French. Thus the United States must, without tempering its support for French efforts to bring about a liberal solution on Algeria, retain a capability to promote by discreet and appropriate means a constructive attitude toward de Gaulle’s proposals.

32. While we also wish to be more responsive to French views on other problems we are, however, limited to the extent we can go, given [Page 307]our own security interests and those of our other NATO allies: (a) de Gaulle’s ideas of a coalition NATO could spell an end to any hopes of an effective Western European defense which requires a high degree of integration in the light of modern military technology; (b) to grant his demands for a formalized triumvirate to determine Western global strategy would be deeply resented by our NATO allies and regarded with suspicion by African and Asian countries; it would also seriously impair U.S. strategic flexibility and might involve giving France a virtual veto power on the use of U.S. nuclear weapons. Moreover, it does not appear that meeting the present French “requests” or some of them (e.g., for full support on Algeria) will satisfy De Gaulle or make him more flexible on the remainder. Under the best of circumstances Gaullist France will be a headstrong and difficult ally, with French-U.S. relations experiencing frequent strains. We must therefore continue to retain a position of flexibility on these other problems so that we can, on a case-by-case basis, accommodate De Gaulle in the light of other U.S. interests.


33. Maintenance of close U.S.-French relations, and French policies generally in consonance with our own.

34. Development of France as a stronger, more constructive and stable force in the Free World.

35. Increased French support for measures that will strengthen the integrated defense of Western Europe, fulfillment of French commitments to NATO, and continued availability to the United States of military facilities and lines of communication in France.

36. Close French cooperation with the Western European states in all fields, and in particular with West Germany. Successful implementation and evolution of the European Community Treaties.

37. An early and equitable settlement of the Algerian conflict as a means of contributing to general stability in France and North Africa.

38. Continuation of constructive French political and economic policies toward Africa South of the Sahara in furtherance of European contribution to the economic and technical development of Africa.

39. Reduction of Communist strength and potential in France.

Major Policy Guidance

40. Seek maximum French support for U.S. positions and objectives. To this end, consult with the French Government to the extent feasible on current issues of international importance and coordinate where possible our respective policies. Support French initiatives which are in the over-all U.S. interest. Where, on occasion, it becomes necessary to oppose French policies, make such opposition known privately [Page 308]to the French so far as possible and, where feasible, offer constructive alternatives and seek French support thereof.

41. Continue particularly to coordinate with the French our policies with regard to the Soviet Union and German reunification. Make every effort to dispel any impression that the United States might seek bilaterally to reach agreement with the USSR on matters of direct concern to France.

42. Bearing in mind the importance of French cooperation to the Western alliance, seek to be responsive to de Gaulle’s major requests: nuclear cooperation, tripartite strategic planning, and support of French policies in North Africa, so far as consistent with basic national policies and the over-all U.S. interest. Specifically:

Urgently proceed with the study directed by paragraph 24–c of NSC 5906/15 and, at an appropriate time, seek French support of and participation in some form of multilateral European nuclear authority, urgently study whether and under what circumstances it might be in the U.S. security interests to enhance the nuclear weapons capability of France through the exchange with it or provision to it as appropriate of (1) information; (2) materials; (3) nuclear weapons; under control arrangements to be determined.
Continue the tripartite discussions in Washington including parallel military talks, expressing a willingness to discuss all problems on the understanding that the talks will not be institutionalized, that other interested nations will be kept informed, that no attempt will be made to impose decisions on other nations or on pacts in which the United States is a member, and that the talks will not replace or derogate from those taking place within treaty organizations of which the United States is a member. Do not accede to French requests for the establishment of a U.S.–U.K.-French institutional arrangement for developing and coordinating global political and military strategy.
In view or the crucial importance of an Algerian settlement to both French and North African stability, take every appropriate opportunity to contribute the weight of U.S. influence toward an early, realistic settlement while minimizing the possibility of U.S. overt involvement as an arbiter. Continue to give support to the general approach outlined by De Gaulle on September 16, but retain sufficient flexibility to allow us discreetly to serve a constructive role in its application. To this end:
Direct U.S. efforts towards encouraging an early settlement of the Algerian problem generally along the lines of the approach outlined by de Gaulle.
Discreetly encourage through appropriate channels discussions between the rebels and the French Government, initially for [Page 309]the purpose of achieving a cease-fire; attempt to have friendly third powers play a similar role and contribute to a broader settlement.
Endeavor to ensure better understanding that the U.S. motivation is its desire for an early, peaceful and equitable solution.
Except in connection with necessary UN considerations, keep our public involvement in the implementation of de Gaulle’s proposal to a minimum, but continue to make clear our general position as outlined above.
Whenever feasible, encourage the Asian and African peoples, particularly the Arab countries, to adopt a moderate attitude toward the De Gaulle proposals.

43. Following an Algerian settlement, encourage France to reconstitute her NATO forces in Europe as soon thereafter as possible.

44. Encourage the maintenance of close and friendly ties between France and North Africa. In this connection, continue to study carefully the possibilities of some form of Franco-Maghreb association for contributing to a solution of the Algerian problem.

45. Encourage the continuation of present forms of French assistance to Tunisia and Morocco, and the settlement of outstanding issues between France and Tunisia and Morocco in the hope this may lead to resumption of French military and development assistance to those countries.

46. Endeavor to secure increased and more effective French participation in NATO, taking full account of the possibilities for, and being prepared, where feasible, to support a more prominent French role in the NATO command structure. Seek to continue the use on a harmonious basis of U.S. installations in France and the satisfactory carrying out of the NATO Status of Forces Treaty.

47. Encourage France to participate, to the maximum extent practicable, in strengthening the collective defense of the Free World through increased provision of military and economic assistance to selected countries outside the French Community. Seek to convince France that U.S. strategy and policy serve its security interests as well as those of the United States.

48. In the light of the availability of U.S. resources and over-all demands upon them, continue to furnish France military assistance for the purpose of assisting France to fulfill the missions of its U.S.-approved military forces for NATO, so long as we are assured that such assistance will be used only in support of approved NATO military operations. In the absence of unusual circumstances, conventional equipment and [Page 310]advanced weapons6 should be made available to France on a reimbursable basis, except for commitments already made.

49. Encourage the implementation of present constructive French policies in the autonomous republics of Africa South of the Sahara and the continuance of French economic and technical assistance to those republics. Make clear our policy in support of the Community in furtherance of a mutually beneficial and cooperative relationship between Western Europe and Africa. Accordingly, coordinate any U.S. technical and financial assistance to those republics with French and European plans in order to prevent duplication and to avoid giving the impression that the United States intends to supplant French influence. Avoid encouraging these republics to look to the United States for financial assistance.

50. Assist the continued maintenance of satisfactory French-German relations and encourage close cooperation between France and the other States of Western Europe in all fields. In this connection, continue to support the broad objectives of the European Community and Common Market Treaties, recognizing that the initiative for achievement of these objectives must continue to come from France and the other European States directly concerned.

51. Endeavor to assure full French cooperation with controls over strategic trade with the Sino-Soviet Bloc and to prevent French recognition of Communist China.

[1 paragraph (1–1/2 lines of source text) not declassified]

53. As appropriate, encourage the French to maintain policies designed to achieve internal financial stability, and balanced external accounts at high levels of activity.

  1. Source: Department of State, OCB Files: Lot 61 D 385, France. Secret. A cover sheet, table of contents, financial appendix, and a memorandum of transmittal from the Executive Secretary are not printed. NSC 5910 was amended, as discussed in Documents 128 and 144, and circulated as NSC 5910/1.
  2. See footnote 5, Document 130.
  3. See footnote 7, Document 128.
  4. At present France has 374,000 army troops deployed in Algeria, 10,000 in Morocco, 8,000 in Tunisia, and 62,000 in other overseas French territories (some of which are colonial troops). [Footnote in the source text.]
  5. French testing of a nuclear device may come early in 1960. It has been made clear to the French that the testing of such a device would not qualify France to receive U.S. assistance in this field. [Footnote in the source text.]
  6. Pursuant to paragraph 24–c of NSC 5906/1, plans for the development of NATO arrangements for determining requirements for, holding custody of, and controlling the use of nuclear weapons are under urgent consideration within the Executive Branch. [Footnote in the source text.]
  7. As used in conjunction with the Military Assistance Program, the phrase “advanced weapons” is defined as missile weapons systems, with or without nuclear delivery capabilities, and such other weapons systems as possess nuclear delivery capabilities. [Footnote in the source text.]