237. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Italy0

4307. Rome 38361 repeated in London 141, Geneva 54, Bonn, Paris, Moscow, Belgrade, Warsaw, Berlin unnumbered. It is of course not desirable to encourage discussion of PSI Directorate proposals as published in June 13 Avanti. However, in event PSI “plan” should provoke undesirable public and private comment on “disengagement” with particular reference to IRBM deployment in Europe you should draw on guidance re “disengagement” as contained CA 6426, CA 9611, and Dept Circular Airgrams 245 and 5482 as in your discretion you deem necessary and desirable.

With specific reference to IRBM deployment in Europe in accordance with December 1957 NATO Heads of Government decision [Page 522] (paras 18 through 20 of communiqué)3 following additional points may be usefully established:

There is no truth to allegation that these points made by Avanti acceptable to West. Fact is all have repeatedly been rejected by responsible Western governments.
Avanti proposal constitutes endorsement of Soviet view that “European nations except USSR should without waiting for general disarmament, renounce nuclear weapons and missiles and rely on arms of pre-atomic age.
Plan in fact calls for NATO countries renounce unilaterally weapons essential for their defense, deterrence of aggression, and maintenance of peace while leaving European NATO countries vulnerable to similar weapons based in USSR and at mercy numerical superiority Soviet satellite forces.
Political consequence of resultant military inferiority would be expose Western Europe to Soviet threats and blackmail with no recourse but surrender or acceptance of military challenge under conditions highly disadvantagous to west.
Related to above is fact that unilateral weakening of NATO defense posture would increase danger of Soviet miscalculation thereby increasing rather than decreasing risk of military conflict.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 765.00/6–1359. Confidential. Drafted by Wolfgang J. Lehman and cleared by Maestrone and McBride, Richard T. Davies (SOV), Jack M. Fleischer (EUR/P), and Peter A. Seip (S/S). Repeated to London, Paris, Bonn, Moscow, Belgrade, Warsaw, Berlin, and to Geneva for the Delegation at the Foreign Ministers Meeting.
  2. Telegram 3836 from Rome, June 13, reported that the Socialist Party presented a five-point proposal in the June 13 edition of Avanti designed to freeze armaments at their existing levels. The five minimum points of the Socialist proposal were: suspension of the construction of medium-range missile bases in Central Europe, a ban on further construction in this zone, pledges by neutral states not to construct missile bases, extension of the zone in which missiles were forbidden by negotiations, and dismemberment of NATO and the Warsaw Pact at the conclusion of negotiations. (Ibid.)
  3. None of these documents has been found in Department of State files.
  4. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, January 8, 1958, pp. 12–15.