1. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • European Community of “Six”


  • Manlio Brosio, Italian Ambassador
  • Mr. Carlo Perrone-Capano, Italian Minister
  • The Under Secretary
  • WE—Mr. Knight

At the conclusion of a conversation on another subject Ambassador Brosio raised without notice a question which he said was of deep concern to him. He said that in the course of a recent conversation with a prominent (though unnamed) official of the new Administration the official had expressed the opinion that if in the course of their forthcoming meeting in Paris the Heads of Government of the Six were to work out a common position on matters pertaining to political and economic cooperation for presentation in NATO councils, this might jeopardize NATO itself. In view of the gravity of this question for Italy the Ambassador wished to comment on it promptly and to ask the Under Secretary’s views.

The Ambassador said that in his opinion the question of objective was all important. If the aim of the consultation were to move the Six towards a separate Third Force-type position for Europe (which he said Italy would never accept) concern on the part of the US Government would be completely understandable. Actually, however, the objective of the Six was the strengthening of NATO. This being the case, even if the Six were to speak in NATO with one voice the US should feel no concern. He emphasized that if Italy should ever be forced to choose between the Atlantic Alliance and the Community of Six, the Alliance would come first.

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The Under Secretary commented that to its credit the American people, as well as the Government, had approved the Common Market concept from the first in view of its long-term political implications, even though it had been apparent that it might in the short term be to the United States’ economic disadvantage. He went on to say that we must realize the enormous strength of the countries of North America and Western Europe, with their advanced state of development and their high population (double that of the Soviet Bloc, excluding China). He said that in his opinion the West had nothing to fear if it could succeed in rapidly developing its resources and its effective instruments for common action. Many in the U.S. would accept forms of multilateral cooperation with Western Europe going far beyond those now existing. This should be our goal. The new relationships should go beyond purely military bonds to encompass political and economic matters, since the military relationship was based purely on fear which could prove to be a transitory phenomenon. The Under Secretary said that the Korean War had been a particular tragedy because it had diverted American thinking away from consideration of new forms of political and economic integration of the free world, and imposed an absolute priority on purely military relationships.

Ambassador Brosio agreed with the substance of the Under Secretary’s remarks and concluded by saying that Italy viewed the Community of Six as a step towards a larger grouping, and not towards division of the NATO grouping already in existence.

  1. Source: Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330. Confidential. Drafted by Knight. A summary of this conversation was transmitted in telegram 3221 to Paris, February 6. (Ibid., Central Files, 375.800/2–661)