111. Telegram From the Embassy in Germany to the Department of State0

21. Paris for USRO. Ambassador Finletter and I called on Chancellor this afternoon primarily for discussion NATO long-term planning. Following points emerged:

After full discussion of subject, it was generally agreed, with strong concurrence from Chancellor, that Berlin Question and long-term planning for NATO were separable problems, and we should not allow Khrushchev’s artificial crisis re Berlin to interfere in slightest with our planning for 1962–1966 forces for NATO. Chancellor said latter should proceed serenely and without being disturbed by Khrushchev. He saw no reason why discussion among Allies of their long-term plans should have any result other than to strengthen Alliance.
On organizational side of NATO, Chancellor made quite a point of need for strengthening Secretary General’s staff. We pointed out to him that you had already assured Stikker US would do everything it [Page 324] could to strengthen his staff and generally to assist him. Finletter said he was already in touch with Secretary General in Paris for purpose of working out details of doing so. Chancellor seemed satisfied with this.
Chancellor wanted to know if we thought NATO was capable of carrying out its functions properly with present organization. Finletter said he felt organization should be strengthened, but not reorganized. This, by the way, was exactly same answer which Stikker told Finletter he had given Chancellor when question was raised during his visit with Chancellor last week. We both said we felt the important thing was for the leaders of the Alliance to be in general agreement on what they were trying to do, that if they were and if the ideas were good, there would be little problem of the Alliance moving ahead. Chancellor seemed reasonably satisfied with this answer.

We gained impression Chancellor is reasonably well satisfied with US approach to NATO military planning, although, as in other matters, he will need reassurance from time to time. We went into pretty full discussion of purpose of American emphasis on conventional weapons and covered much same ground which Acheson had gone over previously.1

One question, however, arose. Chancellor seemed to have misunderstood, or to have remembered incorrectly, a remark by Henry Kissinger re missile gap.2 While Kissinger was no doubt talking solely about missiles, Chancellor seemed to think that he had admitted there was overall deficiency in American strategic Air Force and accordingly US was vulnerable to a Russian atomic attack during period 1961–1963. Chancellor appeared to be reassured on this point as result of our discussion.

Chancellor made flat statement that since death of John Foster Dulles he had not been kept properly informed about condition of American military strength. My impression, after some discussion, was that what Chancellor was really concerned about was our nuclear strength and specifically number and location of nuclear warheads in NATO area, although his remarks referred to American military strength generally. We assured him that within limits of law he would be kept fully informed. This raises question of some importance which we hope you will consider. Meanwhile, I shall follow up with view to obtaining more precise idea of Chancellor’s desires in this field.

Chancellor also raised question of de Gaulle’s attitude toward Alliance. He said he felt main trouble with de Gaulle was his feeling that [Page 325] NATO had no control over its nuclear forces. Control was, for practical purposes, in hands of Americans, and other Allies had no real say over their own destiny. There followed long discussion of possibility of enmeshing Allies more firmly into Alliance. We pointed out that the President had declared defense of NATO was indivisible, and that he had indicated his willingness to consider any policy which gave credence to this indivisibility. We explained US was taking position it had open mind re any proposals by Allies for NATO control over nuclear weapons. We referred to the President’s Ottawa speech,3 and said US was willing to look at any proposals for creation of NATO MRBM force offered by Allies. We hoped, in fact, there would be suggestions from them, and thereafter discussion of proposals in NAC. Chancellor emphasized that progress must be made in this area. He was careful to stress there was no distrust of US, but he pointed to what he regarded as interregnum during American Presidential elections and at one point reminded US that last President of US had gone so far as to suggest some withdrawal of American forces from Europe as an economy measure.

Chancellor then went on to say he believed if proposals for enmeshment of major Allies into affairs and commitments of Alliance could be put forward, this very well might have effect of breaking de Gaulle’s resistance to full participation in NATO. He said FedRep would be anxious to work along these lines with US.

At conclusion of conversation, Chancellor thanked Finletter for coming to Bonn and remarked that this was best discussion he had on NATO in long time.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 375/7–561. Secret; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Paris.
  2. See Document 97.
  3. A summary of Kissinger’s conversation with Adenauer on May 18 was transmitted in airgram G–1278, May 19. (Department of State, Central Files, 375/5–1961)
  4. For text of President Kennedy’s address to the Canadian Parliament, May 17, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1961, pp. 382–387.