120. Telegram From the Embassy in Belgium to the Department of State0

1108. Paris pass USRO. Spaak discussed recent NATO Ministerial meeting with me last night saying American presentation, particularly that of Secretaries Rusk and MacNamara, was one of most important developments in history of NAC. Whereas past NATO military presentations and estimates of western and Soviet capabilities had frequently been counter-productive in their total concentration on what appeared to be unbridgeable gap between western deficiencies and Soviet military strength, with a discouraging effect on those who wished to see realistic and effective NATO military strength developed, MacNamara presentation had pointed out where we were ahead of the Soviets, where we were behind and where effort was needed.

This balanced presentation was very encouraging because of its overall implications, including western superiority nuclear weapons, and estimate that with somewhat greater effort there is realistic hope we can close gap in conventional forces. Spaak felt it most important that implications of MacNamara presentation be thoroughly studied by NATO soonest with a view to developing “a real and rational NATO military policy which thus far has been non-existent”.

He also mentioned that as result of NATO meeting he had felt better equipped to take firm position in Socialist National Congress, that Socialist Party should re-examine its negative policy toward Belgium’s defense effort (Embtel 1096).1

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–PA/12–1961. Secret. Repeated to Paris, London, and Bonn.
  2. Telegram 1096, December 18, summarized Spaak’s speech on December 17 to the Socialist Party Congress. (Ibid., 755.13/12–1861)