167. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Germany 0

1646. For Ambassador only. Please deliver the following letter from the President to Chancellor soonest.

“Dear Mr. Chancellor:

I greatly welcomed your letter and the expression of your determination to participate with us in the creation of a multilateral nuclear force within NATO.1

I regard the establishment of such a force, with the Federal Republic as a full participant, as having great significance for the alliance and for the entire West. You have my assurance that we intend to press toward this objective with the utmost vigor.

This American intention reflects the full commitment of my country to the support of European integration and Atlantic partnership. Our security is identified with that of Western Europe for reasons of the most basic character: Only if the resources of a uniting Europe are joined to those of the US in needed tasks can you and we look forward to success either in defending the free world or in ensuring its continued progress. Developing Soviet weapons technology does not weaken this proposition, but reinforces it. Europe or the US, if split from one another, would be that much weaker in confronting this threat; acting together, I am confident that we can continue to deter aggression.

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For these reasons, the interdependence of the Atlantic Community is in my country no longer a matter of debate. Our forces—both nuclear and non-nuclear—will remain in Europe and will be used, as necessary, to meet any threat to NATO from whatever quarter. Against the background of this interdependence, I believe that the period immediately ahead will be one of growing opportunity for progress toward greater European and Atlantic cohesion—in the political, military, and economic fields.

I am glad that my suggestion of a possible executive mechanism within NATO seems interesting to you. As I wrote you2 and as Mr. Ball further explained, such a mechanism might well be the best means of providing political direction of the multilateral force, while at the same time making possible effective consultation—which seems increasingly essential—regarding problems that lie both within and beyond the NATO area.

In the military field, the creation of a seaborne MRBM force—under multilateral ownership, manning, and direction—would bring interested European countries and the US together in a program that would meet immediate allied nuclear aspirations and promote the cause of European and Atlantic cohesion. If we miss this opportunity for constructive action, and try instead to deal with the nuclear issue on a disunited basis—e.g., through spreading independent national efforts, this cohesion could be gravely threatened—and our enemies would make the most of it.

Similarly, in the economic field an opportunity is at hand to complete the European Community through successful conclusion of the current UK-EEC negotiations. Although this is, of course, for the countries directly concerned to work out, I am sure you share my own view that the failure of these negotiations would represent a setback of major proportions in our mutual efforts to develop the unity and strength of the free world in the face of the common danger. I am greatly concerned by the course which events in Brussels are taking.

It occurs to me that during your forthcoming trip to Paris you will have an opportunity to do some very useful work on behalf of the kind of Europe which has been your own central objective and to which you have given great leadership.

Meanwhile we have been having good and useful talks with Signor Fanfani in Washington.

We have talked about a NATO executive mechanism, about the EEC negotiations—which he views much as you and I do and about the need which he also sees for early action on the multilateral nuclear [Page 484] front—as a step toward both greater political cohesion and modernization of alliance nuclear forces. As part of this modernization we also discussed replacement of obsolete IRBM’s in Italy and Turkey by Polaris submarines in the Mediterranean, which are a more effective and modern weapons system, until a multilateral MRBM force came into being.

I am hopeful that this Italian disposition to move vigorously will permit early action toward our common objectives. I shall continue to keep in close touch with you as the situation develops, so that we can concert our actions to this end.

In conclusion, let me say quite earnestly that the United States is not interested in encouraging or promoting differences among our Allies. On the contrary our great preoccupation is—as it has been for fifteen years—to see the evolution of an alliance in complete unity—within Europe and across the Atlantic.”

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 740.5611/1–1863. Secret; Eyes Only. Drafted by Owen and Ball; cleared with Bundy, Rusk, and Ball; and initialed by Rusk.
  2. Undated, but transmitted to the President by Knappstein on January 17, this 4-paragraph letter repeated what the Chancellor had told Ball, that the Germans were prepared to participate in the creation of a multilateral NATO nuclear force. (Ibid., Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204)
  3. See footnote 5, Document 165.