2. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Missions in Europe0
Washington, March 24, 1961, 4:01 p.m.
1459. Ref: The Hague’s G–364 and 1205.1 Following is Dept’s assessment of results of Six Heads of Govt meeting and related problems [Page 3] which addresses may draw upon for background information and guidance.
- Meeting clearly mended fences between Adenauer and de Gaulle and restored Franco-German solidarity on broad aspects European problems. This appears be based largely de Gaulle-Adenauer understanding on maintenance of Community institutions, on importance of NATO, and necessity for equal status among the Six.
- By same token, it was degree and suddenness of Franco-German agreement on major problems which disturbed Dutch, who now appear as much concerned with protecting position of small powers against Franco-German domination as they were previously suspicious of de Gaulle’s motives in advancing proposals for further cooperation among Six.
- Establishment of intergovernmental study group to submit concrete proposals to next meeting represents achievement of limited objective of meeting as Dept understood it. It seems good device for assuring that proposals which have significance and are divorced from thorny question of de Gaulle’s motives can be arrived at.
- While no agreement reached on principle of periodic meeting of Six Heads of Govt date of next meeting (May 19) appears de facto establish this.
- Statements in communiqué particularly reference to “laying foundations of a union which could develop progressively” and entire penultimate para are indicative of extent by which proposals have been modified since first stated by de Gaulle. Assurance re existing Communities and deferral of Defense Committee proposal seem further evidence of this. Conciliatory attitude of French appears in large measure due their desire achieve some measure of success their European policy.
- Dutch opposition position in Paris has created a position of strength during deliberations of intergovernmental committee which can be helpful if constructively utilized and not used for obstructionist ends.
- Underlying motive for Dutch position, as described para 2 above, appears to be desire to slow down further moves among Six which would make more difficult accommodation with British and establishment of wider trading area, for Dutch have always considered Six as a start toward a wider integration of European Nations and ultimately an Atlantic Community. Negative UK reaction in WEU Council meeting to use of that forum for political consultation may weaken Dutch position; Heath statement in WEU also evidence that UK not yet prepared at this time go as far as necessary to make Dutch holding action tenable.
- Dept in accord with Hallstein assessment given to European Parliamentary Assembly (Strasbourg’s 110)2 which sees Feb 10 communiqué as important expression of political will of member govts which completes economic objectives of Communities.
- Dept supports in principle any further cooperation among Six in political or other fields which will strengthen and bolster NATO. Overriding importance which five other countries have in unity of NATO alliance, and assurances which French appear to have given them in this regard, lead Dept to conclusion that positive recommendations of intergovernmental study group by May 19 meeting could be important forward step in increasing institutional unity of Six. We would certainly wish examine carefully these recommendations before committing ourselves, but fail to see how French can use political consultation for “Domination of Six,” when other five have every means to insist upon appropriate safeguards in study group.
- In brief, Dept believes that evolution of de Gaulle’s proposals for political consultation has been healthy and that other five countries, through their vigorous reaction to possible less desirable features, have been able to divert essentials into constructive channels. This development is one which should be judged intrinsically and independently of de Gaulle’s possible motives as to role France might play, since other five can clearly be relied upon in their own interest to achieve relative balance among the Six.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 375.800/3–2461. Official Use Only. Sent to 15 missions in Europe. Drafted by Vine on March 21; cleared with Fessenden, McBride, and Hillenbrand; and approved by Kohler.↩
- Dated February 28 and March 23 respectively, they reported on conversations with Netherlands officials concerning EEC political consultations. (Ibid., 756.00/2–2861 and 375.800/3–2361) In the concluding paragraph of telegram 1205 the Embassy suggested that the Netherlands would agree to political consultations only after extracting the maximum concessions in areas of its concern.↩
- Dated March 11. (Ibid., 375.800/3–1161)↩