28. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Belgium 0

2200. During visit February 20 Spaak and Under Secretary discussed European Integration.1 Ball opened meeting by asking Spaak for [Page 66] his impressions of recent de Gaulle-Adenauer conversations.2 Spaak replied that he had very little information. He had seen a vague document on subject from German sources, which gave impression that all areas of confusion remained. In Spaak’s views de Gaulle wants nothing serious in direction of political Europe. He noted that in December it was decided to make tie between political and economic integration by requiring any country wishing join economic community should also join political work growing out of Bonn Declaration.3 Spaak expressed opinion there was no real chance for revival of the integration movement on political side while General de Gaulle in power, but Spaak maintained his hopes for the future, as de Gaulle’s policy was not that of France and as five other countries have made it clear that they are opposing the French Government on this issue.

Under Secretary asked Spaak for his impressions British negotiations. Spaak replied that they had not yet really begun. Thus far negotiations limited laying out positions and certain amount of sparring. Spaak concerned that organization of conferences was wrong as there is nobody responsible for providing the political push which is necessary to make the negotiations work. Under these circumstances they will inevitably bog down in detailed discussions. Spaak suggested it would be possible change structure of negotiations. Indeed, he thought that time would come very shortly when new proposals should be made in these sessions. Reception these proposals by French would be test of real will succeed. (De Bassompierre of the Belgian Embassy subsequently passed on message from Spaak that he wanted make clear his view that discussion change organization of conferences was imminent necessity, and if it did not take place within next two months or so there was a real danger that conference would not succeed.)

Mr. Spaak gave his opinion that on balance de Gaulle did not want British in, as it might threaten France’s leading role in community; he pointed to de Gaulle’s letter to Khrushchev4 which made clear that France desires speak in Four-Power councils on behalf of Europe, which Spaak said Europe would not accept. In answer to question from Ball whether de Gaulle might be easier deal with after Algerian settlement reached, Spaak said at first he thought there would be no change, but as he thought about it more, he concluded that General would be if anything more difficult afterwards. Concerning British position Spaak’s opinion it was important from their viewpoint that negotiations not last [Page 67] too long—say no more than three to five months longer. Under Secretary noted apparent deterioration of the domestic climate in United Kingdom and need for movement in negotiations to keep up momentum. Ball had received the same impression after talks with Mr. Gaitskell.5 Spaak agreed that as the negotiations stagnated, there was on the whole a tendency for the opposition to become stronger in the UK.

With respect association problem Spaak said countries asking for association were in fact asking for permission pick and choose things they liked in Treaty and reject others. This proposition was unacceptable as such arrangements could seriously hold back both economic and political development Europe.

In summing up, he believed the American position on association was entirely correct and hoped we would hold to it. Spaak said he believed Italians generally shared his viewpoint and that the Germans would probably go along with it, while others were considerably less sure. When Under Secretary asked Spaak why he thought British had been so strong on this subject, Spaak replied that the British had led the neutrals on in matter of EFTA and now felt they could not afford abandon them.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.55/2–2362. Secret. Drafted by Beaudry, cleared with Cleveland and Vine, and approved by Tyler. Also sent to London, Bonn, Paris, Rome, and Luxembourg.
  2. Memoranda of these conversations are ibid., Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330.
  3. February 15.
  4. A reference to the communiqué of the Heads of Government meeting of the Common Market, July 18, 1961, which instructed a committee to draft proposals for political union.
  5. For text of this letter on disarmament, see The New York Times, February 20, 1962.
  6. A memorandum of Ball’s conversation with Gaitskell on February 19 is in Department of State, Central Files, 375.800/2–1962. A memorandum of a second Ball-Gaitskell conversation on February 24 is ibid., 375.800/2–2462.