59. Telegram From the Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and European Regional Organizations to the Department of State 1
Polto 29. Re Topol 34.2 We circulated text of US reply this morning, and Stikker, who had privately been approached by some PermReps on timetable, called NAC meeting on timing question for noon. Stikker noted draft French and UK replies not yet received and felt Council and governments would wish to consider three documents. Asked NAC if timetable acceptable, which he personally doubted. He noted that if amendment suggested at July 12 meeting, delivery July 13 not possible. Stressed consultation on Berlin issue of great importance to Alliance, and good deal of policy decision may be involved in replies which might affect serious developments in future. In most countries matter would have to go to cabinets.
Belgium strongly agreed. Belgian Ambassador in Washington had been assured one week’s time and Belgium had counted on it. It was in interest of West that consultation be serious. Three working days too short considering all implications. In view July 14 holiday, Belgium proposed NAC consultation Saturday July 15. Noted that NAC already informed that Spaak and many other members of Six would be in Athens re Common Market celebration this weekend and in Rome Monday re Six heads of government meeting. US had had since 4th of June and whole world knew deliberate and serious US staff level consultations and coordination with four that had taken place. Rest of Alliance should be given opportunity to act with same seriousness.
Italy supported Belgium, saying hard to say would be able to reply by 12th, and, with respect to statement in second sentence of US reply, said would be difficult to say other NATO members consulted if in fact their responses not ready.
Netherlands supported previous speakers, adding that if Soviets knew short timetable and absence of many FonMins, they would get impression of rubberstamping by Alliance of US proposal.
France agreed with suggestions. Said French note would only be adopted in Council of Ministers on 12th and could not be circulated to NATO before morning 13th. If minimum two-days consultation needed, NAC consultation could take place 15th, and reply sent on to Moscow for delivery night of 15th or Monday. French note would be [Page 179] very short and US note more important. Greek PermRep thought reply was excellent, but supported plea of time in view mention of NATO agreement in paras 1 and 11 of reply. Luxembourg, Turkey and Canada joined in request for further delay. UK, which circulated its reply at end of meeting, said timetable therefor was same as for US proposal and would report sense of discussion.
US PermRep said he would report unanimous view of Council. Personally, he favored full consultation, which he agreed would be difficult to get in the circumstances, especially as French reply not ready until July 13 and could be important. He would inform Washington to see if delay could not be arranged. He had no information whether there were reasons for the short timetable.
Canada suggested a preliminary exchange of views at Wednesday NAC meeting might be helpful, also noted that if amendments suggested Saturday, further delay in delivery possible.
France pointed out German delivery should be delayed from 10th to about 14th, in view delay other Western replies so as to avoid Russian reply to Germans before other Western replies delivered. German Rep did not know if Kroll yet had date with Khrushchev for 10th but would report.
He agreed it had been intended that German note be delivered two or three days before others. Chair supported French suggestion, noting US and UK support therefor.
Stikker concluded by underlining very strongly necessity for longer period of consultation in light unanimous consensus and his own personal views and noted Council would like to have preliminary exchange of views July 12 with definitive consultation July 15. Agreed press should be told only that NAC consultation on responses to Soviet aide-mémoire had begun.
Recommendation: I strongly urge that we go along with the request of the NAC on timing. I am convinced that it is of importance to give a firm foundation for a posture of Western solidarity, and de Staerke privately tells me that Spaak will state in the Parliament that there has not been adequate consultation unless the proposed timetable is accepted. I think we can use publicly the extended timetable to demonstrate that the Western governments are giving sober and purposeful consideration to the adoption of a firm position on Berlin and that this can be used to our advantage with the Russians and the West. Particularly in light of the factor of delay in the French reply, it simply would not be understood if we did not fall in with this reasonable suggestion of the entire North Atlantic Council.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/7-861. Secret; Priority. Repeated to Bonn, London, and Moscow.↩
- Topol 34 to Paris, July 7, transmitted the text of the U.S. reply that had been agreed to on July 4 subject to French reservations about the last sentence in one paragraph. (Ibid., 762.00/7-761)↩