58. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France 1

2352. NATUS. Following is cleared MemCon2 of Secretary’s meeting with French Ambassador Lucet May 27, 5:30 p.m. Lucet called at Secretary’s request.

Secretary noted that French Aide-Mémoire of April 223 proposed that US and France begin to discuss “practical measures” that should be taken concerning our bilateral agreements. US is prepared to discuss any matter raised by France, subject, of course, to consultation with our Allies, and finds Paris an entirely appropriate place for discussion. Secretary said that in order to prepare for discussions, however, we must have further info on precise proposals France wishes to discuss.

Secretary noted French have stated that their agreements with US are incompatible with its desire to resume full exercise of its sovereignty in French territory. He wished to make unmistakably clear that French sovereignty over French land and air has never been questioned by US. Indeed US has not failed in past and is now pledged to defend French sovereignty over French territory against armed attack. Very facilities in question, installed at express invitation and by permission of GOF, are an earnest of that pledge.

Secretary said US is willing to discuss any changes in bilateral agreements which France desires and arrangements for their termination, if necessary. We have expressed our willingness to evacuate French territory, if this is France’s desire, as soon as this can be done without prejudice to Allied security. US is prepared to discuss use of facilities established in accordance with agreements in time of peace or conflict as French Aide-Mémoire of March 29 suggests.4

Secretary said, however, a proper respect for international agreements precludes our acceptance of a unilateral denunciation of them. US has proposed a way of terminating these agreements by mutual consent, to which GOF has not yet responded.

Secretary said that nevertheless certain specific questions arise under bilateral agreements, as follows: [Page 118]

US Military Headquarters Agreement of June 17, 1953,5 authorized installation and operation of headquarters of US European Command. Inasmuch as France has denounced protocol on status of International Military Headquarters, to take effect April 1, 1967, it is intention of US to move EUCOM as soon as a suitable location can be found and arrangements made. US will, therefore, be prepared to discuss “practical measures” for this move at an appropriate time. Meanwhile, we would like to know what “practical measures” France wishes to discuss. We are prepared to discuss any French proposals re US Military Headquarters Agreement and we would like to know if it is desire of France that we agree to its termination.
Under Pipeline Agreement of June 30, 1953,6 an oil pipeline has been laid at US expense across French territory and operated by French company for both use by France and US in peacetime and by SACEUR in wartime. We would like to know what changes in Agreement are desired by France. Does France object to flow of oil in pipeline across France for use of US forces in Germany? Does France object to present operation of pipeline?
Chateauroux Agreement of February 27, 1951,7 establishes an air depot at Deols and La Martinerie for supply of US Air Forces in Europe. Air Bases Agreement of October 4, 1952,8 authorizes construction and use of certain airfields in France for US Air Force missions in furtherance of common defense plans. Both these Agreements require French approval before flights may be made from these bases which are not in furtherance of NATO missions or in support of US forces in Europe. It is intention of US in view of attitude of France to remove air squadrons and supporting forces from these bases as soon as practicable after consultation with its Allies. US will also be prepared to discuss Agreements themselves. Does France request US to agree to termination of these Agreements and evacuation of bases and depots? Are these facilities among those referred to in French Aide-Mémoire of March 29 as facilities “on which the two governments could reach mutual agreement in the event of a conflict in which both countries would participate under the Atlantic Alliance.” Does this preclude use of such facilities in event that France should not participate in a conflict arising from an armed attack against a NATO member?
System of Communications Agreement of December 8, 1958,9 authorizes a network of depots and other facilities for supply of US [Page 119] Army in Europe. Under this Agreement France may propose a review or modification and, if not satisfied with response, may give notice of termination in due course. US is prepared to discuss any proposals France may have for review or modification of Agreement and would put same questions as it has put re Chateauroux and Air Bases Agreements.

Finally, Secretary said that since US is entirely willing to discuss our bilateral agreements and practical measures relating thereto, we hope that France will aid in preparation for early discussions by providing clarification requested. In meantime we ask that French Govt designate someone with whom we can be in contact on a number of working level problems incident to moving of US military facilities out of France.

For USRO: You may advise Fourteen of fact that we have made above points orally to the French.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL FR-US. Secret. Drafted by Spiers and approved by Rusk. Repeated to all other NATO capitals.
  2. Not found.
  3. For text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1966, p. 336.
  4. For text, see ibid., pp. 324-326.
  5. For text, see 17 UST 1906.
  6. For text, see 18 UST 352.
  7. For text, see 17 UST 1865.
  8. For text, see 17 UST 1873.
  9. For text, see 17 UST 1890.