11. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • European Unity and the Atlantic Alliance


  • Europeans 2
    • Sicco L. Mansholt, Vice President, EEC
    • Robert Marjolin, Vice President,EEC
    • Jean Rey, Commissioner, EEC
    • Louis George Rabot, Director General, Agriculture
    • Pierre Millet, Director General, Internal Market
    • Theodorus Hijzen, Special Representative of the Commission for the GATT Negotiations
    • Pierre Lucion, Chef de Cabinet to Commissioner Rey
    • Michel Hedreul, Adviser to the Vice President of the EEC
  • U.S.
    • The Secretary of State
    • The Secretary of Agriculture
    • Robert V. Roosa, Under Secretary for Monetary Affairs, Department of the Treasury
    • Christian A. Herter, Special Representative for Trade Negotiations
    • W. Michael Blumenthal, Deputy Special Representative for Trade Negotiations
    • John W. Tuthill, United States Representative to the European Communities
    • William R. Tyler, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs
    • J. Robert Schaetzel, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Atlantic Affairs

After welcoming the Commissioners the Secretary of State said he hoped it would be of interest to them if he outlined the general situation vis-á-vis the Soviet bloc. While this appeared to be a period of motion he was not sure of the directions but he was sure that the big questions would still be with us, such as Cuba and Viet Nam. He noted there had been small progress made in disarmament but no major movements in that area. It would be incorrect to refer to the situation as one of detente. A new sobriety had been introduced into the East-West relations due to an awareness of the terrible dangers of nuclear war. This new sobriety [Page 23] was one result of the Cuban affair. Southeast Asia remained the point of gravest danger.

Turning to trade, the Secretary of State said that this was subject to review, noting the imminent hearings before the Senate which he thought would go on for several months. We did not expect substantial growth in trade due to the limitations of Soviet gold and exchange resources and exports of interest to the United States. In addition the lack of a lend-lease settlement inhibited extension of normal credits. The Secretary of State observed that for the past fifteen years the United States had been a minority of one within the Alliance in East-West trade. Perhaps we had been wrong and our allies right, and maybe as the subject is explored a compromise can be found.

With regard to disarmament the Secretary of State said he could not see any early agreement. He thought future steps would be small and might take the form of Khrushchev’s policy of “mutual example.” Perhaps agreements could not be written but what may develop would be a “coincidence of policy” as for example in the field of a nondissemination of nuclear arms and reductions of defense spending.

Turning to trans-Atlantic relations the Secretary of State observed that some people see only disarray in the Alliance. He wondered if this was an accurate picture and called attention to the extent this disarray seemed to be due to unsolved intra-European problems. In this connection he wished to underline the importance attached to the Kennedy Round. The Secretary thought it a pity that at a time when Khrushchev has so many problems we in the West are forced to mark time. If, in contrast, we were moving strongly towards European integration and Atlantic partnership this would be real strength. Unfortunately we have been diverted, at least temporarily, from this course.

Mr. Rey thanked Secretary Rusk for his welcome and responding to the final point the latter had made suggested breaking the problem down into three areas: economic, political and military. He noted that the process of political union was stalled and that the military problem was at this moment the exclusive property of the individual nations. But he proceeded to outline the rather surprising progress that had been made even during the difficult year of 1963 in the area of economic unity. He felt that from the breakdown of the U.K. negotiations in January 1963 to the successful Marathon meeting before Christmas a basis had developed which would allow the community to move rapidly ahead in 1964. He noted in this connection President Hallstein’s proposal for a further acceleration of the program for eliminating national tariffs. Mr. Rey also noted the very substantial progress made in the monetary field and his expectations that more would be seen in this area. The fusion of the executives was succeeding and by 1965 the United States would be able to deal with only one commission—although he could not say now [Page 24] whether it would be 9 or 14. Finally, he stressed that the purpose the community had in mind was to construct a community for the closest possible cooperation with the United States.

Mr. Mansholt also picked up the final point made by the Secretary of State and posed the rhetorical question, “How is Europe going to be organized?” He noted that the veto of U.K. entry was a great shock which had led to questions in the United States as to “Who is Europe?” “Is it De Gaulle?” Mr. Mansholt said this is not true. The European states are “involved in a difficult struggle but De Gaulle’s ideas of Europe are not those we want.” He underscored Mr. Rey’s observations on the remarkable progress that had been made in 1963 despite the internal difficulties. He referred as well to the recommendations being made with respect to the European Parliament.

Mr. Mansholt accepted the fact that current European tensions preclude progress on political union but suggested that this step is not essential now. While a fully effective Atlantic partnership will need an economically and politically unified Europe it is not possible to give an answer on the political front now. Mr. Mansholt emphasized that progress in economic unity combined with the mandate given to the Commission by the Council of Ministers to engage in the Kennedy Round is really all that can reasonably be asked for. He furthermore predicted that the end of the negotiations would see success. Mr. Mansholt emphasized most strongly that the Kennedy Round is the last chance for the community to show what kind of Europe we are to have. The big problem will be agriculture but he believed these difficulties would be solved as well.

Mr. Marjolin associated himself with the views of his colleagues. He noted as well the problems and difficulties that lie ahead. He recalled an observation the Secretary of State had made before lunch to the effect that the latter, when asked about Berlin, said he would be content if he could leave the problem in the same shape for his successor. Mr. Marjolin said that many of these problems such as agriculture could not be solved quickly and would have to be worked over a long time, both within Europe and between Europe and the United States. He called attention to the extent that America had profited from the Common Market with an increase of exports into the community of 80% since 1958. He said the Market had been helpful to the Free World as a whole but he admitted that as in all things matters could have been better.

Mr. Marjolin noted that the European Community was the United States’ child. It would never have come into being without United States support. He suggested that the advantages recited earlier, he hoped, show clearly that the United States had been wise and correct in its policies. By the end of 1965, Marjolin noted, the Common Market would be deciding most economic issues by majority rule. This is the way European federation would come about, dealing first with assorted economic [Page 25] matters and leaving the “higher issues of policy” to national governments. But these are the important issues of international life, these assorted matters, and he argued that the European Community would continue to be a real partner in its relations with the United States.

The Secretary of State expressed his interest in the observations made by the three Commissioners and suggested that we should give more attention to public information on these matters. Perhaps if people understood the situation better they would see that it was more a sense of disarray than a fact of disarray in our European and Atlantic affairs. By way of analogy he said he was personally not too concerned over the apparent disagreement of strategy within the Alliance for he felt this too was a superficial rather than a real issue. He suggested that when we get down to issues of how we deal with a clear threat then we find there is much greater unity than we had thought to be the case. He concluded by saying that he wanted to be sure we gave more attention to the public affairs aspects of the Atlantic Community.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 3 NATO. Limited Official Use. Drafted by Schaetzel and approved in S on March 16. The conversation was held at a lunch-eon given by Secretary Rusk in the James Madison Room of the Department of State.
  2. The EEC officials were in Washington for talks March 5–6. Memoranda of their conversations with Ball, Herter, Under Secretary of the Treasury Robert V. Roosa, and Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Walter Heller, during the morning of March 5, are ibid., ECIN 6 EEC. A summary of the discussion on trade disparities that afternoon was transmitted in circular telegram 1628, March 6. (Ibid., ECIN 7 EEC) Except for the conversation recorded here most of the discussions on March 6 were devoted to agriculture. (Circular telegram 1636, March 7; ibid.)