182. Telegram From the Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and European Regional Organizations to the Department of State1

9209. NATUS. Subject: Negotiations with France.

With three negotiating sessions with France behind us (NAC June 15, 21 and 28),2 we are clearly reaching point where we must decide [Page 426] where we go next. Although we have another session scheduled for July 5, we have probably approached limit of what we are going to get from De Leusse.
De Leusse’s answers to the five questions, at the special NAC this morning, were prepared without detailed clearance with Couve or Gen. De Gaulle in Moscow. It is not therefore clear whether we can take them at face value. But if what De Leusse said this morning (essentially confirming what he told me last week—Paristel 9091 Exdis-Notal)3 turns out to be what the French Government means, we have turned a significant corner in the negotiations.
Despite De Leusse’s insistence this morning in answer to questions posed June 21 (Paristel 8976),4 that answers would have to be found by military commanders, he did address himself rather responsively to what the Fourteen consider political questions in a clearly political forum.
It appears from De Leusse’s answers that the French do want to retain troops in Germany, and to work out some reasonable basis for their remaining there. The only such basis is, of course, that they be related to the rest of the NATO forces in the central region of Allied Command Europe. De Leusse’s replies indicated that the French Government would explicitly accept tasks and missions that would be related to NATO forces, would promise to fit French forces into NATO command structure in time of war, would participate in Council decisions on NATO crisis alerts, and would cooperate “increasingly” in time of peace, when troops would be (like those of other nations) under national command.
De Leusse was careful at every stage to speak of these matters as perfectly natural and hardly worth mentioning, and to repeat that these are really matters for detailed negotiations between French Chief of Staff and SACEUR. But even with these caveats, the sum total of De Leusse’s statement was a far-reaching admission that (except for air defense) France would be prepared to work with NATO in something like the same patterns of cooperation which the rest of us practice. The main difference is that they will not use NATO terminology in describing the cooperation, and will advertise more loudly than the rest of us do the national dedication which we have in fact all reserved to our own governments [Page 427] under the treaty, the Council’s decisions, and the NATO alert system.
If De Leusse’s answers stick when the Moscow delegation gets home, we will be in a position soon, perhaps next week, to move on to the next stage of these negotiations. In that stage,SACEUR and the French Chief of Staff might be asked to develop agreed answers to certain specific questions, reporting back to the Council. For this purpose, I assume that political direction to SACEUR will have to be developed in the group of Fourteen; the French will be giving political guidance to General Ailleret, and they cannot very well be on both sides of the negotiation at once. But we might well work out in the Council, after preliminary caucusing in the Fourteen and consultation with General Lemnitzer, an agreed set of assumptions and questions to which the military talks would address themselves. We are drafting the kind of NAC paper we have in mind and will submit it by cable soonest.
We have assumed that De Gaulle would want to keep some French troops in Germany, at least until after the Parliamentary elections, so that it could not be said that the consequence of Gaullist policy was to remove the French foot from Germany’s head. It seems more likely this week than previously that this analysis is correct.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, NATO 8–2. Secret. Repeated to the other NATO capitals and Berlin.
  2. In the first and second meetings, French Permanent Representative De Leusse insisted that the question of French troops in Germany was military and not political. At the third meeting on June 28, De Leusse in effect recognized that some of the issues involved were political and repeatedly stressed that France was willing to subordinate its forces to Allied command in wartime. (Telegrams 8976 and 9205 from Paris, June 21 and 28; ibid.)
  3. Telegram 9091 from Paris, June 24, described a “long and interesting conversation” with De Leusse that revealed the French were aware of difficulties of reconciling De Gaulle’s insistence on bilateral political negotiations with the fact that both Germany and the United States considered bilateral negotiations closely connected to the negotiations between France and the rest of NATO. (Ibid.)
  4. Not printed. (Ibid.)