2. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • The Brussels Meeting of the EEC and European Unification


  • Italy
    • Foreign Minister Giuseppe Saragat 2
    • Ambassador Attilio Cattani, Foreign Ministry
    • Ambassador Sergio Fenoaltea, Italian Embassy
    • Minister Franco Malfatti di Montetretto, Chief of Cabinet to Minister Saragat
    • Minister Gian Luigi Milesi Ferretti, Italian Embassy
    • Miss Bonaccorsi, Interpreter
  • United States
    • The Secretary
    • Mr. George W. Ball
    • Governor Herter
    • Mr. William R. Tyler
    • Ambassador Frederick Reinhardt
    • Mr. Francis E. Meloy, Jr., WE
    • Mr. Walker Givan, WE
    • Mr. Neil Seidenman, Interpreter
[Page 3]

After a discussion of the Italian political situation, the Secretary asked the Foreign Minister to comment on the situation in the EEC and prospects for European unity in light of the Brussels meeting.

The Foreign Minister replied that Brussels marked an important step toward a common agricultural policy, but there should be no illusions that it also marked progress toward political union; much water must flow before political unity is achieved.

Noting that both De Gaulle and Erhard have mentioned the possibility of new initiatives, the Secretary asked what measures to promote European unity the Foreign Minister considered likely or desirable in the near future. The Minister replied that it was good for leaders to talk about unification and that, viewed in the spirit of Atlantic partnership as outlined by President Kennedy, it is obvious that Europe must become united; but it is impossible to conceive of a unified Europe without the UK. Although we cannot stand immobile, we cannot do anything that would hamper Britain from adhering later. If there is to be a political relance, it must be done without polemicizing with the UK and with the British fully understanding every step. If any group of Italian politicians should agree on a European initiative without the UK, their initiative would lead nowhere because a majority of Italians would never approve it. The Italians intend to make this clear to De Gaulle next month in Paris. At the same time Italy does not intend to join any crusade against De Gaulle; this is unnecessary since his policy collapses by itself, as illustrated by the fate of the Paris-Bonn axis. But De Gaulle must be convinced that Italy will not accept European integration without Britain.

The Secretary asked what the Foreign Minister would advise the United States to do now: Should we stay outside the problem and leave it to the Europeans?

The Foreign Minister replied that the United States cannot stay outside because it and Europe are members of the Atlantic community. The only question is where the United States should intervene, and the best place is the UK. The Minister regretted having to criticize friends in the British Labor Party, but when Wilson attacked the Brussels decisions he did a disservice to integration. Secondly, when Walker (hopefully a future Foreign Secretary) talks as if it were necessary to have a directorate with Germany and France he is adopting a Gaullist position.

The Secretary said the Italians could dismiss the second point from their minds. Any proposals of a directorate would have a high infant-mortality rate. The first point on the Brussels decisions is more complicated and depends mainly on a successful outcome of the Kennedy Round trade negotiations,3 which we consider necessary for Atlantic [Page 4] cohesion. The Secretary invited the Foreign Minister to comment: Did he anticipate a successful Kennedy Round?

The Foreign Minister replied that Italy’s views are receptive, as are those of the Benelux and to some extent Germany since the Kennedy Round more or less suits their economic situation. The French are more reserved, but the atmosphere as a whole is favorable and the French will find this difficult to resist.

Governor Herter asked whether the Brussels decisions implied that the EEC agricultural policy is now fixed or whether it is still negotiable; we are concerned since it is our position that industry and agriculture should not be considered separately but as different aspects of the same thing.

The Foreign Minister replied that he did not regard himself as expert in agricultural matters and could only reason as a man in the street. He believed, however, that agriculture would present the most difficulties to negotiators, even among the Europeans themselves, in view of the disparities in their agricultural development. A common policy, however, has the merit of inducing all concerned to modernize their agriculture. It has effectively awakened Italian leaders, who are now doing something to renovate Italian agriculture.

The Secretary said he felt the Kennedy Round negotiations deserved to be approached on the broadest political basis in the perspective of the Atlantic partnership. Too technical an approach could have a poor result. For example, in 1960 he would have regarded the Trade Expansion Act of 19624 as impossible, but fortunately this legislation was approached with a broad view for the common good of all concerned.

Governor Herter commented that it would be difficult to divide the problem into agricultural and industrial sectors. Restrictions in agriculture would make it difficult to move in the industrial field—hence his earlier question whether EEC agricultural policy is fixed or still negotiable.

The Foreign Minister replied that the EEC members have reached agreement in three fields—meat, rice and fats—on the basis of compromises considered useful for Europe. It may be possible to change them when they are reviewed in a wider framework. Though no expert, he thought these agreements were not unchangeable. He cited as a parallel the Italian shift recently with regard to steel tariff increases. When the High Authority of the Coal and Steel Community, headed by an Italian citizen, moved against the Italian position, Italy accepted the High Authority’s decision.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, ECIN 6 EEC. Confidential. Drafted by Givan and approved in S on January 19. The conversation was held in Rusk’s office.
  2. Foreign Minister Saragat accompanied Italian President Antonio Segni on his visit to the United States January 13–18. A memorandum of the part of the conversation on the Italian political situation is ibid., DEF (MLF). Additional documentation on the visit is scheduled for publication in volume XII.
  3. Reference is to the GATT Ministerial negotiations which would begin on May 4 to discuss tariff reductions.
  4. The Trade Expansion Act of 1962, approved October 11, 1962; P.L. 87–794.