217. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to the Posts in the NATO Capitals1

87996. NATUS. Subj: Brosio Visit to Washington.

NATO Secretary General Brosio visited Washington Nov 16–18 for informal discussions. He met with Secretaries Rusk and McNamara, Under Secretaries Katzenbach and Rostow, Mr. McCloy and Assistant Secretary Leddy, among others.2
Following are highlights of discussions in Department based on uncleared memoranda of conversation, FYI, Noforn, and subject to revision on review.
Organization of December Ministerial Meeting. Brosio and US participants agreed appropriate arrangement of agenda items would be necessary so as to clearly delineate business to be considered by the Fourteen Ministers (meeting as Defense Planning Committee) and business to come before the full Ministerial Council with French present. Secretary Rusk expressed preference for following order: First half-day, the full Council for ceremonial opening and to begin traditional tour d’horizon; afternoon of first day and morning of the following day, meeting of the Fourteen Ministers as DPC; afternoon of second day and, as necessary, morning of third day full Council to resume deliberations.
Foregoing was discussed on assumption that Special Committee would meet in Paris just prior to Ministerial. One of main points emphasized by Brosio was the SPECOM report to Ministers should be addressed to DPC. He made clear his view that this procedure should be followed both on organizational aspects of SPECOM and on political consultation aspects growing out of Italian proposal. In Brosio’s view it is important to watch the precedents now that NATO has found pragmatic solution to “constitutional problem” arising out of French withdrawal. Therefore he considered it important that DPC take decisions on Special Committee, leaving it up to French to raise any questions they wish in full Council. We expressed preliminary agreement with this view.
East-West Issues in NATO. Brosio repeatedly emphasized his belief that, while NATO powers should do what is possible to improve [Page 494] atmosphere of relations with Eastern Europe and USSR, NATO work on matters of interest to Germany should parallel further progress on detente. He considered this absolutely essential for stability of Europe and Atlantic area.
On specific matters now under consideration in NATO, Brosio noted that NAC consideration of POLADs report is now well advanced; that, in his opinion, UK proposed declaration on Europe is not apt to give significant results but also not apt to cause great problems. He indicated there would be problems with some of the Fourteen on a special Declaration on East-West relations, primarily because of French reservation. He thought more likely result would be a section in the regular communique. US pointed out that French might well reserve even on communique language in this area and that we did not wish now to foreclose possibility of a special NATO Declaration in December or subsequently.
France-NATO Problems. In addition to French attitude on East-West issues (which he regretted), Brosio also commented on general French policy. He expressed personal view that French policy is incompatible with spirit of the Alliance on two fundamental points: (a) its interpretation of Article V of the Treaty, and (b) De Gaulle’s concept of “Atlantic to the Urals” which implies inclusion of USSR in Europe and exclusion of US from European affairs. He nevertheless stressed view that it would be most unwise and dangerous to push showdown on this point. Wiser course was pragmatic approach that has been followed to date.
On French forces in Germany, Brosio thought French Government was in no hurry and would be prepared to let Ailleret-Lemnitzer conversations proceed at leisurely pace. He did not believe this should be an issue at Ministerial Meeting.
NATO Force Planning. Brosio recalled that NATO had accelerated force planning. He expressed view that, given problems in trilaterals (notably German political situation), NATO should probably slow down its effort somewhat but in framework of present accelerated timetable; i.e. not returning to previous schedule.
On general question of force levels and defense burdens, Secretary Rusk and other US participants emphasized to Brosio the increasingly difficult character of our domestic political problem. Essentially two points were made: (a) especially at time when US is carrying heavy burden for free world in Vietnam, US Congress and public opinion is increasingly restive at European failure to carry its share of the load in defense of NATO area; (b) European governments seem to be speaking with two voices. Foreign and Defense Ministers are anxious for US to keep up its military strength. Finance Ministers and central bankers keep urging us to correct US balance of payments problem. There needs to be a [Page 495] better link in Alliance affairs between political-military issues on one hand and financial and monetary issue on the other.
Special Committee. Reviewing difficulties in deciding on composition of Nuclear Planning Group, Brosio said he had recently received reply to letter he sent Luns urging more flexible Netherlands position. Reply hinted at some give in Dutch attitude but was couched in such terms that Netherlands could move in any direction it wished at Ministerial. The Turks remained a problem because they wanted a seven-member NPG. In Brosio’s view Canada was most difficult problem of all. Canada did not even accept the principle of four permanent members for NPG unless Canada were included. Problem in Brosio’s view is essentially political and psychological. Despite validity of Canada’s claim to play a significant role in NATO nuclear affairs, another European country is needed in NPG to build in balance to Germany.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, NATO 7. Confidential. Drafted by Myerson, cleared by Springsteen and Vest, and approved by Leddy.
  2. Memoranda of Brosio’s conversations with Rusk, Katzenbach, and Eugene Rostow on November 17, and with Leddy on November 18, are ibid., DEF 4 NATO. A memorandum on his conversation at the Department of Defense on November 16 is ibid., DEF 12 NATO. A memorandum of a conversation between the Secretary General and Leddy on November 16, is ibid., NATO 3.