245. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and European Regional Organizations1

168946. NATUS. Joint State/Defense Message. Subj: NATO Consultation. Ref: (a) Paris 14574; (b) Paris 14402.2

This message deals first with question of French participation in NATO consultation and second with further study of consultation and procedures.
We believe that regardless of how one divides stages of phases of consultation, general approach should be to encourage as much French participation in consultation as possible. We concur your view that any attempt get French to accept Athens Guidelines or other arrangements made in NPG/NDAC would be exercise in futility and might cause French and Fourteen unnecessary headaches. There should be clear understanding among Fourteen that France would not be allowed to [Page 555] inhibit discussions or decision-making at any point in time of consultation cycle. Should France have different views from its Allies, the Fourteen could note them and go on with the task at hand.
This policy could also be applied to French participation in studies on procedures for consultation. France could participate in studies to the extent it desired but would not be allowed to impede the progress of such studies. This of course implies NAC as venue for studies, but we believe that Fourteen should first develop an agreed position on dealing with possible French obstruction, e.g., be prepared if French obstructionism develops to move studies back to DPC
We believe that it would be sufficient for Fourteen to reach agreement on this general approach without further elaboration and without asking the French for any assurances that they will not attempt to inhibit such consultation.
Foregoing comments should not be interpreted as disagreement with your procedural suggestion in para 8 of Paris 14402. We agree that major effort should be to: (1) make concrete improvements in Alliance’s consultation capability, and (2) utilize this capability more fully. We also agree that prolonged study of consultation in the abstract is not very promising. However, we understand some other Allies and Brosio value such studies more highly than does the US. We do not wish to create impression by taking strong stand against further studies that US either lukewarm about consultation or reneging on Ministerial commitment. We, therefore, agree that if strong sentiment develops for pursuing study tasks set forth in DPC/D(66)323 further, US should acquiesce.
We recall that Ministerial decision on follow-up studies was that DPC in permanent session would decide which body should carry out these studies (para 1C Paris 9137).4 We believe such studies could be undertaken by either NAC or the DPC. Where subject matter is appropriate, NPG or NDAC could take cognizance. Specifically, NPG is charged with developing plans and procedures for reaching crisis decisions involving potential or actual use of nuclear weapons (e.g., host country consultation). Other studies should attempt not to duplicate this effort.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, NATO 8–2. Secret. Drafted by Getz and Palmer, cleared by OSD/ISA and EUR, and approved by Springsteen. Repeated to the other NATO capitals.
  2. Telegram 14574, March 21, reported a discussion of consultation among the Fourteen. Telegram 14402, March 18, summarized Brosio’s views on consultation with France. (Both ibid.)
  3. Not found.
  4. Telegram 9137, December 15, 1966, summarized a session of the DPC on December 14. (Ibid., NATO 3 FR(PA))