Your office has requested an inventory of the major proposals outstanding
for technological and scientific cooperation between Europe and the
United States. Attached are brief notes on fourteen such proposals.
There are a large number of bilateral and multilateral projects current
between Europe and the United States; the ones we have selected
represent only those presently under discussion or offering actual or
potential political problems.
Tab C U.S. Proposal for Defense Communications Satellites
Tab D U.S. Assistance to ELDO
Tab F U.S. Proposal for a NATO Computer Center
Tab K Proposed USAEC-Spanish Cooperation in Reactor Development (DON
Fanfani Proposal to
Bridge the Technological Gap Between the United States and
In a meeting at New York on September 19, 1966, Minister Fanfani presented a document to
A presumably identical document “Europe’s
Technological Gap and the Desirability of an International
Collaboration for a ‘New Drive,’” was presented to an
Embassy officer in Rome by Ambassador Mondello on September 22.
Mondello said that Minister Fanfani, encouraged by the interest of Secretary
Rusk, had instructed the
Foreign Office to transmit the document personally to
representatives of all embassies of NATO countries in Rome.
GOI officials have admitted to
Embassy Rome that the main purpose of the Italian proposal is
political, planned to breathe new life into the Atlantic Alliance by
an action which will hopefully capture the public imagination. The
Italians also hope that it may counter the effect of the French NATO
policy and perhaps even induce France to reconsider the benefits of
the Alliance. For this reason the Italians believe that their
proposal should be taken up by NATO rather than EEC or OECD.
II. Substance of Proposal
The document notes that the technological gap between the U.S. and
other developed countries of the Western World is growing and
becoming a matter of serious concern. The prospects of economic
unbalance and its undesirable political consequences, “psychological
discomfort”, and weakening of the West lead to the necessity of an
initiative directed towards an increasing and balanced advancement
of the countries of the Atlantic zone.
The initiative should emphasize the paramount importance of close
collaboration among European countries, and promote greater
collaboration between Europe and the United States.
In essence, two things must be brought about:
- A “new technological drive” for Western Europe.
- A “technological agreement” for collaboration with the
The initiative should be launched by a “common declaration” of the
NATO Governments, proposing to convene a conference to negotiate a
“technological agreement”. Interested non-NATO Governments would be
invited to participate.
Then an “international institution” would be established to
coordinate the European effort and to execute the agreement with the
U.S. The immediate task would be to elaborate a “ten-year plan for
technological development”, with a determination of “priority
areas”, such as
- aeronautical industry
- space research and booster rockets
- satellites for every use
- atomic and energy research
- desalination and pollution control
Another important requirement is the establishment of a method of
cooperation between Europe and the U.S. There can be cooperation on
“specific projects,” such as planetary exploration, a great
protonsynchrotron, and a hydrogen-oxygen space booster. One can also
envisage “sector cooperation,” for instance in electronics within a
framework of “production agreements” with the U.S.
Third countries, particularly those of Eastern Europe and developing
countries, should not be ruled out.
Only a few preliminary comments have been received from posts in NATO
countries. They indicate considerable interest in the Fanfani proposal but also
skepticism. The existence and seriousness of the technological gap
is generally recognized, but some think that OECD may be a better vehicle for
action than NATO. The vagueness of the Italian proposal with respect
to the nature of the “Technological Agreement” is noted, but no
useful constructive comments have yet emerged.
The President has twice (in the Erhard communiqué and in his New York
speech on European policy)4 publicly welcomed the Italian
initiative and recognized the desirability of cooperative action in
the technological sphere.
The Department and other agencies are studying the proposal. We have
put a number of questions to the Italians in an attempt to
understand better their thinking—and perhaps to induce them to
clarify their own ideas, which are clearly grandiose but also
somewhat fuzzy as presented in their memorandum. We have told the
Italians that we agree with the implication of the memorandum that
the primary emphasis should probably be placed on project, as
opposed to sector, cooperation, and that we see no necessary
conflict between the Italian proposal and the study of technological
potentials that the OECD is
undertaking. We do not believe the value of technological
cooperation depends on the validity of the “technological gap”
concept, which is an oversimplified approach to the subject.
We are sympathetic to the Italians’ desire to use an approach to the
technological problem to strengthen NATO and European unity.
However, we will be in a better position to take a position on the
specifics of their proposal when we receive a clearer view of it,
which we expect to be presented at the NATO Ministerial meeting in
December. We understand the Italians are refining their