48. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France 1

6606. Subject: ELDO Crisis. Ref: NATUS 8588,2 Info Bonn 1423, London 1697, Rome 1155, The Hague 874, Brussels 959.

Huigens/Von Merkatz report on ELDO crisis,3 charging that US offer to cooperate with Europe in advanced space projects is aimed at insuring US monopoly in com sat field and obliging Europeans choose between major project and ELDO, has great mischief-making potential if left unchallenged.
Posts should draw on following guidance in discussing matter with appropriate officials:
Contrary to conclusion of Von Merkatz report, US has demonstrated consistent pattern of helpfulness toward ELDO, which is recognized as primary instrument for achievement of European launcher capability.
Original establishment of ELDO depended on US permission for UK to share Blue Streak technology with other ELDO members.
When ELDO turned to US for fuel to permit development of ELDO stages, US promptly licensed export of storable liquid fuel (UDMH) and has continued to do so.
When ELDO requested advanced Hydrogen-Oxygen technology for future systems, US licensed North American Aviation to furnish such assistance.
Other accommodations have included technology for separation devices for ELDO stages and access to US ground facilities.
Contrary to rumor reported by Huigens, US was seriously concerned about threatened UK withdrawal from ELDO.4 US has favored and continues favor multilateral framework for launcher development. Supports continuation ELDO, including UK, as in US interest and has indicated to European governments willingness to consider sympathetically request for help.5
As explained by Advance Team in February,6 President’s space offer was open-ended and invited European initiative to propose major space project of advanced scientific and technological nature of interest to Europe. Interplanetary exploration was cited merely as illustrative of magnitude of projects which US had in mind. Cooperation in projects of direct economic benefit, while not stressed, was not excluded from consideration. Nature of response left entirely to Europe, and US still awaits European response.
Similarly, US booster offer was open-ended and went far beyond anything currently planned in Europe. US also made clear its willingness discuss European assumption of responsibility, most likely through ELDO, for developing high energy kick stage for deep space use if project selected requires it (Depcirtel 1849).7
In connection with threatened UK withdrawal from ELDO, we note Peyrefitte-Stoltenberg meeting (Bonn’s 4049)8 in which Ministers “announced their intention to seek solutions in concert with other member nations to permit cooperative European rocket development to proceed.” While decision obviously European matter, US would [Page 98] continue to regard favorably effective European functional approach to launcher development. This would be in keeping with our overall European policy.

Action Requested: Addressee posts should convey sense of US concern at tone of report to influential host country officials. We would hope that next week’s proceedings might reflect recognition of points in paragraph 2 above and contribute to more constructive atmosphere on this subject.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1964–66, SP 11 ELDO. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Michael F. Smith (SCI) and cleared in substance by Frutkin and Percival; approved by Nesbitt (SCI). Also sent to Bonn, London, Rome, The Hague, and Brussels.
  2. Not found.
  3. Not found.
  4. See Document 47.
  5. In a June 25 memorandum to Shapley, Frutkin noted: “A positive US attitude toward ELDO was expressed through State Department and NASA channels and a task group has been agreed on a program for such assistance (developed by NASA). Mr. Rusk, during the NATO negotiations in early June, explicitly conveyed this positive posture toward ELDO to several of the NATO foreign ministers, including Michael Stewart [of the UK]and Fanfani [Italy].” (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA Historical Reference Collection, Files of the Office of International Affairs)
  6. See Document 39.
  7. Dated March 25. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1964–66, SP 1–1 EUR-US)
  8. Not found.