148. Response to National Security Study Memorandum 1001
Table of Contents—Volume I—Issues Paper
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MILITARY COOPERATION WITH FRANCE
This paper has been prepared by an ad hoc interagency group in response to NSSM 100.2 It examines the policy options that are open to the US in developing a closer politico-military relationship with France and the major immediate considerations affecting each policy choice. While some reference will be made to the possible broader policy implications of individual actions toward and with France, the detailed examination of those broader issues must take place elsewhere.[Page 525]
B. Summary of the Issues.
Three specific issues likely to require early decision are:
1. Whether to lift the US restriction on the use of advanced computers in the French weapons laboratories.
2. Whether, and to what extent, to respond to the present French request to assist them in their ballistic missile programs.
3. Whether we should enter into discussions with the French on nuclear safety.
In addition, there are several other specific issues on which decisions may be required—either at US initiative, or in response to developments in Europe:
1. French relations with the NPG.
2. Possible UK-French military cooperation.
3. The deployment of French tactical nuclear weapons in the FRG.
4. The coordination of French strategic forces with the strategic forces of the US and NATO.
5. Cooperation between France and NATO in non-nuclear areas.
While some of these specific issues can be decided without pre-judging broader policy issues, they raise the more fundamental question of how US interests are affected by the development of third country nuclear forces, and thus, what over-all attitude we should take towards nuclear cooperation with France. This question must be viewed in the context of what future political-military relationship with France and Europe would best serve US interests.
There are two main alternatives:
1. To continue our present course of non-nuclear cooperation.
Choice of this alternative could be based on the following assumptions:
a. That we can make progress in non-nuclear military relationships of interest to us while at the same time remaining aloof from the French nuclear effort, even though the French attribute particular importance to this effort;
b. That the difficulties posed for us by independent French nuclear capabilities (1) are not sufficiently great to warrant undertaking nuclear cooperation that could conflict with other US objectives, e.g., arms control objectives, and/or (2) can be partially alleviated by means other than inducements of nuclear assistance, e.g., leverage exerted via West Germany; and,
c. That our general political relations with France would not be adversely affected to a significant degree by continuation of our past attitudes toward the French nuclear effort.
2. To enter into some degree of nuclear cooperation with the French. At the lowest level this might include initiatives in such areas [Page 526] as coordination of tactical and strategic nuclear forces, French association with the NPG, and discussions on nuclear safety. At higher levels, it would mean acceding to at least some of the pending French requests, which would have more far-reaching policy implications.
Any change in US policy toward nuclear cooperation with France would, of course, represent a major departure from past US policy and would be seen as such both by other nations and by the US Congress and public. We should expect strong criticism and opposition to such a change in policy from many internal and external sources. Within the government some elements of Congress will be opposed, as will agencies and individuals charged with or interested in safeguarding information or in furthering anti-proliferation and nuclear testing measures. The Soviets will probably oppose any major increase in cooperation and may utilize every move in that direction to stress the hazards of proliferation, to charge US insincerity and jeopardy to SALT, and to arms control in general. A number of news media and public representatives will fight any move toward relaxation for similar and additional reasons. Consequently, we should have clearly in mind the scope and depth of probable opposition and the difficult changes required before this option could be feasible. Although these goals are not mutually exclusive, there are, in general, three broad objectives which we might have in pursuing nuclear cooperation with the French.
a. Strengthened US-French bilateral political relations. Under this approach, our purpose would be limited to demonstrating that we no longer reject the idea of cooperating with the French in nuclear matters. Our expectations would be correspondingly limited—that is, by clearing the political air of past friction we might expect a general improvement in US-French relations which could help pave the way for some improvement in military relationships as well.
b. Strengthened US-French NATO political-military relationships. This approach would view bilateral US-French cooperation as a means of turning France toward increased cooperation with NATO in both non-nuclear and nuclear matters. We would expect improved US-French relations to lead to greater French willingness to work more closely with NATO, although not re-integrate its military forces.
c. A strengthened European nuclear role. This approach would envisage the emergence—over the longer term—of a strengthened European nuclear role, possibly based on collaboration between the UK and France. Under this approach US-French bilateral cooperation would be viewed less as a means of achieving short term improvements in US-French or French-NATO relations than in terms of long-term trends and objectives in US-European and East-West relations. Adoption of this policy would raise a number of questions, including:[Page 527]
1. the over-all security relationship we should seek with Europe in the 1970s and how this will relate to US policies towards the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe;
2. possible major structural changes in NATO and the relative role of conventional forces, tactical nuclear forces and strategic forces in NATO strategy;
3. the possibilities for a European nuclear force and what form might it take, including how French and UK forces would fit into such a concept; and,
4. the approach the US will pursue towards nuclear proliferation in the future.
Obviously, these questions go well beyond the scope of this study. However, they need to be borne in mind as we examine the more specific issue of US-French military cooperation.
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Table of Contents—Volume II—Basic Report
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US POLICY TOWARD MILITARY COOPERATION WITH FRANCE
I. US Policy Toward France
France has a unique position in Europe based on its geographic and cultural position, a long and prestigious history and an impressive heritage of diplomatic and political leadership. In the past decade, under the Gaullists, France has regained and expanded its prominent role on the world scene. Morever, the French are especially influential in non-aligned and Eastern European states, which look to France for political and moral support.
Under this Administration, the US has taken initiatives and responded favorably to French initiatives to promote a frank and continuing dialogue, at the top levels of government, on key international issues. Stimulated and facilitated by our two governments, there has been an impressive increase in exchanges of leaders and prominent groups from government, politics, labor and agriculture, youth and other fields. In response to initiatives by the President, the French have agreed on a substantial increase in practical bilateral cooperation. At present, 20 US agencies are cooperating with their French counterparts in some 100 projects in the scientific and technological fields. The French Government also is extending full cooperation in combating the trafficking in heroin through Marseille. A bilateral inter-governmental [Page 528] committee meets quarterly and the French have made a significant addition to the number of agents assigned to anti-narcotics work.3
The result of these specific measures of cooperation has been a net improvement in our basic relationship with France. The key element of mutual confidence and respect for each other’s point of view has been largely restored. Nevertheless, the French Government firmly desires to retain substantial independence of policy and action and to keep a certain distance from both the United States and the Soviet Union.
In Europe, the rising economic and political role of the German Federal Republic and the psychological after effects of the May 1968 events4 have impelled the French Government to agree to move toward an enlarged European Community and greater intra-European political cooperation. However, France continues to seek to limit American influence in Europe. Thus, de Gaulle’s successors, while having abandoned his rhetoric regarding a Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals, are attempting as he did to balance the American role by following an active policy of increased political, trade and cultural relations with the Soviet Union and countries of Eastern Europe.
In the defense field the language now used by French leaders no longer reflects the adversary attitude toward the United States prevalent in de Gaulle’s time. Nevertheless, the core of French defense thinking is still self-reliance and independence from NATO, the United States and other allies. France has retained most of the advantages of the defense umbrella provided by the Alliance while not participating in the integrated military command arrangements, and while limiting her financial contribution to those common facilities which are of particular benefit to France. Only the re-emergence of a direct Soviet threat to Western Europe would be likely to persuade the French Government, as a matter of fundamental national interest, to return to NATO integrated military commands.
In this study, we have assumed that our over-all policy toward France is based on the following principles:
1. Given France’s important position in Europe and her influence in other areas, e.g., the Middle East, the US should develop as close a bilateral relationship with France as differences in our respective national interest and policy will allow.
2. Particularly in light of current initiatives in East-West relations and the movement toward expansion of the European Communities, it [Page 529] is in our interest to encourage France to increase cooperation with other nations in Western Europe.
3. It is in our interest to avoid situations where France employs its assets to diminish our international position or thwart our purposes.
4. Our major trading and investment interests in France and the Common Market countries also underscore the need for close French-American cooperation.
5. In view of recent shifts in French defense policy and France’s growing nuclear capability, increased US defense cooperation with France may be possible and would be desirable if consistent with our NATO interests.
The above considerations raise the issue of whether we should now explore increased bilateral and multilateral military cooperation with France. Such cooperation might complement ongoing efforts to increase the areas of cooperation with NATO commands and other NATO forces, with a view toward establishing stronger French ties with her allies in the military sphere.5 In the shorter term, increased and mutually beneficial military cooperation could have the same salutory effect on our over-all relationship as have the increases in various types of civilian cooperation. Military cooperation with France, both US and NATO, has already increased under existing policy guidelines and some further progress under these guidelines may be possible.
Any significant cooperation with France in the nuclear area would, of course, require important policy changes, and could have major political and military implications for our long-term objectives toward Europe and NATO. On the other hand, maintaining present US policies against any nuclear cooperation would serve to preserve certain French reservations toward the US and the Alliance as a whole.
B. Military Cooperation with France.
The US in 1956 estimated that France might develop nuclear weapons and from that time until 1963 it adopted a conscious policy of not assisting the French in development of either nuclear weapons or delivery vehicles. An offer was made to the French at the end of 1962 that would have reversed this US policy on condition that the French nuclear weapons be assigned to NATO. The French rejected this offer.
Under the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) the US is obligated not to assist any state in conducting nuclear testing in prohibited environments. The US made a second offer to reverse its policy in July 1963 if [Page 530] the French would sign the Limited Test Ban Treaty. When this offer was also rejected the US decided to withhold all assistance to France that would specifically assist in French nuclear testing as long as they did not adhere to the Treaty.
US policy was formalized in NSAM 294 of April 1964.6 This policy makes clear that the US will not engage in significant assistance affecting timing, quality or cost of the French nuclear program as long as the French strategic nuclear weapons are not committed to NATO.
In 1966, when General de Gaulle withdrew France from NATO military commands, the US withdrew its nuclear weapons support from French forces in Germany. However, the US and its other NATO allies have held the door open for selective French cooperation in Alliance military affairs, but have left the initiative up to the French.
The President indicated during 1970 that he wished a French request for cooperation in their missile program to be considered in positive terms without regard to the limitations of NSAM 294.7
Any change in US policy toward nuclear cooperation with France would, of course, represent a major departure from past US policy and would be seen as such both by other nations and by the US Congress and public. We should expect strong criticism and opposition to such a policy from many internal and external sources. Within the government some elements of Congress will be opposed, as will agencies and individuals charged with or interested in safeguarding information or in furthering arms control and anti-proliferation and nuclear testing measures. The Soviets will probably oppose any major increase in cooperation and may utilize every move in that direction to stress the hazards of proliferation, to charge US insincerity and jeopardy to SALT, and to arms control in general. A number of news media and public representatives will fight any move toward relaxation for similar and additional reasons. Consequently, we should have clearly in mind the scope and depth of probable opposition and the difficult changes required before this option could be feasible.
[Omitted here are the 100-page body of Volume II—Basic Report and Annexes A–E.]
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–173, National Security Study Memoranda, NSSM 100. Top Secret; Sensitive. NSSM 100 is Document 144.↩
- The Group included representatives from the Department of State, Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the NSC Staff. Staffs of the ACDA and the AEC were consulted regarding specific portions of the study. Per instructions, access to this study has been strictly limited. [Footnote is in the original.]↩
- A January 5, 1970, memorandum from Kissinger to Nixon reported on the first meeting of the U.S.-French Task Force on Narcotics and praised the French cooperation. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume E–1, Documents on Global Issues, 1969–1972, Document 159.↩
- Reference to the large student and labor strikes that began in May 1968.↩
- The DOD believes this sentence should read as follows: “Such cooperation should be designed to complement ongoing efforts to increase the areas of cooperation with NATO commands and other NATO forces, with a view toward establishing stronger French ties with her allies in the military sphere and facilitating the ultimate goal of reintegrating French military forces into NATO.” [Footnote is in the original.]↩
- See Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volume XII, Western Europe, Document 30.↩
- See Document 142.↩