The press coverage of the April NATO meeting was less generally negative than the coverage of the December meeting. This may be explained by the fact that the December meeting was largely interim in character and that the April meeting was able to define goals and objectives which were only tentative in December. A second reason for the more positive approach by the press was the interest in the policies put forward by the American Delegation which were not possible in December.
2. In any analysis of Canadian press coverage of NATO meetings, the most important tact would appear to be that the press copy is almost ninety percent American in origin with some additional comment provided by Reuters and practically none by the Canadian Press. No Canadian paper had a correspondent in Paris and the Canadian Press5 man in Paris appears to have filed only three or four stories. The second fact to be noted is that the Canadian papers examined are by no means representative. They are largely from Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and Quebec. There were one or two clippings from Halifax and none from west of Winnipeg.
3. The press coverage may be divided into two parts: news and editorial comment.
4. The news coverage of the meeting was almost entirely made up of the wire service reports of AP, UP and Reuters. Most of it consistently reflected American policy. Thus the main points of interest were the new American proposal to manufacture jet fighters in Europe, the American emphasis on a stretch-out of NATO defence measures and Mr. Dulles' press conference in which he re-affirmed NATO's determination not to be seduced by the Soviet peace offensive. The emphasis given by the press to the "hard-boiled" attitude of Mr. Dulles at this conference was hardly offset by the coverage given to your own press conference. The latter received some attention, although no separate story was filed by the Canadian Press on the subject. The general impression gained from this American emphasis in all stories about the meeting was that NATO, although still determined to reach its destination, had turned a corner on the journey largely because Mr. Dulles had thought up a short-out. This short-out, one gathered, was a greater emphasis on air power as distinct from ground defence and a new deadline furnished by Mr. Dulles for the ratification of the EDC. The latter policy is hardly new, but the former was highlighted by the agreements to manufacture jet aircraft, mentioned above, the decision to train some European officers in the use of atomic weapons, the greatly increased force goals for the air force, the new cost-sharing agreement on infrastructure and the vague reference that appeared in some papers to the atomic bomb as a factor in estimating the risk of war.
5. The usual jumble of figures filled the columns of the press, some of them correct, but none of them remaining consistent from day to day. It would be practically impossible for any reader to form a clear picture of the forces available to NATO or of the amount of money to be spent. Apart from the fact that astronomical figures tend to mean very little, there was the same confusion about infrastructure budgets as appeared in the press after last December's meeting. Thus the infrastructure figures were often referred to as the NATO Military Budget and Canada's share as her contribution to the "NATO bill". It was clear from the press that the actual force figures were lower than was originally planned and that a longer build-up was going to be necessary, but these facts were not entirely consistent with the reports that NATO would not alter course because of a change in Soviet tactics. In other words, I do not think the terms "stretch-out" and "critical year" helped to clarify the methods of NATO. The whole concept of a critical year is misleading and the widely publicized conjecture that it is now abandoned is equally confusing.
6. In general, the news reports gave evidence of certain specific accomplishments such as the infrastructure agreement and the jet plane agreement. It was also, apparent from news reports that NATO would now emphasize air power. What remained vague and inconclusive was the nature of American policy and the nature of the means which NATO had decided were best to deter aggression.
7. The "Canadian angle" was practically non-existent in the editorials which appeared on the meeting. One or two French language papers stressed the longer term objectives of NATO and the importance in this regard of the open letter which was released just before the meetings began. These papers also stressed that Canada was doing as much as possible for NATO and they went on to develop the implications of the economic strain imposed by unrealistic force goals. Other editorial comment was content to agree with the terms of the final communiqué and to emphasize that NATO must not diminish its effort until the Soviet Government provided evidence of peaceful intentions by concrete action. In an editorial entitled "Not As Bad As It Looks" the Toronto Star rather lamely tried to explain away the conflicting statements by Mr. Dulles and M. Bidault on the EDC and the check which the EDC received in the Upper House in Germany as "manoeuvering behind the scenes". The only other editorials which suggested a more searching analysis of American policies appeared in the Ottawa Citizen. The latter paper is doubtful of the wisdom of German rearmament and especially of the methods which Mr. Dulles employs to bring it about. One further editorial with a query which might be mentioned was one entitled "Questions for Canada" in the Toronto Globe and Mail. The Globe did not question NATO policies, but wondered whether it was wise for military planners to expect rapid reinforcement of the Continent by Canadian forces if a war broke out before the end of 1955. The paper is doubtful whether Canada could send reinforcements to Europe in time for any holding action on the Continent to be successful.
Note marginale:/Marginal note: There was no full-time C.P. [Canadian Press] man in Paris. S.F. R[ae]