Reference: Our telegram No. 39 of January 19.?
This is the second subject upon which the Secretary-General has invited informal preliminary discussion by the council. It also may be taken up at the informal meeting later this week (January 21).
2. This is the question of machinery or methods of contact between NATO and countries or groups of countries which might be expected to range themselves alongside us in the event of aggression. In the brief note which Ismay has circulated he draws attention to the fact that there is now no machinery for the co-ordination of plans with these countries. "In other words", the note goes on, "we are trying to consider strategy and foreign policy too in water-tight compartments".
3. We have already encountered this problem particularly with Australia and we have in Ottawa and in Paris done something quite informally to let them know how things have been going with NATO. The ANZUS treaty has, I suppose, done something to allay the apprehensions of Australia and New Zealand. But there are other countries in a somewhat similar position and even the other Commonwealth countries are very far from participating in joint planning with the NATO countries. And then there is the special case of Yugoslavia.
4. One cannot help sympathizing with the position of these countries who will inevitably be involved but can have no part in plans which are bound to affect them. Nevertheless, it is very difficult to see what can be done at this stage, on a NATO basis, even to inform these countries of what is being planned.
5. My disposition therefore is to lie pretty low on this one; certainly not to initiate any proposals. At the same time I feel that we should back up any suggestions which would increase support for the alliance amongst friendly non-NATO countries, particularly in the Commonwealth. My feeling is that we will have to go pretty slowly and cautiously and probably on an ad hoc basis in dealing with this problem.
6. We would appreciate any comments that you may wish to make.