Volume #20 - 356.|
NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION
FUTURE DEFENCE PLANNING
Minister of National Defence|
to Secretary of State for External Affairs
June 17th, 1954|
My Dear Colleague:
You will recall that on the 5th May, Mr. Wilgress reported in message No. 1382? on a meeting of the Council with the Standing Group held on April 30th. The Standing Group explained to the Council the procedure for processing the study by the Supreme Commanders on the capabilities planning, taking into consideration use of mass destruction weapons. This report gave the following outline:
July 1st-Results of the work of the Supreme Commanders to be sent to the Standing Group,
Sept 1st-U.K., U.S. and French Chiefs of Staff to examine and comment upon the Supreme Commanders' studies,
Oct 15th-The Standing Group to reconcile any conflicting views of the U.S., U.K., and French Chiefs of Staff that might emerge,
Oct 15th-The studies to be sent to the Military Committee (National Chiefs of Staff) through members of the Military Representatives Committee,
Dec 1st-The final reports to be ready for consideration by the Council.
This report was reviewed by the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff, who was alarmed at the suggested procedure whereby the results of the studies would be examined by the Standing Group for the months of July and August, and then sent to the U.K., U.S. and French Chiefs of Staff for their comments to the 15th of October, and then after the conflicting views of the U.S., U.K. and French Chiefs of Staff were reconciled, the paper would then be sent on to the other eleven Nations, presumably for concurrence.
General Foulkes has raised this matter at a special meeting with the Standing Group held on 7 June, 1954. I am attaching a copy of the Standing Group's report on these discussions.? As there were some private discussions held later between the Chairman of the Standing Group and General Foulkes, I am attaching also a report of these discussions.
I am sure that you will agree with me that the stand taken by the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff, represents the views of the Government and that we should be prepared to raise this matter in the Council should the Standing Group decide to ignore the representations of the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff.
I consider that this review of the shape and size of the forces in the future, taking into consideration the use of mass destruction weapons, is one of the most important military problems facing NATO, and that our experience in the past has shown that once the military authorities of U.S., U.K. and France have settled their differences, they secure governmental approval of their views and it is virtually impossible to have any change made.
I would suggest that Mr. Wilgress should be advised of these discussions and should be informed that they are fully endorsed by the Government and he should advise Lord Ismay of our views. It is suggested that in case the Standing Group do not agree to reconsider the procedure of handling the studies, that Mr. Wilgress be asked to take this matter up in the Council.
GROUP ON 7 JUNE 54 WITH REGARD TO THE PROCEDURE WHICH THE
STANDING GROUP PROPOSE TO ADOPT IN PROCESSING THE STUDIES OF THE
SUPREME COMMANDERS, PARTICULARLY THE STUDY UNDERTAKEN BY SHAPE,
TO DETERMINE THE EFFECTIVE PATTERN OF NATO MILITARY STRENGTHS ON
THE BASIS OF THE FORCES WHICH WERE ESTIMATED WOULD BE AVAILABLE
IN 1957, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE EFFECT OF NEW WEAPONS
1. I referred to the report of the Standing Group meeting with the Council on 30 April. The report reads as follows:
"The Standing Group appreciated that the Council wished to move forward as rapidly as possible with this work. However, the Standing Group, on careful consideration, felt that it would not be possible to reflect the conclusions of the studies in the 1954 Annual Review. The best that could be hoped for was that the results could be included in whatever guidance would be issued for the 1955 Annual Review. At present, the Standing Group thought that the most optimistic timetable for completing the studies was as follows:
July 1st-Results of the work of the Supreme Commanders to be sent to the Standing Group.
Sept 1st-U.K., U.S. and French Chiefs of Staff to examine and comment upon the Supreme Commanders studies.
Oct 15th-The Standing Group to reconcile any conflicting views of the U.S., U.K., and French Chiefs of Staff that might emerge.
Oct 15th-The studies to be sent to the Military Committee (National Chiefs of Staff) through members of the Military Representatives Committee.
Dec 1st-The final reports to be ready for consideration by the Council.
As wide areas of disagreement at the various stages could easily unset this programme, the Standing Group did not wish to be held strictly to the above timetable.
In reply to a question by Lord Ismay, the Chairman of the Standing Group said that, as far as possible, National Chiefs of Staff would be kept closely informed on the progress of the work as it developed, through members of the Military Representatives Committee."
2. The Canadian authorities are disturbed at this proposed procedure. The main objections to the procedure are:
(a) Canada will not see the paper until 15th October.
(b) That the US, UK and French Chiefs of Staff are going to have an opportunity to examine and comment on the studies before the National Chiefs of Staff see this paper.
(c) That the Standing [Group] are going to attempt to reconcile the conflicting views of the US, UK and France. In other words they are going to settle their policy before they have had an opportunity of hearing the views of the other 11 military members of the Military Committee.
(d) How are the members of the Military Committee to have the opportunity to discuss the paper with the Supreme Commanders?
3. This study was requested of the Military Committee by the Council at Lisbon in February 1952. It is perhaps the most important military study since the TCC study. It may have far reaching effects on all nations and certainly on national forces. This is not just a re-shuffle in the Command set up or a review of strategy which is a purely Standing Group matter, but a study affecting the shape, size and composition of our future NATO forces for the years to come, prepared by the Supreme Commanders who are responsible to all NATO governments not just the big three, and who report to the Military Committee.
4. There is some doubt as to whether the Standing Group can deal with this question in the manner suggested within their terms of reference. When the Standing Group was set up at the first meeting of the Military Committee on 6 October, 1949, provision was insisted upon so that representatives of non-Standing Group countries could make their views known in anticipation of any Standing Group resolution or decision. In elaborating on the functions of the Standing Group, General Bradley when questioned stated as follows:
"I would say that in all of our actions we act through the Military Committee and if there is any doubt as to the action we should take we should refer it to you" (the Military Committee).
5. It will be noted that the Standing Group is required to take full account of the views of the Military Representatives Committee in all military matters involving action by any of the National Chiefs of Staff or their Governments. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a subject which vitally affects all nations. This is a subject of vital NATO military policy which must be decided on equal terms by all the 14 Chiefs of Staff and we cannot agree with the Standing Group countries making up their minds, the other 11 countries being expected to accept the stand taken by the three national governments. This position is unacceptable to the Canadian Chiefs of Staff on the grounds that:
(a) This may vitally affect Canadian participation, present and future, and therefore should be dealt with as a Military Committee matter and not a Standing Group matter.
(b) It is beyond the terms of reference of the Standing Group to deal with this subject as a Standing Group matter.
(c) We cannot agree that the three NATO nations have a monopoly on military thinking and military planning.
(d) As this may involve financial and other policy matters of the Canadian Government, the Government will require the Canadian Chiefs of Staff to be in accord with the recommendations, and decisions on policy must be arrived at as equal partners any time they involve Canadian participation.
6. Therefore, we make the following suggestions:
(a) That on receipt of the results of the work of the Supreme Allied Commanders, they be studied by the Standing Group and the Standing Group prepare its comments on the studies.
(b) That the Supreme Allied Commanders' study and the comments of the Standing Group be then circulated to all Chiefs of Staff through the Military Representatives Committee and the views of all the National Chiefs of Staff be dealt with by the MRC or, if it is felt advisable, at a special meeting of the Military Committee.
(c) That no attempt be made to reconcile the views of the three members of the Military Committee which might prejudice an adequate consideration of the views of the other 11 members.
(d) That the report be not circulated to the Council until it has been adequately dealt with by the Military Committee.
7. This is a matter of such vital import to all the NATO nations that the Standing Group should carefully examine the views of all the NATO nations without prejudice and an opportunity should be given for a full-scale discussion of the views of the 14 nations and the Supreme Allied Commanders together, so that the best possible results and greatest possible cooperation can come from this study.
8. We have been very concerned with the meagre accomplishments of the MRC over the past year. I have had reason to review what has been achieved. A review of the agendas and minutes reveal that startlingly little has been accomplished. Something like 20 meetings of three-quarters to an hour and a half with only seven items of major import and most of these in preparation for a Military Committee meeting. Certainly this hardly justifies maintaining an Admiral and considerable staff for this meagre accomplishment. Now when a major policy matter does come it is ignored until the Big Three harden their policy and amend the paper.
9. After much discussion in the Standing Group it was agreed that the Standing Group would review this question bearing in mind the observations which we had made and would advise us of what revisions they are prepared to make in their timetable.
10. After the meeting General Whiteley asked me to come privately to his office so he could explain the situation. He pointed out that there were two things that worried him that he could not discuss very fully at this meeting. The first was security in regard to nuclear weapons and the second was security regarding certain political recommendations. He said I must realize that this paper would have certain reference to nuclear matters in which there was considerable security. I emphasized that this argument did not hold water at all. General Gruenther was well aware of the security regulations of the McMahon Act and he would not put in his paper anything which was prohibited by the McMahon Act and, furthermore, if it was alright for the Standing Group to see this paper it was certainly alright for Canada. It is common knowledge that the worst security in NATO is in a country which is represented on the Standing Group. I could not accept the fact that anything which could be seen by France could not be seen by Canada or any of the other NATO nations. General Whiteley soon saw the logic of this argument and dropped the matter of security. He then mentioned political security and said that there was a possibility that this paper would reveal that we would not be able to defend Denmark and part of Holland without the EDC and that this would be a very tricky question to be given to the 14 nations. I again pointed out that this was no secret. This had been stated to the Military Committee ever since forward strategy had been suggested and Generals Ridgway and Gruenther had made it quite clear that they could not carry out forward strategy without the EDC. Furthermore, the Danes were well aware of their isolated position and the Danish Chief of Staff had spent two and a half hours explaining the Danish isolated position to the Canadian Chiefs of Staff about a year ago. I emphasized to Whiteley that I could not agree that there was anything security-wise, either military or political, which could be discussed with the members of the Standing Group and not with the members of all the 14 nations. If there were difficult military and political problems to be solved I was not at all convinced that the Standing Group could solve them any better than the Military Committee. Furthermore, from my experience in NATO most of the difficulties have arisen from the failure of the Standing Group nations to reach agreement on military matters and not the whole 14 nations. As an example, I pointed out the difficulties in setting up the Mediterranean Command in which the Standing Group nations could not reach agreement and which had to be referred to the Military Committee without the UK and US being able to agree, and yet this matter was successfully solved by the Military Committee. I further pointed out that the setting up of the Iberian Command has been holding fire for over two years because of lack of agreement between the UK and US. I reiterated that we were not prepared to agree to the handling of this important military matter, which may affect our forces in future, for us by the Standing Group. I was quite sure that there were other NATO nations who felt exactly the same way. Whiteley said that Norway had already raised the same problem with General Collins when he visited Norway last month.
11. General Whiteley then suggested that he might be able to arrange that they would send out a preliminary paper and ask for comments and then the Standing Group would work on these comments and produce a second paper on which perhaps a meeting could be held. I said that I would be quite happy for the matter to be dealt with in the initial stages by the MRC and finally by the Military Committee, but I was not prepared to accept the paper after the Standing Group nations had reconciled their views and passed the paper on to us, expecting us to agree. From my experience in the past there was no hope of getting things changed once the Standing Group had agreed because they get Government approval of their military views and then there is little hope of any change. I was giving notice now that we were not prepared to accept this kind of an arrangement on this study. Whiteley assured me that he would go into this very thoroughly with the Standing Group when General Collins returned and would advise me of the results.