Volume #16 - 614.|
NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION
Memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs|
to Secretary of State for External Affairs
September 27th, 1950|
I am attaching a memorandum on my conversation today with Spofford.
As I'mentioned to you, Spofford spoke very highly of Wilgress' contribution to the work of the Deputies. He hoped that it would be possible for him to continue even with the increasing importance which the Deputies would assume as NATO moved into the operational phase. I said that while Wilgress' responsibilities were very great, we expected to be able to have him continue for the immediate future at least. We would try to shore him up in his other duties so that Ws NATO work would not suffer. On his part, Spofford said that he would bear in mind Wilgress' other responsibilities and would try to avoid laying too heavy a burden upon him.
Note du sous-secrétaire dÉtat aux Affaires extérieures
Memorandum by Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs
[Ottawa], September 27, 1950
NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION
This morning I had an interesting talk with Spofford, the Permanent Chairman of the Council of Deputies. We discussed a number of questions arising from the Council Meeting which adjourned yesterday, including particularly the general reorganization of NATO, the means by which the Canadian Government could obtain early guidance on the disposition of equipment and the Mutual Aid Programme and the probable course of the projected studie's on production and finance.
Reorganization of NATO
The Americans are evidently very much interested in the possibility of reorganizing the Ministerial Committees so as to avoid the parallelism which you referred to during Council sessions and providing for closer integration of the Organization at its top level.
I developed, at Spofford's request, our conception of one Supreme council representing governments as a substitute for three committees of -Foreign Ministers, Defence Ministers and Finance Ministers. I said that, while we recognized the fact that reorganization on this basis would be particularly applicable to countries accustomed to Cabinet Government in our sense, we thought that there would be great advantages for all if the Council became a council of governments rather than a council of Foreign Ministers. At such a council, governments might be represented by their Foreign Ministers or Defence Ministers or their Finance Ministers according to the nature of the agenda; or indeed they might be represented by two or even three Ministers. We recognized that such a solution would multiply the number of persons attending and deprive the Council to that extent of the virtue of relative smallness. Nevertheless the advantages to be gained by introducing the other Ministers into the highest body where policy was formulated seemed to us to be such that the undertaking would be well worthwhile.
Furthermore, we felt that such a reorganization would enhance the importance of the Council of Deputies. The Deputies might be accepted as deputies not only of the Foreign Ministers, but of the Defence and Finance Ministers or, better, as the representatives at the "official" level of governments as a whole. As such, they would be in a clear position of authority, able to speak for the Council and for the respective governments in directing all other agencies, military as well as civil, of the NATO.
Spofford agreed with much of what I said. He thought that eventually we might achieve a single Council of Ministers. He had been thinking as an alternative (more acceptable perhaps at this stage) of an arrangement by which Foreign Ministers, Defence Ministers and Finance Ministers would meet simultaneously in a sort of "North Atlantic Convention", perhaps twice a year. Under such an arrangement we might have plenary sessions in which all three Ministers participated, and separate but simultaneous Council, Defence and Finance meetings on the different aspects of the problems before NATO. Such an arrangement would not require any amendment to the Treaty. It would give the Defence and Finance Ministers a sense of participation. It would achieve much of what we had in mind in suggestion for our more radical reorganization.
A third possibility which Spofford has in mind is that of a functional division somewhat on the army basis as between the "G", the "A" and the "Q" sides, it being understood that the "a' side represented by the Council dealt with command, i.e. policy. Spofford did not press this and I gather that he felt that such an arrangement would not meet our fundamental objection to the division of authority between the three sets of Ministers.
Spofford asked if we would produce a paper developing our proposal of the one Ministerial Council. He is likely to attend the Defence Committee meetings in Washington beginning October 28th. I told him that you had in mind that I might accompany our Minister of Defence to those meetings. He suggested that if we could meet then (or a few days before) we might discuss this whole question in more detail; he would have a memorandum setting forth his tentative proposals by that time. I undertook to have something ready on our side for his consideration.
Spofford told me that he thought that the Council would likely meet next in December and probably in Brussels.
Provision of Canadian Equipment and New Production to NATO Allies
At Spofford's request I explained further the difficulties in the way of our disposing effectively of the divisional equipment which we have offered to NATO and, in the second place, of our deciding upon items of new production under our Mutual Aid Appropriation. As you had pointed out in the Council, we were ready to deliver equipment immediately where it was most needed; we had also provided the finance for new production. But we still awaited guidance from NATO as to where existing equipment should be sent and what new supplies should be produced.
With respect to divisional equipment in being, Spofford undertook to get after the appropriate authorities in Washington at once so that we might receive authoritative word from NATO as to where we should ship our supplies. He seemed to think that the logical destination for our divisional equipment was Holland, which had trained personnel ready to make use of it. I asked him to have word sent to our Ambassador and to Air Vice Marshal Campbell, our accredited representative to the Standing Group. I pointed out as well that we required to have some firm understanding concerning the availability of United States replacements. Spofford thought that there should be no difficulty in meeting both our requests in this matter very rapidly.
With respect to new production, the situation was more complicated. We would probably have no firm guidance until the combined production programme had got under way. Meantime, all he could suggest was that we should press the Standing Group to let us know on an ad hoc basis what types within the high priorities list would be acceptable to NATO countries. Spofford was frankly pessimistic about the possibility of our getting very far on this until after Christmas.
Deputies' Studies on Production and Finance
Spofford seemed well satisfied with the course of discussion at our last meeting in the Working Group of Seven. He entirely agreed that priority should be given to the study of the combined production programme and hoped that this would be completed by the end of the year so that the new executive agency could then be set up.
It is Spofford's expectation that the United States Government will name representatives with ECA experience. For the production study, he mentioned someone whose name was unfamiliar to me as their "continuing" representative and spoke of Batt84 as coming in later to give testimony before the study was completed. What he has in mind is that opportunity should be given to those who will probably have charge of the combined production agency to criticize and comment upon the report. It was evident that he hoped that Batt84 would represent the United States on the combined executive agency.
I told Spofford that Mr. Howe had agreed that we should be well represented on the production study group, if possible, by someone who had experience in the last war. We expected to be represented on the combined executive agency when it was set up. He agreed that this was reasonable.
With respect to finance, I told Spofford that it was quite likely that we would be unable to provide a new expert by October 18th. We might decide to have [A.E.] Ritchie made responsible for our continuing participation and then have others, perhaps from the Department of Finance come in towards the end to criticize and comment. Spofford seemed to think this would be satisfactory. Incidentally, he told me that both Messrs. Schuman and Alphand seemed convinced that the "common fund" proposal was impractical. The French Minister of Finance remained to be convinced.
84William Loren Batt, ministre en charge de la mission de l'Administration de cooperation économique au Royaume-Uni; représentant special des États-Unis auprès du Bureau de production de defense de l'Atlantique Nord.