Volume #17 - 512.|
ORGANISATION DU TRAITS DE L'ATLANTIQUE NORD
RÉUNION DU CONSEIL DE L'ATLANTIQUE NORD, ROME, 24-28 NOVEMBRE 1951
Projet d'une dépêche|
le 8 décembre 1951|
CIRCULAR DESPATCH ON THE ROME MEETING|
I should like to give you some impressions of the Rome meeting of the NATO Council which the Press have pictured as a near failure but which, by crystallizing important issues and pointing out the urgent necessity of their solution, did in fact do much to prepare the ground for the next Council at Lisbon, which may be the decisive meeting in NATO history. Admittedly there were, as the Press reported, differences of opinion, but if these did not exist there would not be any need for NATO meetings. These differences were aired and the exercise certainly did not widen the area of disagreement nor even reveal any unsuspected divergence of view. I think it is fair to say that as much was accomplished as could reasonably have been expected from the meeting when it was held before the report of the Temporary Committee of the Council was ready; when the European defence community discussions had not yet reached any conclusion and when the tripartite negotiations with Germany were still going on. Furthermore, the new United Kingdom Government had just taken office and Mr. Churchill had not yet had his meeting with President Truman, on which so many decisions of U.K. policy apparently must wait. Taking these factors into account, it was a hopeful meeting, and we can look to Lisbon for progress on the analysis of the TCC report and the Medium Term Defence Plan; on the various command questions, the standardization Of small arms and perhaps even on the new status for Germany and the establishment of the European defence community, although it must be recognized that the chances of the last two being ready for final action are slim indeed.
There were several procedural innovations at the Rome meeting. The first was at the public opening meeting where, as well as the welcoming addresses by Mr. De Gasperi, as head of the host state and by Mr. Pearson, who was in the Chair as President for the first time, Mr. Van Zeeland, as past President, Mr. Kraft of Denmark, and Mr. Eden also spoke. Thus, you see that we only heard from one of the Big Three at the opening meeting, that being Mr. Eden who was attending his first NATO meeting. Mr. Acheson, perhaps feeling that the participation of General Eisenhower and General Gruenther, together with Mr. Harriman at later sessions, would so emphasize the predominance of United States influence, decided not to speak at the opening session and, in fact, did not play a very conspicuous part in the Council's deliberations at this meeting. That is not to say, of course, that American influence behind the scenes was, to any extent, reduced.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Pearson stressed the fact that there was nothing inconsistent in holding the NATO meeting while United Nations were busy discussing disarmament. He said that "our determination to strengthen our defences under the North Atlantic Pact when we have unfortunately every reason to feel that strength for.defence is necessary in the world today, and our loyalty to the principles of the United Nations Charter are two parts of the same policy". He went on to affirm that "we have no intention of diverting from peaceful use anything like the resources which would be needed for aggressive action, but we have every intention of securing the strength needed to defend ourselves". This is a point which was also made by General Eisenhower later during the Council. He affirmed that the professional soldiers in the Kremlin were well able to assess the magnitude of NATO defensive military preparations and to recognize that they fall far short of what would be necessary if any aggressive military action were contemplated. Mr. Pearson went on to say that while the meeting will be rightly concerned with the most immediate and urgent task of strengthening our defences, NATO would not be neglecting the longrange purpose of building the North Atlantic community into a closer association for the economic and social advancement of its peoples. This would emphasize that NATO has always been and must remain more than a mere military alliance.
In his remarks, Mr. Kraft, the Foreign Minister of Denmark, also referred to the similarity of purpose of U.N. and NATO. He stressed the close connection between the work in Paris and in Rome and denied the Russian propaganda that they were incompatible. He put it this way: "Rome represents the work of today and Paris the work of tomorrow. In Paris we are planning for the future. Our goal is the progressive reduction of armaments. The world of today is so full of contradictions that before we can reach the goal we set ourselves in Paris, we must solve the problems which are before us in Rome, namely, to prepare the strengthening of defence which is required in order to bring about an approximate balance in the strength of the East and the West. Without such balance there will be no security and without security all talk of reduction of armaments is empty."
At this opening meeting Mr. Pearson welcomed observers from Greece and Turkey. Turkey had nominated its Ambassador in Rome and Greece had sent to the meeting the UnderSecretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Their attendance was limited to the plenary session of the Council.
On Saturday afternoon the Council had its first closed session and as the first item considered draft rules to govern press relations at Council meetings to provide what is called, somewhat optimistically in Mr. Pearson's opinion, a "controllable flow of information". The substance of the decision was that specific topics on the agenda should not be discussed with the press. They should not even be mentioned as topics which were up for discussion. The three placed in this category at Rome were the special political topics on which reports were heard; the relative strengths of Soviet and NATO forces and the study on the effectiveness of NATO forces. On other topics it was decided that the Chairman of the Council should use his discretion in giving information to the press at briefing sessions which only he, alone or with a Council colleague, should give.
The reports from the Military Committee were then submitted by its Chairman and it was decided that to expedite the Council's business the majority of these, which were largely technical, should be referred to a subcommittee of Defence Ministers who would report back to the Council at a later session.
A progress report on the Civilian Agencies was then submitted by Mr. Spofford, the Chairman of the Deputies. These were for information and did not call for any action.
The meeting then heard from various Foreign Ministers on political topics of particular concern. It had been decided, on the recommendation of the Deputies as a result of a suggestion first made through the Working Group of the Committee of Five, that the general review of world events by each Foreign Minister which had been on the agenda of previous meetings, should be replaced by reports on selected topics or areas of special interest.
Mr. Acheson, somewhat reluctantly it must be recognized, began with a short report on the Far Eastern situation. He declared that there was little information he could add to the full reports carried by the press, but he did make several significant observations. He stressed the fact that the Far East was the area where actual fighting is now taking place fighting which is all communistdirected and which has the result of diverting NATO forces.
He declined to forecast on the outcome of the cease fire negotiations and insisted that while the United Nations Commander was sincerely anxious for peace, he was also most realistic about communist manoeuvres in negotiation.
Mr. Acheson explained that, in his view, if an armistice was achieved "certain things will flow" and conversely, if there is no armistice "other things will flow". In elaboration he explained that following an armistice immediate action for the reconstruction of Southern Korea should be taken but that nothing should be done, in his opinion, in North Korea until there is a political settlement. Nevertheless, before any real help could be given to South Korea he felt strongly that the administrative procedures in the United Nations would have to be overhauled. He also stressed that there should be no illusions about a speedy withdrawal of troops after an armistice. On the other hand, if there is no armistice, additional contributions in troops will be necessary and assistance would also be required from those who have not yet sent forces.
Turning to the Pacific area generally, he outlined the U.S. Administration's intentions to present to Congress at the first opportunity the Pacts which form the basis of the Pacific security system. He described these as just a beginning "a nucleus around which other nations can associate themselves".
There was no discussion following his statement but Mr. Pearson remarked on the importance to all of us to know, as far in advance as possible, when the flow of events, which Mr. Acheson foresaw, is likely to begin, so as to prevent any of us from being engulfed by it and to enable us to take our part in directing it. Mr. Pearson could see action in the United Nations by Mr. Vishinsky, as one consequence of the flow in either contingency. In the event of an armistice Vishinsky is likely to insist that the time is now ripe for a general discussion of Far Eastern questions and it would require a good deal of prior consultation among us if we are to act together.
Mr. Eden then gave a report on the situation in Egypt. His main theme was to assure the Council that the United Kingdom would do everything possible to limit the area of conflict to the Canal Zone. He confirmed that the United Kingdom was both able and determined to maintain its position and rather surprised the meeting by describing local relations with the Egyptian army as excellent. The British apparently cooperate with them to the extent of facilitating the daily movement of a supply train across the Canal Zone to the Egyptian forces in the Gaza Strip.
The three main points of U.K. policy in the area are: to maintain United Kingdom rights under the Treaties; to prevent the conflict spreading; and to remain ready to reopen discussions with the Egyptians on the Four Power proposals.
There was evident sympathy and support for the United Kingdom position in the Council and there was some discussion. Mr. Stikker, the Netherlands Foreign Minister, explained the difficulties which his Government had had with Egypt, when it had become necessary for their new Minister to present his credentials. The Egyptians had insisted on the recognition of the King as King of the Sudan and up to the time he spoke the credentials had been refused. He described how necessary it would be to form a united front on this matter. The same situation had apparently arisen with respect to the credentials of the new Egyptian Minister to Lisbon, in which case the Portuguese Government had declined to accept credentials which varied in any way from the former description of the King.
Mr. De Gasperi made a short intervention in the debate pointing to the traditional Italian interest in the Middle East and to the necessity of firmness in meeting the situation, for he insisted that it would be an error to underestimate the consequences of the manifestations of excessive nationalism which were evident in the area.
The Greek observer, at the invitation of the President, then described the particular difficulties of his country regarding the credentials for their new Ambassador in Cairo a situation which was made the more serious by the fact that there are some 120 thousand Greek citizens in Egypt who are pressing the Greek Government to meet the Egyptian demand for recognition of the King's new title. He declared, however, that the Greek Government was determined not to give way.
The meeting then heard from Mr. Lange, who described the diplomatic difficulties between Norway and the Soviet Union arising from the latter's protest that the placing of Spitsbergen within the NATO area and the preparation of NATO bases in Norway was a contravention of the Norwegian Soviet Treaty. There had also been objection to the Norwegian Government's action in concentrating Soviet War graves. Mr. Lange saw that there was a possibility that the Soviet protest arose from a real fear that military measures are under preparation in Spitsbergen as part of North Atlantic defence planning, and this is the interprÉtation which he holds. On the other hand, the Soviet Notes might have a different motivation that of preparing the ground for Soviet action in this northern area, and while feeling that the Soviet Government could not be under any misapprehension that Spitsbergen, like the rest of Norway, is part of the North Atlantic area and would benefit fully from the protection of the Organization and thus could not believe in the possibility of successfully pursuing any isolated aggression. Nevertheless, recently there had been a certain increase in the strength and number of Russian naval units and merchant ships under the Russian flag in northern waters. Norway has asked the proper organs of the North Atlantic Organization to make an evaluation of this development.
Mr. Schuman then spoke on the situation in IndoChina. He explained the support which the nationalists in that area were now getting from communist China although, as yet, there was no evidence of the participation of Chinese "volunteers". He explained that over onethird of the military budget of France is used to support the action in. IndoChina and stressed that France is thus carrying out two engagements, the one in the Far East, and their undertakings in Western Europe in two places for the same end. He referred to Mr. Acheson's remarks on Korea and saw as a possible consequence of an armistice the transfer of Chinese volunteers to the Indonesian front.
He, like the others who had spoken after Mr. Eden, expressed his support for the British position in the Suez.
Monday was U.S. day at the Foro Italico the day when General Gruenther made his "presentation" to the Council and when General Eisenhower made his personal appearance before the Military Committee and later before the Council.
General Gruenther gave a clear and informative summary of the facts behind mediumterm defence planning and the estimate of relative strengths of Soviet and NATO forces, but he did not really add any information to that contained in the two Standing Group documents which had been prepared on this subject. There is little doubt, however, but that his presentation was useful, for some of the political representatives may have shied away from studying these figures of strengths and force requirements in detail and he certainly made it quite clear that the forces which were being requested were the minimum required to plan any kind of a stand against a possible Soviet attack. On the whole his tone was encouraging and confident and he left no doubt that, even as matters stood, SHAPE was prepared to make a stand no matter when the balloon might go up.
Mr. Harriman, the Chairman of the TCC, followed General Gruenther and reported on the work of that Committee. This was, of necessity, an interim report as their work is still in midcareer. He mentioned specifically, however, that in his mind the failure to provide airfields on time was a critical defect in the military preparations and that a lack of knowledge of requirements was one of the most serious questions in the whole infrastructure problem.
He also paid special attention to the acute shortage of coal in Europe which he saw to be one of the gravest problems. He urged the highest priority and cooperation in its solution.
Regarding the final report of the Temporary Committee he explained that it would be impossible to reach agreement on all points, certainly within the time limit, and, in any event, to do so it would be necessary to water down the conclusions to a degree where they would be meaningless. In any event, whether we are to be presented with a series of recommendations, each supported by eleven votes with one dissenting, or whether we are to get something more worthwhile, the report of the TCC will be ready by the middle of December and will come before the next meeting of the Council.
He was followed by Edwin Plowden, the U.K. ViceChairman of the Committee, who made an arid scholarly review of the economic problems with which the Committee had to wrestle and then, after a much needed seventhinning stretch, came the long awaited moment and General Eisenhower appeared.
After all the buildup he had received, it would hardly be possible not to be disappointed and unfortunately most were, but General Eisenhower certainly spoke with vigour and conviction. But one felt that his remarks might have been better suited to another audience.
He declined to accept the validity of political limitations and remarked that "if we allow statements of what is politically feasible to sway us we will achieve nothing". This remark brought the reaction he, no doubt, expected and the following day Mr. Butler, Mr. Lange and Mr. Kristensen all referred to the need to recognize political difficulties. Mr. Butler said: "The General was good enough to tell us that we must surmount our own political difficulties and that I assure him we will do our best to do. To follow up again what the Defence Minister of Canada has said, politics is "fart du possible" and we will do all that is possible within our own sphere bearing in mind what I have said that I feel certain there is not only no moral difficulty but an inspiration from what we have heard from this meeting." Mr. Lange, in referring to the political problems, spoke of the necessity of convincing those who hold the purse strings and suggested that it might be useful to have a study of the situation which could be used publicly. Mr. Kristensen was thinking along the same line and recommended a study of Soviet foreign policy.
General Eisenhower also referred to the problem of European unity which he described as his "favourite topic". He said he had come to believe that we must have a European army in order to get German strength without risk and without loss to them of selfrespect. This, alongside the Schuman plan, must, in his opinion, succeed. General Eisenhower, like General Gruenther, ended on a note of confidence stressing unity as the great as,et next to troops.
The next day, as 1 have mentioned, there was some discussion on General Eisenhower's remarks. The Council then turned to consideration of the item on German participation in Western defence. The Chairman reviewed the question up to the Ottawa meeting and then Mr. Schuman reported on the Paris discussions. There has evidently been some considerable progress and Mr. Schuman, on the whole, drew an encouraging picture although it appeared later, from remarks by Mr. Stikker, that such important points as the composition of the supreme authority, its relationship with the Council of Ministers, in fact the relationship of the EDC with NATO, as well as the financial consequences of the arrangement were still far from settled. In fact, some of them had not even been considered.
Mr. Schuman had stated that the conference had never lost sight of the fact that the European defence force was destined to be an integral part of the NATO defence force and that, in consequence, a close and constant liaison with SHAPE was being maintained, and, on the other hand, the Council of Deputies was regularly kept informed. After describing in detail the contemplated military structure he said that on the present timetable if the necessary legislation in Germany should come into force on the 1 st of April, 1952, the twelve basic units which are actually foreseen would be ready for use on the 1st of April, 1954.
He said that in the political sphere the technical committees of the conference were exploring the problems of the composition and powers of the various bodies necessary to establish the functional equilibrium of the Organization. He gave no details, however, nor any regarding the association with NATO.
He ended by stating that neither the reconstruction of the Wehrmacht nor the neutralization of Germany was possible. In the existing international circumstances only the integration of Germany into Europe, according to the conditions foreseen in Washington last September, would constitute a durable solution and he expressed again his conviction that with the good faith of all participants it would be possible, within a few weeks, to bring the project to a complete and effective conclusion.
Mr. Acheson then discussed the tripartite talks with Germany on contractual relations. He described the agreement on general relations, including a charter of an arbitration tribunal which had been agreed in Paris on the 22nd November and the four related specific agreements which were still under discussion. They are: an agreement on Acts and certain interests of the Three Powers and the transfer of certain responsibilities to the Federal Republic; an agreement on the status of foreign forces stationed in the Federal Republic and their protection; an agreement on logistical and financial support; and an agreement on security safeguards.
Mr. Acheson explained that in the discussions it became clear that a peace settlement for the whole of Germany was an essential aim of the common policy of the Occupying Powers and the Federal Republic and that the final determination of the boundaries of Germany must await such a settlement.
In regard to the arbitration tribunal he described the preoccupation of the German Chancellor, that there should be some international body or forum to which Germany could appeal if the state of emergency declared by the Occupying Powers under the Agreement were continued beyond a period which seemed reasonable to the Germans. Although it seems most unlikely that such a situation would arise, it was concluded that the North Atlantic Council would be the appropriate body since it is the agency dealing with security matters in Europe. Mr. Acheson was most encouraging in his hope that all the agreements could be accepted in final form before the end of the year and he joined General Eisenhower in exhorting all concerned with the European defence community to speed it along to a successful conclusion by about that same time.
To this end he presented a draft American resolution which, together with a Benelux resolution, was turned over to the Deputies for consolidation. Mr. Stikker, who followed Mr. Acheson, introduced the second resolution which called for the participation in the European defence community of all free countries in Western Europe. In presenting this resolution Mr. Stikker said that these would comprise "in any case, Great Britain and our Scandinavian allies".
He spoke briefly, also, of the disagreement which exists concerning the financial consequences of a European defence community and his remarks revealed that the Netherlands were having second thoughts about the EDC.
When he presented this resolution, Mr. Stikker referred particularly to the delicacy of the problems it raised and wondered whether it would not be possible to have them discussed in a more restricted Council. This point is one which came up several times during the meeting and there is no doubt a considerable body of opinion which would favour limiting the attendance which has now grown to about three hundred and thus destroyed the intimate confidential character of the meetings of Ministers. The Council Deputies have been instructed to study this particular question and some action may be taken in this direction at the next meeting .79
79Ce projet n'a pas été envoyé./This draft was not sent.