Volume #14 - 350.|
SÉCURITÉ DE L'ATLANTIQUE DU NORD
DISCUSSIONS PRÉLIMINAIRES AU SUJET DE LA SÉCURITÉ DU 23 JUIN 1948 AU 31 DÉCEMBRE 1948 À WASHINGTON
L'ambassadeur aux États-Unis|
au secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures
TOP SECRET. MGST IMMEDIATE.
le 23 juin 1948|
Following for the Acting Under-Secretary only from Wrong, Begins: Security Talks. Mr. Hickerson this afternoon verbally gave me an invitation for the Government of Canada to participate in diplomatic talks in Washington with representa fives of the United States and the parties to the Brussels Treaty, to whom a similar verbal invitation is being extended today. The suggested date for the opening of the talks is Tuesday morning, June 29th. I undertook to transmit this invitation immediately and to request an early reply.
2. The procedure contemplated is that the European countries should be represented by persons now in Washington. Mr. Lovett will probably preside at the opening session at which a smaller working party might be appointed. It is not proposed to have any military representation, at any rate during the first phase of the talks. The suggestion is that the Ambassadors of the countries concerned should act as the senior representatives and that the total representation of each country should be not more than three. Luxembourg will probably not be directly represented. The date is probable but not firm. The United States participants will vary according to the subject matter, but will be drawn wholly or mainly from Messrs. Hickerson, Bohlen, Kennan, Reber and Achilles.
3. As to publicity, Hickerson proposed that the substance of the talks should be regarded throughout as top secret, and that no announcement about them should be made until the question had been discussed at the initial meetings. He thinks that a brief public announcement ought then to be made which would play up the United States initiative as the taking of steps to carry out the Vandenberg Resolution (the gist of which is now included in the Republican Party platform).
4. He said that the desire was to keep the procedure as informal as possible, along the lines that were observed at the Pentagon talks in March. (Incidentally, the occurrence of the Pentagon talks would have to be kept secret throughout from France and the Benelux countries). There would be no minutes and no formal agenda, and a frank expression of views without committing Governments would be encouraged.
5. As to topics of discussion they proposed on their part the four following items. The comments in brackets after each item are my own expansion based on my discussion with him.
(1) The situation in Europe as it affects security, including estimates of Soviet intentions. (This would be a general exchange of views, not an effort to arrive at an agreed appreciation).
(2) Security measures taken and to be taken in Europe by the Five. (This would cover the steps taken and contemplated to execute the Brussels Treaty).
(3) Security relations with other Western European countries. (This would cover discussion of the possible expansion of the Brussels Treaty, and problems such as the effect of United States participation in a treaty to which some of the free countries of Europe, such as Sweden or Switzerland, might not become parties).
(4) Nature of United States association under Vandenberg Resolution with European security arrangements. (This would cover the arguments for and against the negotiation of a treaty committing the United States to assist European countries in danger of attack or actually attacked, as well as related questions. The discussion might lead to the development of an outline proposal).
6. Hickerson said that they would be ready to add any topics which the countries invited might wish to bring up.
7. He thought that the talks might go on intermittently for most of the summer, but hoped that the first phase could be concluded within a fortnight or so. He said that the invitation to Canada to take part in the diplomatic talks also covered participation in any military staff talks that might be agreed on.
8. On the assumption that the proposal for a North Atlantic defence treaty would emerge, he said that they would have to go very carefully before anything was signed, to the point of assuring themselves that the result would be acceptable to a two-third's majority of the Senate. As he remarked, it would be fatal for the United States to sign a treaty which was rejected by the Senate. The debate on the Vandenberg Resolution and the terms of the Republican platform encourage them to believe that they can secure approval for a commitment on the lines of the Pentagon recommendations.
9. I shall communicate further tomorrow on the subject of our representation and other questions which will arise if the Government accepts the invitation. Ends.
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