University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Foreign Relations of the United States

Page View

United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States, 1952-1954. Western European Security (in two parts)

II. Attitude of the United States toward the establishment of a European Defense Community,   pp. 571-1113 ff. PDF (220.4 MB)

Page 869

                 EUROPEAN DEFENSE COMMUNITY                   869
  We must bear in mind the elementary factor that ratification is not
going to be voted on its abstract merits, that it will occur only if a
majority of members of the Assembly are convinced that it is in their
individual interest to vote for it. The picture is complicated by the
facts that the potential majority in favor of EDC does not coincide
either with the present majority or, apparently, any new majority
capable of agreeing on internal policy or continuing the war in Indo-
china, and that it is presently almost impossible to obtain a majority
in the Assembly on any difficult issue.
  Opposition to EDC stems primarily from three factors:
  1) Nationalism. This combines patriotism, love of la belle Frahee,
nostalgia for its past military, political and cultural greatness and
unwillingness to recognize the relative decline in France's world status,
preoccupation with the effect of Europeanization upon the French
Union, and natural political conservatism in face of the fateful step
of abandoning a large measure of sovereignty.
  2) Fear of German domination of Europe. This combines deeply
ingrained painful memories ("Three times in 70 years they've invaded
us"), well-founded fears that France, even with its overseas territories,
cannot match the physical, psychological, political, military or in-
dustrial vitality of even Western Germany, fear of U.S. and perhaps
U.K. favoritism for Germany as against France, fear that the U.S.
and U.K. will withdraw and leave France alone to cope with Germany
and fear that Germany will drag Western Europe into war to regain
its eastern territories.
  3) Unwillingness to face the decision. In addition to the present
near-paralysis of the Assembly, this involves wishful thinking that
procrastination may avoid German rearmament in any form, that the
U.S. will nevertheless have to support France, that the problem may
evaporate through a lessening of East-West tension, or that France
may secure reinsurance against Germany by improving its relations
with Russia without giving up its Atlantic ties.
   Different tactics are required to deal with these three factors:
   1) Nationalism requires understanding and sympathetic handling.
 French pretensions to being a great power are unrealistic, but the
 answer lies in stressing that (a) France's future depends on her in-
 fluence in greater-than-national units, both European and wider, and
 at the same time that (b) it is inconceivable that either the EDC or
 the EPC could, in the absence of developments much more far-reaching
 than anything now contemplated, result in the loss of France's na-
 tional identity or her position in the French Union. You handled this
 very effectively at Bermuda and the line should be continued and
   2) Fear of German domination is harder to combat because it is
 much more realistic. W~Ve must recognize it, try to a~void inadvertently
 encouraging it, and seek means of allaying it which (a) do not dis-
 criminate against Germany and (b) advance our own and the general
 interest without running into Congressional complications. The U.S.
 paper on Assurances to France re EDC (NACOM D-2)  is good, but
 3 Not printed. A copy of this NATO preparatory paper is in the CFM files,
 lot M 88, box 166.

Go up to Top of Page