23. Telegram From Secretary of State Rusk to the Department of State1

Secto 7. I had informal 1-hour conversation with officials European Community executives after earlier call on Hallstein and Chatenet.2 Present were Hallstein, Mansholt, Marjolin, Rey, Von Der Groeben, Levi Sandri, and Schaus (all EEC), plus De Groote (EURATOM) and Coppe (ECSC). Conversation was wide-ranging and necessarily general, but I believe useful in giving key European Community officials appreciation of underlying US policies.

Talk opened with frank discussion of psychological climate in US-European relations today. Hallstein said that Europe wishes make reality of Atlantic partnership, which is announced goal of US policy. Hallstein said Europe’s fundamental objective is to attain unity and hence equality with US. Europe also wishes gain self-respect by playing major role in world along side US. I replied by saying that US today has necessarily taken on heavy burden of responsibilities around world. I explained that we do this out of harsh self-interest, not philanthropy; that we care nothing for prestige involved; and that we are more than happy to share these responsibilities. I explained further that we are prepared go very far in pragmatic working together on specific common tasks. Overt merging of sovereignty poses problems for us, but American people prepared go very far indeed in working together with other nations when they are convinced combined approach is only practical means.

On Kennedy Round, I stressed necessity of success as one of most important specific areas where combined action desirable which can be of benefit to both partners in Atlantic area and to free world as a whole. Hallstein, choosing his words carefully, said that one should not be pessimistic as regards solutions for technical issues in KR.

On agriculture, both Mansholt and Rey made appeal for patience in our negotiations, stressing great difficulty Community faces in trying to negotiate with third countries while at same time unifying its internal agricultural policies. I stressed importance of expanding trade to US in [Page 52] context our world-wide foreign aid and military responsibilities, mentioning particularly importance of agriculture. I cited as great dilemma of our times that we are faced on one hand with agricultural surpluses in more developed parts of world and with population explosion in LDC’s.

Problem of De Gaulle raised frankly by Rey, who stressed that he felt it wrong that De Gaulle problem should be portrayed as one between US and France when in reality it should be quarrel between De Gaulle and rest of Europe. I replied that there was one common thread which ran through all our difficulty with De Gaulle. This was his insistence that we accept him and France as the spokesman for Europe without assent of rest of Europe. This claim we cannot accept. I expressed full understanding of how an individual Frenchman could, given the history of France over the last 25 years, be strongly sympathetic to what De Gaulle had done to restore stability and self-respect, but I expressed deep regret that De Gaulle’s energies have been directed toward building up narrow national prestige of France. Story would have been entirely different if France had thrown same energy into building a really united Europe and an effective partnership. If this had been done, France’s and Europe’s prestige today would indeed be enormous. Instead, De Gaulle seems to be intent on building up France’s national prestige at the expense of France’s friends. (These comments seemed to elicit a very sympathetic response from the Commissioners.)

Nuclear question was raised by Mansholt who pointed out that some—not all—Europeans wanted a larger nuclear role. I replied by emphasizing very heavily complete indivisibility of nuclear defense in an alliance. I pointed out further that US, in field of nuclear defense, has two great areas of responsibility. Aside from Atlantic area, we are facing in Pacific very grave responsibilities, and are facing them alone. We cannot, in light of this, pool our global nuclear responsibility. Nevertheless, at the Atlantic area we have gone very far indeed. I noted in general terms enormous power of nuclear forces located in Europe, use of which is subject to joint decision with our allies. This, I said, should be proof enough of how far we are willing to go in sharing our responsibilities with our allies in the Atlantic area. Our great nuclear strength, rather than giving us national independence, makes us highly interdependent with our allies.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, ECIN 3 EEC. Confidential. Repeated to Bonn, Brussels for USEC, London, Luxembourg for Embassy and USEC, Paris for Embassy and USRO, Rome, and Geneva.
  2. Secretary Rusk visited Brussels May 8–9, and then The Hague May 10–14, for the NATO Ministerial Meeting. At a luncheon at Brussels on May 9, he delivered a major speech stressing continuing U.S. support for European economic and political unity. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, May 25, 1964, pp. 810–815. Rusk transmitted a report on his meeting with Hallstein at 2:45 p.m. in Secto 6 from The Hague, May 10. (Department of State, Central Files, ECIN 3 EEC)