Foreign Policy in Europe

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Foreign Policy in Europe

Foreign Policy in Europe

E.B. 

Tried to work on 4-Power basis:  and reliance on U.N.
Clear now that this policy won't achieve political settlement.
E.A.P. or any step inconsistent with Comm. policy provokes stiff R. re-action.
Recommns – (1) is now being pursued in Brussels.
But want also authy to approach other like-minded countries (4).
Don't want an exclusively Anglo-American basis.
Haven't reduced to detail – for much consultn:  talk will be needed – see how we go.
Econ. policy – disunited.
Defence.  Gt. nervousness.  R. rocket stations w'in 200 miles of Paris.
Latest informn:  R. moving away from Greece & Turkey & aiming rather thro' Italy & Spain.  If that is done, bound to provoke stiff re-action.
Appeasement won't do.  As we haven't enough resources ourselves, & U.S. too exclusive, must organise a wider union in Europe.
U.N. approach tried but failed.
Econ. side:  Europe won't be viable even after Marshall Aid period.
On that a/c. also we need a new approach in w. Europe.
Don't want to base this on mil. defence alone.
Consultns will be long & wearisome.

P.M. 

We are trying to build improved standards of living in U.K.
Disparity between costs of imports & exports.
We can't alone create those standards.  Must widen basis.
Defence v. ideological attack must be based on high standards for Comm. attack exploits misery.
Right line therefore to build economy founded on W. Europe and satellites.  This will give enough economic & mil. strength to give independence of both R. and U.S.A. – tho' U.S. aid is needed to give time to build.

R.S.C. 

Urgency.  France is in economic straits.  Their measures haven't succeeded.  Deval. of franc hasn't stimulated trade (for prices have risen) & they haven't repatriated their assets.  Govt. unlikely to survive.  Alternatives = de G. or Comm.  If France goes, all chance of W. Union goes.
Asia.  Also most urgent to hold India in Commonwealth.
Must devise a means w'out B. Crown.  Affects Ceylon & Malaya.  And may admit R. influence.

H.M. 

Situation recalls 1938.

E.B. 

Even worse.

H.M. 

R. determined not to be friendly.  Success in Czecho. shows how much damage can be done in less developed countries.
Support R.S.C. view on urgency, qua economic situation.
Need for leadership in France.
Can't deal with this on defence basis alone.
What is most effective alternative to war?  Propaganda offensive.
Need for P.W.E.  This is more than publicising B. way of life.
Must be "black" as well as white.  In Far East, India & in Europe.  R. is sensitive to defeats on propaganda front.
We shd. make trouble for them.  How far can U.S. help on this?  What was their war experience?
Scandinavia.  Norway & Sweden are in geograph. dangerous posn.
Italy v. important.  Need for specialised propaganda.
B.B.C. shd. be effective instrument.

A. 

Doubtful of our ability to pull France round.
Support H.M. on propaganda.
Assume T.U.C. is doing something re penetration of Unions.
Externally, need for more action.  Admire efficiency of  R. methods.  Our methods in comparison are clumsy.
Discussions with Commonwealth.  V. important economically & politically.  Want early talks.  Their outlook is diff.  Canada closely tied with U.S. but more alert than many to Comm. dangers.  Australia:  much Comm. penetration of Unions.

R.S.C. 

Approach India before their constitution crystallises.

A.B. 

Need for narrower study.  Method of counter-attack will differ from country to country.
In U.K. Comm. penetration of Unions weakens them as well as frightens us.  If the Comm. are there too long their colour becomes modified.  cf. Homer, Harrington whose Communism is less violent than it was.
Too open an attack on Comm. officials in Unions will make them more Comm. than ever.  Our line shd. be to prevent further penetration.
Italy – different.  Danger spot.  Must stimulate Socialists to more active political stand.
Less frightened than some re R. penetration.  Believe they've gone too far.  In developed countries like Czecho. they will have much more trouble.  Study fringe States & explore pol. warfare there.
Comm. will lower their living standards & we shall be able to demonstrate it.

C.E. 

Urgency.  How much time for study?  Need = show of action.
In Italy & France balanced on knife edge.  And tottering in wrong direction.  France:  either d. G. or Comm. wd. be disastrous.

A.B. 

Emergency action & long-term plan are not inconsistent.

C.E. 

Finnish Treaty – if that imposed, we shall have to do something about Scandinavia.

E.B. 

Propaganda will be one of instruments I shall use.  Will all emerge.
Development of backward countries.  Don't like doing that with U.S.  Wd. prefer a sort of central U.N.R.R.A. Fund.
No country can ever afford to carry on another war.
New forms of defence.  W. Europe Budget.
P.W.E.  Willing to have it looked at.
To-day want only authority to change general approach.

A.B. 

Party machine shd. be used – for propaganda etc.

E.B. 

Yes.  Tho' I can't interfere with that.
A stronger lead from Transport House would enable Social Dem. Parties to become more effective in W. Europ. countries.
Can this be arranged?  

A.B. 

Limitations of finance on Transport House activities.  There is much  that F.O. can do.
R.C. tradition is part radical.  Get Vatican to shift over to economic radicalism.  A big resistance to Communism.  The Vatican shd. be  mobilised.  Wd. also make it easier for R.C. Parties to  join with Socialist Parties.

E.B. 

Have tried this.  But a strong Amb. at Vatican may provoke Protestant re-action here.

P.G.W. 

Support idea of P.W.E.  Diff. from war-time machine.  Cd. be got ready quickly & wd. have easier ideological task.
Don't underestimate technical diffies – black & white etc.
Time is short.
Shdn't involve F.O. personnel.  Shdn't use F. Service posts abroad.
Must work under Ministerial direction.

P.M. 

Points to be followed up.  F.O. alone can't handle this.

E.B. 

A body of officials like London Cttee?
Inter-departmental study:  but action vis-à-vis foreign countries shd. be thro' single channel of F.O.
Party assistance shd. be handled separately.

A.V.A. 

Support recommns in memo.
But ques:  urgency.  Diff. to assess Soviet intentions.  Their achievement is, however, spoils of victory w'out war.  Agree they may over-reach themselves, but that may be occasion for war.
Immediate considns which will arise in Paris on 15/3.
Tho' defence is secondary to economic problem, you will be asked for firm informn re yr. intentions on defence.
Norway, e.g. wants to know what support they can expect from us if they take a firmer line on W. Union.
We shd. therefore  a) decide wtr. you wish other Powers to join with  us in saying to R. "no further".
                              b) get an immediate military appreciation – 
                                   (i) what is needed to support dipl. action  
                                  (ii) what is our posn if dipl. action fails.  Wd. like to approach C.O.S. on that.
P.W.E.  Suggns recently from King, Hall & Crossman.  Am considering that.  Do we need an official organn – if so, under F.O.  Or an  outside advisory body incldg. those who worked in it before.
Wd. like L.P. to discuss that with F.O.

P.M. 

That needs much study.

A.W. 

Any P.W.E. must be closely associated with F.O.
R. successes due to political warfare.
Need some such organisation.
Biggest popn in Europe is still Germany.  Their weight will be of vital  moment.  We can't fight G. and R. together.
Must clear our minds on what we think about G.

T.W. 

R. tactics will change as they approach us.  Fr. Comm. may well join with de G. to squeeze out centre.

E.B. 

They are doing it now.

G.A.I. 

Don't dismiss too lightly the danger of Communism in British Trade Unions.  Danger = not men at top, but discrimination thro' branches & domination of Shop Stewards movement.
Unions are fighting this.  Recent victories in T & G. Workers & even A.E.U.
T.U.'s shd. have help in this – e.g. any prepared propaganda shd. be  given to them.

H.W. 

Economic warfare.  For W. Europe coming up in Monday's memo.
But F.O. shd. give a line to economic Dpts. re trade policy towards fringe countries.  H'to, policy has been to be neutral.
Poland:  we were v. generous.  Yugoslavia, we have bn. tough (in both cases for purely economic reasons).
R. use bi-lateral trade negotiations as political weapon.
Proved in agreement with Czechoslovakia.
More F.O. guidance needed on this.
Scandinavia:  we cd. certainly do more in trade agreements.
Thinking of sending Secy. D.O.T. to Sweden.

E.B. 

Need for special study of Roumania & Bulgaria  - by O.N.C.
E.g. the "Russian" maize for U.K. is in fact coming from Roumania, as reparations.  Means that Roumania will default on reparations to west.

G.T. 

P.W.E.  Why haven't we exploited the spiritual values?

E.B. 

Have bn. considering World Congress of Churches.  Am told there is chance of R.C.'s coming in.
Wd. avoid my having to appeal to Vatican to use political influence.
Finally, don't assume no P.W.E. activities are going on.

R.S.C. 

Where is dividing line between Party & Govt. activity?
Danger that fear of Comm. may drive people to Right.
Govt. propaganda shd therefore stress tht. it is Social Democracy, not Democracy, against Communism.

P.M. 

Prefer to say "democratic Socialism."
Not merely the Party's job.  They haven't means or men to do it.
Govt. shd. not be ashamed to say it.

A.B. 

We must preach success of Socialism.
B.B.C. are always selecting the anti-Socialist items in news.

P.M. 

Agreed.

A.V.A. 

R. is strongly armed.  4 m. men in Armed Forces.  Has retained larger Forces & equipment than any of Allies.
She has e.g. far more aircraft than we have.  Far greater progress in bldg. frames for jet engines than anyone here expected.
German help in exploiting fast submarine and long-range projectile.

A.W. 

B.B.C. also "puff" satellite countries.

P.M. 

General agreement on line of approach.
Machinery & organisation required will be considered by me.

A.W. 

Have we enough information e.g. about extent of Comm.  penetration in U.K.

C.E. 

Regular report once a month.  Will re-examine in light of this morning's discussion.
Believe Communism is more dangerous in U.K. than Fascism.

Taken from C.M. 19(48) - Meeting held on 5 March 1948.