German contribution to Western defence
German contribution to Western defence
German Contribution to Western Defence
Cab. accepted principle, about 7 mos. ago, but reserved time & method.
M'while, discns on G. contn and on Eur. Army.
Need for quick decision – views of Eisenhower & U.S. Govt. – wh. wd. be followed by constitn & training of a G. force.
Opposn in Labour Party – diminishing. Comm. campaign v. it, too.
This will come up at N.A.T. in Sept. We shall be in diffies if we take a negative line. If nothg. done re Germany – R. have more troops in E. Germany: R. have armed Police in E. Germany:
W.G. are in mood to help, but if it passes R. might walk in.
No provn to R. if we did it Eur. Army method.
No solution by seekg. disarmament in E. & W. Germany.
My concln: this is in B. interests. G. more likely to go wrong way if disarmed. Bad for us if defence line is nearer west.
Only decn of principle requd at this time.
Method: direct contn or by Eur. Army. Eur. Army wd. be easier for French: less provocative to R: U.S. disposed to favour it. But no final commitmt yet because details not all known.
Views of C.O.S. on ques. of provocation. Can we risk that at this time of weakness. Saw memo. suggestg. if this done we shd.
y/ have to mobilize next year.
We believe R. fear G. re-armament. But, for next 2 yrs, we believe R. won't want to go to war. Atom.
x/ Risk of not re-arming G. is greater/x 10 Divns. short. Can't defend G. w'out G. re-armed.
Details: rough p'mme made. Oct. '52 will be first recruitment of rank & file: divns training by Apl. '53.
U.S. have assured us re-armg. of G. will not delay N.A.T. equipment.
Do C.O.S. believe y/?
No. We have no indicn tht. R. will want to start major war.
F.O. view: G. contn to Eur. Army wd. not increase risk of R. aggression.
We are commd in principle to re-arming G. at some stage. E.B. was reluctant.
a) G. are dangerous. Different fr. any Europ. G. have an interest in fighting a war v. R. We only in defending ourselves.
Who will join the colours in G.? They celebrate release of Ramke.
I don't trust G. as Allies. They are not a peace-loving nation.
And they have reason to fight R., many of them to recover lost homes.
Germans also differ fr. others in that they cd. work with R. (paras. 9 & 14.) and join them against us.
b) Provocn to R. Risks either way. Def. Cttee thght. 1954 a danger year because atomic stocks. But C.I.G.S. thght., if G. re-armed, it wd. move fwd. to 1952.
Deplorable weakness of remainder of Europe. Makes it even more risky to add a G. force. Invites R. to strike before it gets stronger. My concln. We can't go back on principle. But play it very slow.
Will there really be arms for all, from U.S.? In P.M.'s speech: N.A.T. re-armament must precede that of G. Wrong to give G. arms before all other Eur. have all they want.
Para. 28. 1)-3) wrong because suggest more speed. I want less.
On 2): don't be rash enough to do this outside Eur. Army. Make that essential.
On 3): don't put any pressure on French. Planning wd. be safer.
H.D. hates the Germans: that influences his judgmt.
Most of his arguments were v. the principle – wh. we have accepted.
We can't defend Eur. w'out Germany.
Issue is: do we go on or not. Can't dilly & dally.
Militarily it's obvious. G. are best fighters in Europe & in front line.
They wd. be last to get arms.
Provocn to R. They have had a year to think about it & done nil.
They have armed E. Germany. They have no logical ground for provocn.
All the arguments of H.D. are against the principle. Why don't they advocate reversing our earlier decision.
If we are going to re-arm G., we must make a start sometime on planning & prepn. Now or in 18 months? Better do it now.
Provocn to R. Cab. have accepted inclusion of Turkey in N.A.T.O. on R. borders & her hereditary enemy & with 20 Divns. in being.
Was not that provocative? Surely more so.
N.A.T.O. itself is regarded by R. as provocative (4 Power talks).
Arms. Not certain U.S. will be able to supply the arms. But I agree G. shd. not be re-armed at expense of N.A.T. Powers. I accept that.
European Army. Cock-eyed scheme: but for pol. reasons may be desirable to accept the concept.
There is a risk. Best safeguard is N.A.T. strength.
I accept the principle. But this is a challenge to R. Quote C.I.G.S. in mtg. of Comm. Def. Ministers – one factor more than any other wh. mght. provoke R. to action. Must therefore be careful to judge when we make this challenge. Rash to do this before we are ready. Quite different to risk this 2 yrs' hence.
Essence is timing. "Insanely rash" to do this now. Believe it will be 953 before we are ready to run that risk. Re-affirm principle: say we don't favour doing it before '53: & it will then fit in with Eur. Army conceptn.
May I state views of C.O.S. as a whole? Read out a) to e) of para. 15 of C.O.S. memo. of 23/2/51. D.O.(51) 17.
We accepted G. contn to w. defence – not G. re-armament as such.
This memo. suggests tht. we shd. join U.S. in pressing French to agree to somethg. they don't want viz., G. raising contns before Eur. Army formed.
Who will join these G. units? And who command them?
If we press Fr. on this ques., we may brk. them at hands of Comms.
Suppose we lose Fr. by re-arming G.
Only safe way of allowg. G. to re-arm is to make them part of Eur. Army.
i) This is real fear of R.
ii) What is G.'s most effective contribn to Eur. defence? Merely to re-arm G. won't solve that. G. is impeding our own defence p'mme e.g. on steel scrap. This wd. draw on genl. pool of materials & equipmt.
iii) Can't expect political stability in Europe if we allow G. Army to emerge while Fr. etc., are so weak. No Fr. will believe tht. G. forces will come in to Eur. Army "eventually" if allowed to start outside it.
iv) Announce this in Sept. – at variance with French? What a time to choose?
What is our answer to re-arming of E. Germany?
Only 60.000 in E. Germany. I wdn't mind that amount of re-armament in W. Germany.
Mil. view: Europe indefensible w'out G. Must therefore be only timing. Must therefore be safer to do it now, when we have atomic superiority.
Arms: only those needed for training & not at once.
Basic ques: defence line. If w. of Elbe, v. serious for us. Can't do it on Elbe w'out G.
This proposal is easier for our pol. angle. Eventually w'in Eur. Army.
Much turns on discns re Army. Told they had gone v. well.
G. contn w'in Eur. Army much less objectionable – more control over them & silly to have Eur. Army w'out G.
Econ. consequences. £130 m. p.a. if G. refuse to pay our occupn costs. Shall have to take a/c of that in def. expre in future.
Scrap. In our interests tht. G. shd. use their steel for arms rather than exports wh. compete with ours. Can't expect them to go on sendg. us scrap & keepg. their steel output low.
Recommend: go fwd. reasonably fast on basis of Eur. Army.
I wd. prefer to play this slow.
Get Eur. stronger before you start G.
They will go v. fast when they are allowed to start.
Can we go slower than that.
Don't want them to start before its agreed they shd. form part of Eur. Army.
French can't have it both ways. Slow in armg. themselves: & say G. can't re-arm until they are strong.
Fr. have accepted principle of G. contn to a Eur. Army.
But many ques. out-standg. on E. Army.
If this comes up as part of E. Army, many diffies disappear.
Para. 28(3) is essence. Mil. view now favours Divn. Decn wd. commit us.
We have bn. blackmailed by G. (with U.S.) into going too fast with liberation of G. w'out assurance of her good faith.
They must pay either occupn costs or cost of their own Forces.
If we knock out 28(3) we can all agree.
That won't work. Someone must raise forces before we can have Eur. Army.
Must raise a unit before it's incorporated in Eur. Army.
Time-table complies with P.M.'s point of view.
Let Eur. Army be discussed first.
If H.M. can carry Fr. with him, we shall have all our guarantees.
Delete "as rapidly as poss." fr. 28(1).
Support H.M. On C.O.S. view, we can't defend W. Eur. w'out G. help. Can't expect too much fr. other Eur. – they have the "palsied will". G. re-armament mght. urge them on a bit quicker.
Fear of G. re-armament is v. real in E. Europe. Will give R. a prop. weapon to consolidate their posn there. But doubt if it wd. launch R. on a global war.
Risk of a re-armed G. allying herself with R. is less than Yugoslavia or even France.
If we delete 28(3), Fr. can block us for ever on Eur. Army.
Leave 28(3): but let H.M. try to get this into E. Army fr. outset.
Give H.M. discretion, in light of views expressed.
Taken from C.M. 56(51) - Meeting held on 30 July 1951.