Telegram sent from the Foreign Office to Brussels recording their reply to the Soviet Government on the North Atlantic Treaty, 12th April, 1949. (FO 371/79919)


[This telegram is of particular secrecy and should be retained by the authorised recipient and not passed on]

No. 539
12th April, 1949. D. 9.40 p.m. 12th April, 1949.

And to Copenhagen No. 199
The Hague No. 609
Lisbon No. 243
Oslo No. 335
Paris No.1096
Reykjavik No. 52
Rome No. 658
Washington No. 4173

Repeated to Moscow No.492 (Immediate)

Addressed to Brussels telegram No. 539 of April 12th and to Copenhagen, The Hague, Lisbon, Oslo, Paris, Reykjavik, Rome and Washington repeated for information to Moscow.

Following is text of our reply to the Soviet Note of protest on the Northern Atlantic Pact sent to the Soviet Ambassador to-day (12th April).

His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom have taken note of the contents of the Soviet Government’s memorandum of 31st March regarding the North Atlantic Treaty, and in reply wish to draw attention of the Soviet Government to the following statement made by the Foreign Ministers of the signatory powers of the North Atlantic Treaty on April 2nd:-

“The Foreign Ministers of the countries assembled here in Washington for the signing of the North Atlantic Pact have taken note of the view of the Soviet Government made public by that Government on 31st March, 1949.

The Foreign Ministers note that the views expressed by the Soviet Government on the 31st March are identical in their misrepresentation of the nature and intent of the association with those published by the Soviet Foreign Office in January before the text of the Pact was even in existence. It would thus appear that the views of the Soviet Government on this subject do not arise from an examination of the character and text of the North Atlantic Pact but from other considerations. The text of the treaty itself is the best answer to such misrepresentations and allegations. The text makes clear the completely defensive nature of this Pact, its conformity with both the spirit and the letter of the Charter of the United Nations and also the fact that the Pact is not directed against any Nation or group of Nations but only against armed aggression.”

2. His Majesty’s Government cannot admit that the North Atlantic Treaty is contrary to Article 7 of the Anglo-Soviet treaty of 1942 since, as shown above, the North Atlantic Treaty is directed solely against armed aggression itself.

3. Nor can His Majesty’s Government agree that the North Atlantic Treaty runs counter to the common obligations assumed by the Allies in the late war to co-operate in the consolidation of general peace and international security. For their part they have done their utmost to co-operate with the Soviet Union and with other Allied and friendly governments and, in the words of Article 5 of the Anglo-Soviet Treaty, “to work together in close and friendly collaboration after the re-establishment of peace for the organisation of security and economic prosperity in Europe”. They have never understood how the Soviet Government reconciled this obligation with the reiteration in the Cominform Declaration of October 1947 and elsewhere, that the world is divided into two opposed blocs, or with the constant propaganda attacks made on them at United Nations by the Soviet Government. In the Soviet Zone of Germany, the Soviet authorities have violated every relevant clause of the Potsdam Agreement and their actions culminated in the blockade of Berlin. His Majesty’s Government also fail to understand how the Soviet Government interpret their obligation under Article 5 of the Anglo-Soviet treaty “not to seek territorial aggrandisement for themselves and not to interfere in the internal affairs of other states”. It has further appeared to His Majesty’s Government difficult to reconcile the provisions of Article 6 of the treaty, by which the High Contracting Parties agreed to render one another all possible economic assistance after the war with the open attempts of the Soviet Government to wreck the European Recovery Programme, on which the restoration of the standard of living of the peoples of Western Europe depends.
4. The western world is now consolidating its economic and political recovery and its peoples can fortunately look forward to a brighter future. There is no reason why the Soviet Government should regard the return of strength and prosperity to the West as aggressive or contrary to their interests.


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