Cabinet Secretaries' notebooks (CAB 195/16): Western Europe
Atmosphere in Eur. friendly - & expectant of a lead from us.
i) Para. 25. Rationalisation of proliferating "Assemblies". A single Assembly, with functional Cttees. - with no executive functions. Concomitant of other plans : wd. please Parliamentarians. Wd. be of some use & no harm.
ii) Economic Approach. Plan G. & Euratom. Going on as fast as it can.
iii) Military & Political Assocn.
We can't sustain present defence burden. Won't be easy merely to cut it by £200 M. Better prs. to share burden with other European countries. NATO is of little use for burden-sharing. Military bureaucracy is too big. W.E.U. wd. be a better machine because smaller & more closely knit. This plan wd. be well received by other members - even if it didn't include the nuclear.
Don't believe we can alone be a nuclear military power: not a 3rd. Power comparable to U.S. & Sov. Union. Is there any point in acquiring know-how & then stopping? Shd. we not instead try to become, with rest of Europe, a 3rd. nuclear force. Tho' we cd. insist tht. H. bomb be manufactured only in U.K.
Memo. may prs. over-emphasise oppn. to U.S. this cd. be done in co-opn. with them.
Recognise diffies. of F.O. in framing new policy to meet new circs. But am disturbed by this.
Don't accept assumptn. in para. 4 tht. it's nuclear armament tht. will bankrupt us.
But my main diffy. is tht. this seems inconsistent with m'tenance of Anglo-U.S. Alliance. This will be regarded in U.S. as attempt to build up 3rd. Force. Many of phrases in memo. suggest this. Choice of nuclear as basis for such an approach is specially unfortunate qua U.S. - whose whole policy is to prevent extension of nuclear to other countries. This is main purpose of new U.S. disarmament plan - with which this policy is inconsistent.
U.S., if they became hostile to us over this, cd. hit us v. hard. They cd. prevent our getting uranium fr. Canada. They cd. get 0rds of what we hope to obtain fr. S. Africa.
Choices in para. 17. There shd. be a fourth - closer co-opn. with U.S.
Our aim shd. be to regain what we have lost, recently, in Anglo-U.S. relations.
Part III. Surely it wd. be wrong to approach anyone w'out first squaring it entirely with U.S. That wd. repeat again the cardinal error we made over Suez. It mght destroy what remains of US/U.K. Alliance. If this policy were to be launched at all, it shd. be put to U.S. in first instance as part of a full exposé of our defence & foreign policy.
Integratn. with Europe on mily. & nuclear policy wd. mean tht. we lost all co-opn. with U.S. & Canada on techniques and prs. supplies of nuclear.
We cdn't go forward with this plan save after fullest consultn. with U.S. & Doms.
Better surely to seek better co-opn. with U.S. in mil/nuclear field. We have much to contribute to that common cause.
Sympathise with L.P.'s attitude.
Practical points :
i) Fr., Germany & Italy can't m'tain mil. morale without atomic capacity. French & Italians have already asked U.S. for it. We cdn't in fact supply them w'in 7-10 years. U.S. cd. do it in a year or two, if they wished. U.S. cd. therefore break this plan at will. V. risky therefore to float it save with full U.S. co-opn.
ii) "We don't want Europe to make nuclear; tho' we accept that they must have it." That is U.S. view on N.A.T.O. Believe they are near the point of providing nuclear weapons for Eur. forces, including our own.
iii) Para. 17. Nuclear exp're is not vast, in reln. to def. exp're. as a whole. Little over 10% of the whole : and all the material is capable of civil use. It is not a crushing burden itself.
iv) If scheme adopted, contributors wd. want to own product. They wd. have key to own cupboard. Shd. we give that to Germany. U.S. wd. oppose it : U.K. opinion wd. itself be nervous of it.
Para. 7. If that is foundn. of policy, then will be gt. diffies. with U.S. over security. Denial of informn. to us wd. be likely.
Para. 8. Consultn. before use wd. reduce deterrent value - if 7 Powers had to be consulted.
Para. 17(b) - a limited nuclear Power, tho' not comparable with U.S. & R.
Favour concept of closer co-opn. with Europe. Cab. have endorsed G. Plan which is foundation of it.
Anglo-U.S. Alliance is vital to security of Western world. But recent events make it inevitable tht. there shd. be some change in our relns. with U.S. Agree tht. we shdn't run after them. They respect success, wealth & strength : we are now at a low ebb in each respect. We must get into a show which can talk on level with U.S. Obvious tht. we can't now get it alone : they deny us the special posn. which is our due. If it has to be founded on econ. strength & power, we must seek tht. in assocn. with others.
Memo. puts too much stress on mil. & pol. side.
Our aim shd. be closest relns. with Europe, short of Federation. Can't yet see what precise shape that wd. take.
We have a chance to seize leadership in Europe.
But I wd. start from G. Plan - not mil, or nuclear.
Decide in principle on closer assocn. & see how it works out.
Be more active in Ministerial Cttee. of C/Europe.
Let W.E.U. Powers be collectively, not separately, active in N.A.T.O. Dubious of suggn. in memo. tht. U.S. & Canada shd. be associated with European organisations. Wd. weaken European idea.
Agree with LP. Nuclear is wrong card of entry for Eur. unity. That wd. array rest of world v. our efforts to unite Europe. And arouse antagonism of U.S.
Assemblies. Room for rationalisation. But don't throw any cards away, for critical point in negotiating free trade area : Canada is becoming suspicious.
Procedure. Don't float any of these ideas with Spaak now.
My views are close to those of D.S. Tho' on nuclear, shaken by L.P.'s statement.
Need for policies wh. will rally Party. On domestic front, we have recognised need for positive policy giving more hope for future. In f. policy that cd. come fr. closer assocn. with Europe. Nothing in that wh. need be inconsistent with m'tenance of our relns. with U.S. & Doms. "Can't invest from a deficit" : Europe as source of capital for investment overseas.
Can't get unity of policy in Commonwealth. India/Pak/S. Africa illustrate our differences. Easier to keep new Doms. with us in a Commonwealth of Strength (?) U.S. favour Europn. assocn.
We have a chance to seize leadership of Europe.
Therefore, even if Part I of memo., is dropped, hope that won't be fatal to broad ideas in Part II.
Favour expanding assocn. with Europe. Doubt wtr nuclear is right card of entry. But -
Anglo-U.S.-Canadian alliance is best safeguard of world peace. Therefore, pre-requisite of any move twds Europe is full consultn. with U.S. as well as Doms.
Tho' we have for the time lost our special posn. with U.S., we shd. be unwise to abandon hope of achieving some (new perhaps) posn. of special relationship with them.
We shdn't make such a move as this w'out consultg. Canada as well as U.S.
Drew attentn. to last sentence of para. 15.
Para. 29. Plan cd. strengthen N.A.T.O.
But nuclear ques is dynamite in U.S. Their disarmament plan is clearly designed to achieve opposite result.
Para. 17. Why shd. we have H. bomb at all? We wd. never threaten to use it w'out U.S. concurrence.
Why not associate Eur. w'out H. bombs. Leave U.S. to neutralise R. Beware of seeking prestige vice power. Latter will go to the rich not those who are strong in nuclear terms.
Fr. internal as well as external pt. of view we need a new theme, in wh. Eur. as well as Comm. & Anglo-U.S. shd. play a part. No real inconsistency. We have entered the game with Plan G. card - with sympathy of U.S. & Doms. That has encountered gt. technical diffies, wh. Spaak is coming over to discuss.
Ready to develop general Europ. assocn. - tho' not on nuclear theme. Welcome early consultn. on this with U.S. & Canada - on basis tht. they have always favoured this & we are ready to have a crack at it. Looks as tho' U.S. are nervous of U.N. We mght suggest it wd. be useful if we developed Europ. bloc in U.N.
Nuclear. Cost is £150 M now. But don't believe we can lay it off on Europe.
Remember tht. Europe can't live at all unless U.S. protects M/E. This is not therefore a moment to challenge them on so sensitive a matter as nuclear.
Timing. See first how we get on with Spaak on G. plan. But shd. like soon to be in posn. to discuss such an approach with U.S. & old Doms. Same preliminaries as for Plan G.
i) Hope there is general agreement tht. we shd. try to get into closer association with Europe.
Shd. wish to reserve my posn. on extent of it. Tho' don't dissent with H.M.'s summing up.
ii) Better Alliance with U.S. if part of a show which can speak to them on level terms.
iii) Emphasis on mil. & nuclear because diffies. in m'taining our defence effort - incldg. our diffy. in m'taining our forces in G. Closer co-opn. in W.E.U. wd. ease those diffies.
Agree tht. we needn't begin with nuclear. But we cd. explore means of closer mil. assocn. thro' W.E.U.
iv) Wd. not wish to rest wholly on Plan G. Wd. wish to show some initiative on mil. & pol. association also.
Result of this discussion shd. be reported to P.M.
Europeans in N.A.T.O. held fast to earlier commitments - we were only exceptn. in notifying redn. W.E.U. & N.A.T.O. won't like or accept it easily. As sole defaulter, we are not a good posn. to make a bid for leadership.
What have we to offer.
Disposed to start with pol., rather than mil., assocn.
Confine any talks to pol. assocn. pro. tem. Concert with A.H. before any discussions are opened on Mily association.
Taken from C.M. 3(57) - Meeting held on 8 January 1957.