France and Germany in West European Defense

November 15, 1952

Report Outline
Rising Danger to European Defense Pacts
Project for European Defense Community
Obstacles to French-German Cooperation
American Desire for Strong European Defense

Rising Danger to European Defense Pacts

French and German Obstacles to Ratification

Public controversy in France over the European army plan has directed attention to political difficulties which still stand in the way of an integrated European defense force which would include German troops and would operate under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's high command. The French and West German parliaments have yet to ratify the interdependent German peace contract and the European army pact, thus clearing the way for German rearmament. Their action in coming months will be of crucial importance to the continental army project and the future of French-German relations.

The scheme under which the Bonn republic would contribute to Western defense through participation in a European army was first proposed by France itself and always has been actively supported by French Foreign Minister Schuman. But the Paris government faces strong internal opposition to the project from the Communists on the extreme left and the followers of Gen. de Gaulle on the far right. Its difficulties have been intensified by the unexpected attack, Oct. 17, on terms of the European army treaty by the respected French elder statesman Edouard Herriot, whose moderate Radical Socialist party is represented in the present coalition cabinet. Speaking before the Radical party congress, Herriot criticized the defense treaty arrangements as giving “certain advantages” to Germany “but none to France”. His speech precipitated general political debate on the army treaty outside the National Assembly in advance of parliamentary discussion.

The cabinet has now agreed to submit the European defense community treaty to the National Assembly by the middle of November, but this does not mean early acceptance or rejection. The treaty will first be subjected to detailed examination and analysis by legislative committees, and the Pinay government is expected to use forthcoming-parliamentary criticism as a lever to obtain new concessions or assurances from Great Britain and the United States.

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