Courtesy Reuters

Strains on the Alliance

In a major address on July 4, 1962, the President called for a partnership between the United States and Europe. With the passage of the Trade Bill this "great design" seems to have come a step closer. To many, the Atlantic Community beckons as the great hope of the 1960s. The possibility of establishing a vital Atlantic system is indeed one of the great opportunities of our time. It may well be that to future historians it will appear the distinctive feature of our decade, far transcending in importance the crises which form the headlines of the day.

Yet the lustre of the ultimate goal should not hide the obstacles in the way. Too often, there is a tendency to speak of an inevitable development toward greater cohesion in the West. The fact is, however, that the West's opportunity has come at a time of serious internal division. After nearly two years of intensive debate, our views with respect to strategy are treated with skepticism by many of our allies. According to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, McGeorge Bundy, the disagreement about nuclear matters has impaired the United States' line of communication with France.[i] Despite repeated protestations of unity, there have been periodic expressions of distrust in both Bonn and Paris about our conduct of the Berlin negotiations. The smaller European nations are torn between their worry about Franco-German hegemony and their eagerness to play a role in Europe greater than their individual resources and influence permit. At the same time, our policy in colonial areas, notably New Guinea, has disillusioned some staunch friends and reduced their traditional enthusiasm for giving priority to Atlantic, over European, relationships.

Of course, not every criticism need be taken at face value; some of it reflects a tendency to use us as a scapegoat for painful decisions which may be privately recognized as inevitable. But equally many European leaders have refrained from expressing publicly the full extent of their uneasiness. Many of them

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