Thinking About the Unthinkable in Ukraine
What Happens If Putin Goes Nuclear?
TENSIONS WITHIN THE ALLIANCE
THE discord among the Atlantic nations arises from a basic issue: how to organize the West. What form shall Europe take? How shall it be related to the United States? For a decade and a half, the shared goal has been to build a strong integrated Europe linked in partnership with the United States for the pursuit of common purposes. A great deal has been achieved; but deep cleavages now put the prospects in doubt.
Much hangs on the outcome. The security and prosperity of the Atlantic nations depend on working together. Their concerted help is essential to provide the capital and markets desperately needed by the modernizing societies of Asia, Africa and Latin America. And only if faced with unified Western policies will Soviet coexistence gradually evolve into genuine efforts for secure peace.
The direct cause of existing divisions is mainly General de Gaulle and his actions. But he has also intensified and capitalized on serious strains arising from other sources within the Alliance and within Europe. For an adequate diagnosis, it is necessary to put these deeper causes into perspective before examining de Gaulle's impact. Within that framework, one can consider what to do.
The European Community developed from the conviction that only a new Europe could transcend the tragic past. The soil for it was prepared by despair. On the Continent, the ordeal of World War II and its aftermath undermined faith in the nation-state and nationalism, and nurtured the sense of common European destiny. But the Community was born of hope. Three aims inspired its creators: 1, to reconcile France and Germany and bury the past; 2, to open a wider market in Europe as a basis for rising living standards and growing industries; and 3, to restore Europe's role in a world of superstates.
This new Europe, they were convinced, could not rest merely on coöperation among sovereign states. That classic method was the basis of the Organization for European Economic Coöperation, of the Council of Europe and of NATO, with Ministerial Councils concerting national policy by unanimity. This pattern was not sufficient for their more ambitious ends; these demanded a firmer base. Franco-German rivalry would be transcended only by joining in the creative task of building a united Europe, which would weave together their vital interests and provide a wide arena for the energies of their peoples. For the permanent benefits of an enlarged market, more was required than removal of trade barriers; there must be an economic union, with mobility for labor, capital and enterprise, and with common policies for agriculture, transport and other fields. To have a major voice in a world of superpowers, Europe would have to act as a unit in mobilizing its resources and using its influence in foreign affairs and defense.
So sweeping a vision clearly had its price. It would call ultimately for a European political entity with power to govern within a major but limited realm. The member nations need not be absorbed or disappear, but they would have to transfer substantial authority in selected fields to institutions of the Community. The founders also realized that so radical a break with the past could not be made all at once, but would take an extended time. Nationalism was by no means dead and parochial interests were strong. Their solution was to apply the basic conception and its principles in a specific sector (coal and steel), trusting that the experience of working together would lay the foundation for step-by-step progress toward a quasi-federal Europe. They fixed no initial timetable; but they openly proclaimed their ultimate goal and confined the original members to those willing to start toward it.
To a notable degree, the Community has followed the projected course. The European Defense Community, defeated in 1954, proved too big a leap too soon. But by 1957, the launching of the Economic Community and the Atomic Community showed the resilience of the conception. In its first decade, despite E.D.C., the Community has achieved many of the hopes which inspired it. By enabling Germany to rejoin the European family as a full member, it has contributed immeasurably to the stability and strength of postwar Europe. Economically, the Community has also made striking progress, though the impact is hard to measure. Its vitality has been manifested in the steady removal of trade barriers well ahead of the Treaty schedule, the actions of business firms in anticipating the wider market, and the British decision of 1961 to apply for entry.
In consequence, the citizens of the six member states, and especially those under 40 who have come to maturity since the war, more and more take the growth of the Community for granted and have a real sense of being "Europeans." De Gaulle's abrupt veto of British entry in January severely jolted the Community and put in jeopardy the confidence which underlay much of its progress. Yet his action does not seem to have destroyed this "European" feeling; indeed it capitalized on it.
Emerging Europe deeply wants a more self-respecting role in the world. This desire is already strong and will steadily become stronger. In particular, Europeans wish to redress the balance within the NATO Alliance. They are keenly aware how radically the situation of Europe relative to the United States has shifted since the postwar period of extreme disparity. In growth rates or levels of economic activity, the Community has far surpassed the United States over the last decade. With monetary reserves rivaling ours, its surpluses now contrast with our persistent deficits in the balance of payments. Its present role does not seem to reflect these changes or to be in keeping with relative strengths. The sense of being a ward of the United States is offensive to many Europeans, whatever their gratitude for past help.
While this pressure is expressed in various ways, much of it has centered on the nuclear field. With enhanced confidence, the European members want a larger share in the planning of NATO strategy and control over the forces for its defense, especially nuclear. The steady growth of Soviet nuclear weapons and missiles has brought the nuclear issue to the fore. Most Europeans, however, appear to realize that the United States would, if necessary, use its nuclear capacity for the defense of Europe. Indeed they seem so confident that the Soviets are and will be thereby deterred from any attack on Europe that they resist our proposals for modifying NATO strategy. But the issue of nuclear control is not primarily military; it has become symbolic of status.
The Europeans' aspiration for a larger role-for greater equality with the United States-has outrun their present capacity to fulfill it. Despite its potential, Europe cannot now act as a "great power." No European entity can yet act on their behalf in most fields, including defense and foreign policy. Thus the new self-confidence and sense of growing power cannot find an effective outlet; they therefore are often expressed in resistance to United States leadership. Moreover, only as the Community takes on more cohesion and scope will the Europeans increase their capabilities for effective action and equality. Meanwhile tensions seem likely to persist, though it should be feasible to mitigate them in various ways.
In the efforts to organize the West, the position of Britain and its policy since 1950 have, on the whole, been a disruptive factor. Britain did not share the concept of an integrated Europe. From 1950 on, under Labor and the Tories, she consistently rejected any part in the European Community. Instead, she sought to retain an independent position in world affairs. As the hub of the Commonwealth, she stressed her special relation with the United States and preferred looser links with the Europe of O.E.E.C. and the Council of Europe, a framework which, she felt, allowed her considerable freedom of action and independent influence, despite her steady retreat in power. But in fact the foundations of this policy were not solid enough to support it.
Many reasons combined to foster British illusions about her position. The wartime victory won by sacrifice and courage had revived a sense of British identity and purpose; she did not undergo the humiliation of defeat or occupation. The "special relation" with the United States which had had a firm basis during the war was prolonged into the postwar period, which was not really the same at all. The Commonwealth seemed to many a substitute for the dismantled Empire; in fact, while useful, it was not a comparable source of strength. But again a façade hid the reality. Moreover, Britain expected the European Community to fail; its long-term purposes seemed grandiose. Thus, the United Kingdom misjudged its real alternatives.
During the 1950s, British policy hindered the movement toward European integration. The European Defense Community might have been approved by France if Britain had been a full member, or even if she had made to E.D.C. the commitments she made later to the Western European Union. In 1956-57, Britain would have been glad for the Common Market negotiations to fail, and she greatly complicated them by her proposals for a European Free Trade Association. In 1959, she formed EFTA largely to bring pressure on the European Community. And to bolster her independent role, Britain developed her national nuclear capabilities.
The European Community went forward despite British policy. Indeed, its growing success was the main factor in the British decision to enter. Economically, Britain was concerned with being outside the Common Market. And politically the Community threatened to dwarf any separate role for Britain, especially as the Commonwealth and the "special relation" came to be seen with greater realism.
Britain's slowness in changing her policy, however, made the efforts for her entry far more complex. Many of the problems were inherently hard to solve. But the formation of EFTA had added complications, as did the fact that the timing forced the Six to face some of the most delicate issues involved in carrying out their Treaty. On both sides, negotiating positions tended to be rigid: for the Six, because they had to be reached by compromises among themselves; for Britain, because any concession was likely to offend some segment of the Cabinet or the party or the electorate just when the Government's popular standing was declining.
Indeed, even after 1961, the basic policy of Britain was confusing. The Government apparently wanted to enter the Community, but did not carry on an active campaign for public support to do so nor admit the political implications of her entry. During the negotiations, the Labor Party decided in effect to oppose entry and to make the issue a party one. Even so, leaders in business, the press and government had apparently become convinced that Britain must take an active role in Europe, join the Community and adjust her other relations accordingly.
Yet the handling of the nuclear issue at Nassau and after showed that the British Government still hankered for an independent role. Just as in the 1950s, it justified its nuclear force as the means to independent influence in world affairs. The debate in the Commons highlighted the ambiguous attitude of Macmillan and many of his ministers as to the future of Britain.
The efforts for British entry also interfered with the evolution of the Community. While the negotiations were in progress, its members differed about further steps toward political integration. De Gaulle's extremely limited proposals were opposed by the Dutch lest they impede British entry. De Gaulle's abrupt breaking-off of negotiations has raised other problems which will be discussed later. While the present predicament of Britain will cause some awkward problems, the effects should not be disastrous, even if her entry is delayed for several years. But the situation highlights the necessity for Britain to clarify her own aims and priorities.
From the time of the Marshall Plan, the United States has given steady, bipartisan support to European unity. Both the aims and methods of the movement appealed to the American temper and experience. As President Kennedy said in his speech at Philadelphia on July 4, 1962, "the basic objective of our foreign policy for 17 years" has been to aid the progress toward a strong and united Europe. "We see in such a Europe," he said, "a partner with whom we can deal on a basis of full equality in all the great and burdensome tasks of building and defending a community of free nations."
This speech also indicated, however, that such a partnership would have to await the formation of a United Europe, and in his Paulskirche speech in Frankfurt last June, the President stressed the point more clearly: "Only such a [fully cohesive] Europe will permit full reciprocity of treatment across the ocean, in facing the Atlantic agenda. With only such a Europe can we have a full give-and-take between equals, an equal sharing of responsibilities, and an equal level of sacrifice."
Here is the crux of the problem faced by American policy at this stage: the Europe which would be a full partner is only emergent, yet the Europeans want and expect to be treated as equal partners already. The dilemma arises in many guises.
Almost any major issue affecting the Alliance or its members highlights the disparity. Thus, when NATO tries to cope with strategy, the other members feel overwhelmed; and lacking data or background to take an effective part, they resist initiatives of the United States, and, in some cases, interpret them in a way to impugn the resolve of the United States to carry out its commitments. When the United States exercises its inevitably central role in negotiating with the Soviet Union, or at the United Nations, its best efforts to consult its allies or keep them informed cannot wholly compensate for the feeling that their interests are in the hands of others.
Moreover, some courses taken by the United States, especially as regards Britain, have blurred the real choices facing the European nations. During the 1950s, it would have been inappropriate to pressure Britain into casting her lot with an integrated Europe. But was it wise or helpful to allow the "special relation" to bolster an outdated image of her influence and options? Doing so surely delayed her in reappraising her situation. Doubtless the adjustment would have been painfully slow in any case; but so much the more reason for not retarding it. In this light, the decision to renew assistance for a British atomic force in 1958 was unfortunate; and so was the Nassau Agreement to prolong the British national deterrent with Polaris. Both decisions cut directly across the more basic objective of fostering a united Europe, so necessary for an effective partnership.
No alchemy can make the separate nations of Europe-with their individually limited resources-into equal partners with us. The great disservice of our treatment of Britain has been to nurture the illusion that somehow it could be done. Until Europe is more of an entity, no devices will resolve the stresses resulting from the disparity. But if there is no cure for these tensions, more can be done to alleviate them. The NATO machinery for concerting policy, developing strategy and combining the two could be improved materially. And the United States could be more alert to allied sensibilities than it has been sometimes in the past. Before turning to these questions let us consider the effects of General de Gaulle and his policies.
Whereas the strains which we have been discussing are largely inherent in the attempt to construct an integrated Europe and an Atlantic partnership, General de Gaulle's policies challenge the very concept itself.
Since the war, de Gaulle's primary aim has been to achieve greater status and independence for a France overshadowed by the United States and the Soviet Union. His restless search for the means has led him down many paths. Since 1944, he has, in the words of one writer, "envisaged the following alliances: with the British in order to create an independent bloc vis-à-vis the Russians and the Americans; with the Soviet Union in order to maintain an independent France; with all against the revival of a unified, militarized and strong Germany; with West Germany and the West European states in order to create an independent bloc-a Third Force in Europe."[i]
General de Gaulle's attitude toward the European Community flows from his concepts as to the role of France. For him, the ultimate reality is the sovereign nation-state-and above all France. His vision of European unity is based on coördinating policies among sovereign states-a "Europe of nations." The idea of transferring authority to European institutions is anathema to him, as he has made clear many times. In his television address of April 19, 1963, for example, he said: "If the union of Western Europe... is a capital aim in our action outside, we have no desire to be dissolved within it. Any system that would consist of handing over our sovereignty to supernational assemblies would be incompatible with rights and duties of the French Republic." Initially, he sought to revise the existing Community treaties to reduce the authority of the independent Commissions, and he suspended the effort only when the other members strongly opposed it.
De Gaulle wants a Europe organized under French leadership and without sacrificing the relative independence of France. Basically, he aspires to use Europe's revived strength to foster and expand French influence. Similarly, he rejects the idea of Atlantic partnership, which he depicts as a device for perpetuating American hegemony over Europe. His goal is an independent Europe dealing at arm's length with the United States and the Soviet Union. While accepting the NATO umbrella, he opposes integration of defense forces under SHAPE and other NATO commands. The undermining of American influence in Europe will make it easier to substitute French leadership for it. That is why, inter alia, he must create distrust of the American deterrent as well as of broader American purposes.
The General can hardly have assumed that other Europeans would embrace his concept of Europe eagerly. But his hope is to exploit the situation to erect a sort of pyramid of power, with France at the top. Its base is a Franco-German relationship designed to yield the German proxy needed for his strategy. To get it, he has played upon the natural yearning on both sides for reconciliation, by means of the recent Franco-German treaty and symbolic exchanges of visits. And he has played on Adenauer's suspicions, by using the issues of Berlin and NATO strategy to cast doubts on the reliability of the United States for the protection of German interests and the defense of Europe.
Second, de Gaulle clearly intends to utilize the European Community for his purposes. The Community offers real benefits to France, in wider markets for French farmers and in aid to the associated African states, mainly former French colonies, where France retains major commercial and other interests. The others of the Six are firmly committed to the Community for both economic and political reasons. De Gaulle is counting on their desire to preserve the Community, to keep them in line despite his unilateral actions. In his eyes the E.E.C., linking the members together in interdependence, is an instrument for French leverage.
Third, de Gaulle hopes to turn to his account Europe's revived self- confidence. In effect, he seeks to capitalize on the European desire to play a larger role and adjust the balance between the United States and Europe. In "standing up to the United States" he expects to arouse and appeal to an incipient European nationalism and to enhance the influence of France.
The position of de Gaulle on nuclear issues is related to this strategy. The French national nuclear force has been justified as necessary to protect France and Europe from Soviet threats or attack as the United States becomes more vulnerable. With approaching nuclear balance, the French force, though tiny, is to deter the Soviets when the United States would not. The case does not seem convincing, even for France. If France needs her national force because allies cannot be trusted, logic would require each European nation to provide its own nuclear strike force. The French, however, do not carry the argument to its logical end.
The reason, I think, is clear. For de Gaulle, the French nuclear force is primarily a political instrument. Indeed, his independent course reflects his confidence that American nuclear strength guarantees European security. His nuclear force is designed to justify the French claim to be the leader in Europe. This symbol of primacy is to distinguish her from Germany, which undertook in 1954 not to produce such weapons, and Italy, which can hardly spare the resources. Hence arguments about the military weakness or futility of the French nuclear force, however well founded, are not likely to modify de Gaulle's program.
It is also apparent why de Gaulle blocked British entry into the Community. The main reason for his veto was to prevent Britain from competing with France for the leadership of Europe. And he also recognized that Britain would oppose his efforts to divide Europe from the United States.
The most immediate question is: How will de Gaulle's policy affect the European Community and the Alliance?
The unilateral action of de Gaulle in January has checked the momentum of the Community. Its progress had been speeded by mutual confidence that the Community was genuinely a common enterprise with shared aims. On that basis, sacrifices of local or parochial interests, required for each new step, could be justified in domestic politics as serving the larger political purposes of ending rivalries in Europe, creating a prosperous economy and enhancing Europe's influence on its own destiny. De Gaulle's action impaired this attitude.
The impartial Commission of the Community, in its first statement to the European Assembly after the breakdown of negotiations, made this point quite explicitly. It said: "... our Community has been faced with its first real crisis. . . . The crisis is one of confidence, and that is what makes it so serious. The life of our Community depends upon everyone looking upon and treating Community matters as matters of real joint responsibility. ... It is also necessary to avoid creating the impression that the Community and its aims, the Community institutions, and the Community procedure are merely instruments of one country's diplomacy."
Will this crisis of confidence affect the future of the Community? On its agenda are many difficult problems such as the common agricultural program and positions in the GATT trade negotiations. Any feeling that the Community is being twisted into an instrument of one member would seriously impair the ability to resolve such issues. And if the Community should falter, business firms which have been investing and planning on the premise that the Community would become effective, probably ahead of schedule, would at least postpone action, with profound effects on the momentum of the Community.
In view of de Gaulle's attitude, the revival of confidence may come extremely slowly. While doubt remains, the other members will at least insist that in any new steps, benefits and burdens be balanced-or "synchronized," in the words of Foreign Minister Schröder at the meeting of the Community Ministers on April 27. But a shift merely to a "trading" basis, normal in relations among states, could gradually erode and destroy the Community approach which has been the unique feature of progress thus far.
De Gaulle's basic outlook poses an even graver danger to the new edifice in Europe. His deep faith in the nation-state as the ultimate reality could lead to undoing all that has been achieved since 1950. After Adenauer, the other members of the European Community, including Germany, will not accept French predominance of the sort de Gaulle has in mind. If he persists in his course, however, he may well revive the nationalism and outmoded rivalries which so many have dedicated themselves to wipe out. If Europe reverts to its historic pattern of nation-states competing for primacy, it cannot be considered inevitable that France would prevail. What is certain is that the result for Europe and the West would be a tragic betrayal of the most creative enterprise since World War II. The outcome of de Gaulle's policy could be to demonstrate once more the bitter consequences of a misguided reversion to the past.
De Gaulle could also do grave damage to the Alliance. The French, under de Gaulle, appear to be engaged in a systematic effort to throw suspicion on American reliability. Every action of the United States to modify NATO strategy, to assure closer control of nuclear weapons, to provide a wider range of responses, has been depicted as designed to disengage the United States from the defense of Europe. This campaign has had some effects already and may have more as time goes on. It is far easier to erode the cement of confidence among allies than it is to repair the damage. And distrust could later weaken the ability of the Alliance to withstand Soviet threats or blackmail.
The design of General de Gaulle would therefore negate the long-term goal of a unified Europe acting as a partner of the United States for constructive purposes. His Europe would not be an integrated community but a coalition of nations led by France. His Europe would not be a partner of the United States but as independent and separate as possible. Thus de Gaulle's policy demands a clear answer.
Not to oppose his aims would be to abandon our main postwar goals. This would be folly. The needs which have prompted the devoted efforts for a European Community and an Atlantic partnership have not changed. De Gaulle is, in reality, clinging to the nationalism which the Community aims to transcend. That is the fatal flaw in his program. His French nationalism excludes the integrated Europe which would be essential for the independent role he desires. His real power is negative-the ability to veto, to block and to destroy. Given the dependence among the Atlantic nations, this provides considerable leverage if used as ruthlessly as de Gaulle seems ready to do. Our aim must therefore be to make sure that his concepts do not prevail: that the European Community is not subverted into an instrument of French predominance, and that a split of Europe and the United States does not jeopardize the interests of both. It would serve no useful purpose to gloss over this basic clash of aims.
Some seem to cherish the hope that the General can be wheedled into compromising his objectives or weaned away from them by concessions. That view hardly does justice to de Gaulle. He is not a man who can be coaxed or bribed to change his policies. Concessions to that end would be most ill- advised. He will only use them to advance his own purposes.
But this does not mean that his objectives cannot be changed. Algeria showed that he can recognize brute facts and modify his plans accordingly. The problem is to make sure that events convince him that his plans will not succeed. The United States and its European partners are not without means to influence the environment of General de Gaulle. The course he has embarked upon seems out of keeping with the basic forces of our time. The independent role he seeks will not serve the interests of Europe. Nor do the other European nations want French hegemony. Hence strong bases exist for concerted action to lead de Gaulle to recognize the necessity to revise his plans.
Whether this can be done will depend at least as much on the Europeans as on ourselves. In the European Community, only the other members, together with the Commission, can assure that France does not succeed in twisting the Community to its parochial purposes. Only the United Kingdom can ultimately decide whether to work imaginatively for future adhesion to Europe.
Much turns on the attitude of the Federal Republic. Without German support, the position of de Gaulle would be drastically changed. De Gaulle has no interest in going it alone. As he recognizes, France by itself simply does not have the power to conduct a policy such as he envisages. Everything depends on being able to speak in the name of Europe, and for that he needs the firm backing of the Federal Republic in order to pull along the other members of the Six.
As Adenauer's tenure comes to a close, de Gaulle's influence on German policy is likely to decline; the successors of the Chancellor, while anxious for French friendship, do not seem inclined to lend themselves to de Gaulle's purposes. Their handling of the Franco-German treaty is an encouraging sign. By adding the preamble, the Bundestag and the major parties recorded their insistence that German-French relations be managed so as to reinforce the European Community, NATO and Atlantic partnership, and to facilitate ultimate British entry into the Community. Of course, their attitude could change, especially if German concerns or interests should be disregarded or treated casually in Western negotiations with the Soviets. This factor certainly weighed heavily with Adenauer and could even drive his successors into de Gaulle's arms.
The policies and actions of the United States will also be crucial, especially in the coming period with the Adenauer era ending in Germany, the Italian Government unsteady and British policy in flux. The vital thing is to see that our actions do not enhance, but erode, the leverage of de Gaulle. We must fully recognize the reality of the European feelings which he seeks to exploit and the effect of our attitude on his ability to do so.
The United States will have to do more to show its readiness to work with Europe as a partner. Admittedly, as I have said, this is not easy to do while an effective European entity does not exist to deal with foreign affairs, defense and other fields. But the creation of the partnership cannot await a completed European Community. Like the Community, the partnership will have to develop by stages and evolve in step with it. In this process the United States will have to adjust its thinking as to the import of a real partnership. Our attitude still reflects much of the heritage of Europe's postwar dependence. We have not fully understood what it must mean to share responsibility in monetary and economic policy, in defense, in agricultural programs and in many other fields. In short, interdependence, while talked about, is not yet grasped as a practical restraint on our own freedom of action. In the period ahead, it would contribute to the prospects for both the European Community and Atlantic partnership if American actions could convey a greater awareness of what sharing responsibility with Europe will imply for both sides. As I will suggest, joint policy-making and nuclear control seem appropriate fields for such an effort.
Within the European Community, the primary effort of the other Five should be to reassert and reinforce the concept of a truly integrated Europe. In going forward with the Common Market, they should require the French to reciprocate for benefits received at each stage. Thus the Five may well try to use agriculture as a lever for getting French coöperation in the 1964 GATT trade negotiations arising from the Trade Expansion Act. The agriculture program is of special interest to the French, who hope to expand their output and markets within the Community. At his July press conference, de Gaulle virtually threatened to stall the Common Market unless the farm program was worked out by a December 31 deadline. This program will impose serious burdens on the high-cost German farmers.
The Germans, however, are more eager than the French for success in the trade negotiations in GATT, which will, of course, depend heavily on the positions taken by the Community. Progress in the trade field would have wide benefits. It would be evidence that the European Community really wanted to develop closer working relations with the United States. Tariff cuts can also ease the difficulties resulting from the common external tariff of the Community for nations around its rim. By jointly reducing their trade barriers, the Atlantic nations can open markets for the developing countries more readily than they could do separately. In addition, the trade negotiations could help smooth the way for future British entry into the Community, by anticipating some of the dislocations in trading patterns and facilitating adjustments in advance.
Thus, there may be the makings of a constructive "package deal," with the French agreeing to coöperate on the GATT negotiations in return for acceptable Community solutions for agriculture. Such an outcome may be encouraged by the fact that after 1966 no member of the Community will be able, under the Treaty, to block tariff cuts desired by the other members.
For the GATT negotiations to succeed, however, the United States may have to adopt a more flexible attitude on some issues. In agriculture, for example, excessive American pressure could drive the Germans into the arms of the French. And the United States must at least examine closely the European suggestions of ways to provide future stability for reciprocal tariff concessions-for example, by limiting subsequent escape-clause actions and by dealing with significant obstacles to trade other than tariffs.
As a second course, the Five could well launch a new initiative for political integration. Various steps proposed earlier might be revived. The separate Commissions for Coal and Steel, the Common Market and Euratom could well be merged into a single Commission for the Community, exercising the existing powers under the various treaties. The Fouchet plan for a political community could be revived as a basis for concerting action in foreign affairs and later in defense. The members of the European Parliament, now appointed from national parliaments, could be elected by popular franchise, as the Treaties envision. The revenues from the agricultural levies, and perhaps from the common external tariff, might be allocated to the Community, with authority being given the European Parliament to appropriate them for Community purposes.
All of these, and similar measures, would require French approval to become effective. It may well be refused, but this is not certain. The Five have real leverage on de Gaulle if they stand together. But even if France blocks action, it is highly desirable to define the issue clearly as to what is to be the nature of the Community.
The machinery for concerting Atlantic policy in foreign affairs, defense and economic matters has been badly in need of strengthening for some time. The current Soviet line makes improvement urgent in order to safeguard against fissures in the West. If negotiations with the Soviets should impair Western cohesion, any agreements will be bought at prohibitive cost. The best way to mitigate this danger is to improve the channels for serious discussion, at least among the major allies. Of the many proposals, several commend themselves as feasible and useful.
(1) Key officials from NATO capitals should come together regularly to consult on specific issues. The foreign policy of each NATO member is made at home by officials responsible for decisions and action. The members of the NATO Permanent Council are not directly in this stream of policy- making. Hence on the most crucial issues, the Council is at best only a pale substitute for meetings directly among the key officials who will be deciding or advising on these issues.
The O.E.C.D. has recognized this basic fact and adapted its methods to reflect it. Within the O.E.C.D. framework, such key officials meet together on fiscal, economic and monetary policy. They can discuss their views with each other in detail and informally, and either obtain a consensus or at least explore frankly their divergences so as to minimize damage to their working relations. Back at home, they provide a direct link between national decisions and a concerted course. There is no reason why these methods should not work in NATO; indeed they have been used on a small scale among the planning officials of the key countries. They could readily be extended to Assistant Secretaries and others for a wide range of policies and problems.
(2) The idea of a small steering committee for NATO should be candidly examined. On it would be the major members (Britain, the Federal Republic, France, Italy and the United States), the Secretary General, and perhaps a rotating member to represent the smaller countries.
Such a group would partly meet the pressure for a larger European voice in Alliance affairs. The experience with the restricted Berlin working party indicates that this could offer an effective and practical way to confront problems in common. In the past, such proposals have been opposed by the smaller members. Actually the crucial issues do not involve divergences between large and small, and their interests and views could in any case be reflected through the rotating member and the Secretary General. If such a group could improve the cohesion of the Alliance, the smaller members would share the benefits.
(3) NATO should create a Defense Minister to assist in developing the strategy and forces of the Alliance. With a qualified staff of military and civilian experts, he could greatly facilitate more serious discussions between the United States and the European members on the strategic issues and the composition and equipment of forces. Such an international official, if he were a respected figure, could help bridge the existing gulf in analysis and conclusions.
(4) The joint efforts in the economic and monetary fields which have been under way in O.E.C.D. should be carried forward. The President's message to Congress on the balance of payments, which suggested greater readiness to consider joint measures, could lead to new steps in the monetary field.
Obviously France should be encouraged to take part in all these measures, if she is willing to do so. And strong common interests may in fact induce her to participate in some, especially if her abstention is not to be allowed to block action.
The nuclear issue has become a sort of touchstone in the relations between the United States and the European members of NATO. The NATO actions at Ottawa were a sign of the ferment within the Alliance. The various measures- the SHAPE deputy for nuclear matters, the NATO liaison group at SAC headquarters to plan targeting, even the so-called inter-allied force (though largely a formality)-should be useful in drawing other NATO members into nuclear planning. These steps should be pursued and developed.
But they do not get to the heart of the matter. Europeans feel increasingly that sharing in nuclear control is the mark of first-class status. Most recognize that the defense of the Atlantic area is a single problem, that a strategic nuclear war would involve both Europe and the United States. But until the Atlantic area is a single political unit, there is a dilemma. Europeans are not likely to be satisfied for the long run with a solution leaving all decisions to the President. They are not willing to remain indefinitely as wards of the United States. If they are to be partners in defense, they expect to share an ultimate right to utilize such weapons for their defense. In practice, it is very hard to envisage a case where the Europeans would wish to use such weapons when the United States would not be ready to do so. But the right to do so may well be highly important in terms of self-respect. The United States, for many good reasons, might prefer to keep unified control of these weapons. But in practice that does not seem a genuine option.
The critical question is how to handle this issue so that it will contribute to European unity and Atlantic partnership and not fragment them. Fortunately, the American nuclear umbrella allows plenty of time for working out a constructive answer. Among many variants, the ultimate choice is between national nuclear forces in Europe and some form of integrated force-either European or Atlantic.
National European forces seriously jeopardize the more basic objectives. They are bound to be wasteful of resources, ineffective as deterrents and politically divisive of Europe and the Alliance. Of these, the political damage seems most serious. In justifying their national forces, both British and French leaders have insisted that they are necessary for the ultimate security of the nation and to avoid becoming a satellite of the United States. If that is constantly asserted, one can hardly assume that German leaders will not sooner or later be driven to seek similar forces for the Federal Republic. Many Germans say frankly that they cannot accept a second-class status within the Alliance indefinitely. The objections to national forces apply to the British force as well as to the French. We have been right in not helping the French force, and should continue to refrain from assisting. But it was a mistake at Nassau to give a new lease on life to the British nuclear force.
In their handling of the nuclear issue, the British have so far missed a unique chance to convert their nuclear capabilities into a real asset. Instead of pursuing the mirage of an independent force, they could have offered to join the other members of the Community in building an integrated joint force, which could have been targeted or operated together with American forces. Such a proposal would have shown clearly that Britain had cast her lot with the Community and that de Gaulle's "European" claims were hollow if he would not take part.
But the British leadership has not been capable of imaginative action of this order. In its place they suggested the inter-allied force which merely puts national forces behind a NATO façade, leaving them operationally under national command and control. This has none of the advantages of a genuine integrated force. The national components can always be pulled out, as France pulled out of the Mediterranean fleet. And it seems to legitimize the national forces without solving the problem of discrimination or duplication.
Similar defects invalidate the proposal that the United States should aid the French and British forces as a means to a European force. How it would do so is not explained. Aiding the French and British forces will only underscore and justify their asserted rationale. De Gaulle will use such help to advance his own aims, which could readily undermine the Alliance and the European Community. If French and British forces are supported, the Germans and others will be driven to seek them, which will impose severe political strains on the Alliance. This course would defeat its announced objective.
For these and other reasons, a policy of aiding national nuclear forces, especially on the theory of thereby leading to a joint European force, should be firmly rejected. Without defaulting on the Nassau commitment to Britain, the United States should make clear why it considers national forces damaging to the Alliance, and should foster conditions which might encourage a change in British policy.
This leaves the possibility of a genuinely integrated force. The creation of such a force seems to me the most constructive way of proceeding. It should be truly integrated, with mixed-manning and joint control by the participants. For many reasons a seaborne force seems desirable. Unlike national forces, such a force would not fragment the Alliance but tend to pull it together. By joint effort the members can create a respectable force without unduly diverting resources from conventional capabilities. And such a force would enable the Federal Republic to have a proper part in the control of nuclear defense without raising the spectre of separate German strategic forces.
Undoubtedly such a force would pose some hard practical problems, but those connected with manning, training and operating are not so difficult as they first appear. Competent naval experts who have studied these problems seriously are confident that they can be solved for surface ships or submarines. They consider that a force manned by mixed crews can be fully effective as a fighting instrument.
The problem of control is inevitably complex as long as Europe is not a political entity. The solution will have to be geared to an evolving context extending over eight or ten years during which Europe may progress in cohesiveness, and in closer relations with the United States. Some four or five years at least would be required to create an integrated force and to put it into operation. Initially, control can be handled by some form of committee, with advance decisions about the use of the force in the most obvious cases. Thus it seems feasible to start toward the creation of an integrated force without waiting to settle finally the form of control; we may have a decade or more to work out that issue in the light of developing conditions.
This does not, however, justify us in evading the crucial question: Should the United States be prepared to accept a control system which could permit the use of the integrated force without its consent? In answering the question, we do not start from a tabula rasa. The United States has no prospect of retaining a monopoly of the control of nuclear weapons. As now planned, the French force will be wholly under French control. In the Nassau Agreement, the United States recognized that Britain would be free to use her Polaris force in extreme national emergencies.
An integrated force offers the only alternative which avoids the expansion of national forces, with all its disadvantages. But if it were subject indefinitely to American veto, it could hardly achieve its political aim or encourage the future merger into it of separate national forces. In my view, therefore, the United States should be willing to concede to a European or NATO force the same degree of ultimate autonomy as it has already accepted in assisting the British force.
Thus, the effort to create a multilateral nuclear force seems to be one course of action that should be pursued with those European nations which profess interest in doing so. Under General de Gaulle, France will certainly not participate. But growing expense and delay in producing an independent deterrent may have its effect in France as in Britain. The British position is uncertain. The debates in the British Parliament after Nassau showed remarkably limited enthusiasm for the independent British deterrent. Labor is pledged to end it, though uncommitted as to its course on a multilateral force. The existence of such a force could, however, serve as a rallying point for those in France and Britain who oppose national forces.
At the start, the United States would be a member. But as the force evolves, and the veto on its use is ended in favor of some other control formula, the United States could either continue on as a member or allow the force to become purely European. In either case the aim should be to coördinate this force with United States forces in planning, targeting and in other ways.
This proposal has aroused sharp attack and even ridicule. It is certainly open to legitimate criticism on various grounds. But any course will have serious disadvantages and difficulties. This or any other proposal can be seriously evaluated only by comparing it with alternatives, using as criteria the long-range objectives for Europe and the Atlantic Alliance. By that test the integrated force, whether ultimately European or Atlantic, seems to me to offer the most constructive objective at which to aim.
The experience with Britain's attitude toward integration provides the guide for the present situation. In 1950, architects of the new Europe were aware that it might take a long time for Britain to revise her basic outlook. Undeterred, they went ahead with their program. It took ten years of experience to convince the British leaders and public that Britain should try to become a part of Europe. It seems clear that no other course would have succeeded in doing so.
The lesson is obvious. The most effective course is for the United States and the Europeans to persist in a course designed to build a strong Europe and a strong partnership between Europe and the United States. This effort should confront de Gaulle with conditions which will show that his policies are not attainable.
As has been suggested, various measures to this end can be taken both by the Europeans and the United States. No one can say with assurance whether such actions will change the outlook of General de Gaulle on the European Community or the Alliance. But if the other Five and the United States continue to stand for a strong Community and an Atlantic partnership, France could well be isolated. That is not an attractive prospect for de Gaulle. His purposes will be served only if France can speak for Europe and use Europe for her platform.
Once it became clear that the other Five were determined not to be dragged along, then de Gaulle would have to face those facts. It is true that he could destroy what has been created up to now. But in doing so, he would harm France more than other members of the Community. Strong French interests might well decide to block such self-defeating actions. Few Frenchmen wish to see a return to the national rivalries which wracked Europe in the past. And even if de Gaulle continues in opposition, as he may, a clear course by the other Five and the United States will at least have laid the basis for forward motion when de Gaulle no longer governs. Thus the outcome of the present stage may ultimately be decided as a test of conviction and perseverance.
[i] Roy C. Macridis, Yale Review, Winter 1961.