At the end of 1964, a cycle of American-European argument which had opened some seven years earlier came to a close when President Johnson decided to abandon American pressure for an immediate resolution of the negotiations regarding a multilateral nuclear force. Since then the common assumption has been that there is to be a nine-month lull, until after the German elections in September, before the next phase of the dialogue on the future scope and nature of the Atlantic Alliance is resumed, even though any successful outcome to it may have to wait until the attitudes and policy of post-de Gaulle France are clear.
What form will the resumed discussion take? It is misleading to contrast the growing stability of the old East-West confrontation in Europe with the deteriorating security of Asia, or to suggest that limiting the political erosion of the underdeveloped world will now become the central task of a group of powers as rich and with as diverse interests as the NATO countries. For there are many important developments within Europe itself and in the relations between the two halves of Europe. It is probably more accurate to suggest that the particular difficulties in the strategic relationship between a great power and a number of middle and smaller allies, as exemplified during recent years in NATO, are now assuming a more universal character, while at the same time developments inside and outside the Atlantic world are beginning to interact more and more directly upon each other.
The era of European-American argument which closed last December had opened in 1957-58 with the occurrence within a short space of time of five largely unrelated developments. The first was the perfection of the I.C.B.M., which raised questions as to the viability of the American guarantee to Western Europe in light of the increasing vulnerability of American civilization. The second was the signature of the Treaty of Rome, which offered the promise of a political as well as an economic
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