America, Europe, and German Rearmament, August-September 1950




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Washington Post, August 31, 1950, p.8, and "Schuman Got Little Warning on U.S. Plans," Washington Post, September 17, 1950, p. 10.

25. "Extracts of Views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with Respect to Western Policy toward Germany," NSC 71, June 8, 1950, and "Views of the Department of State on the Rearmament of Western Germany," NSC 71/1, July 3, 1950, in FRUS 1950, 4:686-687, 691-695.

26. Policy Planning Staff meeting, October 18, 1949, Records of the Policy Planning Staff, 1947-53, box 32, RG 59, U.S. National Archives [USNA], College Park, Maryland.

27. Acheson memo of meeting with Truman, July 31, 1950, FRUS 1950, 4:702-703. President Truman had earlier opposed the JCS call for German rearmament. See Truman to Acheson, June 16, 1950, ibid., 688-689.

28. Bruce to Acheson, July 28, 1950; Acheson-Truman meeting, July 31, 1950; McCloy to Acheson, August 3, 1950; Douglas to Acheson, August 8, 1950; Kirk to Acheson, August 9, 1950; in FRUS 1950, 3:157, 167-168, 181-182, 190-193.

29. Princeton Seminar, pp. 910-911, 921, Acheson Papers, HSTL. Soon after he left office, Acheson and some of his former collaborators got together at Princeton to discuss what had happened during the Truman administration; tapes were made of those discussions and a transcript was prepared. Microfilm copies of the transcript of this "Princeton Seminar," as it was called, are available at a number of university libraries in the United States. But the microfilm is often illegible and the best source is the original transcript at the Truman Library. All the references from this source cited here come from the transcript of October 11, 1953 discussion.

30. See the sources cited in n. 28 above, esp. pp. 157, 181 (for the quotation), 190, 193.

31. The Byroade Plan, "An Approach to the Formation of a 'European Army,'" was drafted on August 3; the text is included in *Byroade to McCloy, August 3, 1950, 740.5/8-350, Department of State Central Files [DSCF], RG 59, USNA. For the record of Byroade's talks with the Army officers on August 3, see *Memorandum for General Schuyler, August 5, 1950, Army Operations General Decimal File 1950-51, box 21, file G-3 091 Germany TS, Sec 1c, Case 12, Book II, RG 319, USNA. For the Army plan, see *"Staff Study: Rearmament of Western Germany," August 2, 1950, and *Bolté Memorandum for General Gruenther on Rearmament of Germany, August 10, 1950 (containing a systematic comparison of the State and Army plans), both in same file in RG 319.

32. Byroade meeting with Army staff officers, August 3, 1950, in *Memorandum for General Schuyler, August 5, 1950, and *Army "Staff Study: Rearmament of Western Germany," August 2, 1950, both in Army Operations General Decimal File 1950-51, box 21, file G-3 091 Germany TS, Sec 1c, Case 12, Book II, RG 319, USNA. *"An Approach to the Formation of a 'European Army,'" in Byroade to McCloy, August 3, 1950, 740.5/8-350, DSCF, RG 59, USNA.

33. *Army "Staff Study: Rearmament of Western Germany," August 2, 1950; *Byroade meeting with Army staff officers, August 3, 1950 (document dated August 5); *Bolté to Gruenther, August 10, 1950 (with attached "Comparison of Plans"); all in Army Operations General Decimal File 1950-51, box 21, file G-3 091 Germany TS, Sec 1c, Case 12, Book II, RG 319, USNA.

34. *Bolté to Gruenther, August 10, 1950 (with attached "Comparison of Plans"), Army Operations General Decimal File 1950-51, box 21, file G-3 091 Germany TS, Sec 1c, Case 12, Book II, RG 319, USNA. See also Byroade meeting with Army staff officers, *August 3, 1950, Memorandum for General Schuyler, August 5, same file in RG 319, and, for the Byroade plan, see *Byroade to McCloy, August 3, 1950, 740.5/8-350, DSCF, RG 59, USNA.

35. Byroade meeting with Army staff officers, August 3, 1950, in *Memorandum for General Schuyler, August 5, 1950, and *Army "Staff Study: Rearmament of Western Germany," August 2, 1950, both in Army Operations General Decimal File 1950-51, box 21, file G-3 091 Germany TS, Sec 1c, Case 12, Book II, RG 319, USNA.

36. The idea that NATO could do it--that one did not need to create a new institution but could rely on a strong NATO structure to solve this whole complex of problems--reemerged in 1954 as the European Defense Community project was collapsing and people were looking for alternatives. The military authorities, especially the NATO commander, General Alfred Gruenther, played a key role at that point in pushing for the NATO solution; see Trachtenberg, Constructed Peace, 127. But they were drawing on basic thinking that had taken shape in 1950. At that time, both Gruenther--then Deputy Army Chief of Staff for Plans--and General Schuyler, another top Army officer who would end up as Gruenther's Chief of Staff in 1954, were already pressing for the NATO solution.

37. Byroade to McCloy, August 4, 1950, FRUS 1950, 3:183-184; *Bolté to Gruenther, July 25, 1950 (account of Byroade's meeting with Schuyler the previous day), and *memorandum of Byroade-Schuyler-Gerhardt meeting, August 10, 1950, in Army Operations General Decimal File 1950-51, box 21, file G-3 091 Germany TS, Sec 1c, Case 12, Books I and II, RG 319, USNA.

38. *Acheson-Nitze-Byroade-Perkins meeting, August 30, 1950, Official Conversations and Meetings of Dean Acheson (1949-1953) (University Publications of America microfilm), reel 3.

39. *Ibid. The references are probably to various JCS documents from this period that contained these terms. See, for example, JCS 2124/18 of September 1, 1950, p. 162, in CCS 092 Germany (5-4-49), JCS Geographic File for 1948-50, RG 218, USNA.

40. See the *Army "Staff Study: Rearmament of Western Germany," August 2, 1950, paragraph 8, Army Operations General Decimal File 1950-51, box 21, file G-3 091 Germany TS, Sec 1c, Case 12, Book II, RG 319, USNA.

41. *Gruenther to Davis, Duncan and Edwards, September 1, 1950, enclosing the "Plan for the Development of West German Security Forces." The plan had been worked out "pursuant to verbal instructions" Gruenther had given General Schuyler on August 31; the feeling in military circles was that after the president's letter, the JCS needed to take a more accommodating line in their discussions with the State Department than they had taken thus far. Gruenther, Bolté and Army Chief of Staff Collins were briefed on the plan on September 1, Collins approved it, and it was officially presented to the JCS that same day. *Miller memorandum for record, September 1, 1950, *Bolté to Collins on Rearmament of Western Germany, August 31, 1950, and *Ware to JCS Secretary, September 1, 1950. All in Army Operations General Decimal File 1950-51, box 21, file G-3 091 Germany TS, Sec 1c, Case 12, Book II, RG 319, USNA. The old conventional argument--laid out, for example, in McGeehan, German Rearmament Question, 41--was that the U.S. government, by early September, had decided to press for a German national army "with no particular control arrangement other than that which would have resulted simply by virtue of the German troops being under NATO command and without their own general staff." But this, it turns out, was incorrect: the controls the Army was now calling for were quite far-reaching.

42. See especially McLellan, Acheson, 328-330; Martin, "Decision to Rearm Germany," 656-657; and Acheson, Present at the Creation, 437-438, 440

43. See, for example, Joint Strategic Survey Committee report on Rearmament of Western Germany, July 27, 1950, JCS 2124/11, JCS Geographic File for 1948-50, 092 Germany (5-4-49), RG 218, USNA.

44. *Bolté to Collins, August 28, 1950, Army Operations General Decimal File 1950-51, box 20, file G-3 091 Germany TS, Sec 1, RG 319, USNA. Note also the initial draft that the military had prepared of a joint reply to the president's "Eight Questions" letter, given in JCS 2116/28 of September 6, 1950. The original draft, according to another document, was given to the State Department on September 1. See Bolté to Collins, September 2, 1950. Both documents are in Army Operations General Decimal File 1950-51, box 21, file G-3 091 Germany TS, Sec 1c, Case 12, Books II and (for the September 6 document) III, RG 319, USNA.

45. This key phrase found its way into a whole series of major documents in early September. See appendix to memorandum for the Secretary of Defense, "United States Views on Measures for the Defense of Western Europe," JCS 2073/61, September 3, 1950, JCS Geographic File for 1948-50, Box 25, RG 218, USNA. The same document, after being approved by the Secretary of Defense, was forwarded to the State Department on September 12 and appears in FRUS 1950 3:291-293. A very similar phrase was included in NSC 82; see FRUS 1950 3:274.

46. See, for example, McLellan, Acheson, 328.

47. McCloy to Acheson, August 3, 1950, FRUS 1950, 3:181.

48. *Byroade-Schuyler-Gerhardt meeting, August 10, 1950, Army Operations General Decimal File 1950-51, box 21, file G-3 091 Germany TS, Sec 1c, Case 12, Book II, RG 319, USNA. For the final Byroade plan, and for its adoption as the official State Department position, see Matthews to Burns, August 16, 1950, with enclosure, FRUS 1950, 3:211-219.

49. See, for example, Paul Nitze, with Ann Smith and Steven Rearden, From Hiroshima to Glasnost: At the Center of Decision (New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1989), 123; and Princeton Seminar, p. 914. Note also the tone of Secretary of Defense Johnson's initial reply to State Department letter asking for comments on the August 16 Byroade plan: Johnson to Acheson, August 17, 1950, FRUS 1950, 3:226-227.

50. Truman to Acheson and Johnson, August 26, 1950, FRUS 1950, 3:250-251.

51. Draft memo by Nitze and Byroade, August 25, 1950, Records of the Policy Planning Staff, Country and Area File, Box 28, RG 59, USNA. Some scholars--Martin, for example, in "The Decision to Rearm Germany," 659--portray the JCS as "prodding" the State Department to take "prompt diplomatic action." And Acheson, in Present at the Creation (428), also portrays himself as having been pushed forward, especially by pressure from the president, and actually cites the "Eight Questions" document in this context. But in reality--and not just at this point, but throughout this episode--it was the State Department that was pushing things forward, and it was Truman who followed Acheson's lead. The president, for example, had been against German rearmament when the JCS had pressed for it in June. But when Acheson told him on July 31 that it no longer was a question of whether Germany should be rearmed, that the real issue now was how it was to be done, and that the State Department was thinking in terms of creating "a European army or a North Atlantic army," Truman immediately "expressed his strong approval" of this whole line of thought. Truman to Acheson, June 16, 1950 (two documents), and Acheson-Truman meeting, July 31, 1950, FRUS 1950, 4:688, 702.

52. *Bolté to Collins, August 28, 1950: "The questions listed in the President's letter are apparently based upon the State Department's proposal for the establishment of a European defense force." Army Operations General Decimal File 1950-51, box 20, file G-3 091 Germany TS, Sec 1, RG 319, USNA. The point was clear from the text of the letter. The two departments were not simply asked, for example, to consider what, if anything, should be done on the German rearmament question; they were asked instead to consider whether the U.S. government was prepared to support "the concept of a European defense force, including German participation on other than a national basis"--which was not exactly a neutral way of putting the issue. Truman to Acheson and Johnson, August 26, 1950, FRUS 1950, 3:250.

53. Bolté to Collins, August 31, 1950, and *Gruenther to Davis, Duncan and Edwards, September 1, 1950, enclosing the "Plan for the Development of West German Security Forces," both in Army Operations General Decimal File 1950-51, box 21, file G-3 091 Germany TS, Sec 1c, Case 12, Book II, RG 319, USNA.

54. Bolté to Collins, September 2, 1950, Army Operations General Decimal File 1950-51, box 21, file G-3 091 Germany TS, Sec 1c, Case 12, Book II, RG 319, USNA; *Acheson-Nitze-Byroade-Perkins meeting, August 30, 1950, cited in n. 38 above.

55. Acheson and Johnson to Truman, September 8, 1950, FRUS 1950, 3:273-278.

56. Princeton Seminar, pp. 920-921.

57. Princeton Seminar, p. 914.

58. Princeton Seminar, p. 914.

59. NSC 82, FRUS 1950, 3:276.

60. See JCS 2116/28, September 6, 1950, which gives the final draft and shows changes from the earlier draft; Army Operations General Decimal File 1950-51, box 21, file G-3 091 Germany TS, Sec 1c, Case 12, Book III, RG 319, USNA. For another copy, see JCS to Johnson, September 5, 1950, Records of the Administrative Secretary, Correspondence Control Section Decimal File: July to Dec 1950, CD 091.7 (Europe), box 175, RG 330, USNA.

61. Princeton Seminar, p. 915.

62. Princeton Seminar, p. 916.

63. Princeton Seminar, p. 916; see also p. 912. The archival evidence confirms the point that McCloy favored a very tough line at this time. See especially the handwritten letter from McCloy to Acheson, September 20, 1950, in the Acheson Papers, Memoranda of Conversations, September 1950, HSTL. A high French official, McCloy reported, had just “referred again to the delicacy of French opinion” on the German rearmament issue. “I think the time has come,” he wrote, “to tell these people that there is other opinion to deal with and that U.S. opinion is getting damn delicate itself. If there should be an incursion in January and U.S. troops should get pushed around without German troops to help them because of a French reluctance to face facts, I shudder to think how indelicate U.S. opinion would suddenly become.”

64. Princeton Seminar, p. 913.

65. Acheson to Truman, September 15, 1950, FRUS 1950, 3:1229-31. For more information relating to the part of the story from the New York Conference on, see Christopher Gehrz, "Dean Acheson, the JCS and the 'Single Package': American Policy on German Rearmament, 1950," Diplomacy and Statecraft 12 (March 2001): 135-60.

66. Under Secretary Webb, in telephone conversation with Acheson, September 27, 1950, Acheson Papers (Lot File 53D 444), box 13, RG 59, USNA. Webb was comparing the State Department "operation" with the way the Defense Department under Marshall was handling the issue.

67. Omar Bradley and Clay Blair, A General's Life (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983), 519.

6868. The idea that Acheson was an exceptionally aggressive statesman is scarcely the consensus view. American writers tend to treat Acheson rather gently, but this, we think, is to be understood in essentially political terms. Acheson's reputation profited enormously from the fact that during his period in office he had been the target of a great deal of ill-informed criticism from right-wing Republicans; Richard Nixon's famous reference at the time to the "Acheson College of Cowardly Communist Containment" is a good case in point. And with enemies like that, it was not hard to find friends--among liberal academics, at any rate.



69. Trachtenberg, History and Strategy, 109-110.

70. See, for example, Ernest May, ed., American Cold War Strategy: Interpreting NSC 68 (New York: St. Martin's, 1993), and John Lewis Gaddis, Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security Policy (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), chapter 4.

71. NSC 68, April 7, 1950, FRUS 1950, 1:253, 255, 284; Nitze quoted in Trachtenberg, History and Strategy, 112n. Nitze, the principal author of NSC 68, was quite close to Acheson throughout this period. See, for example, David Callahan, Dangerous Capabilities: Paul Nitze and the Cold War (New York: HarperCollins, 1990), 95-96, 155, and Strobe Talbott, The Master of the Game: Paul Nitze and the Nuclear Peace (New York: Knopf, 1988), 51.

72. See Jonathan Utley, "Upstairs, Downstairs at Foggy Bottom: Oil Exports and Japan, 1940-41," Prologue 8 (Spring 1976), 17-28; Jonathan Utley, Going to War with Japan (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1985), 153-156, 180; Irvine Anderson, "The 1941 de facto Embargo on Oil to Japan: A Bureaucratic Reflex," Pacific Historical Review 44 (1975), 201-231; and Irvine Anderson, The Standard Vacuum Oil Company and United States East Asian Policy, 1933-1941 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975).

73. Acheson speech at annual meeting of the Institute of Strategic Studies, September 1963, in Adelphi Paper No. 5, The Evolution of NATO. See also Douglas Brinkley, Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years, 1953-71 (New Haven: Yale University Press), 153. Note also Acheson's comment in 1961 about the need for the sort of forces which would enable the western powers to intervene in the event, for example, of a new uprising in Hungary: Acheson-de Gaulle meeting, April 20, 1961, Documents diplomatiques français 1961, 1:494.

74. Bernard Brodie, War and Politics (New York: Macmillan, 1973), 402. The critic in question was the former Defence Minister in the Macmillan government, Harold Watkinson.

75. See, for example, Acheson to Truman, May 28, 1953, box 30, folder 391, and Acheson memorandum of conversation, June 23, 1953, box 68, folder 172, in Acheson Papers, Sterling Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Note also Nitze's complaint at the very end of the Truman period that the U.S. government had adopted for a purely defensive policy. America, he was afraid, was in danger of becoming "a sort of hedge-hog, unattractive to attack, but basically not very worrisome over a period of time beyond our immediate position." Nitze to Acheson, January 12, 1953, FRUS 1952-54, 2:59.

76. See especially Acheson to Truman, June 24, July 14, August 4, and September 21, 1961, Acheson Papers, Box 166, Acheson-Truman Correspondence, 1961, Sterling Library, Yale University; some extracts are quoted in Trachtenberg, History and Strategy, 230. See also Michael Beschloss, The Crisis Years: Kennedy and Khrushchev, 1960-1963 (New York: Edward Burlingame, 1991), 410; and Honoré Catudal, Kennedy and the Berlin Wall Crisis: A Study in U.S. Decision-Making (Berlin: Berlin-Verlag, 1980), 182n.

77. Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas, The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986), 612-613; see also Brinkley, Acheson, 138.

78. Carl Kaysen oral history interview, July 11, 1966, p. 85, John F. Kennedy Library, Boston. We are grateful to Frank Gavin for providing this reference.

79. See, for example, Brinkley, Acheson, 174, 202.

80. Acheson to Truman, July 10, 1965, in Dean Acheson, Among Friends: Personal Letters of Dean Acheson, ed. David McLellan and David Acheson (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1980), 273.

81. See Trachtenberg, Constructed Peace, 304-311. Acheson, however, deliberately gave the Europeans a very different impression. Note especially his discussion of the issue in an April 20, 1961, meeting with de Gaulle, and especially his reference to a system which "would permit Europe to take its own decision on the nuclear matter." Documents diplomatiques français 1961, 1:495.


82. White House meeting, October 20, 1961, FRUS 1961-63, 14:518-519. Emphasis in original.

83. Quoted in Frank Costigliola, "LBJ, Germany and the 'End of the Cold War,'" in Lyndon Johnson Confronts the World: American Foreign Policy, 1963-1968, ed. Warren Cohen and Nancy Tucker (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 195. Acheson was complaining about what he viewed as Johnson's weak response to de Gaulle's decision in 1966 to take France out of the NATO military organization.

84. Brinkley, Acheson, 133.

85 . *Notes of Council on Foreign Relations Study Group on Nuclear Weapons and U.S. Foreign Policy, November 8, 1954, meeting, p. 12, Hanson Baldwin Papers, box 125, folder 23, Yale University Library.


86. An account Acheson gave in 1952, implying that the issue emerged only in the course of the New York meeting, was particularly misleading. For the quotation and a discussion pointing out how inaccurate that account was, see McGeehan, German Rearmament Question, 48-49.

87. This point is suggested by the structure of the discussion of this issue in the Princeton Seminar: after establishing the basic point that the Pentagon had insisted on the package plan and was thus responsible for what happened in September (pp. 911, 915), Acheson and Nitze then felt free to ease up and talk about how the real reason why the German rearmament issue could not have been played down and "kind of weaved in gradually" had to do not with the JCS but rather with what McCloy was doing (p. 916). They then went on to say that McCloy, in fact, probably performed a service in forcing people to face the issue then and there (pp. 922-925).

88. John Lewis Gaddis, We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History (Oxford: Clarendon, 1997), 201.

89. Gaddis, We Now Know, 199-203, 288-289. The idea here of internal political norms projected outwards was also a theme in the "democratic peace" literature of the 1990s. See for example Bruce Russett, Grasping the Democratic Peace: Principles for a Post-Cold War World (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), 119.

90. R.W. Seton-Watson, Britain in Europe, 1789-1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1938), 547; Lady Gwendolen Cecil, Life of Robert Marquis of Salisbury, vol. 3 (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1931), 136.

91. See especially Geir Lundestad, "Empire" by Integration: The United States and European Integration, 1945-1997 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998) and Pierre Mélandri, Les Etats-Unis face à l'unification de l'Europe, 1945-1954 (Paris: A. Pedone, 1980). Note also an important series of interpretative articles on the subject by Klaus Schwabe: "Die Vereinigten Staaten und die Europäischen Integration: Alternativen der amerikanischen Außenpolitik," in Die Europäischen Integration vom Schuman-Plan bis zu den Verträgen von Rom, ed. Gilbert Trausch, (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 1993); "The United States and European Integration," in Western Europe and Germany: The Beginnings of European Integration, 1945-1969, ed. Clemens Wurm (Oxford: Berg, 1995); and "Atlantic Partnership and European Integration: American-European Policies and the German Problem, 1947-1969," in No End to Alliance: The United States and Western Europe: Past, Present and Future, ed. Geir Lundestad (New York: St. Martin's, 1998).
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