Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Radio and Television Report to the American People on the NATO Conference in Paris.

December 23, 1957

[Delivered from the President's office at 8:30 p.m. ]

Good evening, my friends:

For the fifth time within the past five years, the Secretary of State and I have, together, returned to Washington after international conferences on foreign soil. This time we have just come from a Paris meeting with Heads of Government of the 14 other NATO nations.

In addition to the scheduled NATO meetings last week, I had individual conferences with most of the Heads of Government. In these more was involved than mere expressions of mutual good will. In each, the purpose was to discuss frankly our viewpoints about problems of common interest--to remove obstacles to mutual understanding.

In the debates of the full Conference there were thoroughly discussed specific problems of every conceivable nature, so as to eliminate deficiencies in our collective arrangements.

It was an inspiring experience to watch, in these meetings, common policies take shape affecting the great questions of peace, security and unity. Planning for carrying into effect these policies was likewise necessary. In this work, all of us found a special advantage, which came out of the bringing together of Heads of Government. In this way there was placed behind NATO's future programs the authority and influence which these leaders hold.

There was one basic purpose implicit in every discussion and debate of the Conference. That was the pursuit of a just peace.

Not once during the week did I hear any slightest hint of sabre rattling or of aggressive intent. of course, all of us were concerned with developing the necessary spiritual, economic and military strength of our defensive alliance. We are determined that there must be no war. But we never lost sight of our hope that the men in the Kremlin would themselves come to understand their own need for peace--as well as our sincerity in desiring a just composition of differences between West and East.

At the end, the Conference unanimously adopted a declaration of principles to guide future NATO efforts and plans. Measures were adopted for effective scientific and economic cooperation and coordination. We arranged for procedures to insure timely and close political consultation among ourselves, with respect to any problem that might arise.

A large list of other matters engaged our attention.

To discuss a few of these in some detail, I have asked the Secretary of State to make a brief report, as well as to give now some of his reactions and impressions of the Conference.

[At this point Secretary Dulles discussed measures adopted at the NATO Conference and gave some of his impressions of the meetings. The President then resumed speaking.]

On the way back from Paris, Secretary Dulles briefly visited in Spain. He conferred with General Franco and others in the Spanish government. I know you would like him to give you a summary of that visit.

[At this point Secretary Dulles gave an account of his three-hour talk with General Franco. The President then resumed speaking.]

To summarize: The Heads of the NATO governments and their associates labored earnestly during the week, to continue the strengthening of our common security. We all realize that adequate free world strength--moral, economic and military strength--is, under present circumstances, our most effective deterrent to war. Moreover, it provides the basis for our best hope for progressive disarmament and improved understanding between East and West.

Every American shares this hope with our NATO partners. Beyond any doubt we all are prepared to make any necessary sacrifice to sustain and advance that hope.

At the end of the Conference, I expressed once more, as I have so often before, a constant readiness on the part of Secretary Dulles and myself personally to make any conceivable effort that might realistically help to reduce world tensions.

Unfortunately, the attitude of the Soviets toward the free world has, for years, alternated between threat and blandishment. Their words, their pretensions, their actions, have all failed to inspire confidence in free men.

To bring about such an easing of tension, we believe that clear evidence of Communist integrity and sincerity in negotiations and in action is all that is required.

Only with such evidence of integrity and sincerity, and with the spirit of conciliation on both sides, can there be achieved a definite beginning of progress toward universal security and peace, which the world so earnestly seeks.

For no nation, for no individual among us, could there be a finer Christmas present, nor a better New Year.

Good night.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Radio and Television Report to the American People on the NATO Conference in Paris. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234054

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