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Statement by the President Regarding Relationships With the Proposed European Defense Community.

April 16, 1954

AS THE TIME APPROACHES for historic decision on the remaining measures required to put into effect the European Defense Community Treaty, it is appropriate for me to state clearly the United States position on the relation between the European Army and the European Community on the one hand, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the broader Atlantic Community on the other hand. The essential elements of this position, which have been discussed with leaders of both political parties in the Congress, may be simply stated.

The United States is firmly committed to the North Atlantic Treaty. This Treaty is in accordance with the basic security interests of the United States and will steadfastly serve these interests regardless of the fluctuations in the international situation or our relations with any country. The obligations which the United States has assumed under the Treaty will be honored.

The North Atlantic Treaty has a significance which transcends the mutual obligations assumed. It has engendered an active practical working relationship among the Atlantic nations. Through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the United States and its allies are working to build the concrete strength needed to deter aggression and, if aggression occurs, to halt it without the devastation or occupation of any NATO country. These nations are also seeking to make the Atlantic Alliance an enduring association of free peoples, within which all members can concert their efforts toward peace, prosperity, and freedom.

The European Defense Community will form an integral part of the Atlantic Community and, within this framework, will ensure intimate and durable cooperation between the United States forces and the forces of the European Defense Community on the continent of Europe. I am convinced that the coming into force of the European Defense Community Treaty will provide a realistic basis for consolidating Western defense and will lead to an ever-developing community of nations in Europe.

The United States is confident that, with these principles in mind, the Western European nations concerned will proceed promptly further to develop the European Community through ratification of the European Defense Community Treaty. When that Treaty comes into force the United States, acting in accordance with its fights and obligations under the North Atlantic Treaty, will conform its actions to the following policies and undertakings:

(1) The United States will continue to maintain in Europe, including Germany, such units of its Armed Forces as may be necessary and appropriate to contribute its fair share of the forces needed for the joint defense of the North Atlantic area while a threat to that area exists, and will continue to deploy such forces in accordance with agreed North Atlantic strategy for the defense of this area.

(2) The United States will consult with its fellow signatories to the North Atlantic Treaty and with the European Defense Community, on questions of mutual concern, including the levels of the respective Armed Forces of the European Defense Community, the United States and other North Atlantic Treaty countries to be placed at the disposal of the Supreme Commander in Europe.

(3) The United States will encourage the closest possible integration between the European Defense Community forces on the one hand, and United States and other North Atlantic Treaty forces on the other, in accordance with approved plans with respect to their command, training, tactical support, and logistical organization developed by the military agencies and the Supreme Commanders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

(4) The United States will continue, in conformity with my recommendations to the Congress, to seek means of extending to the Atlantic Community increased security by sharing in greater measure information with respect to the military utilization of new weapons and techniques for the improvement of the collective defense.

(5) In consonance with its policy of full and continuing support for the maintenance of the integrity and unity of the European Defense Community, the United States will regard any action from whatever quarter which threatens that integrity or unity as a threat to the security of the United States. In such event, the United States will consult in accordance with the provisions of Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty.

(6) In accordance with the basic interest of the United States in the North Atlantic Treaty, as expressed at the time of ratification, the Treaty was regarded as of indefinite duration rather than for any definite number of years. The United States calls attention to the fact that for it to cease to be a party to the North Atlantic Treaty would appear quite contrary to our security interests when there is established on the continent of Europe the solid core of unity which the European Defense Community will provide.

Note: The President's statement was transmitted through the Department of State to the Prime Ministers of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Statement by the President Regarding Relationships With the Proposed European Defense Community. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233745

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