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Brussels Treaty Powers (Usa Military Aid)

Volume 463: debated on Friday 8 April 1949

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asked the Prime Minister what request has been addressed to the Government of the United States of America by His Majesty's Government in association with the other signatories of the Brussels Treaty, for American military assistance to the Brussels Treaty Powers; and what reply to such request has been received by His Majesty's Government.

Yes. The Brussels Treaty Powers have had under consideration their common defence programme, and have drawn up a request to the United States Government for assistance in carrying out this programme. This request was sent to the United States Government on 5th April. The United States Government replied on 6th April that they were prepared to recommend to Congress that this assistance should be given.The texts of the request by the Five Powers, and of the American reply. are as follows:

Request from Brussels Treaty Powers to the United States Government for Military Assistance

1. Since the signature of the Brussels Treaty the five Governments have had under consideration a common defence programme. Convinced of the necessity for such a programme, they believe that its formulation and application must be based on entire solidarity between them. They have reached the conclusion that if this defence programme is to be effective the material assistance of the United States Government is essential. The principles on which the programme should be based are set out in the following paragraphs

2. The main principles would be self-help, mutual aid, and common action in defence against an armed attack. The immediate objective is the achievement of arrangements for collective self-defence between the Brussels Treaty Powers within the terms of the Charter of the United Nations. The programme would be considered as a further step in the development of Western European security in the spirit of the statement made by President Truman to Congress on March 17, 1948, the day of the signature of the Brussels Treaty. It would be in accordance with the general objective of Article 3 of the North Atlantic Pact, and would result in each party, consistent with its situation and resources, contributing in the most effective form such mutual aid as could reasonably be expected of it. It would also be in accordance with the principles expressed in the resolution of the Senate of the United States of June 11, 1948.

3. The military strength of the participating Powers should be developed without endangering economic recovery and the attainment of economic viability, which should accordingly have priority.

4. In applying these general principles of a common defence programme the signatories of the Brussels Treaty attach importance to the following points:

  • (a) The armed forces of the European participating countries should be developed on a coordinated basis in order that in the event of aggression they can operate in accordance with a common strategic plan.
  • (b) They should be integrated so as to give the maximum efficiency with the minimum necessary expenditure of manpower, money and materials.
  • (c) Increased military effort, including increased arms production, should be consistent with economic objectives and the maintenance of economic viability. Additional local currency costs should be met from non-inflationary sources.
  • (d) Arrangements concerning the transfer of military equipment and supplies for such production among the European participating countries should permit transfer, in so far as possible, without regard to foreign exchange problems and without disrupting the intra-European payment scheme.
  • 5. In order to carry out a common defence programme on the basis of the above principles, there is urgent need for United States material and financial assistance. The signatories of the Brussels Treaty will therefore be glad to learn whether the United States Government is prepared to provide this assistance to them

    6. In the event of a favourable reply in relation to the above request, a detailed statement of the specific needs of the signatories of the Brussels Treaty for the year 1949–50 will be transmitted to the United States Government at the earliest possible date.

    5th April, 1949.

    Reply of the United States Government to the Request from the Brussels Treaty Powers to the United States Government for Military Assistance dated April 5, 1949.

    1. The Government of the United States refers to the memorandum dated April 5, 1949, from the Brussels Treaty Powers which inquires whether the United States will provide military assistance in the form of military equipment and financial aid to the Brussels Treaty Powers and which sets forth the principles on which such request is made.

    2. The Executive Branch of the United States Government is prepared to recommend to the United States Congress that the United States provide military assistance to countries signatory to the Brussels Treaty, in order to assist them to meet the material requirements of their defence programme. Such assistance would be extended in recognition of the principle of self-help and mutual aid contained in the Atlantic Pact, under which Pact members will extend to each other such reciprocal assistance as each country can reasonably be expected to contribute, consistent with its geographic location and resources, and in the form in which each can most effectively furnish assistance.

    3. It will be requested of the Congress that such assistance be in the form of military equipment from the United States required by their common defence programme and the provision of some financial assistance for increased military efforts on their part required by such defence programme. It will be understood that the allocation of this material and financial assistance will be effected by common agreement between the Brussels Treaty Powers and the United States.

    4. The United States Government will accordingly appreciate receiving as soon as possible the detailed statement of the specific needs of the signatories of the Brussels Treaty for the year 1949–50 as proposed in para. (6) of the request from the Brussels Treaty Powers.

    6th April, 1949.