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General NORSTAD. Yes, within the alliance in general. When we are talking about a NATO force we have been talking about what might be called tactical weapons, regardless of type of delivery. Even when we are talking about medium-range ballistic missiles.
At the time we established a requirement for them, which was 1957, we were talking then about a role which would contribute directly to the defense of Europe. In that sense it was tactical rather than bearing directly on the Soviet and the Soviet Union.
Now, the Polaris submarine, there is some suggestion that this might be rather broader than this and that this might give to the alliance a new function, really a new function, and that application of the function to some extent, to a limited extent, would get NATO into a strategic role directly for the first time.
Now the question of control would, I think, apply, whatever system is developed in the alliance, would apply to both if we have this semistrategic function. I think this same system of control could apply equally to both and it should.
Senator MILLER. As we are working toward that objective would it be practical to start out, let us say with control of battlefield-type tactical nuclear weapons?
General NORSTAD. It would be quite practical to start out, and I have suggested this, to start out on the basis of the functions and the weapons that the alliance now has. This is the simplest way of doing it.
Senator MILLER. Thank you very much. I have one final question.
Would it be your evaluation that the National Security Council has performed up to its potential! If you do not think so, what would you recommend?
General NORSTAD. I am afraid I have to beg off on part of that, Senator, because I have been away a great deal and I have not had personal and direct contact with the National Security Council. So, I think that my opinion there would not be too useful.
I will say this, however, that when the National Security Council was first being established as a result of the National Security Act of 1947 there was tremendous discussion then how it would work and to what extent it would have authority. I think it was pretty well accepted at that time that you cannot have a council taking over the functions of the agencies of the Government, that a Secretary of a Department should continue to have his full responsibility in his field.
He might prepare things for coordination and discussion in the Security Council but he should have responsibility--because there is something about a man taking a position, particularly when the going is tough, particularly when the decision is against all the advice and the public conception of what should be done and this frequently is understandably true because the public cannot be informed immediately. When that kind of decision is taken, I would like to know who in a government is making decisions that have any bearing on me.
There needs to be one man who stands up there and says, “1, before God, and my fellow citizens, have to take this position.”
This has a meaning to me. I think this is important. Now I think the coordination should take place but there is something about, even at that point, even when the President decides, something about a man wrestling with this problem, he has to take the position, he is
publicly responsible for it. It has a tendency to rinse out an awful lot of fuzz.
Senator MILLER. I might ask one more very brief question. Your point about staffing, of course, was brought out in the committee's report early this year on basic issues. When I had the pleasure of visiting NATO a year ago last fall at the NATO Parliamentarians Conference there was a little talk about a NATO cold war
academy, the idea being to better equip staff people in NATO, for Dexample, to cope with the cold war.
Have you any ideas along this line in improving the staffing of NATO?
General NORSTAD. Well, we have at the present time the NATO Defense College which was started by General Eisenhower in 1950 and 1952. It was quite a new departure for many of the countries, particularly the smaller countries. The first few years it has grown very slowly.
The last 2 years it has grown rapidly. You have a mixed bag of Army, Navy, Air, and diplomats, a fairly senior and well experienced level. This is now performing a very, very useful service.
Now, whether it is useful to start another school is not clear to me. Perhaps this is something that this particular school could handle. I think it is handling it in general. The question may be as to the level. This is a very good level if you get in that senior colonel, brigadier level, that is an extremely good high level and an extremely good level, and a corresponding level in the diplomats.
I think the NATO Defense College could, and is, covering the field at the present time.
Senator MILLER. Thank you very much.
Senator Jackson. We are very pleased to welcome Senator Ribicoff to the committee.
Senator Ribicoff served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and has served as Governor of his State and has been a member of the Cabinet. We are very pleased to have him join this committee.
Senator RIBICOFF. I am very pleased to be a member, Mr. Chairman.
I want to thank you very much for the reality, the information, and the wisdom you have brought to us this morning, General Norstad.
Do you feel, General, that the attitude and policies of General de Gaulle and the Common Market countries is an indication of success or failure of American foreign policy over the past 14 years?
General NORSTAD. To some extent of success.
Certainly the strength of France has had a great bearing, the present existing strength of France, has had a great bearing on it. I do not want to detract from what the French have done by themselves for themselves. Certainly General de Gaulle has contributed personally to the increase in strength.
The fact remains that France does not live in isolation. It lives as part of a system, the European system, and it has benefited directly and has contributed to it, of course. It has also benefited from the overall improvement in strength of all of the European areas.
This is a point to which American policy, going back to 1947, has made a very, very important contribution. I think the Europeans are the first ones to admit this, the importance of the American contribution.
So, to some extent this is a product of the success of policy. It is also, I think the product to some extent, which was touched on by some of the other members of the committee earlier, of the fact that for the moment at least we are not in a particularly hot war with the principal opposition and this permits us to concern ourselves and consider our own problems and interests a little more. So, to that extent I think this is also the product of success.
I think when something goes wrong we have to examine ourselves as well as others to see what went wrong and why. I am sure that this process of examination is going on at the moment.
I was not surprised by what General de Gaulle said on the 14th of January on the subject of Britain and the Common Market because everybody knew that was his position. I was not surprised by the reaction to the Nassau decision because any one could predict he would reject it out of hand and could give the reasons for his rejection.
These were well known. I think it is of interest why did he say it publicly at that time and why did he use particularly strong language in saying it.
I think this should be subject to evaluation. So, when things go wrong, we are the leaders of the pact and one of the penalties of leadership is to assume responsibility even if somebody else makes the mistake.
So, I suppose if we are looking at it from that standpoint, this does represent a failure or a weakness and perhaps a failure on our part as well as on the part of our allies. “As a leader we have a particular share of it.
Senator RIBICOFF. Would you be surprised, as you indicated, where you have a strong person and strong nation that exercises a will and purpose of its own, is this not one of the great illusions that someone else has a right to control the thinking and the attitude of another individual or a strong nation?
General NORSTAD. Yes. I do not think we should think for 1 minute, that we are in a position to control the thinking of any other country. If we work on that basis we are in very serious trouble. Not only the larger countries, but I must say even the smaller countries, going back to what I said earlier, even the smaller countries like the idea of taking their own position.
We are an association of free and completely, utterly individual countries, thank God. No one can dictate to them. Whatever comes out must be in the common interest. From time to time one or more is going to say, "This particular thing in spite of everything everybody else says, is not in our interest."
It remains then for us over a period of time in my judgment to work out, to see, what is in the common interest. I am sure that the French will lend themselves to such a process. Everything in an alliance is a compromise, but then everything else generally in life is a compromise in some respect.
We have to live with people. I do not think any of us for instance here will say that everything we say we think on the basis of our responsibilities is necessarily precisely what is right for everybody else. We might think this, but we would not be bold enough to suggest this and I think this is true.
I think that this country has a problem at the present time, particularly because it is the leader of the pact as I said. I think the present actions being taken should contribute to an atmosphere where this problem may have some chance of solution.
I think it would be a tragic mistake to say these words have been spoken and that is the end of that. I think this would be a tragic mistake. I think we have to keep our mind open and remain flexible. I am sure that if we do that, if we do not start closing doors, if we do that, then I think that a solution can be worked out.
I think it is wrong to suggest, however, that this will come quickly and easily because I do not think it will. It is wrong to suggest that in this critical year of 1963 you can get into this type of stalemate without losing ground. We are going to be behind because of it, there is no question about it. So this is important.
I have no doubt that the French, for instance, we are talking particularly about General de Gaulle, in their own interest will join with the others in due time and in some way and at some time and at some place to resolve this question in their own and in common interest.
Senator RIBICOFF. You say in general, Americans talk too much. What impact does a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate by a U.S. Senator or a Senator getting off a plane in Paris, making a decision on policy, what impact does this have upon the diplomats, the generals, or the foreign ministers that you have to deal with?
General NORSTAD. More than you may think. Particularly if you are a chairman of a committee or you have some special position.
Their system is entirely different from ours—if one is the chairman of a committee—they all have the parliamentary system—the government and parliament are interrelated. This can have a serious effect. The opposition in any event will always pick up a speech that embarrasses the other side. This can happen.
I was not referring, actually, Senator, to the activity of you gentlemen, either here or in Europe, but more to the executive branch of the Government, where perhaps too many of us, at one time or another, say the United States says this, the United States says that, there is confusion on that particular point.
Senator RIBICOFF. How much authority do you think that an ambassador or representative in the field should have as against waiting for clearance from an assistant, or from a third assistant to a third assistant to a third assistant?
The other day I was interested to read that 300,000 words are exchanged every day between the State Department and our embassies around the world. Now it is very obvious that when you have 300,000 words, somebody in the position of authority is being so drowned with words that he probably never gets to see anything.
Do you think it would be better policy to allow a man in the field to make his day-to-day decisions right on the spot without having to report for instructions to Washington, and only allow basic policy to be decided in Washington, and since men are important and authority is important and responsibility is important, you allow a man to do this as long as he is good, and if he is not any good you fire him.
Would that be a better way to run the people out in the field than having everything cleared out of Washington ?
General NORSTAD. I wonder if I can give a blanket answer to that question, Senator.
The importance of actions taken one place are far greater than the same action taken another place. There is a requirement for coordination of a particular association with Washington.
Again, as I mentioned, quite understandably, although this is a new departure, the President, these days, has to get closer to the firing line, into greater detail, than he has in past periods. And Presidents do, these days, become very greatly involved.
I would say that in some areas, in some subjects in some areas, that perhaps more should be left to the man on the spot. I think when we are dealing with something where the issue is peace or war-we have the communication and I think here is where communication really has to be used.
We must have a firm contact. At some posts, I should think a great deal could be done locally. Perhaps more can be decentralized to all posts. These matters that bear on the question of peace and war, it is understandable to me that the Government, and I am speaking specifically, of course, of the President, because finally the President gets into this, that he should be vitally interested in and following this minute by minute, second by second.
Senator RIBICOFF. In issues of peace and war, we agree. In peace or war, naturally the President makes those decisions and you do not make those decisions yourself. We hope that wars come at infrequent intervals.
The day-to-day operation in the relationship between one government and another is the meat of existence of international diplomacy. Now, would it be a more effective diplomat who could give his answers and make the decisions on the day-to-day routine matters without having to check with Washington ?
General NORSTAD. I think the more he can give an answer, or at least a lead on an answer, the stronger and more effective he is going to be, and this is the important thing. We have at most of these, certainly these important posts, very, very competent men whose judgment I would think would be very, very good.
The contacts back here are matters of coordination which I think is necessary but certainly they can, and, of course, in some fields, they do-I am talking now about the Ambassadors primarily—in some fields they do serve as the experts in that particular field and they do indicate answers, they do make decisions.
The military is a little bit different because, by law and by precedent, the commander has responsibility. He has the responsibility on the spot. The fact that he has to cable back to the Defense Department does not relieve him of that responsibility. This is a little bit sharper and more clearly defined than it is in the diplomatic service.
I have found, in this field, that, in general, my life has been a fairly happy one. Where it is clearly my responsibility, I will say we do this or we will do that and I take the decision. Now the Ambassadors do that, but I think the system in the diplomatic service is a little bit different.
This depends a great deal on the background, the authority, and the position of the individual and the tasks he is dealing with.