This article assesses the role of the Czechoslovak coup d’état in February 1948 in the establishment of the Brussels Pact a month later and formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in April 1949. The article places these developments in the larger context of post-1945 national security policymaking in several countries, weighing the impact of the Czechoslovak coup on relations among seven countries on national security issues at the outset of the Cold War: Czechoslovakia, France, the United Kingdom, the three Benelux countries, and the United States. The article shows that the only proper way to evaluate the effect of the Communist takeover in Czechoslovakia on the formation of the Western alliance is by looking at the considerations present in each country and seeing how they interacted with one another. The Czechoslovak factor varied in its magnitude from country to country.


On 17 March 1948, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg concluded the Treaty of Economic, Social and Cultural Collaboration and Collective Self-Defense, commonly known as the Brussels Treaty. Exactly one month later, the Brussels Pact, a politico-military body entrusted to carry out the tasks envisaged under the treaty, was established.1 Although scholars now widely regard the pact as a mere prelude to the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949, its importance is greater than traditionally supposed. In fact, the pact's creation brought to an end a centuries-long era in which the European powers sought to achieve security through a system of alliances based on mutual monarchic allegiances or bilateral treaties.

This change in approach was attributable mainly to developments in the fall of 1947, when attempts, especially on the part of France and Czechoslovakia, to build bridges between the West and the East proved futile. This “third way” policy had vocal supporters within the British Labour Party, but British foreign policy officials did their best to prevent any potential Franco-Czechoslovak treaty from weakening Western European security. The British wished instead to tie France into a Western-leaning alliance. Lastly, the making of the Brussels treaty prompted the United States to agree to talks with West European governments on the creation of a North Atlantic security system that would more effectively address the concerns that had led to the Brussels treaty.

The key research question of this article—namely, the importance of Czechoslovak developments in building up the Western alliance from May 1945 to March 1948—is best understood in the larger context of international foreign policymaking in the post–World War II period and its fundamental change in the approach to security arrangements between states. Although the influence of the Communist takeover on the developments in Western Europe and the North Atlantic is generally acknowledged, there is still no detailed, nuanced analysis of the question at hand. The Czechoslovak factor is mostly referred to as a deus ex machina that did no more than accelerate the negotiations between France, the United Kingdom, and the Benelux countries on the establishment of the Brussels Pact. In consequence, the only important effect according to many accounts is that the negotiating parties were more easily able to overcome the divergences in their negotiating positions than would otherwise have been the case.2 However, the literature includes four notable exceptions to this argument.

In an article on the part played by Belgian Foreign Minister Paul-Henri Spaak in the formation of the Brussels Pact, the Belgian historian Jean Stengers examines the relative importance of three factors that prompted the British and the French to move from their initial position to one in line with the attitude adopted by the Benelux countries.3 The first of these was the Benelux countries’ negative response to the Anglo-French proposal. The second was pressure from the U.S. State Department that the proposed association should be a multilateral agreement on the pattern of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance of September 1947. The third factor was a recognition that the coup in Prague represented an important change in the overall situation. However, of these factors, Stengers concludes that the last was the least important.4 Cees Wiebes and Bert Zeeman later presented a very similar argument, observing that “a careful examination of the weeks preceding the conclusion of the Treaty of Brussels shows … that Benelux tenacity and American pressure were as important, or even more important, in this process as the events in Czechoslovakia or Norway.”5

The Italian historian Antonio Varsori briefly outlines the effect of the February events on British attitudes in an article titled “Reflections on the Origins of the Cold War.”6 According to Varsori, the British (especially Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin) reacted to the Prague coup in three ways. They used it as a vehicle for mobilizing public opinion, for justifying an “informal declaration of war” with the Soviet Union that was the creation of the Brussels Pact, and for ensuring that the United States was drawn into the defense of Europe. Varsori also describes how the Labour government was able to contrast its firmness in 1948 with the ineffectiveness of Neville Chamberlain in 1938. At Munich the Tories had sought to appease the Nazi aggressor—ten years later Labour, faced with the Soviet menace, had demonstrated its readiness to resist aggression with all the means at its disposal.7 Moreover, the West European socialist party leaders, impressed by the events in Prague, recognized the real nature of the Soviet regime and definitively turned away from their postwar, idealistic faith that only “Left could speak to Left.”8

What all these interpretations have in common is a predominant focus on the “Western” factors that launched and drove the process leading to the signing of the Brussels Treaty on 17 March 1948. One exception to this rule is a study by the U.S. scholar Vojtech Mastny (who was born in Czechoslovakia) titled “The February 1948 Prague Coup and the Origins of NATO.”9 In its conclusion, Mastny argues that the events of February 1948 were of critical importance to the extent that they “prompted the alteration of the Brussels Pact in a fashion that made this institutional predecessor of NATO more acceptable to the United States than it would otherwise have been, [and this] prepared the way for America's formal … participation in an organizational structure for the defense of Europe.10” However, in general, “the war scare provoked by the Czechoslovak events subsided by the end of the year [1948]. This happened despite the major crisis incited by Iosif Stalin's imposition of the Berlin blockade, for the Western Allies quickly gained the upper hand by establishing their successful airlift.”11 Yet despite drawing a strong correlation between the Prague coup and the creation of the Brussels Pact, even Mastny does not place the relationship between these two events into a broader perspective of post-1945 international policymaking.

An attempt at such an approach—yet still limited in its geographical scope and character—appears in a study published in 2007 by the Czech historian Vít Smetana. His findings concur with those of Varsori. Smetana concludes that “in the general atmosphere of a war-scare after the Czechoslovak coup, the British together with the French abandoned their previous plans for a series of bilateral treaties in the ‘Dunkirk style.’” But still, the Communist takeover in Czechoslovakia served only as “a catalyst of British foreign policy,” for the country never “topped the list of British … post-war interests.”12 On the other hand, two other Czech historians who deal with the issue at hand in greater detail, Jindřich Dejmek and Vilém Prečan, adopt somewhat more reserved positions. Dejmek contends that the importance of the Czechoslovak events for the Brussels Pact negotiations should not be exaggerated, whereas Prečan argues that the February 1948 takeover did not substantially influence the integration process in Western Europe because its course had already been determined by George C. Marshall and Ernest Bevin after the failure of the Conference of Foreign Ministers in December 1947.13 However, both Dejmek and Prečan focus on a period of only one year—from mid-1947 to mid-1948—and thus leave aside potential impacts stemming from longer-term developments.

My article is intended to shift from the traditional Western-oriented perspective and to assess, from the wider perspective of international relations after the end of World War II, the relative importance of the February 1948 Communist takeover in Western alliance building.

British-French-Czechoslovak Relations after World War II

In 1945, Czechoslovakia was in a difficult position internationally. The outcome of the war had fundamentally altered geostrategic power relations in the Central and Eastern European region. Nevertheless, Czechoslovak democrats, in spite of their necessarily strong relations with the Soviet Union, attempted to maintain friendly ties with Western powers. Seeking to secure the position of Czechoslovakia as a bridge between the West and the East and between democracy and Communism, they turned to their traditional partners, Britain and France.14

The end of the war brought no substantive change in British policy toward Czechoslovakia. The British maintained the same line of cautious, incremental policy as they had during the war in regard to the Czechoslovak government-in-exile.15 Philip Nichols, who had been a liaison between the UK Foreign Office and Czechoslovak government-in-exile as a minister and since 1942 as an ambassador, set down some broad ideas for British postwar policy in March 1945, when he was preparing to become British ambassador to Prague. For Nichols the main task of British policy was to ensure that the country “does not fall completely within the Russian orbit; but that … she continues to be dependent upon the Western Powers as well as the USSR.” To achieve this goal, he proposed first that Czechoslovakia be helped to reestablish its air force, second that economic relations with the United Kingdom that had been destroyed by the war should be restored, and third that Britain should “assume ‘a pre-eminent position as cultural guide in Czechoslovakia’ instead of France.”16

With respect to all three points of Nichols's program, the British were as successful as the postwar conditions allowed. However, in August 1946, when several young Christian Democratic politicians associated with People's Party intellectual leader and journalist Pavel Tigrid proposed the establishment of a British-Czechoslovak treaty, the idea was rejected by London. As Sir Oliver Harvey, a deputy under secretary of state for foreign affairs, remarked to the Belgian ambassador during the Conference of Foreign Ministers in Moscow in April 1947, the British were fully aware that the future position of Czechoslovakia was dependent on the Soviet Union. They saw no logical reason “to go in for alliances with the smaller countries of Eastern Europe, as we had done between the Wars, since the practice seemed quite unrealistic.” Although Harvey most probably knew that Soviet security officials were eavesdropping on his conversation, he added that “it was quite a different thing for Russia to have her alliances with Poland, Czechoslovakia, etc.”17

In accordance with this line, the Foreign Office treated the initiatives of Poland and Czechoslovakia regarding possible bilateral treaties between them and France with great suspicion.18 Although Nichols, according to Maurice Dejean, the French ambassador to Prague, “stated unprompted that according to his view such a treaty [between France and Czechoslovakia] would be a good idea,” thinking in London was quite different.19 The Foreign Office regarded these proposals as efforts to pull France “into the eastern alliance system and correspondingly into a Communist future.”20 Indeed, René Massigli, the French ambassador to London, called for a reserved stance toward the proposals from Prague and Warsaw because in his opinion “the mutual guarantee treaty directed against Germany means something when the partner is USSR, Great Britain or the United States. However, for France … it poses only risks without any counter-value when the partner is Czechoslovakia or Poland.”21

These doubts were shared by at least some of the foreign policymaking elite in Paris. In a secret memorandum of July 1946, François Coulet, the director of the European Department at the Quai d’Orsay, argued that because of the increasing alignment of Czechoslovakia with the USSR and the corresponding orientation of its domestic policies toward Communism, Czechoslovakia was likely, after the death of President Edvard Beneš, to become “the nth republic of the Soviet Union.” Moreover, the conclusion of a treaty between Prague and Paris “would fatally lead” to the signing of similar agreements with Poland and Yugoslavia, and thus France would be “involved in a tangle of Slav intrigues.”22 Coulet went on to say that such a move would offer no geopolitical gains, for a treaty with Czechoslovakia would only damage relations with the West without radically improving relations with the USSR. Therefore “if the Soviet Union is, in fact, the mistress of Czechoslovak destiny, our alliance with her is sufficient. If on the contrary Prague resists Moscow, the links which we form with the Czechoslovak republic would only embarrass us. Once again, we would risk shooting ourselves in the foot.”23

This cautious attitude won the day, and on 16 July 1946 Foreign Minister Georges Bidault sent instructions to Dejean to take a reserved position toward the Czechoslovak proposals because he was awaiting “the conclusion of the Peace Treaties and the overall stabilisation of the situation in Europe. The French government therefore does not want to commit itself to such treaties in the present situation.”24 Following this line, the Quai d’Orsay delayed French-Czechoslovak negotiations until early the following year, although a Czechoslovak proposal with the text of a draft treaty was transmitted via diplomatic channels to Paris on 7 August.25

Nonetheless, the negotiations began gradually to move forward with the return of Bidault as foreign minister on 22 January 1947. In early February, Jan Masaryk, the Czechoslovak foreign minister, and his deputy, Vladimír Clementis, visited Paris to sign the peace treaties with Nazi Germany's allies. However, and more important, on this occasion the Czechoslovak officials held a meeting with Bidault to discuss bilateral issues between the two countries. According to the communiqué issued simultaneously in Paris and Prague on 14 February, the talks were “marked by a spirit of cordiality,” and the two governments pledged to “strengthen the general security and reconstruction of Europe and the world” by placing their bilateral relations on a more formal footing. A day earlier, Coulet had informed the French embassies in the United States and Soviet Union that treaty negotiations had been initiated, but the Quai d’Orsay insisted that the Franco-British pact should be signed first.26

For their part, the Czechoslovaks hoped to initial the treaty text as soon as possible and certainly before the forthcoming Conference of Foreign Ministers in Moscow. In late February, during discussions with members of the Assembly Commission on Foreign Affairs, Bidault displayed the same willingness to take things forward as did the Czechoslovaks, and he pointed out that the Franco-British alliance of mutual assistance “against any renewal of German aggression,” which was being prepared at that time, would pave the way not only for a treaty with Czechoslovakia but also for one with Belgium and the Netherlands as well as Poland and Yugoslavia.27 But, through diplomatic channels, Prague was informed that the negotiations would not proceed any further until May. Although Beneš and Klement Gottwald (the prime minister and leader of the Czechoslovak Communists) then proposed that Bidault should initial the treaty on his way back from Moscow to Paris, and although Dejean tried to intervene, neither course of action availed against the decision.28

On the same day that Coulet sent a cable to Washington and Moscow (13 February), Massigli informed the Foreign Office of French intentions.29 Nonetheless, the French decision “did not provoke an immediate reaction” from Whitehall, and not until the end of March did Massigli discuss, for the first time, the issue with Sir Orme Sargent, the permanent under secretary at the Foreign Office. During the conversation, Sargent argued that “the French should not over-stretch themselves in the East too far as they had done in the inter-war years” and suggested “that economic links, rather than political ones, were the best way to wean the East Europeans from Moscow.” Moreover, Sargent emphasized that treaties with lesser allies “would dilute the value” of treaties concluded among the great powers themselves. Although Massigli, who shared the British view, again urged the French to be cautious about any treaties with Prague and Warsaw, the prevailing view in Paris was now in favor of negotiations. When Oliver Harvey again took up the issue with the director for political affairs at the French Foreign Ministry, Maurice Couve de Murville, he was told “that the policy which the British recommended would cut Europe in two.”30

Couve de Murville's answer was more forthright than the somewhat vague assurance Bidault had given to Bevin during the Foreign Ministers’ Conference in Moscow. There he had explained that his proposal of negotiations for the Czechoslovak and Polish treaties had been made only to get the Communists’ vote for the Dunkirk Treaty.31 British and French aims were entirely opposed. An interim analysis addressing the question of bilateral treaties undertaken by the European department of the French Foreign Ministry in May 1947 concluded that, whatever the results of talks between the Western powers and the USSR, French policy should try to prevent the emergence of two mutually hostile blocs. France, the analysis argued, could not be criticized for making provisional arrangements for its own security through the maintenance of traditional alliances and by attempting to overcome distrust and fear in “the pursuit of [its] historic mission of peace and reconciliation.”32 Although warned by the U.S. embassy in Paris that French treaties with Poland and Czechoslovakia might strengthen isolationist elements in the United States, the Quai d’Orsay decided to start negotiations and sent a French counterproposal for a treaty text to Prague on 31 May.33

However, the exchange of notes between Paris and Prague served only to demonstrate the extent to which their views differed. According to the Czechoslovaks, the signatory powers were to provide each other with immediate assistance in case of aggression by Germany and its allies. In contrast, the French counterproposal did not contain a “third party clause” or any commitment to immediate assistance. Instead, it proposed only mutual consultations in case of German attack. Finally, for France, the provision of any further assistance was limited by the attitude of the great powers and by France's other treaty obligations.34

President Beneš and the majority of the non-Communist cabinet members felt that the French counterproposal should be approved and signed as soon as possible. But after the ousting of the four French Communist ministers from Paul Ramadier's government, the Czechoslovak Communists obstructed any further progress. They had an unwritten agreement with Jacques Duclos, the leader of the Communist faction in the Assemblée Nationale, that Gottwald's party would obstruct the adoption of the Franco-Czechoslovak Treaty of Alliance until a new French government with Communist participation was formed. Moreover, Zdeněk Fierlinger, the leader of the pro-Communist wing within the Social Democratic Party and Czechoslovakia's vice premier, insisted on consulting with Soviet leaders.35 Stalin replied: The government of the Soviet Union does not intend to suggest that you should or should not conclude a treaty with France, but we would advise you not to conclude a treaty on terms inferior to those in the agreements that you already have with Yugoslavia and Poland.”36 His intention was clear: Stalin wished to split France from Great Britain and the United States.

Even though Stalin compelled Warsaw and Prague to reject the Marshall Plan offer on 7 and 10 July respectively, Bidault was still discussing the Eastern treaties with Prime Minister Ramadier a few days later (on 13 July). Their deliberations resulted in a text designed to satisfy the Czechoslovaks and Poles with regard to the “third party clause.” The redraft of September 1947 expanded Article 3 of the proposed treaties to include potential allies of Germany in the event of conflict. Nonetheless, on 7 October, the Polish government announced that it was not fully satisfied with the new French proposal. On the same day, the European Department at the Quai d’Orsay concluded that Warsaw's objections were inspired by Stalin and reflected the Soviet intention to drive a wedge between France and the United States. In consequence, Bidault broke off negotiations with Warsaw a month later.37

For much the same reason, the Franco-Czechoslovak negotiations also reached an impasse, although formally the talks were not terminated. The Foreign Office therefore decided to take resolute action. On 25 November, Sir Ashley Clarke, a minister at the British embassy in Paris, visited the director of the European Department of the French Foreign Ministry and told him that “if the pacts [with Czechoslovakia and Poland] were to be concluded, it is very likely that the French government would find itself in receipt of a note in which the British government would loosen its commitment to the undertakings given at Dunkirk.” He warned that “the British government will only be completely reassured once the negotiations have been definitely broken off.”38 Two days later, Massigli, on behalf of Bidault, sent the Quai d’Orsay a telegram from London, where Bidault was negotiating a German peace treaty with U.S., British, and Soviet officials, stating, “we are really too uncertain about the development of the situation in Czechoslovakia to make any long-term commitments.”39

At this point, the foreign ministers’ meeting held at Lancaster House had already lasted for two days with no sign of agreement. On the contrary, the Western powers and the Soviet Union “manoeuvred in such a way as to show up the other [side] as indifferent or hostile to the interests of the German people.” This picture did not change for the following seven days and, thus, “at the end of the nine days nothing had been settled [with respect to the German peace treaty,] and the conflict had been extended to the draft Austrian treaty.”40 On 8 December, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov “rained a shower of concessions upon the heads of the other Foreign Ministers,” but the Western representatives treated them as merely an attempt to divide their ranks. Finally, when “on 15 December Molotov suggested that the German People's Congress [should] attend the Council,” U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall “suddenly … lost his patience” and proposed to adjourn the council sine die.41

Foundation of the Treaty of Brussels

The French, despite the deadlock in negotiations, left the door ajar for “an Eastern option.” The record of the Anglo-French conversations of 17 December 1947 gives a good indication of the direction in which French foreign policy was heading. When asked by Foreign Secretary Bevin “to explain the present situation” in regard to “the French treaty negotiations with Czechoslovakia and Poland,” Bidault said, “France was not pursuing her negotiations with the Czechs and Poles” and assured his counterpart that “the present was not the right moment for such treaties.” He noted, nonetheless, that “the Poles had … accepted everything which the French had suggested and there were only minor differences to be ironed out.”42

This maneuver has to be understood against the background of developments in the summer and fall of 1947. A final attempt to get the Soviet Union to give some kind of support to the French aims regarding the international control of the Ruhr failed in July.43 The same was true of the United States: although the French were willing to abandon their long-term policy with respect to the detachment of the Ruhr-Rhineland from Germany in exchange for U.S. support in the Ruhr question, U.S. and British officials ruled out this option at the Three-Power talks held in late August in London.44 Moreover, East-West relations, already strained, deteriorated further in response to the establishment of the Communist Information Bureau in late September 1947.

All of these factors induced Bidault to burn “his boats as regards the Russians.”45 In early October he told Hector McNeil, Bevin's minister of state, that he was now “in favour of some preliminary Three Power conversations” to attempt “to evolve a common policy.” He hoped that “in the course of [these talks] some recognition would be given to the French point of view on Germany.”46 Later in the same month (19–22 October), Massigli and the secretary general of the French Foreign Ministry, Jean Chauvel, held a series of informal talks with the secretary of state and other high-level officials at the Foreign Office to discuss issues of common concern and German affairs in particular. In the end they agreed to develop further cooperation between the two countries. In the short term the goal was to reach a common Franco-British-U.S. strategy for the forthcoming Foreign Ministers’ Conference.47 In the longer term the three key aims were to build up “a security system responding to the need of the two countries,” to promote “closer cooperation between Western European countries,” and to study the ways in which “the economy of Western Germany” could be integrated into the wider Western European framework.48

Nonetheless, if Bidault wanted to achieve a reasonable compromise with his U.S. and British counterparts on issues of major importance to France—especially if he wanted to arrive at an arrangement for control of the Ruhr—he had to increase his negotiating leverage with them. Two factors, however, were obstructing his path. On the eve of the London talks, Bidault tried to convince Bevin that he should not take “the present political troubles in France too seriously,” a massive wave of riots and strikes in November led to the replacement of Ramadier's government with a new cabinet headed by Robert Schuman.49 This abrupt change of government further diminished the confidence of Washington and London in the political stability of France.50 Moreover, Bidault did not help himself by the inconsistency of his accounts of French policy. He admitted that an eventual Franco-Polish treaty was a possibility and said, “on the Czech side, President Benes very much wanted a [Franco-Czechoslovak] treaty.” But earlier in the same conversation Bidault had observed that, once the Foreign Ministers’ Conference broke up, “the Russians might regain the initiative and he was certain that there would be internal and diplomatic troubles soon. … As a next step he thought that the Russians might work to get rid of Dr. Benes.”51

In consequence, Bidault's position vis-à-vis the United States and Britain was extremely weak. This became abundantly evident in early January 1948, when Generals Lucius Clay and Brian Robertson, the military governors of the U.S. and British occupation zones, decided, in response to the break-off of the London talks, to foster German self-governance in the Bizone. The French were outraged by this decision and considered it a move toward “a veritable German government.” They vehemently protested in both Washington and London that the steps Clay and Robertson had taken violated agreements reached among the three powers the month before, but the ambassadors were told that “neither the State Department nor the Foreign Office had expected the Clay-Robertson decisions in the form they were issued either.”52

To challenge the developments in Germany, the Quai d’Orsay adopted the policy advocated by Harvé Alphand (the director of the Economic Affairs Department at the Foreign Ministry) and some others at the Ministry of Finance, especially Monnet, who from early August 1947 had been arguing for a customs union of France, Italy, and the Benelux countries. In mid-January 1948, the French approached the Benelux countries with an offer to form a committee to study the issue of a customs union among the five countries. The proposal did not include the United Kingdom because, the French argued, continued British links to the Dominions might obstruct the project. The Italians, with whom the French had been negotiating on a customs union since late August 1947, were upset about this latest proposal but finally agreed to proceed on a five-power basis. Italian officials hoped to let U.S. diplomats know that their counterparts in Rome and Paris were actively working toward closer association among the Western European countries, one of the basic aims of U.S. foreign policy in Europe.53 Nonetheless, the French hoped to achieve even more. If the project succeeded, they might be able to achieve a better deal on German issues as well as to compete on a more equal footing with the British for leadership in Western Europe. However, neither of these hopes was well-founded. In both Belgium and the Netherlands, officials feared French domination within a five-power framework. Furthermore, the Dutch, who, unlike the French, were vitally interested in the rapid economic recovery of Germany, wanted to maintain their own kind of “special relationship” with the UK.54 Consequently, in mid-January, Britain's leadership in Western Europe remained unchallenged.

The collapse of the foreign ministers’ talks provided Bevin with the opportunity to launch his plan for a Western Union.55 On the morning of 17 December 1947 during the bilateral Anglo-French talks, Bevin sketched out a dismal view of the present situation: “Europe … was now divided from Greece to the Baltic and from the Oder to Trieste. It would be difficult, if not impossible to penetrate the countries east of those lines.” Because there was no hope that the Western countries “could withstand the Eastern pressure by … traditional methods,” Bevin proposed to Bidault the establishment in Western Europe of “some sort of federation … whether of a formal or informal character” to “save Western civilisation.”56 Bevin's concept was actually far more ambitious. Later in the evening of the same day, he urged U.S. Secretary of State Marshall to support the formation of “some western democratic system comprising the Americans, ourselves, France, Italy etc. and of course the Dominions. This would not be a formal alliance, but an understanding backed by power, money and resolute action. It would be a sort of spiritual federation of the west.”57

However, the initial reactions from both U.S. and French officials were unenthusiastic. Although Marshall “had no criticism of Mr. Bevin's general ideas,” he felt that “the material and spiritual aspects of this programme” must be distinguished from each other and indicated that “the rehabilitation of the European patient” through the European Recovery Program was the most important objective for the State Department.58 The French, all too conscious of their relative military weakness, agreed to send General Georges Revers, chief of the French general staff, to London to hold talks with the British military.59 Nonetheless, they were irritated by Bevin's conduct, and Massigli later sarcastically described the British foreign secretary's suggestions as being characterized by “a remarkable imprecision in his choice words.”60

Bevin attempted to give his ideas more concrete expression, and on 8 January 1948 he submitted to the British Cabinet several documents that explained in greater detail the steps needed to make the Western Union project a reality.61 A few days later, on 13 January, one of these documents, a “Memorandum on the Formation of the Western Union,” was circulated to the British embassies in Paris and Washington.62 This position paper indicates that Bevin wanted to launch the project in two phases. Lord Inverchapel, the British ambassador in Washington, was asked to discuss the issue secretly with Marshall and explain to him that

as a first step towards the realisation of this wide project I [Bevin] am suggesting to M. Bidault forthwith that the British and French Governments should make a joint offer of a treaty to Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. If M. Bidault agrees, I propose that we should at once concert a draft treaty which in my view should follow the lines of the treaty of Dunkirk. Having thus created a solid core in Western Europe we should then consider how best to develop further the system I have in mind and to associate with it other states including Italy, other Mediterranean countries and Scandinavia. In this way I plan to link the non-communist countries of Western Europe and the Middle East.63

Both the United States and France reacted favorably this time, but some reservations remained. In a personal telegram to Inverchapel on 20 January, Marshall stated that he and other U.S. officials “heartily welcome European initiative … and Mr. Bevin may be assured of [our] wholehearted sympathy.” Marshall also observed that “Mr. Bevin's proposal is of … fundamental importance to the future of western civilization.”64 A day earlier, the British ambassador had reported to Whitehall that Bevin's plan “has filled the hearts of the senior officials of the Department of State with great joy,” but he had also pointed out that one U.S. official had suggested that “the Treaty of Dunkirk does not provide a solid enough basis for it.”65 In Paris, Oliver Harvey, the British ambassador to France, met with Bidault on 14 January 1948 and one day later with Chauvel. Although the French welcomed Bevin's initiative, Chauvel emphasized that an essential precondition for bringing the concept of the Western Union into reality was an Anglo-French consensus on the status of Germany.66

Encouraged by these positive reactions, Bevin made his ideas public in a historic speech before the House of Commons on 22 January 1948. There, after blaming the Soviet Union for the “ruthless” communization of Eastern Europe and the deprivation of the Eastern European countries of their sovereignty, he emphasized that the British government “shall not be diverted, by treats, propaganda or fifth column methods, from [the] aim of uniting by trade, social, cultural and all other contacts those nations of Europe and of the world who are ready and able to cooperate.” Yet “the time has come,” he said, “to find ways and means of developing [British] relations with the Benelux countries” and to “begin talks with those countries in close accord with our French Ally.” In this respect, the British “representatives in Brussels, The Hague and Luxembourg were instructed to propose such talks in concert with their French colleagues.”67

The official invitations from the British and French had been delivered one day earlier, on 21 January 1948. Nonetheless, the first reactions from the Benelux countries were less enthusiastic than Bevin had perhaps expected. Although his leadership and proposals were positively welcomed in all three countries, the governments of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg were unwilling to proceed further unless the following issues of principle were resolved: (1) the three countries had to be considered as a unit, and “any negotiation or eventual treaties should be with the three powers jointly”; (2) the Dunkirk Treaty formula was therefore “no longer applicable,” and the “best arrangement” would be a regional pact in accordance with article 52 of the United Nations (UN) Charter; and (3) although the three governments did not consider it “practicable at present to talk of such close associations as customs unions,” they “were anxious that the economic side of [Bevin's] proposals should not be allowed to fade into the background.”68

This had a dampening effect on the subsequent five-country talks. These took place in the first half of February 1948 but produced no results. The British and French still insisted the Dunkirk Treaty model was the only possible solution because Soviet leaders would consider any multilateral solution as being aimed directly against them. For this reason, the United Kingdom and France also opposed the inclusion of any security guarantees in the treaty text, excepting those related to the renewal of German aggression.69 Against this, the Benelux countries not only stood firm on their position, but in a joint memorandum of 19 February they proposed to go even further. They wanted to create a wider political body, one supported by military and economic agreements, that would serve as a platform for regular negotiations concerning all issues of common interest.70 When handing this memorandum to Sir George Rendel, the British ambassador in Brussels, Belgian Foreign Minister Spaak “emphasized … that an absolute condition of useful progress was some practical form of co-operation in economic field.” Somewhat later, Spaak, in a speech to the Belgian parliament at the beginning of March again stressed that “the political and military pacts are not of great value if not supported and completed by agreements on economic cooperation.”71

But Spaak and his counterparts from the Netherlands and Luxembourg, Pim van Boetzelaer van Oosterhout and Joseph Bech, were not the only ones who felt doubts about the Dunkirk Treaty model. U.S. officials also opposed the idea. They considered the “pre-occupation with security against Germany to be ‘out-moded and unrealistic,’ because the only possible threat” to Western Europe “at the present time came from another power,” and they wanted to know how the British and French expected to secure “the integration of Western Germany into the Western European system, of which it formed an indispensable part.”72 Furthermore, the State Department wanted to discourage Paris's and London's hopes for an early “US association with Anglo-French-Benelux group,” arguing that the “development of western European security program [was the] responsibility of western European Govts.”73

Under this double pressure the British, who were not as committed to the Dunkirk formula as the French, began to yield.74 The French persisted, however. French officials, as their internal memorandum of 17 February 1948 reveals, did not consider any possible Franco-British alliance with the Benelux countries of much value in the absence of U.S. involvement. Without Washington, any Rio-style treaty would have been toothless, for any future action would have required UN Security Council approval, which was unlikely to be forthcoming.75 Thus, in mid-February, the situation became deadlocked, and a further series of lengthy negotiations seemed unavoidable. However, at this point the overall situation changed dramatically.

On 17 February 1948, all the non-Communist members of the Czechoslovak government, with the exception of the Social Democratic ministers and Masaryk, the unaffiliated minister of foreign affairs, announced their decision not to attend cabinet meetings until the Communists ceased to infiltrate and misuse the police forces. After three days of stalemate, they resigned hoping Beneš would either appoint an interim caretaker government or retain them in office until the elections, which were due in May or June 1948. They miscalculated. A week later, on 25 February, the old and sick president, fearing civil war, surrendered to Gottwald's pressure and approved the reconstruction of the cabinet, while leaving Gottwald as prime minister.76

The harshness and resolve of the Czechoslovak Communists, as well as the quick pace of events in Prague, surprised Western leaders and diplomats. In London, neither Bevin nor the Foreign Office believed the Soviet Union wanted to invade Western Europe. But they feared, as illustrated by two Cabinet papers of 5 March—titled “The Czechoslovak Crisis” and “The Threat to Western Civilization”—that Stalin wanted to use the “Prague scenario” to destabilize the situation and seize power in France and Italy, where elections were due in April 1948.77 “We are now,” Bevin said to Lewis W. Douglas, the U.S. ambassador in London, on the very day the Communists ended democracy in Czechoslovakia, “in the critical period of 6–8 weeks which … would decide the future of Europe.” He went on to say that “war was less likely if we acted firmly now than if we allowed matters to slide from crisis to crisis as had been done in the 1930s.”78 With regard to the ongoing negotiations with the Benelux countries, this meant, Bevin told Massigli on 27 February 1948, that no space was left for further maneuvering. The five countries would have to come to an agreement as soon as possible, even if doing so meant the British and French would have to accept some of the proposals made by the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg.79

Compared to the British, the French gave the events in Prague quite a different reception. Within Whitehall circles, as Massigli remarks in his memoirs, written some 30 years later, the Communist coup confirmed the assessment that although war was not an immediate probability it was nonetheless a real threat. In France, the takeover was seen in much more alarming terms, creating a state of panic, anxiety, and war hysteria.80 Bidault, like his British counterpart, feared the “communization wave” was about to spread immediately to Austria, Italy, and elsewhere. Against this backdrop the French minister changed his mind and abandoned the Dunkirk Treaty formula. Even so, for domestic purposes, he insisted that some reference to the renewal of German aggression be made in any final treaty text.81

Despite this major shift, two questions remained to be ironed out when the representatives of Britain, France, and the Benelux countries assembled in Brussels on 4 March 1948. The British, supported by the French, refused to commit to any economic cooperation that would violate the principle of economic sovereignty and duplicate the activities of the Paris-based Organization for European Economic Co-operation. On the other hand, the British and French were also at odds. Although the British, wanting to satisfy U.S. officials, wished to include some reference to the possibility of German accession to the agreement (provided Germany became a functional democracy), the French remained resolutely opposed. Even after eight more days of intense negotiations, this issue remained unresolved, and the whole point was therefore adjourned for discussion at later Franco-British talks.82

In the end, no such bilateral negotiations took place. This was because the collapse of democracy in Czechoslovakia also led to a reevaluation of the situation by the U.S. government. On 8 March 1948, John Hickerson, the director of the U.S. State Department's Office of European Affairs, who had argued for an “entangling alliance” with the Western European countries ever since the failed London ministerial meeting in December, submitted a memorandum to Secretary of State Marshall analyzing “what steps [the U.S. government] can take to deter further fifth-column aggression on the Czech model.”83 Because the lack of “any sign of friendly external force was undoubtedly a major factor in the limp Czech collapse,” he suggested that the United States should “stiffen the morale” of free Europe—especially Italy, which seemed to be “the critical spot at the moment” with a general election due to be held in April 1949. However, Hickerson went on, a “highly nervous” France as well as Austria were also far from safeguarded and were highly vulnerable to a Communist takeover. For these reasons, he concluded, the U.S. government should consider “any further suppression of free countries in Europe [as] a direct threat to its own security,” and the departments concerned should contemplate “the possibility of U.S. participation in a North Atlantic-Mediterranean regional defense arrangement … including initially Great Britain, France, Benelux and Italy.”84

Meanwhile, after Stalin offered “friendship” treaty negotiations to the Finns on 23 February 1948, Finland was more or less written off. Concern was also growing that the Soviet leader was about to make a similar offer to the Norwegians.85 The “last straw,” however, came two days after Hickerson submitted his memorandum. On 10 March, Masaryk, a symbol of the Czechoslovak democracy that had been born out of Wilsonian idealism, was found dead below the window of his ministerial apartment.86 On the day Masaryk died, Marshall held a press conference in which he described the situation in Europe as “very, very serious.” Masaryk's death, in his opinion, left no doubt about “what is going on” in Czechoslovakia and elsewhere in Europe. It was “a reign of terror,” not “an ordinary due process of government by the people.” Nonetheless, he refused to specify “the measures that the United States might take to meet the European crisis.”87

It is unlikely that the U.S. government could have decided on specific measures within two days. Nonetheless, U.S. public opinion favored strong measures after Masaryk's death.88 Consequently, Marshall came to believe the United States had to take a hard line toward the Soviet demands.89 He advised Truman that “at least an indication of our willingness to consult on means of stopping further expansion of Communist dictatorship in Europe is necessary to stiffen morale in the free countries of Europe, particularly France and Italy.”90 Finally, on the morning of 12 March 1948, Marshall discussed the issue privately with Truman, who apparently agreed to preliminary consultations.91 Later that day the British ambassador received a note from Marshall informing him that the United States was now “prepared to proceed at once with joint discussions on the establishment of an Atlantic security system.”92

A different note was handed to Henri Bonnet, the French ambassador in the United States. Less straightforward, its aim was to keep the French, who were considered a security threat, out of the talks Marshall had proposed to the British and Canadians.93 At the same time, Marshall wanted to apply further pressure on the French not to delay signing the five-power pact: “the deliberations in which [the five-power representatives] are now engaged at Brussels will, [Marshall hoped], result in comprehensive arrangements for the common defense of the participating nations. Such a result would appear to be an essential prerequisite to any wider arrangement in which other countries including the United States might play a part.”94No further pressure on the French was necessary. When Bevin, accompanied by his private secretary, Frank Roberts, arrived in Paris on 16 March 1948, they found Bidault and Couve de Murville in a gloomy mood. Both men believed that war was now nearer than that it had been at any time since the end of World War II. The French foreign minister in particular was deeply depressed and was convinced that the time was ripe for the Soviet Union to strike because the Western countries had only just started to organize themselves for such an eventuality. Soviet leaders, Bidault said, “would be mad if they let this opportunity pass.”95 Neither side, therefore, raised the question of possible German accession during the discussions.96 With no other issues to be resolved, the Brussels Pact was signed one day later, on 17 March 1948.97


Earlier attempts to assess the importance of the Prague coup for the creation of the Brussels Pact by reference to the interests of any particular country are flawed. The events in Prague had different effects on the development of policy in the United Kingdom and the Benelux countries on the one hand, and in France and the United States on the other. In Britain the Communist takeover had a limited effect on the overall course of foreign policy, for Whitehall's primary concerns were to maintain the political, economic, and military strength of the Commonwealth, as well as the U.S.-UK special relationship. The Foreign Office believed these were the preconditions for the strengthening of the Atlantic community and the economic recovery of Europe.98 In this respect, the Prague putsch may have provided an important stimulus and influenced strategy for reaching a specific goal, but by no means was it a decisive factor or one that shaped the main objectives of British foreign policy. As in Britain, the coup was also of lesser importance in the Benelux countries. Given their relative lack of interest in Central and Eastern European issues, the event turned to their advantage, because, in conjunction with the strong pressure from U.S. officials, it forced Britain and France to abandon the Dunkirk Treaty formula as a basis for negotiations.99

Of all the countries under consideration, the event had the greatest importance in France. Not only did it enable Schuman's first cabinet to survive until July 1948, but the loss of Czechoslovakia to Communism was seen in all non-Communist circles as clear proof that the Soviet Union aimed at world domination and that even a country with a long tradition of Western-type democracy could easily succumb to simultaneous threats from without and within.100 Even Leon Blum, the preeminent French Socialist, wore sackcloth and ashes and regretted the advice the Western European Socialists had given their Eastern European comrades on working with Communists: “They wanted to work with the local Communists, and we encouraged them. At their behest we turned a blind eye to what was really happening, we withheld support from anti-Communist exiles or the victims of Communist intolerance. For the East European Socialists’ own sake we should have been more critical.”101

Although for Blum and the Socialists the coup may have seemed like a shameful repetition of Munich 1938, for French diplomacy the results were more auspicious, marking the definitive end of a bankrupt prewar policy based on the system of bilateral agreements and spurring a quest for security through European integration. This task was accomplished not by Bidault, a man whose thinking was dominated by the past, but by his successors Schuman and Monnet.102

In the United States, the Czechoslovak affair had two principal effects. The death of Masaryk in particular turned public opinion, including that of congressional leaders, in favor of greater U.S. engagement in Europe. In the aftermath of the coup and Masaryk's death, U.S. journalists and political commentators agreed that Stalin was determined to bring the whole of Europe under his control and that the same method of indirect intervention he had used in Czechoslovakia would soon be seen in Italy and perhaps in France too.103 This allowed Marshall, who did not believe war with the Soviet Union would occur in the near term, to reorient U.S. foreign policy toward an “entangling alliance” with Western Europe.104 To be sure, the concrete shape of such an alliance was still to be determined, and it took another year of turbulent negotiations before NATO was established in April 1949. Thus, in the end, the “indignation over what has happened in Czechoslovakia, fear of what may occur in Italy and encouragement at the outcome of the Brussels Conference” opened the door for an alliance in the North Atlantic.105 The Czechoslovak coup was a crucial factor in this development but was not sufficient. Other events, such as the Berlin Blockade, were of at least equal importance.

The establishment of the Brussels Pact was different, however, because the Prague events were a key factor in changing the French attitude. After the Prague coup, Paris abandoned its insistence that agreements had to be bilateral and was ready to entertain the possibility of a regional agreement. What this indicates is that if a coup had not taken place in Prague or if the event had had no effect on French foreign policy, discussions about the abandonment of the bilateral principle embodied in the Dunkirk Treaty might have been interminably protracted, and the Brussels Pact might not have been concluded. Although this argument is counterfactual, it is nonetheless supported by an examination of later developments. In his first-hand account of the North Atlantic Treaty negotiations, the Canadian diplomat Escott Reid concludes, among other things, that had the French been included in the Pentagon talks in March they would likely not have insisted on their proposals as “intransigently” as they did later in the summer of 1948, when they had recovered from the “Prague coup shock.” On 20 August 1948, with the Quai d’Orsay forcefully opposing the very character of the project, even General Marshall “felt like calling off the Atlantic pact negotiations at once.” The French were seeking not a multilateral pact but a reinforcement of West European defenses through an increase in the supply of U.S. military personnel and equipment in West European countries generally and in France in particular.106 Thus, though Bevin, “in strict confidence,” had informed Schuman and his minister of interior, Jules Moch, about forthcoming trilateral U.S.-British-Canadian talks on 16 March, the first negative reactions from the French arrived on 6 July 1948, when the impact of the events in Prague had started to fade.107


This research was carried out with the financial support of the ERMOS program (cofunded by Marie Curie Actions) as part of the project ERMOS98, hosted by the University of Tartu, Estonia. The author thanks Vojtech Mastny and John W. Young for their helpful advice and suggestions, as well as for their encouragement and support (while absolving them of any responsibility for the content of this article). The author is particularly grateful to the JCWS editors and peer reviewers, whose comments also helped to improve the quality of the article. Special thanks go to Angus Walker, who spent a lot of his time putting earlier drafts into suitable English.



“Record of a Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg in Paris,” 17 April 1948, in The National Archives of the United Kingdom, London (TNAUK), Foreign Office Files (FO) 371/73057.


See André Dumoulin and Éric Remacle, L’Union de l’Europe occidentale: Phénix de la défense européenne (Brussels: Bruylant, 1998), pp. 3–27; Wolfgang Krieger, “Foundation and History of the Treaty of Brussels, 1948–1950,” in Norbert Wiggershaus and Roland G. Foerster, eds., The Western Security Community, 1948–1950 (Providence: Berg, 1993), pp. 229–249; Maurice Vaïsse, “L’échec d’une Europe franco-britannique ou comment le pacte de Bruxelles fut créé et délaissé,” in Raymond Poidevin, ed., Histoire des débuts de la construction européenne (mars 1948–mai 1950) (Paris: LGDJ, 1986), pp. 369–389; and John Baylis, “Britain, the Brussels Pact and the Continental Commitment,” International Affairs, Vol. 60, No. 4 (Fall 1982), pp. 615–629.


Jean Stengers, “Paul-Henri Spaak et la traité de Bruxelles de 1948,” in Raymond Poidevin, ed., Histoire des débuts, pp. 119–142.


Ibid., pp. 132–136.


In the case of Norway, Cees Wiebes and Bert Zeeman refer to rumors in Western diplomatic circles in early March 1948 that Moscow had proposed a treaty of alliance. See Cees Wiebes and Bert Zeeman, “Benelux,” in David Reynolds, ed., The Origins of the Cold War in Europe (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994), p. 180. The Belgian historian Luc de Vos is even more dismissive of the importance of the coup, saying only that “the Communist coup in Prague on 27 February 1948 allowed the British and the French to change tack on the Benelux plans without too much loss of face.” See Luc de Vos, “A Little ‘Fish’ in a Big Political ‘Pool’—Belgium's Cautious Contribution to the Rise of Military Integration in Western Europe,” in Wiggershaus and Foerster, eds., The Western Security Community, p. 96.


Antonio Varsori, “Reflections on the Origins of the Cold War,” in Odd Arne Westad, ed., Reviewing the Cold War: Approaches, Interpretations, Theory (Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 2000), pp. 283–302.


Ibid., p. 289.


Ibid. See also Antonio Varsori, “From Dunkirk to Washington via Brussels (1947–1949),” in Saki Dockrill et al., eds., L’Europe de l’Est et de l’Ouest dans la Guerre froide 1948–1953 (Paris: PUPS, 2002), pp. 9–19; Antonio Varsori, “The First Stage of Negotiations: December 1947 to June 1948,” in Ennio Di Nolfo, ed., The Atlantic Pact Forty Years Later (New York: W. de Gruyter, 1991), pp. 19–40; and Antonio Varsori, Il Patto di Bruxelles (1948): Tra integrazione europea e alleanza atlantica (Rome: Bonacci, 1988), pp. 62–106.


Vojtech Mastny, “The February 1948 Prague Coup and the Origins of NATO,” in Carsten Due-Nielsen, Rasmus Mariager, and Regin Schmidt, eds., Nye fronter i Den kolde Krig [New frontiers in the Cold War] (Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 2010), pp. 114–130.


Ibid., p. 126.




Vít Smetana, “Old Wine in New Bottles? British Policy towards Czechoslovakia, 1938–1939 and 1947–1948,” in Mark Cornwall and Robert J. W. Evans, eds., Czechoslovakia in a Nationalist and Fascist Europe 1918–1948 (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 144, 166.


Jindřich Dejmek, “The Communist Coup d’Etat in Czechoslovakia in February 1948 and Democratic Western Europe,” Historica: Historical Sciences in the Czech Republic—Series Nova, Vol. 12 (2005), p. 132; and Vilém Prečan, “Der Februarumsturz 1948 in der Tschechoslowakei im internationalen Kontext: Unmittelbare und langfristige Folgen,” in Hans Lemberg et al., eds., Suche nach Sicherheit in stürmischer Zeit: Tschechen, Slowaken und Deutsche im System der internationalen Beziehungen der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts (Essen: Klartext, 2009), esp. pp. 416–422.


For an overview of the recent historiography on Czechoslovak foreign policy from 1945 to 1948, see Jindřich Dejmek, “Historiografie československé zahraniční politiky a diplomacie 1918–1948: Bilance posled ní dekády (1997/98–2007)” [The historiography of Czechoslovak foreign policy 1918–1948: A review of the last decade (1997/98–2007)], in Jan Němeček, ed., Reflexe děj in Československa 1918–1948 v historiografii na počátku 3. tisíciletí [The reflection of the history of Czechoslovakia 1918–1948 in historiography at the beginning of the third millennium] (Prague: Historický ústav AVČR, 2008), pp. 56–63. A general account of the relations between Czechoslovakia and the West is provided by Petr Prokš, Československo a Západ 1945–1948 [Czechoslovakia and the West, 1945–1948] (Prague: ISV, 2001). Relevant articles can also be found in Lemberg et al., Suche nach Sicherheit in stürmischer Zeit.


On British policy toward Czechoslovak exiles during the war, see, for example, Martin D. Brown, Dealing with Democrats: The British Foreign Office and the Czechoslovak Émigrés in Great Britain, 1939 to 1945 (New York: Peter Lang, 2006).


“Nichols to Warner,” 14 March 1945, in TNAUK, FO 371/47107, quoted in Smetana, “Old Wine in New Bottles?” p. 157. See also Marek K. Kamiński, Polska i Czechosłowacja w polityce Stanów Zjednoczonych i Wielkiej Brytanii, 1945–1948 [The American and British policy toward Poland and Czechoslovakia, 1945–1948] (Warsaw: Instytut Historii PAN, 1991), pp. 193–238.


“Sir Oliver Harvey, UK Delegation, Moscow, to Hoyer Millar,” 1 April 1947, in TNAUK, FO 371/67653 Z3359/322/4, quoted in Smetana, “Old Wine in New Bottles?” p. 158.


For a detailed account of Franco-Czechoslovak negotiations, see Antoine Marès, “Franco-Czechoslovak Relations from 1944 to 1948 or the Munich Syndrome,” in Antonio Varsori and Elena Calandri, eds., The Failure of Peace in Europe, 1943–1948 (New York: Palgrave, 2002), pp. 104–122 (a slightly extended Czech version appeared in Soudobé dějiny, Vol. 6, No. 2–3 [Spring/Summer 1999], pp. 187–207); Petr Prokš, “Pokus o nové spojenectví: Příspěvek k dějinám československo-francouzských vztahů v letech 1945–1948” [An attempt to form a new alliance: A contribution to the history of the Franco-Czechoslovak relations in the years 1945–1948], Český časopis historický, Vol. 96, No. 2 (Spring 1998), pp. 344–379; and Pavol Petruf, “Príprava povojnovej spojeneckej zmluvy medzi Československom a Francúzskom” [Preparation of the postwar treaty of alliance between Czechoslovakia and France], in Pavol Petruf, ed., Stredná a juhovýchodná Európa: Sondy do vývoja v štyridsiatychrokoch [Central and Southeastern Europe: Inquiries concerning developments in the 1940s] (Bratislava: Historickýústav SAV, 1992), pp. 74–120.


“Telegram from Dejean to Paris,” 17 August 1946, in Pavol Petruf, ed., Politické vzťahy medzi Francúzskom a Československom a Francúzskom a Slovenskom (1939–1948): Výber z dokumentov [Political relations between France and Czechoslovakia and France and Slovakia (1939–1948): Selected documents] (PRFCFS) (Bratislava: MaticaSlovenská, 2003), Doc. No. 182. Most of the documents in this volume that relate to the Franco-Czechoslovak talks on the Treaty of Alliance (ch. 5, pp. 305–521) come from the Archives Diplomatiques du Ministère des Affaires Étrangères, Paris (MAE), Série Z: Europe 1944–1949/Boxes 59–61, 74.


Smetana, “Old Wine in New Bottles?” pp. 158–159.


“Top-Secret Telegram from Massigli to Paris,” 17 May 1946, in Petruf, ed., PRFCFS, No. 168.


“Secret Memorandum of the European Department of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” 18 July 1946, in Petruf, ed., PRFCFS, No. 177. This memorandum is also included in Documents diplomatiques français (DDF), 1946, Vol. 2 (New York: Peter Lang, 2004), No. 34. According to Marès, the author of the memorandum was Henri Roux. Marès, “Franco-Czechoslovak Relations,” p. 110.


John W. Young, France, the Cold War and the Western Alliance, 1944–49 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990), p. 124.


“Top-Secret Telegram from Bidault to Dejean,” 16 July 1946, in Petruf, ed., PRFCFS, No. 176; also available in DDF, 1946, Vol. 2, No. 26.


See Petruf, ed., PRFCFS, Nos. 179–180; also available in DDF, 1946, Vol. 2, No. 78.


See Petruf, ed., PRFCFS, Nos. 187–188; also available in DDF, 1947, Vol. 1, No. 118.


These negotiations resulted, on 4 March 1947, in the signing of the Treaty of Dunkirk. For further details, see Yann Lamézec, Le traité franco-britannique de Dunkerque: Un traité oublié (Paris: PUPS, 2007); Claire Sanderson, L’impossible alliance? France, Grande-Bretagne, et défense de l’Europe (1945–1958) (Paris: Sorbonne, 2003), pp. 39–91; Bert Zeeman, “Britain and the Cold War: An Alternative Approach,” European History Quarterly, Vol. 16, No. 3 (Summer 1986), pp. 343–367; John W. Young, Britain, France and the Unity of Europe, 1945–1951 (Leicester, UK: Leicester University Press, 1984), pp. 43–51; Sean Greenwood, “Return to Dunkirk: The Origins of the Anglo-French Treaty of March 1947,” Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December/Winter 1983), pp. 49–65; and John Baylis, “Britain and the Dunkirk Treaty: The Origins of NATO,” Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 5, No. 2 (June/Summer 1982), pp. 236–247. The quoted portion of the Dunkirk Treaty text is from the version available at the website of the Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance de l’Europe, <http://www.ena.lu>.


See Petruf, ed., PRFCFS, Nos. 189–195, 198; also available in DDF, 1947, Vol. 1, Nos. 134, 157, 268. See also Prokš, “Pokus o nové spojenectví,” p. 357; and Young, France, pp. 137, 265 n. 22.


See Petruf, ed., PRFCFS, No. 187; also available in DDF, 1947, Vol. 1, No. 118.


Young, France, p. 149.




“Memorandum of the Quai d’Orsay,” 26 May 1947, in Petruf, ed., PRFCFS, No. 203; also available in DDF, 1947, Vol. 1, No. 358.


See “Record of the Talk between Bonbright and de Courcel,” 24 May 1947, in Petruf, ed., PRFCFS, No. 196. See also Petruf, ed., PRFCFS, nos. 204–205; also available in DDF, 1947, Vol. 1, Nos. 118, 373.


See Petruf, ed., PRFCFS, Nos. 206–207, 213–214.


Ibid., Nos. 209, 216, 219, 222, 225–226. For details on the agreement, see Prokš, “Pokus o nové spojenectví,” pp. 366–367, 374.


“Minutes of the Visit of the Czechoslovak Government Delegation to Generalissimo J. V. Stalin,” 9 July 1947, in Petruf, ed., PRFCFS, No. 230.


See Petruf, ed., PRFCFS, Nos. 238–239; also available in DDF, 1947, Vol. 2, No. 174. See also Marès, “Franco-Czechoslovak Relations,” p. 115; and Georges-Henri Soutou, “Georges Bidault et la construction européenne, 1944–1954,” in Serge Bernstein et al., eds., Le MRP et la construction européenne (Brussels: Complexe, 1993), p. 204.


“Minutes of the Meeting between J.-C. Paris and Sir Ashley Clarke,” 25 November 1947, in Petruf, ed., PRFCFS, No. 246.


Bidault, however, did not rule out the possibility that the Eastern treaties could not be signed at some future point: “J’estime que la conclusion d’un traité avec la Tchécoslovaquie n’est actuellement pas sensiblement plus opportune [emphasis added] que celle d’un traité avec la Pologne.” See “Immediate Telegram from Massigli to Paris,” 27 November 1947, in Petruf, ed., PRFCFS, No. 247. See also DDF, 1947, Vol. 2, Nos. 368–369.


Alan Bullock, Ernest Bevin: Foreign Secretary, 1945–1951 (London: Heinemann, 1983), pp. 494–495.


Anne Deighton, The Impossible Peace: Britain, the Division of Germany and the Origins of the Cold War (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1990), pp. 213–214; and “Anglo-French Conversations,” 17 December 1947, in TNAUK, FO 800/465. For the French record of this conversation, see DDF, 1947, Vol. 2, No. 414. Both Bevin and Bidault were surprised by Marshall's decision.


“Anglo-French Conversations”; and DDF, 1947, Vol. 2, No. 414.


Cf. Geneviève Maelstaf, “Le ‘facteur soviétique’ dans la politique allemande de la France 1945–1954,” in Georges-Henri Soutou and Émilia Robin Hivert, eds., L’URSS et l’Europe de 1941 à 1957 (Paris: PUPS, 2008), p. 345.


William I. Hitchcock, France Restored: Cold War Diplomacy and the Quest for Leadership in Europe, 1944–1954 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998), pp. 78–82; Young, France, pp. 157–161; and Bullock, Ernest Bevin, pp. 428–438.


“From United Kingdom Delegation to United Nations to Foreign Office,” 7 October 1947, in TNAUK, FO 800/465.


Ibid.; emphasis in original.


U.S. officials, however, did not share this enthusiasm, and the State Department was reluctant to proceed further on a trilateral basis unless the London meeting ended in an impasse. See “From United Kingdom Delegation to United Nations to Foreign Office,” 7 October 1947; and “Memorandum Given to M. Chauvel by Sir Oliver Harvey,” 17 October 1947, in TNAUK, FO 800/465. See also Anne Deighton, The Impossible Peace, pp. 200–206; and Bullock, Ernest Bevin, pp. 490–493.


“Cooper to Sargent,” 16 October 1947, in TNAUK, FO 800/465; and “Visit to London of Secretary-General of French Ministry for Foreign Affairs,” 19–22 October 1947, in TNAUK, FO 800/465. For French records, see DDF, 1947, Vol. 2, Nos. 250, 266. See also Sanderson, L’impossible alliance? pp. 100–107; Marc Trachtenberg, A Constructed Peace: The Making of the European Settlement, 1945–1963 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999), pp. 66–78; and Young, France, pp. 169–172.


“Record of Discussion between the Secretary of State and M. Bidualt,” 25 November 1947, in TNAUK, FO 800/465. See also Hitchcock, France Restored, pp. 82–87; Young, France, pp. 164–168; and Georgette Elgey, La République des illusions, 1945–1951 (Paris: Fayard, 1965), pp. 323–377. On the importance of the year 1947 in the French context, see Serge Bernstein and Pierre Milza, eds., L’année 1947 (Paris: Sciences Po, 2000). For an analysis of the French Communist Party's policy goals, see also Robert Mencherini, Guerre froide, grèves rouges: Parti communiste, stalinisme et lutes sociales en France, les grèves insurrectionnelles de 1947–1948 (Paris: Syllepses, 1998).


Hitchcock, France Restored, pp. 82–87; and Young, France, pp. 164–168. See also Irwin M. Wall, L’influence américaine sur la politique française 1945–1954 (Paris: Balland, 1989), pp. 117–144; and Bullock, Ernest Bevin, pp. 483–489. For a more general account of Washington's approach to the French political parties, see Deborah Kisatsky, “The United States, the French Right and American Power in Europe, 1946–1958,” The Historian, Vol. 65, No. 3 (March/Spring 2003), pp. 615–641.


“Anglo-French Conversations,” 17 December 1947. Bidault also revealed his concerns about the future of Czechoslovakia to the United States. See “Memorandum of Conversation, by the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Douglas),” 17 December 1947, in U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1947, Vol. II, p. 812 (hereinafter referred to as FRUS, with appropriate year and volume numbers).


Young, France, p. 176. Whether Clay and Robertson could have acted on their own is debatable. For their part, the French viewed this ex post facto explanation as dubious. See also Hitchcock, France Restored, pp. 89–92; and Bullock, Ernest Bevin, pp. 513–518.


See Young, France, pp. 162–164, 186–187; and Pierre Guillen, “Le projet d’union économique entre la France, l’Italie et le Benelux,” in Poidevin, ed., Histoire des débuts, pp. 147–148.


Young, France, p. 186; and Guillen, “Le projet d’union économique,” pp. 147.


For a precise chronological reconstruction of events, see Sanderson, L’impossible alliance? pp. 93–144; and Varsori, Il Patto di Bruxelles, pp. 32–106.


“Anglo-French Conversations,” 17 December 1947.


“British Memorandum of Conversation,” n.d., in FRUS, 1947, Vol. II, p. 815. The French were later provided with an expurgated record of this conversation. See “Anglo-American Conversations,” n.d., in TNAUK, FO 800/465. Cf. FRUS, 1947, Vol. II, p. 815 n. 24. For the French-U.S. talks, see “Memorandum of Conversation, by the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Douglas),” pp. 813–815. For the French counterclaims, see, for example, Young, France, p. 275 n. 159.


“British Memorandum of Conversation,” p. 817. See also Lawrence S. Kaplan, NATO 1948: The Birth of the Transatlantic Alliance (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007), pp. 14–20.


The Quai d’Orsay hoped to achieve a trilateral UK-France-United States agreement on a modified version of James F Byrnes's four-power treaty proposal of April 1946. See “Military Aspects of M. Chauvel's Final Conversation with Sir Orme Sargent and Sir Oliver Harvey,” 21 October 1947, in TNAUK, FO 800/465. On the considerations of the French military, see Jenny Raflik, “Les décideurs français et l’Alliance atlantique, 1947–1954,” Ph.D. Diss., Université de Paris 1, 2006, pp. 92–97, 103–106; Philippe Vial and Claude d’Abzac-Epezy, “Les Europe des militaires: Forces armées et enjeux européens sous la IVe République,” in Elisabeth du Réau, ed., Europe des élites? Europe des peuples? La construction de l’espace européen, 1945–1960 (Paris: Sorbonne, 1998), pp. 185–204; Frédéric Bozo et al., eds., La France et l’OTAN, 1949–1996 (Brussels: Complexe, 1996); Philippe d’Abzac-Epezy and Elisabeth Vial, “In Search of a European Consciousness: French Military Elites and the Idea of Europe, 1947–54,” in Anne Deighton, ed., Building Postwar Europe: National Decision-Makers and European Integration, 1948–63 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995), pp. 1–20; and Jean Delmas, “Reflections on the Notion of Military Power through the French Example (1945–1948),” in Josef Becker and Franz Knipping, eds., Power in Europe? (New York: W. de Gruyter, 1986), pp. 339–352. Around the same time, the French sought the views of U.S. officials. For details on the mission of General Gaston Billotte, see Raflik, “Les décideurs français,” pp. 108–113.


René Massigli, Une comédie des erreurs, 1943–1956: Souvenirs et réflexions sur une étape de la construction européenne (Paris: Plon, 1978), p. 105, quoted in Young, France, p. 173.


See Baylis, “Britain, the Brussels Pact and the Continental Commitment,” p. 620. According to the oral testimony given to Anne Deighton by Sir Gladwyn Jebb, one of the architects of British postwar foreign policy, he was the one who “prepared much of [Bevin's Cabinet] paper.” See Deighton, The Impossible Peace, p. 220 n. 49. The documents make clear that they were only a summary of Bevin's previous talks with Marshall and Bidault, supplemented with a vague “time schedule” for realization of the Western Union project, thus apparently confirming Jebb's claim.


“Memorandum on Formation of Western Union,” 13 January 1948, in TNAUK, FO 115/4359. This memorandum constituted the background for Bevin's well-known speech in the House of Commons on 22 January 1948. A similar note was sent to the Canadian government. See Escott Reid, Time of Fear and Hope: The Making of the North Atlantic Treaty, 1947–1949 (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1977), p. 38.


“Secretary of State to Lord Inverchapel,” 13 January 1948, in TNAUK, FO 115/4359. Compare with “The British Ambassador (Inverchapel) to the Secretary of State,” 13 January 1948, in FRUS, 1948, Vol. 3, pp. 3–6.


“Marshall to Inverchapel,” 20 January 1948, in TNAUK, FO 115/4359. Cf. “The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Inverchapel),” 20 January 1948, in FRUS, 1948, Vol. III, pp. 8–9. Pierre Melandri mentions that this telegram was directly authorized by President Harry Truman. See Pierre Melandri, Les États-Unis face a l’unification de l’Europe, 1945–1954 (Paris: Pedone, 1980), p. 161.


“Inverchapel to Foreign Office,” 19 January 1948, in TNAUK, FO 115/4359. As U.S. officials later made clear, this view was Washington's official position on the matter. See the memoranda from Hickerson and Kennan in FRUS, 1948, Vol. 3, pp. 6–8. See also Kaplan, NATO 1948, pp. 26–30.


Sanderson, L’impossible alliance? pp. 115–116; and Vaïsse, L’échec d’une Europe franco-britannique, p. 374. See also Kaplan, NATO 1948, pp. 34–39.


“From Brussels to Foreign Office,” 2 February 1948, in TNAUK, FO 371/73046; and Luc De Vos et al., eds., Documents diplomatiques belges 1941–1960: De l’indépendance à l’interdépendance, Vol. 2, Défense (Brussels: Académie Royale de Belgique, 1998), pp. 220–221. See also Stengers, “Paul-Henri Spaak et le Traite de Bruxelles de 1948,” pp. 123–132; and Dumoulin-Remacle, “L’Union,” pp. 6–10.


“The Proposed Treaties with the Benelux Powers,” 7 February 1948, in TNAUK, FO 371/73046.


See De Vos et al., eds., Documents diplomatiques belges 1941–1960, pp. 223–225. For a verbatim English-language record, see “The Ambassador in France (Caffery) to the Secretary of State,” 19 February 1948, in FRUS, 1948, Vol. III, pp. 26–29.


“From Brussels to Foreign Office,” 19 February 1948, in TNAUK, FO 371/73048; and Stengers, “Paul-Henri Spaak et le Traite de Bruxelles de 1948,” p. 127.


“From Washington to Foreign Office,” 19 February 1948, in TNAUK, FO 371/73048. This telegram from Inverchapel summarizes the gist of an earlier note for Bidault by way of the U.S. embassy in Paris. Most likely it was the top-secret letter of 10 February 1948 from Hickerson to Caffery mentioned in the telegram from Marshall to the Paris embassy. See “The Secretary of State to the Embassy in France,” 27 February 1948, in FRUS, 1948, Vol. III, p. 34. Hickerson’s letter was not listed for publication.


“The Secretary of State to the Embassy in France,” 27 February 1948, p. 33–34.


See, for example, “Western Union: Conversation with Belgian Ambassador,” 18 February 1948, in TNAUK, FO 371/73049;and “Western European Union: Bevin's Memorandum for M. Bech,” 19 February 1948, in TNAUK, FO 371/73049.


See “Aide-mémoire,” 17 February 1948, in MAE, Pactes (Secrétariat Général) 1948–1950, Traite de Bruxelles—Pacte Atlantique, Box 1, Folder 1.


For a detailed description of the February events, see, for example, François Fejtö, Le coup de Prague, 1948 (Paris: Seuil, 1976); and Karel Kaplan, The Short March: The Communist Takeover in Czechoslovakia, 1945–1948 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987). On the U.S. perspective, see Walter Ullman, The United States in Prague 1945–1948 (Boulder, CO: East European Quarterly, 1978), pp. 146–157.


“The Czechoslovak Crisis,” 3 March 1948, in TNAUK, CAB 121/359. See also Alan Bullock, Ernest Bevin, pp. 525–528.


Quoted in Alan Bullock, Ernest Bevin, p. 526. See also “The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Douglas) to the Secretary of State,” 26 February 1948, in FRUS, 1948, Vol. III, p. 32–33.


Sanderson, “L’impossible alliance,” p. 127; and Vaïsse, “L’échec  d’une Europe,” pp. 377–378.


Massigli, Une comédie des erreurs, p. 116.


See “The Ambassador in France (Caffery) to the Secretary of State,” 2 March 1948; and “Editor's Note,” in FRUS, 1948, Vol. III, pp. 34–35, 38.


See “From Brussels to Foreign Office,” 12 March 1948, in TNAUK, FO 371/73052. For complete records of the negotiations, see the minutes in TNAUK, FO 371/73052 (1st–6th meetings); and FO 371/73053 (7th–9th meetings).


“Memorandum from the Director of the Office of European Affairs (Hickerson) to the Secretary of State,” 8 March 1948, in FRUS, 1948, Vol. III, pp. 40–42. Hickerson was supported by his subordinate Theodore C. Achilles, the head of Western European affairs at the State Department. The group opposing this view consisted of, among others, Charles Bohlen (then State Department counselor) and George Kennan (the head of the Policy Planning Staff). The result was a kind of schism within the State Department, for both groups of officials wanted to have Marshall and his undersecretary, Robert A. Lowett, on their side. See Kaplan, NATO 1948, pp. 14–20, 30–34; and Geir Lundestad, America, Scandinavia and the Cold War, 1945–1949 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1980), pp. 172–174.


“Memorandum by the Director of the Office of European Affairs (Hickerson) to the Secretary of State,” 8 March 1948, pp. 40–42.


See “Memorandum by the Director of the Office of European Affairs (Hickerson) to the Secretary of State,” 8 March 1948, in FRUS, 1948, Vol. III, p. 40. For useful documentation relating to the events in Finland, see FRUS, 1948, Vol. IV, pp. 759–787; and Jussi M. Hanhimäki, Containing Coexistence: America, Russia, and the “Finnish Solution,” 1945–1956 (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1997), pp. 23–54 (the chapter is pertinently titled “We Are Not Czechs”). On Norway, see the documents in FRUS, 1948, Vol. IV, pp. 20–81. See also Lundestad, America, Scandinavia and the Cold War, pp. 178–182; and Kaplan, NATO 1948, pp. 55–57.


On the Masaryk family's ideological and personal ties to the United States, see, for example, Zbyněk Zeman, The Masaryks: The Making of Czechoslovakia (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1976); and George J. Kovtun, Masaryk and America: Testimony of a Relationship (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1988). At the time of his death, Masaryk was in a relationship with a U.S. author and music critic Marcia Davenport. For her personal account of events, see Marcia Davenport, Too Strong for Fantasy (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967).


“From Washington to Foreign Office,” 11 March 1948, in TNAUK, FO 371/73052; and Kaplan, NATO 1948, pp. 50–51.


The telegram Marshall sent to the U.S. embassy in Rome on 11 March 1948 at 8:00 PM starts: “We are actively studying what US Govt might do to assist in checking further Communist expansion in Europe through steps designed to strengthen confidence of non-Communist elements and deter Soviets from further fifth-column action along Czech model. We believe US public opinion now prepared support strong measure.” See “The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Italy,” 11 March 1948, in FRUS, 1948, Vol. III, p. 45. On the shift in U.S. public opinion, the British ambassador reported that “the news of Masaryk's death is undoubtedly doing much to bring home to a people which tends to be roused by personal rather than public tragedies the stark realties of the current clash between East and West.” See “From Washington to Foreign Office,” 11 March 1948, in TNAUK, FO 371/73052.


See Marshall's telegram to Oslo dispatched on 12 March 1948 at 7 p.m.: “If Soviet demands are made on Norway, in our opinion it is imperative that Norway adamantly resist such demands and pressure. Events in Czecho and elsewhere demonstrate futility of any other course.” See “The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Norway,” 12 March 1948, in FRUS, 1948, Vol. III, p. 51.


“Memorandum by the Secretary of State to President Truman,” 12 March 1948, in FRUS, 1948, Vol. III, p. 49.


See the editors’ footnote 3 in FRUS, 1948, Vol. III, p. 50.


“The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Inverchapel),” 12 March 1948, in FRUS, 1948, Vol. III, p. 48.


See Reid, Times of Fear and Hope, pp. 53–55, 70–86.


“The Secretary of State to the Embassy in France,” 12 March 1948, in FRUS, 1948, Vol. 3, p. 50.


“Top Secret,” urgent message from Bidault, 17 March 1948, in TNAUK, FO 800/465.


See “Conversation with the French Minister for Foreign Affairs on European Situation,” 15 March 1948, in TNAUK, FO 800/465; and “Record of a Conversation between the Secretary of State and M. Bidault,” 17 March 1948, in TNAUK, FO 800/465.


The text of the Brussels Treaty is available online at <http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_17072.htm>.


Anne Deighton, “Britain and the Three Interlocking Circles,” in Antonio Varsori, ed., Europe 1945–1990s: The End of an Era? (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995), pp. 155–169.


Spaak thought U.S. pressure was primarily what forced London and Paris to abandon the Dunkirk formula. See “The Chargé in Belgium (Millard) to the Secretary of State,” 4 March 1948, in FRUS, 1948, Vol. 3, p. 38. But during the meeting with the Czechoslovak ambassador in Brussels, Dezider Rakšanyi, on 3 March, Spaak affirmed that the coup and news of Soviet pressure on Finland had helped to push the Brussels negotiations ahead because of the change in atmosphere. See Dejmek, The Communist Coup d’Etat, p. 134. Spaak's interpretation was almost literally and uncritically repeated by some scholars for decades afterward.


See Kaplan, NATO 1948, p. 51; and Soutou, France, p. 106.


Quoted in Tony Judt, The Burden of Responsibility: Blum, Camus, Aron, and the French Twentieth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), p. 60.


See, for example, Gérard Bossuat, Faire l’Europe sans défaire la France (Brussels: Peter Lang, 2005); Gérard Bossuat, L’Europe des Français, 1943–1959: La IVe République aux sources de l’Europe communautaire (Paris: Publication de la Sorbonne, 1997); and William I. Hitchcock, France Restored: Cold War Diplomacy and the Quest for Leadership in Europe, 1944–1954 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998). For the composition of the competing groups within the Quai d’Orsay, see Vaïsse, L’échec d’une Europe franco-britannique, pp. 371–373.


See, for example, “From Washington to Foreign Office,” 12 March 1948; “Telegram from Bonnet to Paris,” 26 February 1948, in Petruf, ed., PRFCFS, No. 290; and “Telegram from Bonnet to Paris,” 27 February 1948, in Petruf, ed., PRFCFS, No. 295.


During an address at The Citadel, a military college in Charleston, South Carolina, on 13 March 1948, Marshall's predecessor Byrnes called for “immediate re-enactment of selective service and for major strengthening of the United States air forces to meet the world crisis ‘that may exist four or five weeks from now.’” A few days earlier, on 5 March, General Clay sent to Washington a telegram in which he admitted that, contrary to his earlier expectations, the recent “change in Soviet attitude … [gave him] a feeling that [the war] may come with dramatic suddenness.” Marshall remained cool but still believed, as he said during a public discussion on the European Recovery Program at Washington National Cathedral on 12 March, that “the world is in the midst of a great crisis inflamed by misunderstanding, anger and fear.” On Marshall and Byrnes, see Inverchapel's telegrams of 12 and 13 March, in TNAUK, FO 371/73052. On Clay, see Kaplan, NATO 1948, pp. 57–58.


This was Inverchapel's assessment of the situation. See “From Washington to Foreign Office,” 15 March 1948, in TNAUK, FO 371/73052.


Reid, Times of Fear and Hope, pp. 53–55, 113–125.


See “Top Secret: Record of Secretary's State Conversation with M. Schuman and M. Jules Moch,” 17 March 1948, in TNAUK, FO 800/465.