The European Defence Community

Not until the coming into force of the Treaty Constituting the European Defence Community[1] will there exist truly integrated international forces—integrated administratively and logistically as well as in command.[2] Paradoxically, what now is a bold experiment in defensive measures may in time become once more virtually indistinguishable from a national army, if a real federation is attained by Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Nevertheless, as viewed today, the Community[3] and the European Defence Forces are significant departures from the international military organizations which have preceded them.

The most important institution of the Community will be the Commissariat,[4] which will act as a supra-national ministry of defence. Its nine members, although appointed by the members of the E.D.C., are to be supra-national officials, not responsible to or directed by the member nations.[5] The responsibilities of the Commissariat are to be ‘executive and supervisory’, including such matters as the preparation of the budget of the Community, the preparation of ‘the common armament, equipment, supply, and infra-structure programmes’ of the European Defence Forces, the granting of licences for military production, and the organization and the deployment of the Forces.[6] The Common Assembly, which is the Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community with certain additional representation, will perform the limited role in military matters of receiving the reports of the Commissariat and of forcing the resignation of the Commissariat by vote of censure, if the occasion therefore should arise.[7] A Council of Ministers, comprising representatives of the member states, is charged with the function of issuing directives to the Commissariat and of harmonizing the ‘actions of the Commissariat with the policies of the Governments of the member States’.95 Since the members of the E.D.C. will remain sovereign states, it was inevitable and by no means inconsistent with the purpose of the Community that the ultimate control of the agencies created should, in the same manner as in international forces previously constituted, rest in representatives of the member states rather than in some supra-national organ.96 Indeed, if the community, once established, is successful, its most striking accomplishment will have been reconciling a supra-national army with the preservation of national political identities.

The European Defence Forces themselves will be a homogeneous body, consisting ofconscripts and professional soldiers, wearing a common uniform, subject to a common code of discipline, and owing allegiance and obedience to the Commu- nity.97 Because of the diverse origins of the personnel of the forces, they are to be organized into basic units of common national origin, which are then to be brought together in army corps consisting of various national elements.98 In the case of land forces the basic unit, composed of persons of the same nationality, will be the ‘groupement’ of approximately divisional size.99 The process of creating this force must be a gradual one, and provision is made for a transitional administration of national contingents, which will eventually give way to a system of troop commands, supported by a system of European Territorial Military Regions.100 When the European Defence Forces are ready for use, they are to be at the disposal of the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, like other forces serving under him, and he is to submit to the Commissariat his requirements for the deployment of the Forces.101 In time of war, the Supreme Commander will assume ‘the full powers and responsibilities’ conferred on him by his terms of reference.102

The forces thus constituted are designed to take the place of national troops, the maintenance of which, with certain exceptions, is prohibited.103 National armed forces, other than police and gendarmerie, may be maintained only for the defence of non-European territory or for the performance of international missions, including those arising out of decisions of the United Nations.104 In case of internal disorders in the member states, the nation concerned may obtain release of a portion of its contingent with the permission of the Commissariat.105 However, if troops are to be withdrawn from the European Defence Forces for the defence of non-European territory or for the performance of an international mission, the permission of the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, must be obtained.106

Communaute europeenne de defense’, in International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 40 (1952),

pp. 526-7).

  • 95 Article 39, Treaty. 96 See Trempont, loc. cit., p. 523.
  • 97 Article 15, Treaty, Articles 15-18, Military Protocol.
  • 98 Article 68, Treaty. 99 Article 1, Military Protocol.
  • 100 Articles 6-10, Military Protocol. 101 Articles 18 and 77, Treaty.
  • 102 Article 18, paragraph 2, Treaty. 103 Article 9, Treaty.
  • 104 Articles 10 and 11, Treaty. 105 Article 12, Treaty.
  • 106 Articles 13 and 14, Treaty.

New treaty relationships have had to be worked out, since the projected E.D.C. will be made up of only part of the membership of N.A.T.O. and will in addition include Germany, which lacks full competence in international affairs and is not a member of N.A.T.O.[8] A Protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty in effect extends its protection to Germany by providing that an attack on the territory of any of the members of the E.D.C. in Europe or on the forces of the E.D.C. is to be considered an attack on all the parties to the North Atlantic Treaty, within the meaning of Article 5 thereof.[9] In a Tripartite Declaration, signed on 27 May 1952, both the United Kingdom and the United States stated that a threat to the integrity or unity of the Community would be regarded as a threat to their own security.[10] At the same time, the United Kingdom and the member states of the E.D.C. agreed that each would give aid to the other in the event of an attack on the signatory states or their forces in Europe.[11] It may be anticipated that the existence of two international commands of differing composition will continue to cause complications of a military as well as a political nature, which will be alleviated to a certain extent only at such time as Germany may become a member of N.A.T.O. Typical of such questions would be the political problem and the problem of command which would arise in the event of the E.D.C. being committed to a military action not supported by the other members of N.A.T.O.[12]

If the Community is constituted, the progressive development of international military institutions through the increasingly integrated forms which have been noted will have reached its logical conclusion. Although the constitutional development of such institutions is still in progress, some of the lessons which have been learned thus far may be summarized:

  • 1. Unity of command in the field is essential.
  • 2. The national chiefs of staff system can be applied effectively to international military organizations.
  • 3. An international organization which is incapable of carrying on military operations itself may use the technique of designating a single state to act in a representative capacity for it and to command national contingents made available for an international purpose.
  • 4. The administration of occupied territory through control councils consisting of the principal military commanders is a usable but not altogether satisfactory technique of military occupation.
  • 5. Economic and logistical planning must supplement co-operation in the purely military and operational sphere.
  • 6. An organ must be provided to give political guidance to any international military command.

  • [1] The texts of the Treaty and the annexed Protocols appear in Conventions on Relations with theFederal Republic of Germany and a Protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty, U.S. Senate Doc. ExecutivesQand R, 82d Congress, 2d Session (1952), pp. 167 ff.
  • [2] On the background of the E.D.C., see Oliver, ‘The Cooperative Defense of Europe’, in Minnesota Law Review, 36 (1952), p. 795.
  • [3] The Community is to have juridical personality, including the necessary juridical capacity ininternational relations (Article 7, Treaty).
  • [4] Title II, Chapter I, Treaty.
  • [5] Article 20, Treaty.
  • [6] Articles 19, 87, 101, 107, 71, and 77, Treaty.
  • [7] Article 36, Treaty. The more important aspect of the Assembly’s work is the making of studiesand proposals concerning further steps toward European unity (Trempont, ‘Le Traite instituant la
  • [8] The United Kingdom, the United States, and France retain their rights relating to the stationingof forces in Germany and the protection of their security in Berlin and Germany as a whole, includingthe unification of Germany and a peace settlement (Article 2, Convention on Relations Between theThree Powers and the Federal Republic of Germany, text in U.S. Senate Document cited supra, p. 88,n. 88, at p. 9; see Kunz, ‘The Contractual Agreements with the Federal Republic of Germany’, inA.J.I.L. 47 (1953), p. 106).
  • [9] Protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty on Guarantees Given by the Parties to the North AtlanticTreaty to the Members of the European Defence Community, 27 May 1952, Misc. No. 9 (1952),Cmd. 8562.
  • [10] Text in U.S. Senate Document cited supra, p. 88, n. 88, at p. 253.
  • [11] Treaty between the United Kingdom and the Member States of the European DefenceCommunity, Misc. No. 9 (1952), Cmd. 8562. It extended the guarantees against aggression of theBrussels Treaty, T.S. No. 1 (1949), to the E.D.C. members.
  • [12] Nash, ‘The European Defense Force and State Sovereignty’, in Proceedings of the AmericanSociety of International Law, 1952, p. 141.
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