NATO: Ike's Trip

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A Paul Revere in a silver Constellation, NATO Commander General Dwight Eisenhower* last week traveled fast and hard across Western Europe.

In Paris, where official appointments begin at 10 a.m., Ike was at Premier René Pleven's office door at 8. Half an hour later he was at the Quai d'Orsay conferring with Foreign Minister Robert Schuman. Before 9 he moved on to talks with Defense Minister Jules Moch. He broke off intensive conferences with France's service chiefs only for an official luncheon. Said an astonished reporter: "The shortest that has ever been known. The guests were at the table for 40 minutes."

In 2½ days in Paris, General Eisenhower heard that: 1) two more French divisions will soon join the three now in Western Germany; 2) another five divisions will be mobilized, trained and equipped this year; 3) to furnish the 20 fully equipped divisions planned by 1953, deliveries of U.S. war material will have to speed up.

At Brussels, Ike bypassed the Belgian Air Force honor guard waiting at the Brussels airport, hurried to his car and hurried into the city. He quickly conferred with civil and defense chiefs, talked to Party Leaders Paul-Henri Spaak (Socialist) and Roger Motz (Liberal), learned that Belgium proposed to: 1) increase her strength in Germany from one to three divisions by the year's end, 2) double the draft period from 12 to 24 months.

From Denmark Dry Toast. In The Hague on the following day, Ike heard that The Netherlands, having demobilized all its Indonesia veterans, now has only 60,000 soldiers, none organized in divisions. Plans are afoot to train a reserve force of three infantry divisions, but the men would be returned to civilian life and would be mobilized only in an emergency. Said Ike pointedly as he left: "Great social gains remain for all of us to attain, but they can only be attained in an atmosphere of security." Dutch officials supposed the observation was directed especially at Socialist Premier Willem Drees, who is more interested in social progress than in rearmament.

Ike's Constellation headed north. In Copenhagen, Danes pridefully served their visitor some of their famed butter with his breakfast. But with a firm eye on his waistline he declined, insisted on dry toast, along with his caffeineless coffee (name: Kaffee Hag). Later, getting down to business, he was told that the 1,000-man Danish token force now in Germany would be placed under his command and enlarged to 4,000 men. Tactfully, he said: "Size has nothing to do with it . . . I have encountered nothing here but those things which have lifted up my heart."

From Norway a Navy. That afternoon, landing at Oslo, Ike's plane circled snowbound Gardermoen airfield for 15 minutes, then slid in. Ike climbed into a Norwegian admiral's Cadillac for the 36-mile drive to the capital. He learned that Norway would need all her 22,000-man force, plus her reservists, to defend her long, exposed coastline and her boundary with Russia. Norway's 4,000-man brigade in Germany will be turned over to Ike's command, and the government plans to raise the draft period from nine to twelve months. During luncheon next day, Defense Minister Jens Hauge pushed a two-foot-long Viking ship model over to Ike, said: "Here you are. Now you also have a navy."

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