6 MARCH 1953, Page 1

The Fate of E.D.C.

The sudden decision at the Rome meeting of European Foreign Ministers last week that an acceptable compromise was possible on the proposed French protocols to the European Defence Community Treaty always looked a little too good to true. It has now become quite clear that neither the draft- ing committee, engaged on the work of turning unacceptable additional protocols into acceptable " intewretative texts " nor the French Foreign Minister, M. Bidault, who must soon get these texts past a restive French Assembly, is going to have an easy time. So difficult, indeed, has the French position become that there has even been an attempted return to the weary old device of bringing in Britain to give the sponsors of E.D.C. a new confidence in their own proposals. But no quick solution lies in that direction. It really looks this time as if France will have to make up her mind between the E.D.C. Treaty as it stands and an international coalition, with separate French and German armies, as proposed by General de Gaulle. The chance of going on much longer without any German forces at all in Western Europe Is growing smaller every day. The Federal Republic has long outgrown the phase in . which it was unwilling to consider the rebuilding of any sort of German armed force. It was never at any time willing to accept military responsibilities without the corresponding right to equal status- with the other members of E.D.C. The German attitude is relatively simple. It is the French who must make up their minds.