With the continuing escalation of the Vietnam War, a group of INR analysts led by Frank E. Maestrone considered the possibility that Washington would cut U.S. forces in Western Europe so they could be redeployed to Southeast Asia. If that happened, what would be the implications for U.S. relations with other members of NATO? How might they react? The estimate of West German reaction and the implication for West Germany were central to the findings. As U.S. force levels in Germany had been a "symbol of the US intention to support NATO and to offer protection against the Soviet Union," a significant cut for the reasons stated would "[symbolize] a priority for US commitments in the Far East." That, in turn, could "not but help to stimulate wider reconsideration [in Bonn] of Germany's present foreign policy."
The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, and Denmark would be more concerned, above all, because of the prospect of a further enhancement of the role of the FRG in Alliance and European affairs, beyond the increase already in prospect as the result of France's anti-NATO actions. For these countries as for others, the Alliance as such and US leadership of it were important because they provide a framework within which the Federal Republic can be both "satisfied" and "contained." The British would also be concerned because a U.S. cutback would be seen as "endangering NATO's function of containing West Garman strength and predominance on the continent."
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