862.00/4–248: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom

top secret   us urgent

1158. Personal for Ambassador. On basis available info Dept is not so much concerned about possible prior Soviet announcement of establishment German Govt, if this is action envisaged in par 3 urtel 1330 April 2.1 It seems to us this would clearly shift responsibility to Soviets for splitting Germany and in view of present character German People’s Congress2 would be recognized as patent fraud. We could first exploit this move and then announce that given this regrettable step Western Germany would be forced to set up a provisional constitutional government of its own. Dept recognizes advantage in announcement which could be made by US, UK and French at appropriate time and we understand that French were willing to consider issuance of announcement on May 18 of intent to convoke constituent assembly. Impact Soviet move would probably enable us to get earliest agreement on similar announcement on part western governments for use shortly thereafter but we repeat we see advantage in letting Soviets take onus of split and destruction ACC.

This being the case and in view of present Berlin situation Dept inclines to adhere to date of April 20 for Ambassador’s meeting, subject to suggested prior talks with British and subject to earlier convening at short notice depending on a definitive break in Berlin. Bequest your views as to number of days required for prior talks with British and on what date you believe the small staff group from here including Wisner, Martin, Lightner, should arrive.3

Repeated to Berlin for Murphy Eyes Only as 592.

  1. Supra.
  2. Regarding the Peoples Congress Movement, see telegrams 347, February 12, 573, March 12, and 746, April 1, from Berlin, pp. 875, 882, and 885.
  3. In his telegram 1348, April 4, from London, not printed, Ambassador Douglas concurred in the date of April 20 for the reopening of the London Conference on Germany and suggested that three days would be required for prior talks with the British (862.00/4–448). In his telegram 1380, April 6, from London, not printed, Douglas reported that Foreign Secretary was agreeable to the resumption of the London Conference on April 20 but was anxious that there be no publicity given to the date until it was too late for the Soviet Union to spring some sudden action in Italy to influence the elections there (740.00119 Council/4–648). Both the British and the French subsequently confirmed that the London Conference would resume on April 20.