The United States High Commissioner for Germany (McCloy) to the Secretary of State
2178. (OMGUS CCF 1134) For Acheson (Eyes Only, no distribution) from McCloy. Mytel September 5 from Berlin re François-Poncet–Chuikov conversation.1
Poncet yesterday gave Robertson and me summary of Chuikov statement when latter returned visit. Chuikov reiterated that he was disappointed in failure to make progress after Paris CFM, that Berlin conversations had resulted thus far in only minuscule results, and no important matters had really been discussed such as settlement of Berlin currency question. For this failure he said he blamed the French least and the Americans most. He spoke not only of the currency question but the unity of Berlin. Poncet again indicated that the unity of Berlin was dependent upon free elections as they were understood in the Western nations, and again Chuikov, according to Poncet, asked for specific proposals both in relation to currency and free elections adding, however, free elections could be guaranteed as well by the Soviet as by the Western nations. He proposed that the conversations be elevated to higher level, that he was prepared to sit [Page 376] with the other commissioners to discuss such questions. Poncet again emphasized the cordial character of Chuikov’s attitude, and I gathered that Poncet was rather eager to take advantage of this attitude and to press Robertson and me to some definite action in response. His suggestion was that we should immediately ask our financial advisers to reexamine the currency question sitting with the Russians, and perhaps also calling in German advisers.
Robertson was cautious stating that he felt immediate conferences with the Russians might be misunderstood while the Bonn affairs were at their height. I told Poncet that I thought that we ought to consolidate our position both in respect of currency and free elections before any approach could be made to Chuikov but that I was prepared to review our position on this at once. I also feel that the situation does require some action on our part. Due to problems of getting acclimated here and the harassments of reorganization, recruitment, and preparations for Bonn I have not followed the conversations in Berlin as closely as I should have liked. Think further lack of progress at low levels may be cause of embarrassment to us in the future, particularly if nothing transpires before any new CFM meeting.
Accordingly, I agreed to following plan: In spite of failure of Chuikov to return my call which, according to Poncet, Chuikov laid to my absence from Berlin (which must be an excuse as I have been there a number of occasions and he has made no effort to inquire as to my whereabouts in the meantime) I propose through my staff to indicate that I have learned from Poncet that he had been unable to call due to my absence, and that I am prepared to be in Berlin at his convenience. At this time, I would endeavor to find out whether he adopts the same attitude with me as he does with Poncet, or whether this is merely an effort to drive a wedge between us, and if he does take somewhat the same position he took with Poncet I will arrange for a private meeting with Robertson, Poncet and Chuikov perhaps in the course of the next two weeks.
Meanwhile we would instruct Western finance advisers to review situation to see if we could not arrive at a common position on the currency. In this connection, would appreciate best thinking of State, Army and Treasury as to what specific proposals, if any, we could put to Chuikov on the Berlin currency and relationship between East and West mark, and what our minimum position on trade agreements would be. I would also like reconsideration of our minimum position re unification of Berlin; how any elections should be supervised, etc. Incidentally, Chuikov indicated to Poncet that Western powers ought [Page 377] to be more receptive to unification of Berlin as they were the greatest sufferers under present arrangements.
New subject. Adenauer has indicated he wishes to talk to me about dismantling,2 and Robertson tells me he understands his Foreign Minister is to bring subject up while in Washington. Yesterday’s SPD maneuvers at end of session have greatly irritated Robertson. Indications are that SPD intends to adopt tactics it used in campaign to maintain its record of resistance to occupation. Robertson’s annoyance comes, I am sure, from his knowledge that his own government is considering some modification of dismantling program, and his antipathy to taking any action along this line under what seems to be German pressure. Most anxious to be kept advised on any overtures on this subject which British bring up, particularly as both Adenauer and Schumacher wish to talk to me about this subject in the near future.