840.00/12–849: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Holmes) to the Secretary of State


4891. Embtel 4811, December 2; Deptel 4351, repeated Paris 4684, Frankfort 3155, Brussels 1424, Luxembourg 62.1 Very harmonious meeting today with permanent commission Brussels Pact unanimously agreed:

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That no action should be taken which might be construed as either de facto or de jure recognition GDR;
That trade relations should be conducted through private, nongovernmental channels;
That GDR participation any international body to be opposed;
That protection matters should be handled with Soviet occupation authorities who should be held politically responsible for Eastern Germany.

Various suggestions were made as to how trade might be conducted through private agencies. Jebb pointed out that some British firms had successfully transacted business with Eastern Zone. Belgian stated that trade agreement of November 1947 between Benelux and Soviet occupation authorities still working. Suggestion was made that governments might consider permitting formation of committees of Chambers of Commerce to conduct trade on private basis. This was well received.

It was decided that summary of conclusions would be circulated and when text agreed, we should recommend all six governments instruct their missions in non Western Union European capitals with exception of Spain to communicate multilateral position urging those governments take same position. Shall communicate text of resume when received.2

Fearing that any leak about meeting having discussed Eastern Germany and presence US representative would cause press speculation similar to that concerning rearmament of Western Germany,3 I suggested great caution and, that if any questions asked, we reply that there was general discussion East-West trade. Conferees agreed.

Sent Department 4891; repeated Paris 981, Brussels 247, The Hague 227, Luxembourg 25, Frankfort 200.

  1. Telegram 4351, supra; regarding telegram 4811, see footnote 1 to telegram 4351.
  2. In telegrams 4947, December 13 and 4990, December 15, from London, neither printed, Holmes reported on the drafting of the position paper on the “German Democratic Republic”. On the 20th, in despatch 2000, not printed, Embassy London then transmitted the minutes of the Brussels Pact meeting and the final version of the paper which contained the four points agreed on December 8. (840.00/12–1349, 1549 and 2049)
  3. For documentation relating to the question of rearmament of West Germany, see pp. 266 ff.