740.00119 Control (Germany)/5–649: Telegram

The Chargé the Soviet Union (Kohler) to the Secretary of State


1154. 1. It need not detract from real satisfaction and even sense victory on our part to realize that Berlin accord1 is also profitable deal for Soviet Government. Berlin blockade backfired, airlift was a phenomenal practical and political success and counter-blockade pinched seriously. As we see it, Kremlin can breathe sigh of relief even on minimum terms of accord, i.e., reciprocal lifting restrictions with limited Soviet loss face and unsuccessful CFM, which could be used as propaganda pounding board and would soon be broken up, on Western initiative, to prevent protracted delay establishment West German government.

2. Re face-saving aspect, Soviet propaganda has been preparing way out, in form line that will of peoples for peace too strong for planners and inciters new war. Soviet and foreign Communist organs already explaining Jessup-Malik talks2 mean reversal attitude on part USA, not Soviet Union, that warmongers not sure of selves and realize necessary count with growing popular peace movement (see especially Ehrenburg and Tarlné articles, Embtels 1101, April 30 and 1124, May 3 and featured May Day slogan on friendship American, British and [Page 865] Soviet peoples, Embtel 1022, April 243). At same time, Berlin accord coincides new high level and sharpening specifically anti-American Soviet propaganda campaign and attempt blot out Voice America.

3. Re CFM, Soviet Government has so far religiously stuck to line of Warsaw Declaration on Germany.4 This is clearly incompatible Western position, especially as agreed at Washington,5 essentials of which Secretary of State has already declared will not be sacrificed. Consequently, unless Kremlin prepared drastically change published policy, CFM will be simply capstone in current “peace offensive” designed disrupt and divide West and delay to maximum formation West German government but with no intention achieving real agreement. Even in case such development and early failure CFM, we should expect no reimposition blockade, especially if airlift framework maintained intact.

4. There has been no indication Kremlin prepared alter German policy, or even had preliminary consultations with leaders Satellite regimes which participated in Warsaw Declaration (though this could, of course, have happened without our knowledge). Despite this, we feel drastic and dramatic shift may well be coming at CFM. We have long anticipated Soviet peace offer this spring after optimum development propaganda offensive (Embtels 568, March 5, and 701, March 196) of much broader scope than found in present accord (restricted nature of which in fact aroused our suspicions Soviet intentions had been fouled by premature Berlin rumors). Thus, as suggested Embtel 1092, April 29,7 we think quite possible this only first installment. Kremlin has always regarded Germany as key to control of Europe, and undoubtedly realizes West zones decisive to control Germany. Unexpectedly rapid development NAT and plans for organization West Germany, together with successful maintenance West position in Berlin, faces Soviets with imminent prospect complete exclusion from heart of Germany and even precarious position their own zone. This would also mean an end to reparations hopes, with West closed and Soviet zone milked dry. At same time, Moscow very preoccupied with Tito’s rebellion and must be prepared make considerable material sacrifices over long period to avoid second Tito problem in China. Detente in West which would keep. Soviets in overall [Page 866] German picture, pending development expected capitalist crises must, therefore have strong attraction.

5. Consequently believe quite possible Soviet delegation may be prepared meet US at CFM practically on terms recently agreed among West allies at Washington. Needless say, they would not do this without first trying achieve maximum attainment their Warsaw aims, especially centralization German government, highest possible reparations, and wider use veto power in control machinery. However, Soviets likely finally settle relatively close West position these issues, counting on being able to extend their voting powers by exploiting Western differences on specific German problems. Essentials would be: location central German government in Berlin; early peace treaty; and early withdrawal occupation forces (or as compromise, drastic reduction and removal to specified border areas). Secondary objective would probably be 4-power confirmation Oder–Neisse line, enabling Soviet later exploit possible rectification unilaterally.

We think possible Soviet delegation would also revise and accept Byrnes’ 1946 offer German demilitarization treaty8 to which they have never entirely closed door. At very least, this would take some of curse off NAT. And it might even be proposed as substitute for that treaty, with intention exploiting our refusal as proof Soviet allegation treaty directed not against revived Germany but against Soviet Union.

6. If things should go well along lines suggested in (5), Soviet delegation would probably attempt include Austrian treaty in CFM and show selves reasonable in reaching agreement. We think present stalemate deputies talks stems from Soviet expectations Austrian negotiations will be useful card in CFM, whereas little to be gained by prior finalization. Achievement peace settlements with both countries would go far toward removal American military power from Continent.

7. Such Soviet approach would clearly shake Western foreign policies to very bottom, disorient developing West public opinion and present practical problems of first magnitude. Effect on NAT ratification, passage military aid legislation, size military aid appropriations, and general willingness West peoples be taxed in support military preparedness are obvious questions. Mere reconciliation rival political parties, personalities and institutions of West and East Germany or even West and East Berlin would be incredibly complex. Role Germany in ERP would be seriously affected; in addition automatic drain West German production in form any agreed reparations to Soviet Union and normal trade with East Germany, Soviets would certainly [Page 867] do everything possible to frustrate and sabotage any ERP participation they might reluctantly accept for sake accord. German cooperation in Council Europe would become highly problematical. And effect on our East-West trade policies would be far-reaching and possibly frustrating; aside from reduced incentive and public support for maintenance restrictions, how could they be adequately supervised and enforced with East Germany serving as sieve into Soviet orbit?

8. Such Soviet approach would also not appear out of keeping Soviet belief in drastic tactical shifts where “objective conditions” require. Essentially, it would parallel, in relation Germany, tactical shifts Italian and French Communist parties when, after it became evident open bid for complete power had failed, they purged, consolidated and resumed “boring from within” militant tactics.

9. Whether or not West will get the full works, on lines suggested above, is of course highly problematical. On balance, we consider likely and believe full preparation essential.9

Sent Department 1154, repeated London 116, Paris 174, Berlin 104.

  1. Under reference here is the Four-Power communiqué, May 5, 1949, in which the four occupying powers in Germany stated their agreement to lift the restrictions on trade and communications with Berlin and to convene a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers. The text of this communiqué is printed in the editorial note on p. 750.
  2. For documentation relating to the Jessup-Malik conversations, see pp. 694 ff.
  3. None of the referenced telegrams is printed.
  4. For the text of the Warsaw Declaration of the Foreign Ministers of the USSR, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, Rumania, and Hungary, June 24, 1948, see Ruhm von Oppen, Documents on Germany, pp. 300–307. For additional information, see Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. ii, p. 370.
  5. For documentation relating to the agreements “reached at Washington on April 8, 1949 by the three Western Powers regarding the status of the Western zones of Germany, including the texts of the agreements, see pp. 156 ff.
  6. Neither printed.
  7. Not printed.
  8. Under reference here is the Draft Treaty for the Disarmament and Demilitarization of Germany proposed by Secretary of State Byrnes at the Second Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Paris on April 30, 1946. For the text of this draft Treaty, see Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. ii, p. 190.
  9. Telegram 1214, May 11, from Moscow, not printed, reported that the British Embassy had cabled to London its analysis of the Soviet intentions at the Council of Foreign Ministers generally along the lines of this cable. While the British did not exclude the possibility of major Soviet compromises on Germany, they believed the Kremlin would not risk losing its grip on East Germany for a weaker position throughout Germany. They also expected no real agreements from the Soviet delegation, but rather vague proposals on Germany which could be exploited for propaganda purposes. (740.00119 Control (Germany)/5–1149)