740.00119 Council/5–1449: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Bruce) to the Secretary of State

top secret

1984. For Secretary and Murphy from Jessup. First meeting with Parodi and Kirkpatrick held this afternoon.1 General impression of first survey of principal problems was that substantial agreement exists. Following points were discussed.

Publicity. It was agreed there should be no publicity during preliminary conversations. We proposed that at CFM there be usual separate briefings by each delegation but British indicated Bevin would prefer no publicity during opening stages of meeting.

Resumption of trade between East and West zones of Germany. We emphasized that it remains our policy that 1A and 1B commodities2 shall not be shipped into Soviet zone.

Austria. All agreed that we should recommend to Foreign Ministers that Austria be discussed during meeting and that it would be advantageous for Western Powers to take initiative in proposing discussion. Question of timing was left for later exploration.

Soviet intentions. All agreed that there is so far little evidence of Soviet intentions but British felt Soviets might go beyond Warsaw communiqué3 and favor creation of “buffer” state which would not be associated with either West or East and which might be prevented from joining European council or concluding bilateral ECA agreement with US. All agreed that any such proposal should be opposed and that a united Germany must have free hand to maintain associations with West now contemplated for Western Germany. British proposed that in CFM Western nations make capital issue out of question whether a united Germany would be able to join European council, conclude ERP bilateral and have democratic form of government as laid down in Bonn Constitution. British felt that such a position would put Soviets on the spot and would be acceptable to German opinion.

[Page 878]

Unification of Germany. All agreed unification was desirable under proper conditions. French specified primary conditions as (1) extension of Bonn Constitution and (2) free elections. French suggested Soviet reaction to such proposal might be purely negative or might be to propose new constituent assembly and new elections for all Germany. It was agreed that we could not delay in any way contemplated carrying out of Bonn Constitution while new machinery for unified Germany was being established. British suggested Soviets may propose PC representatives meet with Volksrat representatives to work out plans for unification. All three agreed that this proposal would be unacceptable to West Germans and ourselves.

Regroupment of forces. French raised this question in connection, with Reston story4 and we repeated our assurances that this story did not represent US policy emphasizing that we did not favor withdrawal of US forces or any disposition of those forces which would weaken our influence in European scene. British and French expressed satisfaction at this assurance. British stated Bevin had told West Germans he would only withdraw troops after reliable German Government had been formed and in consultation with it. French pointed out there are two arguments against evacuations: (1) the need for security against a resurgent Germany which would also impress satellites and (2) the need for maintaining order within Germany before adequate German police forces under democratic control are available.

Control machinery over united Germany. We pointed out necessity of avoiding machinery which would give Soviets veto power and importance therefore of accepting occupation statute principle of majority vote. French agreed paralyzing veto was undesirable but at same time Germans should not be given unlimited freedom of action as result allied disagreement.

Ruhr. French expressed some apprehension at thought of Soviet participation in Ruhr authority. British suggested that, if it were possible to free Eastern Germany from Soviet control, it would be worthwhile in exchange to permit 3 Soviet votes out of 18 on Ruhr authority. They indicated that as quid pro quo Soviets might be obliged to relinquish their controls over German industry in Eastern zone. We stated our belief that Soviet property ownership must in any case be abandoned as condition precedent to united Germany. French [Page 879] made passing reference to proposal which they indicated had been raised by ECE secretariat whereby, while Soviets would not participate on Ruhr authority, authority would be placed under general policy direction of ECE.

Economic unification and currency. French indicated their belief that before economic unification could be carried out reparations question must be settled. They expressed view that reparations must be regarded as terminated with which there was general agreement. It was understood that achievement of economic unity including uniform currency would take some time and that meanwhile the Western German program would continue as contemplated.

Frontiers. We stated that our position on East German frontier is unchanged, that final settlement must await peace treaty, and that in meantime boundary commission to examine problem would be desirable. British and French agreed.

French position. In summing up French position Parodi emphasized that if conference reached no concrete results there might well be recurrence or even aggravation of earlier state of international tension. He added that many of essential Western conditions outlined above such as free elections in Eastern zone were unlikely to be accepted by Soviets. He expressed view therefore that after preliminary general review by Foreign Ministers it might be necessary to come to some more limited solutions involving some degree of coordination between East and West German systems and some temporary arrangement for Berlin. We and British agreed that our continued presence in Berlin might be justified by arrangements for some kind of coordination which would have its focus in Berlin.

It was agreed to meet again Monday to review in more detail some of the points discussed above including extension to united Germany of Bonn Constitution and occupation statute.5

Sent Department 1984, repeated London 298 for Ambassador and Holmes Eyes Only, Berlin 170 for Riddleberger Eyes Only.

[ Bruce ]
  1. Jessup and Bohlen had met briefly on May 13 with Schuman and Parodi to exchange preliminary views on the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers. This meeting revealed a basic conformity of ideas and Schuman’s concern about any regroupment of occupation forces in Germany. A memorandum of this meeting is in CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 140: Tripartite Meetings of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
  2. Under reference here are lists of commodities which would be of immediate or long term value to Soviet war potential. For documentation regarding the policy of the United States with respect to these items, see volume v .
  3. 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.
  4. Under reference here was an article by New York Times correspondent James Reston on May 12, which reported that the United States was studying plans for the withdrawal of all occupation forces in Germany to the area of the North German ports.
  5. At the second meeting of the representatives of the three Western Powers, May 16, agreement was reached and drafts were prepared for the delegations, on (a) political conditions for reestablishment of German unity, (b) the Western response to Soviet plans based on the Warsaw Declaration or on the concept of creating a neutral buffer state prohibited from participating in the Council of Europe or the European Recovery Program, and (c) a way to extend the Bonn Constitution to all of Germany. For a report on the consideration of these drafts; by the delegations, see telegram 2017, May 17, p. 881.