Editorial Note

On May 27 Acting Secretary Webb reported to the Cabinet on the progress of the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers. Tracing the development of the first four meetings, he stated that the West had seized and retained the initiative, achieved increasingly close unity in its determination not to trade away Western Germany’s progress, and revealed the Soviet Union’s apparent objective to recapture a voice in Western Germany.

As to future developments in Paris, the Acting Secretary concluded that it was too early to judge what lay behind the Soviet offer of four power control, but suggested the following three possibilities:

“(1) It may be a typical Russian ruse to start with an impossible position so that any readjustments of it would appear later to be major Soviet concessions; (2) perhaps they want the CFM only to save face and make it appear that they secured something in return for abandoning the Berlin blockade; (3) they may not be willing to risk the prospects of a unified Germany and only hope to obtain a modus vivendi to renew East-West trade in order to bolster the sagging East German economy.”

The text of the statement which Webb read to the Cabinet is in file 740.00119 Council/5–2649.