740.00119 Council/5–2749: Telegram

The United States Delegation at the Council of Foreign Ministers to President Truman and the Acting Secretary of State


Delsec 1803. [For President and Acting Secretary.1] Fifth meeting CFM with Schuman in chair continued line of discussion of past three days without reaching agreement on any question other than to hold meeting from three to five Saturday. Acheson sought to shift discussion to specific issues of German economy and political unity while Vishinsky merely restated Soviet argument of previous meetings.

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Vishinsky opened discussion by asserting he had not yet heard any concrete proposals from Western ministers for handling problem of German unity, noting Soviet proposals on reestablishment of Control Council and creation of All German States Council. Acheson reviewed earlier position that it idle discuss control mechanism without first determining whether unity is going to be possible. He had specifically suggested in past that it did not appear likely agreement could be reached on unity unless CFM solved problems of reparations and Soviet ownership of German productive capacity. He again suggested discussion pass to specific economic questions which underlie unity and again invited Vishinsky discuss reparations. Without clear understanding conditions of unity, discussion of Control Council voting is rather barren. Acheson illustrated this by noting that Vishinsky argument on unanimity neither accurate nor pertinent: (1) in practice international voting is frequently not by principle of unanimity. In fact Vishinsky himself at Belgrade conference had been ardent advocate of majority principle; (2) voting on Control Council would not govern relations between nations but rather control over national questions, and there are few precedents for unanimity in national affairs.

Schuman noted that he and Vishinsky differed on conception of unity and methods for achieving it. French hold that quadripartite control cannot be considered method of achieving German unity. Control can only be sanction of unity already achieved. French can concede unity only if based on certain democratic political principles common to whole of Germany. On economic side it is necessary examine existing situation in all Germany and possible effect of unity.

Vishinsky then pointed out that USSR not proposing establish new Control Council but to reestablish former ACC. If Western powers differed with this proposal they should make definite recommendations for changes. He repeated statement of fourth meeting that USSR prepared discuss question of passing some ACC functions to Germans while reserving supreme power to ACC. He repudiated idea that it necessary know what is to be controlled before determining mechanism of control. He said German unity cannot be secured without Allied unity and reestablishment of ACC would be important symbol Allied unity.

Acheson in final statement of day asked whether Vishinsky meant that question of control must be settled before discussing anything else or whether ministers would agree move on to other questions after this initial discussion of control. He agreed with Vishinsky that Germans are interested in German unity, but stated that Germans are also interested in costs and conditions of unity. He suggested discussion [Page 927] of Soviet claims on German sources of productivity on which Vishinsky admitted balance sheet of unity depended.2

Sent Department Delsec 1803, London 338, Berlin 199, Heidelberg 5, Moscow 106.

  1. The words in brackets were supplied from the copy retained in CFM files.
  2. In Delsec 1804, May 27 (8 p. m.), from Paris, not printed, Secretary Acheson indicated the complete sterility of the fifth meeting of the Ministers, and added:

    “Although it is, of course, still too early to be sure of ultimate Soviet intentions, the tenacity of Vishinsky’s insistence upon reestablishment of quadripartite control on previous basis would indicate that this is their chief objective. There is no indication that they are seeking genuine unity of Germany but rather perpetuation of political split under ACC operating on unanimity principle with a German economic body to bring about maximum East-West trade to their advantage.” (740.00110 Council/5–2749)