740.00119 Council/5–3049: Telegram

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

us urgent

Delsec 1818. For President and Acting Secretary. Vishinsky opened, seventh meeting CFM with reply to Western proposal submitted sixth meeting.1 He made following points:

Bonn Constitution2 secret, undemocratic document, dictated by West and designed dismember rather than unite Germany;
West aimed impose rule on Eastern Germany without participation of Eastern Germans and USSR;
Western Occupation Statute3 continued occupation indefinitely, at variance with interests of Germans and reserves excessive authority to Western Powers;
Paragraph 2 Western proposal already accomplished in East, but not fulfilled in West;
Paragraph 4 irrelevant;
Proposal silent on question of Ruhr;
Western position ignored just aspirations German people for early peace treaty; and
USSR rejected principle majority vote for High Commission.

Vishinsky said Western paper showed West did not seek reach agreement with USSR and in view points made, Soviet Delegation must reject Western proposal. In Soviet opinion, political and economic unity could only be secured on basis Soviet proposals which would contribute to unity, lead to conclusion of treaty, termination of occupation and peace settlement in Europe.

Acheson said that what was important in Vishinsky statement was not argumentation, which was not entirely valid, but fact that it was Soviet rejection.

He noted that Western position actually far more responsive to just aspirations of German people than Soviet proposals. West offered Germans large measure self-government, allowed German people set up democratic constitution which had been ratified by large majorities, ruled out reparations from current production which certainly in German interest, and finally, took steps in direction eventual peace treaty, rather than merely going back to confusion of old quadripartite control.

Schuman asserted that everything in Western proposals and actions for past 18 months entirely consistent Potsdam. Fact that actions taken by three rather than four powers not fault of West. He said Western proposals not dictats, but basis for discussion. We were not imposing any system on Eastern Germans, but were proposing discuss Western constitution. If German people favored another system, he personally prepared accept verdict of general consultation of German people. Schuman challenged Vishinsky statement on dismemberment and specifically inquired whether Vishinsky position not at variance with Warsaw declaration.4

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Bevin stated that Western Powers committed to establishment German government and certainly will not go back on pledge. Western Powers have sought keep in mind position of USSR during past 18 months and have now submitted reasonable and constructive proposals. He pointed out these were proposals for discussion and not dictats, and invited Vishinsky examine them fairly and accurately. Bevin stated that highly centralized German government cannot be accepted, and that general agreement reached on this at Moscow and London. He said that it appeared from Soviet proposals and arguments that USSR now rejects flatly idea of central German government. He laid stress on paragraph 4 Western paper as covering important points which had been major causes allied disagreement in past. In conclusion he urged Vishinsky not reject Western paper, but discuss it, since rejection would appear as Soviet refusal allow Eastern Germans reunite with West.

Vishinsky stated that differences of powers represented by fact Western proposals contravened Potsdam, whereas USSR stands on basis of Potsdam. He then concentrated his fire on decentralization of Bonn Constitution with involved effort to show that Soviet position consistent with Potsdam and with Warsaw declaration. Vishinsky postponed further remarks until next meeting 3:30 Tuesday.5

Sent Department Delsec 1818, repeated London 345, Berlin 205, Heidelberg 7, Moscow 109.

  1. Under reference here is Document CFM/P/49/3, p. 1041.
  2. Vyshinsky was referring to the Basic Law for the “Federal Republic of Germany” (Bonn Constitution) which was adopted and promulgated on May 23, 1949, by the Bonn Parliamentary Council. A translation of the Basic Law is printed in Germany 1947–1949, pp. 283–305. For documentation relating to the drafting and approval by the Military Governors of the Basic Law, see pp. 187 ff.
  3. Under reference here is the Occupation Statute agreed to by the three Western Ministers in Washington, April 8, 1949, for their zones of Germany. For the text of the Occupation Statute, see pp. 179 ff.
  4. Not printed; 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.
  5. Telegram Delsec 1817, May 30, from Paris, not -printed, analyzed the implications of Vyshinsky’s rejection as follows:

    “Prompt and flat rejection of proposal confirms our belief that Soviets are not at present time interested in German unification but are aiming purely at modus vivendi primarily with a view to increasing east-west trade.” (740.00119 Council/5–3049)