740.00119 Council/5–3049

Memorandum of Conversation, by the United States Member at the Coumcil of Foreign Ministers (Acheson)1


Participants: M. Schuman
The Secretary
Mr. Jessup

After dinner at the Embassy this evening, I discussed with M. Schuman the next steps to be taken in our CFM proceedings. I said to him that it seemed to me that the time had come at which it would be desirable that someone talk privately to Vishinsky. I said that I thought it should be either he or I. Mr. Bevin is somewhat unpredictable and might be either provoked into an argument or might give Vishinsky an impression of too much yielding. M. Schuman interposed to say that he entirely agreed with me that it should be either he or I, that he had a high regard for Mr. Bevin and always got along well with him, but felt the difficulty I suggested would exist. He said that he thought it would be better if I saw Vishinsky. I told him that [Page 935] I would, entirely accept his judgment on that and that either he or I could do it. As our conversation progressed, he returned to this point and stated a definite preference that I should see Vishinsky.

I suggested that the manner of seeing Vishinsky should be arranged so that it would not attract attention in the press. If I should send word to Vishinsky just as the meeting of the CFM opened tomorrow that I should like to see him for about ten minutes in his office after the meeting, this would put him on notice and would pave the way for the afternoon discussion in the Council. After the meeting I could go down to his office without attracting attention. It seemed to me that none of us should attempt to answer Vishinsky’s dialectics and that when he gets through with the continuation of his speech2 I as Chairman might say that we seemed to have completed our preliminary discussion of Point 1 and that it would be desirable to proceed to Point 2; that it might be well to adjourn at that point and take up Point 2 on the following day.

In regard to the matters which should be discussed with Vishinsky, I had it in mind to say frankly that it appeared we were not reaching agreement under Item 1 and that before we embarked on the discussion of Item 2 I wished to have a frank talk with him and see if we could not approach that subject on a practical basis. I would ask him what he had in mind in regard to it. I might outline to him the thoughts which we have in mind if we are all agreed upon them. The general development would be the suggestion that we should first mention our right of access to Berlin and indicate our desire to get this clearly defined. We would not in the Council attempt to deal with all the details but, if we were agreed on the principle of our right of access by rail, road, and canal, we could refer the matter to Deputies to report back to the Ministers in four or five days. Our rights in the air are sufficiently clear and should cause no difficulty. The second point would be the question of the Berlin administration. On this we should stand for the principle of administrative unification under some kind of four-power control. This control would operate on the unanimity principle, but it would operate in a negative way. This means that action of the Berlin authorities would be valid unless unanimously disapproved by the four powers. M. Schuman at this point expressed some question whether this principle could be accepted, but on further discussion agreed that the Berlin situation was very different from the over-all German situation and for our part we could accept such a plan. This problem of administration in Berlin would also be referred [Page 936] to Deputies to refer back to us in four or five days. The third question would be that of currency. This we might leave to the Germans to work out with a provision that any suggestion they advanced would be accepted unless unanimously disapproved. M. Schuman raised some question about this. Mr. Jessup reminded him that in the paper we had agreed upon with Mr. Bevin before the CFM opened we had suggested this line of approach.3 We noted that we would be safe in leaving it to the Germans since they could be counted upon not to suggest the solution of accepting the East mark as the sole currency and we would be content with either a third currency or the use of the West mark. M. Schuman did not dissent. I said that again this question would be referred to Deputies in the same way.

In discussing the question of the matters left to the Germans themselves, M. Schuman said he assumed we would not ask them to advise us in the CFM but that their work would come later. I agreed that this is what I had in mind. M. Schuman remarked that the currency question would lead us into the general matter of trade and that this was evidently the subject in which Mr. Vishinsky was chiefly interested. I agreed with this view and said that again the Ministers should agree on some general principles and then refer the matter to Deputies.

In regard to all of these above steps, I suggested that we should envisage a continuing process: the Ministers would first agree on some general principles; the Deputies would make these a little more precise and refer their conclusions back to the Ministers for approval; the subject would then be referred either to the Germans or to the High Commissioners for the elaboration of the details after the CFM had finished. M. Schuman evidently had not considered this procedure but seemed to find it very satisfactory.

Regarding the steps following my proposed private talk with Vishinsky, I said that it seemed to me we might arrange for a restricted meeting of the CFM on Item 2. I thought we might then go on to the third item on the agenda but should not spend much time on it. M. Schuman agreed with this and also agreed it was very desirable that we seek to reach agreement on the Austrian Treaty. He said that, if we could make the progress which I had suggested on Item 2 and reach some solution of the main problems connected with the Austrian Treaty, this session of the CFM would be a success and this would have a great influence in easing the general tension in Europe. [Page 937] He stated that he thought we should try to conclude our work within two weeks. I agreed that this was very important.

The foregoing matters were left with the understanding that we would discuss them with Mr. Bevin at our meeting tomorrow morning.4

M. Schuman also mentioned his talk with the Ministers President of the French Zone on Sunday. When he talked with them, they had not received the last communication from the Military Governors regarding the Electoral Law, but he had discussed the matter with them in general and had urged them to take a favorable attitude.

  1. The memorandum was prepared by the United States Alternate Member, Jessup.
  2. The reference here is to Vyshinsky’s reply to CFM/P/49/3, which began at the Seventh Session of the Council on May 30, and which he stated he would continue at the next meeting.
  3. Jessup was probably referring to the Report to the Ministers on the Tripartite Conversations Preliminary to the Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers, May 20, not printed, a copy of which is in the CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 140.
  4. The course of action indicated in this memorandum was discussed with Foreign Secretary Bevin at a meeting of the three Western Ministers before the Eighth Session of the Council on May 31. It was decided that Secretary Acheson would make the approach to Vyshinsky along the lines which he and Schuman had discussed. (Memorandum of a meeting of the three Western Ministers, May 31, not printed, CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 140)