396.1/12–450: Telegram

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

top secret

3126. Embtel 3125. Our draft of possible reply to Soviet note follows:

Begin verbatim text: The Embassy of the USA has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the note of November 3, 1950 of the Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs, which enclosed the text of the Prague Declaration and proposed calling the Council of Foreign Ministers of the USA, UK, France and the USSR to consider the question of fulfillment of the Potsdam Agreement regarding demilitarization of Germany.

The US Government, together with the Governments of the UK and France, has consistently abided by the principle set forth in the Charter of the UN that international problems should be settled by peaceful negotiation. The US Government takes this occasion to reaffirm its adherence to this principle and is, therefore, prepared on the basis and in the manner set forth below to explore with similarly authorized representatives of the Soviet, British and French Governments the possibility of a mutually acceptable basis for a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the four countries.

The US Government finds it necessary to state, however, that the Prague Declaration does not constitute a basis for a meeting of the CFM. The Prague Declaration contains so many inaccuracies and direct distortions of fact in regard to the responsibility for the present situation in Germany as to be completely unacceptable as a basis for negotiation. Furthermore, it should be noted that aside from its propaganda distortions, the Prague Declaration proposes no new and constructive approach. Indeed, it appears to be a mere restatement of the proposals which the Soviet Foreign Minister put forward at the last meeting of the CFM in May–June 1949 and which proved, after exhaustive examination, to afford no basis for a constructive agreement on the question of Germany. The discussion at that meeting in fact raised serious doubts as to whether these positions now restated in the Prague Declaration and supported by the Soviet Government were ever designed to promote such an agreement.

The US Government considers it necessary to point out that past meetings of the CFM devoted to the subject of Germany have made it plain that it has been the position of the Soviet Government that has prevented any Four Power agreement on this subject. It would appear necessary, therefore, to ascertain in advance whether or not there has been any change in the Soviet attitude towards Germany which in the past has obstructed any solution.

[Page 917]

Although questions relating to Germany and Austria would obviously be proper subjects for discussion, the US Government, while recognizing that the agreement establishing the CFM assigned certain definite tasks to that body, believes that developments in the world make it unthinkable to confine a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Soviet Union, the UK, France and the US at this time to those subjects alone. For the Foreign Ministers of the Four Powers to meet without reference to the major events threatening the peace of the world today would be quite incompatible with their responsibilities before the peoples of the world.

The US Government, therefore, suggests that if the exploratory conversations referred to above should reveal that there exists a fundamental and an acceptable basis for a meeting of the CFM, no subject should be excluded from the agenda on the sole grounds that it is not within the terms of the Potsdam Agreement setting up the CFM. A refusal, for example, to agree to consider the serious threat to world peace resulting from the defiance of the UN by the North Korean regime and the military intervention of the Chinese Communists would not correspond to a genuine desire to contribute to the peace and security of the world which in present circumstances is the chief justification for a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the four countries.

The US would appreciate an early reply to this communication and if the basis suggested for exploratory conversations is acceptable to the Soviet Government the US is prepared to authorize its representative at UN headquarters to enter into immediate conversations with the representatives of the Soviet Union, France and the UK. End verbatim text.

Department pass Moscow. Sent Department 3126, repeated info London 764, Moscow 110, Frankfort 356.