396.1/2–751: Telegram

The United States High Commissioner for Germany (McCloy) to the Secretary of State 1

top secret

6518. Text of Soviet reply discussed today by conference of Ambassadors.2

Following represents general sense of their discussions and recommendations.

Attack in the Soviet note on general build up of western defense as contrasted to German rearmament alone, affords excellent opportunity for vigorous response from western allies placing matter in proper perspective and turning attention to general aggressive attitude of Soviets and excessive military strength in being. This fact can, in our opinion, be effectively utilized in counterpropaganda in reply and should be borne in mind in press conference dealing with Soviet note.

We believe the time has arrived when we should adopt in our reply, and in any future conference with the Soviet Union, a positive approach which clearly identifies the basic causes of tension and full Soviet responsibility. Therefore, such an approach based on the need to protect our position and our interest, which we believe to be likewise the interests of Western Europe, will be defensible before public opinion. Hence, we must point out in our reply that the question of German disarmament or any other question involving Germany must be dealt with in its relation to these broader issues which have created the specific problems to which the Soviet Union now wishes to limit the discussion. It is for this reason there should be no agreement that discussions be limited to the Potsdam CFM arrangements. Since we believe that it would be difficult for the man in the street to distinguish between a CFM and meeting of Foreign Ministers, we should make this point in such a manner to avoid impression of wrangling over technicalities.

[Page 1074]

Inasmuch as Soviets have pointed out that allies have not stated precisely what they consider to be those causes of international tension we believe it important now to list these principle causes with ample details and examples. Such a list might include:

Existence of huge Soviet military forces far in excess of legitimate needs of defense.
An aggressive imperialist policy which is conducted through satellite and extra-governmental agencies. (Itemize—particularly Czechoslovakia for general European consumption—Indochina for French.)
Soviet domination of satellite countries and Soviet inspired violations of peace settlements. (Itemize—particularly armaments and human rights.)
The division of the world by iron curtain tactics which has sealed off the areas under Soviet domination to the free exchange of goods, persons and ideas.
Utilization of international Communist organizations as instrument of political warfare and subversive activities.
Obstructionist tactics of Soviets in UN (itemize).
Refusal of the Soviet Union to support the efforts of the UN to resist aggression in Korea as well as failure to use their unquestioned influence on the aggressor towards that end.
Failure to abide by agreement of the Foreign Ministers in September 1949 for the conclusion of a treaty with Austria and thereby continuation of Soviet forces in Austria, Rumania, Hungary.3
Failure to abide by agreements for the economic and political unification of Germany, the retention of excessive and heavily armored forces in the Soviet Zone of that country and the remilitarization of the east Germans.
Denial of individual and human rights with particular emphasis on secret police, concentration camps, slave labor, retention of prisoners of war, et cetera.

The Soviets accuse us of creating a situation of faits accomplis. It should be pointed out that examples as above are the faits accomplis which accompanied by continual threats have made it necessary for the free nations of the world to take measures for their own common defense.

If the Soviets indicate their willingness to discuss the above fundamental security issues, we are inclined to believe that continued insistence upon our present position of the nature of exploratory talks would have little substance. Furthermore, Soviet acceptance of the type of reply envisaged in this message would in world opinion logically necessitate prompt meeting of the four Ministers. If the Soviets accept this basis, we therefore conclude that we should forego our position requiring prior exploratory, substantive talks and agree to prompt meeting of representatives in Paris to determine agenda which would presumably be fairly well fixed in the exchange of notes.

[Page 1075]

Our reply should also include rejection of charges that Adenauer and Schumacher are militarists and among the Hitlerite die-hard adherents. Both were in fact victims of Nazi persecution and their defense in note will have strong effect here in gaining German support and bringing CDU and SPD closer together.

We urge early tripartite reply to the Soviets. This should be accompanied or preceded by vigorous and continuing propaganda campaign to recall to and reimpress on the peoples of the western world the basic Soviet responsibility for aggression and tension throughout the world.

  1. Repeated to London and Paris.
  2. For further documentation on the meeting of Western European Ambassadors at Frankfurt, February 5–7, see volume iv ; a translation of the Soviet note is printed supra.
  3. For documentation on the discussion of the proposed treaty on Austria at New York in September 1949, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. iii, pp. 1066 ff.