396.1/2–1251: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Kirk) to the Secretary of State 1

top secret

1495. Soviet note of February 5 concerning calling CFM seeks to leave impression that current increased international tension is due entirely to “remilitarization” of Western Germany and stepped up military preparations in US and other countries, that Western Powers are temporizing on matter of discussion with USSR in order to present it with accomplished facts and that if agreement were obtained on demilitarization Germany, other obstacles to relaxation of tension could be readily overcome. It is important that this erroneous impression not gain currency in public mind to point where popular opinion might regard settlement on this issue as most urgent need and hence give the Soviets an advantage in any discussions that may take place. Therefore, we feel that clear presentation of specific Soviet bloc actions basically responsible for this tension as elaborated in the Department’s draft reply to the Soviet note of February 5 (Deptel 507, February 92) is of major importance.

Since Soviets lay stress on charge that Western Powers intend to present them with accomplished facts, a charge that may have superficial appeal to popular judgement in free world, it might be well to rephrase some points in Department’s draft and show clearly that it is Western Powers who have long been victims of such maneuvers, i.e. that accomplished facts are maintenance of huge Soviet army while rest of world demobilized, seizure of power in EE countries by Communist minorities, expansion of satellite armies beyond treaty limits, [Page 1082]remilitarization of Eastern Germany, Polish-GDR agreement on Oder–Neisse line, et cetera. It might be pointed out that Soviet point of view on all issues has been freely available in Soviet’s own words to peoples of countries charged by Soviet Government with malicious intentions whereas such has not been case throughout entire Soviet orbit where people unaware of true reasons why free world countries have been obliged to build up their defenses.

Although it is clear in Department’s draft that we regard question of German remilitarization as only one and not the most important factor responsible for present strained situation, so much attention has been focused on this problem that regardless of where it may be placed on agenda, if one is agreed upon, it is essential that Soviets neither achieve an agreement for demilitarization nor gain major propaganda victory from relative rearmament efforts being made in two parts of Germany. Some doubts appear to have arisen over actual size of remilitarization of Eastern Zone and our own efforts may be overshadowing them. In addition, Soviets have stirred up both Poles and Czechs against revanchist aspect of Germany’s rearmament based on desire to recover lost territory east of Oder–Neisse line which tends decrease the extent of their dependence upon military efforts of East Germany. Thus we should be prepared to explain bigger force in Western Germany (apart from its relation to NATO in collective security sense), as defense against Korea type operation from east in which East Germans would be joined by Polish and Czech “volunteers”. It could be pointed out this connection that it is the Soviet and satellite press that has made most of alleged similarity between German and Korean situation.

As to text of draft itself, it is our feeling that beginning paragraphs are somewhat diffuse and could be improved by revision along lines suggested by French Ambassador (Deptel 506, February 93). Mention of Korea might be retained by elimination of direct reference to Soviet Government in paragraph 4. We suggest following reviewed [revised?] wording that paragraph: “Soviet bloc has maintained its armed forces at level far above any conceivable defense needs. Invasion ROK last June demonstrates Soviet bloc armies are not intended solely for defense”.

Reference to Soviet Government “using its agents other countries” in paragraph 5 as phrased might apply as well to free world countries.

We concur in desirability of insisting on advance agreement on a minimum of questions to be discussed by Four Ministers as indicated in Department’s draft since it is procedure which leaves our hands free to reject others that the USSR might wish to impose on the meeting.

[Page 1083]

We agree with Frankfort’s No. 96, February 10,4 that discussion of the Austrian question would provide the best opportunity for the Soviets to bring up Trieste5 and that therefore there seems to be no reason for omitting mention of the satellite problems.

  1. Repeated to London, Paris, and Frankfurt.
  2. Same as telegram 3745, p. 1076.
  3. Same as telegram 3744, p. 1075.
  4. Not printed.
  5. For further documentation on Trieste, see volume iv .