396.1–PA/3–551: Telegram

The United States Representative at the Four-Power Exploratory Talks (Jessup) to the Secretary of State 1


5182. From Jessup. First session quadripartite exploratory talks convened March 5 with Parodi chairman. In discussion conference procedures Jessup proposed and UK supported suggestion that Parodi serve as permanent chairman. Gromyko countered with request for rotation of chairmanship each meeting. Three powers did not press point and agreed. Agreed have one meeting daily at outset and oftener if necessary. Re press relations, agreed each delegate free decide own relationships with press but should use discretion. After meeting Soviets promptly released unofficial translation of its agenda proposal, whereupon we released ours.

UK Deputy Davies led off substantive discussions stressing that objective of western powers since war was to preserve peace and solve international differences through peaceful negotiations. Nevertheless, relations among big powers had deteriorated but this cannot be attributed to aggressive intentions on part west. He said Soviets had no cause fear aggression from west but deterioration of situation had [Page 1088] caused UK to enter defensive alliances with like-minded nations. UK has never abandoned principle peaceful negotiations therefore desire that Foreign Ministers meet, discuss and resolve basic causes of tension, such discussions being based on sincerity of the parties and agenda broad enough provide for discussion basic causes of tensions in Europe. He cited as symptoms of tension: (1) fear that war is imminent; (2) building up of armaments; (3) fear on part western peoples of aggression by Soviet armies and possible loss of national independence; (4) stronger nations imposing their will on weaker nations; and (5) internal subversion of governments. Therefore, German problem was not solely responsible for tensions. Stated that to confine agenda to discussion German problem would be futile. He stated that Germany was merely one of many problems and not most vexing European question as the Soviets had indicated. He stressed that German problem must be discussed within the broader context of the causes of tensions in Europe. He emphasized that any agenda for ministerial talks must be so drawn that the Foreign Ministers can discuss basic causes of tension. Therefore item providing such latitude must be included as the first item on agenda. At this point he introduced the tripartite agenda proposal (Embtel 51422). After comment on each item he added that Soviet acceptance of last tripartite note created presumption that Soviet prepared accept these items as basis for discussion.

Gromyko replied that since UK deputy in addition to expressing opinions concerning possible agenda items had commented on international situation Soviet delegate would do likewise and that Soviet views proceeded from point that German demilitarization has vital significance for Europe and the world in terms of relaxing tensions. Said UK has given no facts substantiate claim of peaceful intent of UK. Arguments advanced by UK concerning fear of war and threat of aggression on part Soviets is unmasked in recent UK-Soviet notes on violation of Anglo-Soviet treaty.3 Use by UK of this argument can be considered only as camouflage for arms race in other countries particularly US. He charged that three powers have [Page 1089] launched arms race which cannot be denied nor reconciled with west profession of peaceful intent. Soviets preferred not rest on UK statement of intent but on facts. Not only was there threat of aggression on part states embarked on this course but acts of aggression had actually occurred. Gromyko said Soviet Government already stressed importance German question, that is, importance of demilitarization Germany and prohibition remilitarization Germany, since cognizant that implementation of quadripartite agreement this question would contribute greatly amelioration present situation.

Gromyko then introduced Soviet agenda proposal:

  • “1. On fulfillment by four powers of Potsdam Agreement regarding demilitarization of Germany and prohibition of remilitarization of Germany.
  • “2. On acceleration of conclusion of peace treaty with Germany and in accordance with this withdrawal of occupation forces.
  • “3. On improvement of situation in Europe and immediate passing over to reduction of armed forces of four powers—USSR, US, UK and France.”

In connection with item 1, Gromyko pointed out four powers already assumed certain obligations re Germany and solution German question of interest all European powers. Re item 2, cited that five years elapsed since four powers assumed obligations concerning this question but obligations not carried out. Re item 3, stressed that Soviets had put forward proposals this question in UN but they had been systematically rejected by other powers and if three powers really serious concerning peaceful intent their position on this item would be criterion. In summary he stressed that main question is demilitarization of Germany and that it should merit a place on the agenda in conformity with its significance.

Prior to adjournment Jessup inquired whether there was any significance in fact that Soviet proposal did not include subject of Austria. Gromyko said Soviets believed three questions advanced suitable for agenda but have no objection to discussing question of including Austria on agenda at the next meeting or following meetings.

Next meeting scheduled 3 p. m., March 6.

[ Jessup ]
  1. Repeated to London, Moscow, Frankfurt, and Vienna.
  2. Not printed; the agenda under reference, which had been agreed at a tripartite meeting on March 4, read:

    • “1. Examination of cause of present international tensions in Europe and of means to secure a real and lasting improvement in relations between Soviet Union and US UK and France.
    • 2. Completion of treaty for re-establishment of an independent and democratic Austria.
    • 3. Problems relating to re-establishment of German unity and to preparation of a peace treaty.” (396.1–P A/3–451)

    The U.S. Delegation had reported on the tripartite meeting in telegram 5143 from Paris, March 4, not printed (396.1–PA/3–451).

  3. For the texts of the notes of December 15, 1950 and January 5, 1951, exchanged between the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, see Folliot, Documents on International Affairs, 1949–50, pp. 179–182, and ibid., 1951, pp. 321–323, respectively.