The Director of the Office of German Political Affairs ( Laukhuff )1 to the Director of the Bureau of German Affairs ( Byroade )

Letter No. 4

Dear Hank : Somewhat to our surprise, Gromyko chose not to pursue yesterday’s line but devoted himself to the Austrian treaty and tied it in with the question of Trieste. The atmosphere was less tense today since Gromyko’s tone was more moderate. You know the course of the arguments from the telegram.2 When all is said and done, however, our business was not advanced in the slightest by today’s Russian tack. We had the impression that they had decided their omission of the Austrian item was going to be disadvantageous to them from a propaganda point of view and so they sought to recover lost ground. Gromyko seemed not altogether facile or happy in his discussion of the Austrian item although he was more at ease when he got on to Trieste. The British professed to feel that today’s discussion gives a little more room for hope that the Russians really want to draw up an agenda. To us, however, again, the main Soviet motivation seemed to be propagandists, though on a relatively minor point.

On the basis of the first three days, it is still not certain that we will not be pushed into a discussion of the substance of various items though I judge the three are in a mood to try to continue their insistence upon a procedural and businesslike discussion of the agenda for another day or so.

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There was not very much mention of Germany today except by Gromyko toward the end when he addressed himself to Parodi and insisted that if, as the French claimed, it was important to deal with the Austrian treaty as a means of lessening tension in Europe, it was all the more important to deal with the problem of German demilitarization which was the central problem in Europe. Parodi’s reply was quite in the spirit of the position agreed among the three but was perhaps carelessly formulated and may give us some trouble. What he said in effect was that the Western powers were quite prepared to examine the problem of German armament as one of the causes of tension and in the context of all of the causes of tension. That is to say, the Russians would be perfectly free to expound their ideas on this subject under our item 1, “Examination of the causes of tension, etc.”. He actually said that we were willing to discuss “German demilitarization” under item 1 and may have laid himself open to a Russian assertion that he agreed to accept their first item under our item 1. This was not the case and I feel sure Jessup and the others will clarify this as time goes on.

Sincerely yours,

  1. Laukhuff was in Paris as a member of the U.S. Delegation at the Four-Power Exploratory Talks.
  2. The U.S. Delegation characterized the third session on March 7 as follows:

    “Third quadripartite session exploratory talks March 7 brought forth Soviet declaration that they have no objection to placing Austrian question on agenda if 3 powers agree inclusion ‘fulfillment of peace treaty with Italy in the part concerning Trieste.’ Meeting characterized by Soviet insistence 2 questions inseparably linked and Western position no connection questions. Throughout sessions Soviets took basically propaganda approach to discussions, attempted reverse Western arguments, and paid little attention to logic their position.” Telegram 5237 from Paris, March 7 (396.1–PA/3–751).