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

Letter No. 10

Dear Hank: Yesterday Gromyko again proved that the Russians are sometimes our best allies. He made a very long speech (two hours, with translations) in the course of which he completely exposed the Soviet hand, so that even the French and British could see the game. The sentences which really leaped out of his discourse were these: (1) [Page 1103] “If [the Western] wording is accepted, it would untie the hands of those desiring to engage in an arms race”; and (2) “This [Western] formulation leaves a free hand to the three powers [to remilitarize Germany].”1

These phrases and their context gave the plainest intimation that the Soviets desire to have a wording accepted which will tie the hands of the three Powers. Parodi picked up the point immediately and said he of course cannot and will not accept an agenda which binds the French Government to condemn a policy which it has adopted. Jessup and Davies both took off in the same line. We were delighted because Gromyko succeeded, better than we had been able to, in showing what the Soviet Government seeks to do with this agenda. We thought it ought to make our discussions of tactics with the French and British much easier.

Today, however, in the tripartite talks we again got a very sharp conflict of view. Accepting all that we drew as conclusions from Gromyko’s words of yesterday (though Parodi tended to accentuate their application to the question of arms reduction and play down their application to German demilitarization) the French and British were still very strong for trying still another concession to the Soviets. They want to put in “the question of the demilitarization of Germany” as a separate item under our first main heading, “Examination of the causes of tension, etc.” Phil and Chip argued very strongly that this was bad tactics because it would lead the Russians to believe we are moving towards their position, and because it actually would produce an agenda dangerously close to being usable by the Russians for their purposes. That is, it would cast some doubt in the minds of the public on the firmness of the western governments’ decisions taken at Brussels, and it would enable the Russians through propaganda, “peace” movements, and even diplomatic notes, to bring pressure to bear on the three of us to “cease and desist” in view of the “commitment” we had taken to discuss demilitarization of Germany and arms reduction with them at a Ministers’ meeting.

Parodi and Davies remained unconvinced and made great play of the necessity of convincing their public opinions that we had “gone to the limit” to be reasonable and reach agreement. Davies has at various times come very close to saying, if indeed he has not said, that it would be more disastrous to break because of inability to agree on an agenda than it would be to cast doubt on the Brussels decisions.

This disagreement has become almost the central problem here, I would say. While both Parodi and Davies (especially the latter) are [Page 1104] at pains to say that of course their governments’ execution of the Brussels decisions will not be affected by anything on the agenda, there is more than a little reason to suppose that their hearts (especially the French) are not in it.2

I myself feel we should not give way another inch in the use of the phrase “demilitarization of Germany” in the direction of the Soviet thesis. Even the use we have made of it in our present draft is bad but we’re stuck with that.

Sincerely yours,

  1. All brackets in this sentence are in the source text.
  2. Next to this paragraph in the source text, Laukhuff had written “This is understatement, of course.”