396.1–PA/3–2851: Telegram

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


5754. For Matthews from Jessup. New proposals put in today by Gromyko represent first formal and serious break in Eussian position on anything of major importance.1 It shld be regarded in light of his introductory remarks which while largely purely propaganda, nevertheless contain interesting para on substantive discussion to effect that Sov del had been driven to such discussion by Western dels. While not conclusive, these remarks rather indicated desire to shy away from policy discussions possibly as result of our intervention on satellite treaties yesterday. It looks to us, therefore, as though Moscow had instructed Gromyko to make this concession based at least partly on desire to arrive at agreement within reasonable time.

Present draft obviously contains unacceptable portions in wording of phrases relating to armaments and fulfillment of treaties which in both cases are limited to four powers. Problem may also exist with respect to location of phrase re existing level of armaments. We think we can deal with these points, but essential question is acceptability present reference to demilitarization of Ger. We feel that Ger demilitarization formula having come as Sov move to West rather than further Western concession to thkir point of view is element of great importance in present public position of Western Powers. For same reason, we anticipate great difficulty with French and Brit in turning down out of hand Russia formula offer, which is now under our gen heading Item 1 with no specific reference to Potsdam. Furthermore, we have doubts whether our previous arguments wld be convincing if [Page 1112] advanced against acceptance in its present form either for quadripartite presentation or explanation to press.

We have been so close for several weeks to drafting details of wording, et cetera, on these items that we wld appreciate Dept’s opinion as to whether or not as presently formulated item on Ger appears to be dangerous or slanted in Sov direction, and as to probable reaction in US. Wld re-emphasize that since this draft came from Sovs and not from us, it affects line of thinking and arguments reflected in exchanges of tels and our tels. Assume Secretary will convey his view to Schuman and that you will instruct us accordingly for our guidance in tripartite and quadripartite tomorrow.2

[ Jessup ]
  1. The Soviet proposal for Item 1 of the agenda, tabled at the 19th session, read:

    “Examination of causes of present international tensions in Europe and of means necessary to secure a real and lasting improvement in relations between Soviet Union, the US, Great Britain and France, including the following questions: on demilitarization of Germany; on reduction of armed forces of USA, USSR, Great Britain and France and in connection with this discussion of existing level of armaments and question of establishment of international control over implementation of reduction of armed forces; on other measures for elimination of threat of war and fear of aggression; on fulfillment of present treaty obligations and agreements of four powers.” Telegram 5742 from Paris, March 28 (396.1–PA/3–2851).

    The U.S. Delegation reported on the 19th session in telegram 5755 from Paris, March 28 (396.1–PA/3–2851).

  2. At 11 p. m., March 28, the Department of State cabled Paris that it was unable to forward authoritative guidance in time for the quadripartite meeting on March 29 but that its preliminary view was that the “Sov draft, while ostensibly constituting important concession, is full of bugs.” (Telegram 5084, March 28, 396.1–PA/3–2851)