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

Letter No. 12

Dear Hank : There has been a considerable lapse in my correspondence but for some time it seemed to me either that the regular messages going out gave you a pretty clear picture, or that moves were being made too rapidly for a letter to be timely and useful. Now we have reached a moment of stabilization again and perhaps another expression from me will not be amiss.

We have gone a long way from our starting point, especially on the question of the “demilitarization of Germany”. I realize how very hard it was for you in the Department to come around to the present position of accepting those words by themselves, even when the idea that they are the result instead of the cause has been gotten in by adding the words “and effects”. It was very hard for us here, too, and certainly our draft of April 2 is not the agenda we would like to put before the Ministers. However, it seems to me that it is important to be: able to “give” at the proper time; important for the sake of our relations with the French and British, as well as for the impression created on world opinion, and also in order to feel out the real intentions of the Russians. I think we did the right thing by moving as we did in our April 2 draft, and I believe we have maintained the essentials of our position and can demonstrate that it’s the Russians who have really had to come down off their mountain top.

But so far as the German demilitarization item is concerned, I think we’ve come absolutely to the end of our road and we should refuse adamantly to accept it as the first sub-point in Item One. I’ve written my first memo of this conference to express this view (a copy has gone forward under separate cover to Arch1 and you) and am glad Schumacher has so promptly backed me up!2 But we’ll have lots of trouble with the British and French on this, because they’re both willing and even eager to accept the Soviet desire to put German demilitarization first, in order to get our way on something else.

We have the increasing impression that Soviet policy and aims with regard to this meeting and a CFM, as well as the situation in general, have undergone quite a change since November, and indeed even since the beginning of our talks here. They seem to display no interest [Page 1122] whatever in German unity, a peace treaty, etc., and their emphasis on German demilitarization and Potsdam has slackened way off. What increasingly comes to the fore is “the arms race” and their emphasis on a reduction of armaments. They seem—and I emphasize that we can only get an impression, of course, from a lot of little things—but they seem to be really worried by the U.S. rearmament effort, and to a lesser extent that of the other NAT countries. These things are dangerous to prophesy about but I incline to think we’re not in for anything startling as far as Germany is concerned but that every Soviet effort will be directed towards frustrating what they now recognize as the main threat—the rearmament effort of the U.S. I think we must be extremely careful here not to give them any handle in the agenda to implant doubts in the minds of the Congressional opposition as to the firmness of the Administration’s intention to get on with a very pressing job—nor as to the firmness of British and French intentions. Parodi seems more alive to the danger than Davies, who is really most extraordinary in his willingness to take anything, almost, in order to reach agreement. Chip feels, perhaps rightly, that there is personal ambition behind this attitude; you know, the thing which bites so many newcomers, “the man who reached an agreement with the Russians”.

Sincerely yours,

  1. John Archibald Calhoun, Deputy Director of the Office of German Political Affairs.
  2. On April 5 McCloy had reported that Schumacher was not at all happy about the latest Soviet proposal, feeling that demilitarization of Germany as the first item was “very dangerous.” (Telegram 696 from Bonn, April 5, 396.1–PA/4–551)