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

top secret

Dear Hank : I do not know whether my letters have been of any usefulness to you or not. However, in any event there would seem to be very little reason left for my writing any more letters, except if some special point arises, since the Department has made its decision to give way on the last remaining point concerning Germany. I regret this decision to give way at the last if necessary on the question of putting German demilitarization first. I think it will cause us no end of trouble on the propaganda front as well as put us in a disadvantageous position at a CFM itself. All this in addition to the bad effect of our already having accepted the item in any form. I confess I am almost sorry I ever thought of adding the words “and effects”, which enabled us to get this demilitarization point into item 1. (Delete “almost”!)

Incidentally, I understood the Department’s position to be that we would give way on this point only after all other points are settled satisfactorily. I detect signs here of a disposition to offer this lamb on the altar in an attempt to buy Soviet acceptance of our point of view on other items. I doubt that this would ever work, since the Russians would just gobble it up and move on to wear us out on the other points.

Besides, the only real justification which could be advanced for giving way on German demilitarization is that it would meet the British and keep the tripartite front intact. But it is all too clear that this will not placate the British any more than it will the Russians. The British will just grunt, and move on to attack us next for being too rigid on the armaments point, on Trieste, or indeed on NATO. For it seems clear that the British will stop at no concession whatever to “meet the Russians” in order to ensure a CFM. And it must be a CFM with an agreed agenda. They are more adamant in opposing the desire of the French and ourselves to try the “split agenda” (the so-called Parodi formula) than they are in opposing the Soviets.

The British attitude here can leave one with only the following conclusions: that they regard the Brussels decisions on Germany as an agreement in principle only, not to be carried forward seriously before a CFM; and that they will not even put their hearts into their own rearmament or try to convince their allegedly unwilling public that it is absolutely necessary to re-arm, until they have had a CFM discussion. These are not their words, but this is increasingly the sense of what they are saying in our tripartite meetings. This is frightening, and it [Page 1129] would blow our NATO program sky-high if any intimation of such an attitude got out.

It does seem to me that we ought to confront the British now, without any further delay, with a completely firm end position and with a frank warning that their position seems to us to add up to what I said in the paragraph above. The more so since the French are now increasingly on our side. In other words I should think the time has come for a show-down, though I sense a cautious disposition here to avoid facing that.1 We haven’t much time to fiddle-faddle around at this point if we want to keep the public with us, and the only alternative to a showdown is a slow but steady surrender to the British and then to the Russians, point by point. That would make me really sorry I ever had to get connected with this enterprise.

I hope you don’t mind my unburdening myself like this. Some of this is not my particular business and I don’t expect you to do anything about it. I am sending a copy of this to Arch and to no one else.

I hope the load is not too heavy on you these days. I’m sure neither of us anticipated that I would be away so long. If I ever get back I may have to take a week’s leave right off the bat to recover! My best to everyone.

Sincerely yours,

  1. At this point in the source text, Laukhuff had inserted an asterisk, and had written below “April 19.—*There have been two new developments. First, the Davies letter which we’ve telegraphed and which just confirms my diagnosis. Second, a tripartite meeting this morning at which the atmosphere got a little strained when Phil clearly characterized the British position as one of ‘capitulation’, without a stopping point.” A copy of Davies’ letter was transmitted in telegram 6328 from Paris, not printed, while the U.S. Delegation reported on the tripartite meeting in telegram 6337 from Paris, April 19 (396.1–PA/4–1951 and 4–1951).

    Above these remarks Laukhuff had also written “Am I getting too steamed up? It’s hard to keep perspective when one runs around the same squirrel cage day after day.”