396.1–PA/4–2251: Telegram

The United States Representative at the Four-Power Exploratory Talks (Jessup) to the Secretary of State 1


6415. From Jessup. At buffet fol showing of Russian film by Sovs last night Gromyko opened upon how we cld finish our work. He said we already had some agreed parts of item 1 and then we cld have the item on Ger unity and peace treaty; the Trieste item; and the Austrian [Page 1131] item. I added the item on the Balkan treaties to which he agreed if it included the Ital treaty. He brushed aside order these items as matter for later consideration.

He then mentioned the NAT-Amer bases item and I told him we simply cld not agree that three parties to this twelve-power treaty cld agree with Sov Union that it was even a basis for discussion by four. He seemed to accept my statement and made no ref to including this item. In connection with Balkan item he made no ref to Aust and Ger agreements but I am not sure whether he meant to drop these. Returning to Item 1 he devoted himself to question of reduction of armaments and said if we cld not accept their draft on this, prospect of agreement was very dark. He made no ref to position of Ger demilitarization item. At this point we were joined by De La Tournelle and soon afterward by Mallet. We continued a prolonged discussion of reduction item. In course of this he agreed that standard Sov position in UN had been to press for agreement on reduction first and then to take up an agreement on controls. He said that their agenda proposal did not state this position. He kept emphasizing that controls and also level cld be considered by Mins simultaneously. He agreed that Mins may not be able to make any decision on reduction until they had agreed on system of controls. De La Tournelle suggested that a proper wording on controls cld include question of level of armaments and that it might not be necessary to mention level at all. I reserved on this but Gromyko stressed his view that mention of level before reduction was the chief difficulty. We three pressed Gromyko on statements he had made about his agenda item which indicated clearly he thought acceptance of his draft wld bind us to policy of reduction before Mins met. He reiterated that our draft wld “untie our hands” but that his draft wld not “tie our hands”. He asserted that we had a “political and moral obligation” to abandon armaments race. He then dropped word “political” and insisted that a moral obligation arose from charter irrespective of agenda. He said they wld continue to speak and oppose in every possible way our rearmament program but kept emphasizing that he was not asking us to make an agreement now. Implication of his remarks seemed to be that he cld accept some wording which suggested simultaneous consideration by Mins of reduction and control provided reduction was mentioned first. Throughout entire conversation he made no ref to limiting reduction to four powers.

Allen UK reports other members Sov del at party took line suggesting why not finish this week. These conversations indicate Sov readiness reach agreement rather than preparing break.2

[Page 1132]

In discussion with Mallet and Allen this morning, I said my tentative thinking was that we shld have regular mtg tomorrow since Gromyko indicated yesterday he had not finished his statement.3 We might tell him before mtg we wld like private conversation perhaps at lunch Tues.4 At such private mtg we might show him paper not labeled as proposal but designed to indicate where we stand. Such a paper wld take advantage of explicit and implied agreements by Gromyko last night putting in parallel columns as unagreed items perhaps only armaments point and perhaps Balkan item. I suggested leaving Ger demilitarization in second place with possibility of shift on this if necessary to reach full agreement. I agreed if we cld find by Tues mutually satisfactory re-draft armaments item we cld put that on paper opposite his present formulation. In alternative positions on Balkan item we might start with II B 2 (Deptel 54305) or use at some point alternative proposed in ourtel 6401,6 if this is approved by Sec.

Practical acceptance by Gromyko of Aust item and omission of NAT bases item makes negotiating position easier but difficulty with Brit may still turn on armaments item and tactics of presentation to Gromyko. Inclined to believe both Fr and Brit wld ultimately accept above positions concerning possible mention Ital treaty item.

We may send additional comments later today.

[ Jessup ]
  1. Repeated to London, Moscow, Bonn, and Frankfurt.
  2. On April 23 the U.S. Delegation reported that Bohlen had had a similar conversation with Semenov following the film. Semenov had stated strongly that the armaments point was the chief Soviet preoccupation, and Bohlen had replied that, in his opinion, Soviet policy at the conference was to ascertain whether or not it could force abandonment of current Western policies. (Telegram 6426 from Paris, April 23, 396.1–PA/4–2351)
  3. The U.S. Delegation reported that the 36th session on April 23 “brought no change in position on either side, and propaganda blast from Gromyko on armament question, NATO, and American bases.” (Telegram 6442 from Paris, April 23, 396.1–PA/4–2351)
  4. At the luncheon on April 24 “Gromyko proved absolutely adamant on all points of difference between Western and Sov positions on agenda items.” (Telegram 6455 from Paris, April 24, 396.1–PA/4–2451)
  5. Dated April 13, p. 1124.
  6. Not printed; it suggested acceptance of the Soviet wording on the Balkan treaties and Trieste in exchange for Soviet acceptance of the Western position on an Austrian treaty. (396.1–PA/4–2151)