396.1–PA/5–1151: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Representative at the Four-Power Exploratory Talks (Jessup), at Paris1

top secret

6043. For Jessup from the Secretary.

1. After careful consideration of ur recent tels and yesterday’s telecon, I discussed with President this afternoon the problem with which you are presently faced in Paris.2 In Pres’ view the sound course for Western Govts to follow is to stick to triple play and he believes that if we do this we will win out.

2. As Brit FonOff indicated in its press release of May 2, Morrison said in his speech on May 6, and I said in my press conf on May 9, we have reached the limit of our concessions to the Soviet Union and have gone to the utmost bounds of reasonableness to make a meeting possible. If we begin the process of yielding on the triple play we will progressively diminish the strength of our position and make it more difficult not to make still further concessions.

3. The President has the deepest feeling against having NAT appear on agenda in any form.

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4. It is his wish that you make strongest possible effort to persuade Fr and Brit reps of wisdom of this course and to early delivery of tripartite aide-mémoire in Moscow.3

5. (FYI Matthews and Nitze had conv with Franks this afternoon and urged same course. Franks expressed personal agreement and said that he would telegraph his govt this afternoon.)

6. If it shld prove impossible to persuade Fr and Brit govts to hold the line, the Pres has consented to the fol proposal:

Three Western Deps shld seek private meeting with Gromyko and put up to him as absolutely final a package deal agreeing to alternative B of triple play with Ger demilitarization as first item on both sides of split item I; no mention whatever of NAT; agreement on any order of items II through V provided Austria precedes Trieste.

7. You are only authorized to present this proposition to Gromyko if Brit and Fr reps give you commitment of their govts that this is final and that if Gromyko turns it down three Western Govts will immediately dispatch aide-mémoire to Moscow.

8. Reason for insisting on private meeting with Gromyko as opposed to quadripartite session is that this permits us to maintain our public position with respect to triple play.

9. Apart from substantive reason Pres feels that there is tactical advantage in this line of action rather than alternative 2 of telecon of last night4 since Gromyko has indicated (by his conditional acceptance of alternative A without a NAT item) that he regards NATO as a bargaining item. Similarly, we have indicated corresponding weakness re position Ger demilitarization in Alternative A. He believes therefore that if any further concession is to be made it shld be made where our position is already undermined. If we start showing weakness in another direction, Gromyko will be encouraged to believe that, he can get both.

  1. This telegram was drafted by Bonbright, signed by Secretary Acheson, and repeated to London eyes only for Gifford.
  2. A memorandum of Secretary Acheson’s discussion with President Truman is supra.
  3. Toward the end of April, the U.S. Delegation had suggested the possibility of sending an aide-mémoire to the Soviet Government, indicating the impasse that had been reached at Paris and asking that new instructions be sent to Gromyko. Various drafts of such an aide-mémoire were prepared by the three Western Delegations, but none was finalized pending further developments at Paris. Documentation relating to the drafting and discussion of the proposed aide-mémoire is in file 396.1–PA.
  4. Not printed; the second alternative was to add NATO and bases to Alternative B as an unagreed item, preferably as a footnote at the end of the agenda (396.1 PA/5–1051).