Draft Tripartite Reply to Soviet Note of March 31, 1954, Approved by the Foreign Ministers of the United Kingdom, United States, and France, April 22, 1954 1

The United States Government has consulted the British and French Governments and the other interested governments, and in particular those of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, on those aspects of the problem of European security which were fully discussed by the four Foreign Ministers at Berlin and to which the Soviet Government again drew attention in its note of March 31.
The United States Government has long been striving for the universal reduction of armaments, to include the prohibition of atomic and other weapons of mass destruction and the control of atomic energy. In the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission, the United Nations Commission on Conventional Armaments and subsequently in the United Nations Disarmament Commission the United States Government has worked to secure international agreement on disarmament and to put an end to the competition in armaments which is imposing such a burden upon the peoples of the world. Such agreement can only be reached by progressive and balanced disarmament with effective safeguards which would remove the dangers of aggression from any quarter. The United States Government is determined to do everything in its power to bring to a successful conclusion the conversations started as a result of President Eisenhower’s initiative as well as the disarmament negotiations which it trusts will now begin again in the United Nations. It hopes that the Soviet Government will make a constructive contribution to the solution of these problems.
If these negotiations are to succeed, a sense of security and confidence must first be established. It is in this light that the United States Government has again carefully studied the Soviet proposals on European security first put forward in Berlin and now repeated in the Soviet Government’s note. In these the Soviet Government does not, attempt to remove the actual causes of European tension. Instead, it proposes a new collective security treaty which is avowedly based on the neutralization and continued division of Germany while leaving unchanged the Soviet Government’s close political, economic and military control over the countries of Eastern Europe. This can only prolong insecurity and division in Europe. These proposals, even when amended to permit United States participation, do not provide any foundation for genuine security.
The addition to the United Nations of such an organization as that proposed by the Soviet Government, embracing the Soviet Union, the United States and all European countries would contribute nothing to what is already a world-wide security organization. It would not only be useless but also dangerous because it would inevitably tend to destroy the authority of the United Nations. The United States Government cannot therefore accept the Soviet proposal. Collective security would best be safeguarded if the Soviet Government would permit the United Nations to function as the charter intended.
The Soviet Government has also suggested that its proposed collective security pact should be accompanied by an extension of the Atlantic Pact through the adherence of the Soviet Union to North Atlantic Treaty. It is unnecessary to emphasize the completely unreal character of such a suggestion. It is contrary to the very principles on which the defense system and the security of the western nations depend. These nations have bound themselves by close ties of mutual confidence. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization which is much more than a purely military arrangement, is founded on the principle of individual liberty and the rule of law. The means of defense of its members have been pooled to provide collectively the security which they cannot attain individually. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is wholly defensive. There is free and full exchange of information between all its members. All its decisions are taken by unanimous consent. The Soviet Union as a member of the organization would therefore be in a position to veto every decision. None of the member states is prepared to allow their joint defense system to be disrupted in this way.
European and world security will not be promoted by the disruption of defensive associations of like-minded states and the substitution of new illusory security organizations. The US Government remains convinced that the only way to remove the sense of insecurity which weighs on the world is through step-by-step solutions of individual problems. It does not believe that a lasting settlement can [Page 507] be achieved by erecting a new facade of security behind which the fundamental difficulties and divisions remain unchanged.
With these thoughts in mind, the western powers at Berlin advocated a plan for the solution of the German problem which could have been the first step towards the reconciliation of Europe. The Soviet Government would not even discuss this plan. The western powers also put forward proposals designed to reinforce the security of Europe on the basis of existing agreements. The Soviet Government refused also to consider these proposals. The western powers offered to accept the Soviet text of every unagreed article of the Austrian state treaty. But the Soviet Government, far from agreeing to sign on its own terms, attached new and unacceptable conditions which would have totally changed the treaty from one of freedom and independence to one of indefinite occupation by foreign troops.
The Soviet Government has repeated the criticisms it made at Berlin about plans for a European defense community. The US Government has already stated its views on this subject. It is quite untrue to suggest that the present plans which are of limited scope are responsible for the division of Europe or aggravate the risk of war. The division of Europe was brought about by the Soviet Government and its refusal to contemplate the reunification of Germany on acceptable conditions is one of the elements that serves to perpetuate this division. In these circumstances the Federal Republic of Germany cannot be allowed to remain without any means of defense when the eastern zone of Germany, as its leaders openly acknowledge, possesses substantial armed forces. The US Government considers that the best and safest way for all concerned to solve the problem of a German contribution to defense is within the framework of an association which by its very nature would prevent Germany from taking any individual armed action.
The US Government remains anxious to improve relations between states and to ensure mutual security. It suggests that progress could best be made toward the elimination of the sources of international tension if the Soviet Government would give concrete evidence of its good intentions by joining with the Governments of France, the United Kingdom and the US in
Seeking lasting and acceptable solutions of the German and Austrian problems;
Reaching early agreement on the problem of disarmament: such agreement should include the prohibition of atomic and other weapons of mass destruction and the control of atomic energy;
Working for solutions of the most pressing problems in the Far East at the Geneva conference;
Conforming their behavior in the United Nations to the principles of the charter and so enabling the United Nations to fulfill its true role as an effective organization for collective security.
  1. The source text was transmitted from Paris in telegram 4023, Apr. 22 (740.5/4–2254). Regarding its drafting, see the editorial note, supra.