662A.00/9–254: Telegram

The United States High Commissioner for Germany (Conant) to the Department of State 1


663. Limit distribution. In conformity with instructions from Wash,2 presented protocols to Hallstein this morning in Baden-Baden and argued for Chanc’s agreement along lines Wash instructions as vigorously as possible. Hallstein from start took very negative position and assured me our protocols were quite unacceptable. Cabinet had in essence realized what might be in the wind in Fr and Brit quarters along this line and had taken unanimous stand in opposition yesterday. I labored point intent US at end ninety day period was to force decision and that we had no intention allowing Fr veto to prevail. He replied that this was not in document and document was what had to be placed before the Bundestag and public. Said he felt Chanc wanted no steps taken about partial sovereignty before whole problem full sovereignty including rearmament was settled.

Immediately following this discussion, met Senator Wiley at airport and drove with him to Buehlerhoehe.3 Chanc had opportunity of reading protocols before our arrival. In few words during preliminary conversation with Senator, he made it plain he was very unfavorably disposed towards document in question. I endeavored get discussion with Chanc of whole subject without bringing in Senator, who I point out had no knowledge of documents. I succeeded for first part of visit, as when Senator was out of room for short time I could speak quickly with Chanc, and on subsequent occasion was able argue [Page 1139] with him in absence of Senator. But after lunch Chanc insisted on bringing Senator fully into argument and before call ended, Senator was privy to whole subject. Chanc was negative to my arguments as was Hallstein and said it was completely impossible for him present any such document to Bundestag which would unanimously reject it. He said that proposals in this document would be terrible shock to German people and great blow to him worse than blow which he had suffered after vote of French Assembly. He spoke so strongly, that I became convinced it would be impossible to move him and that his apprehension as to consequences of public discussion of this document and knowledge that it had been communicated to French would be very grave. Therefore I left room at 2:20 and telephoned Dowling in Bonn; asking him to relay Wash my urgent recommendation that protocols not be shown to Fr. At that time I believed schedule called for Friday, which was as stated in my tel and which I stated to Chanc. I told Chanc it had not been settled as yet as to whether Fr would see protocols and I was reporting his point view to Wash at once, but made no statement as to my own recommendation.

Senator Wiley was much impressed by Chanc’s argument and shared his apprehension as to consequences of showing this document to Fr.

On my return to Bonn, I found that approach to Fr had been held up. Urgently repeat my previous recommendation that we give up any idea of showing this proposal to Fr, and if Brit insist they do it alone as UK proposal. Brit HICOMer at airport after my interview with Chanc and before his, took attitude that Brit were not going to push protocols, but if Chanc didn’t like them, say they were merely an idea of three months ago. This line of Brit, if it were carried out by HICOMer, puts American position in awkward light since I argued strongly with Hallstein and Chanc for acceptance these protocols.4

I now believe I made serious error in following Wash’s instructions in arguing for acceptance of protocols after Chanc made his first statement to me that they were unacceptable. For as consequence my arguments and presentation this document, Chanc seems now convinced that Wash does not understand present German problem. He said document was put together by bureaucrats who had taken old texts and who had no understanding of political and psychological problems. He even spoke of this document as being step back. At this point I did my best to point out good intentions of both my Govt and Brit, and that if we were in error, it was based only on misunderstanding.

Then talk turned to what should be done. Chanc showed no interest in meeting with occupying powers or with EDC countries plus US and UK until such time as US and Germany had agreed on common [Page 1140] policy. In this connection an earlier remark of Chanc’s to Senator that he had been lied to by Mendes-France at Brussels seems to me of enormous significance. He said we were only country which could help him in his objective, which was to bring about German rearmament within European defense community framework. On being challenged as to these words by Senator, who asked about NATO, he said yes perhaps NATO, but he really wanted EDC. He believes this can be done if US and Germany can agree on a position.

My own opinion, based on this conversation and certain hints by Hallstein, is that HICOG proposal, although it has never been discussed with any German, would be acceptable to Chanc. But nothing need be done about sovereignty in immediate future.

Chanc spoke of desirability of his sitting down with Secretary. I pointed out difficulties of bilateral talks from political point view and also reminded him Secretary will be in Philippines for some weeks. He then spoke of sending Hallstein to see Secretary, or Hallstein and myself. I succeeded in diverting conversation at this point because it seemed to me fruitless to discuss before Senator and his assistants the next steps in our communications between FedRep and Wash. Needless to say, I am very much opposed to any visit by Hallstein.

Chanc said he would formulate more clearly in few days the exact steps which the Germans had in mind as to what was needed, and would communicate them to us, but did not indicate he wished to communicate with any other nation.

  1. Repeated to London and to Paris for Bruce.
  2. Presumably a reference to telegrams 621 and 623 to Bonn, Sept. 1 and 2, respectively, pp. 1125 and 1128.
  3. For information concerning Senator Wiley’s trip to Europe, see footnote 3, p. 1131.
  4. For a report by the British concerning Hoyer Millar’s conversation with Adenauer that same day, see telegram 1153 from London, Sept. 3, p. 1141.