396.1/7–253: Telegram

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

top secret

53. Eyes only for Secretary and Riddleberger. Explored with Chancellor informally points raised by your telegram 5673,1 paragraph 5. Chancellor is strongly opposed to quadripartite discussions at any level during month of August and is opposed to such discussions at any time unless there is reasonable certainty that they will have positive results. He would not consider it acceptable result if conference merely provided another demonstration of Soviet unwillingness to come to genuine solution of European or German problem. He was fearful that any four-power discussions, unless there was reasonable assurance of success, would merely provide a propaganda platform for Russians and lead to never-ending talks.

Answering 5(b), Chancellor believes initiative should be seized now by three-powers by issuing as soon as possible, after Washington conference, strong note to Soviets sharply protesting tyrannical procedures of government in East Zone pointing out that their authority in East Zone derived from four-power agreements and original arrangement of dividing Germany into four zones did not contemplate turning over any zone to such dictatorial and oppressive government. He felt psychological value of this note would be very great in Germany and in satellite countries. Conversely, if West showed no reaction to East Zone event, psychological repercussions in East Germany and satellites would be very bad. He hopes that in same note a renewed protest about prisoners of war held in Russia would be included.

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As second part of initiative, Chancellor suggests three-powers should renew their offer of September 1952 to Soviets to take steps towards reunification on basis of five points of Bundestag resolution June 10 but feels conditions of free elections should be spelled out in detail somewhat along lines of six demands of Chancellor in Bundestag debate yesterday supplemented by some international mechanism for supervision of elections.2 He pointed out such proposal would undoubtedly evoke counterproposal from Soviets and this would ensure discussion of this matter by note exchange beyond date of September elections.3 If bare five point Bundestag resolution was presented, Soviets might immediately come back asking for prompt four-power conference to discuss free elections, a conference which should be avoided at this stage.

In connection with this discussion, I asked Chancellor about relation of eighth point in his letter to President to fifth point in the Bundestag resolution.4 Inconclusive discussion followed. Chancellor’s view is that Article 7, section 3 of general treaty5 confines future all-German Government to alternatives of accepting EDC or remaining in occupation status. Latter alternative he considers out of question. He feels that an all-German Government will not be free to have a national army and make an alliance with Russia, for example. When I pointed out this was not what was said by Bundestag in point 5, which speaks of “complete freedom of alliance for the new German Government” he replied Bundestag resolution was not to be read too literally. I feel sure, however, that his opposition would challenge any statement by three-powers which spelled out what Chancellor feels is limitation on an all-German Government. This difficulty seems to me to present serious obstacle to full utilization of Bundestag resolution as basis for proposal. Chancellor stated that he had made the eight points known to British but not French.

While Chancellor is strongly opposed to actual meeting of four HICOMers he would be glad to see AHC take initiative by making proposals to Semenov about specific issues followed by meeting between any one Commissioner and Semenov. But he and his staffs fear of any restoration of Allied Control Council is very great. In particular, he suggested that if funds available Allied HICOMers might propose to Semenov shipping of food to Protestant and Catholic [Page 1589]churches in East Zone for distribution. This he considered would have great propaganda value. He believes distribution through churches would ensure food going to the people without further inspection safeguards. This differs from proposal presented by Economic Ministry (reference our telegram 52 to Department 02 July 19536) in that it would be quite open and not secret shipment of food packages. I raised a fear expressed here earlier namely that any public offer might lead Soviets to cut off present supply of private packages from West Germany. Chancellor answered by saying that situation in East Zone so desperate that Soviets would not dare to do this.

Chancellor raised again war crimes issue and I told him that I hoped we could have an answer before end of July at latest. This he considers of great importance. He expressed grave doubts British and French would go along. He further urges that we consider other steps toward normalization of relations between three Allied powers and Federal Republic before contractuals come into effect. To this end, he suggested that each HICOMer appoint a member to a committee of four to which he would name one German, this committee to consider what further steps might be taken toward normalization of relations. Such measures as our recent decision in regard to courts in US Zone could then be effected on three zonal basis. He implied that announcement of appointment of such a special committee or commission operating under AHC would have great political advantage in coming weeks and would not have to report before elections. He said optical effect would be very favorable.

Chancellor is optimistic about French situation because of composition of new Cabinet. He hopes and believes that French ratification possible during this year if sufficient pressure applied at Washington conference. In this connection, may I urge that a re-statement after Washington of adherence to EDC treaty would be of greatest value here, particularly if French could give some indication that matter would not be postponed, as recent Paris telegrams indicate, until calendar year 1954.

Chancellor’s view of situation in East Zone and satellites is that economic situation will continue to deteriorate and that we must not overestimate internal economic strength of Russians. He thinks desperate economic situation forces Russia to restore economic trade with free world. Chancellor seems to believe that they would accept something along lines of five-point Bundestag resolution as basis for reunification of Germany and that no concessions are needed in order to get them to accept this proposal. With this extreme optimistic view neither I nor staff here are in accord, though we agree situation in East Zone will be increasingly difficult for Russians. Referring your [Page 1590]paragraph 6, my independent judgment regarding situation here in Germany follows soonest.7

Chancellor will go on much needed two week vacation Monday morning. Do not plan to see him again unless very urgent. He can be reached by secure telephone, he maintains, next week.

  1. Supra.
  2. For the text of these six demands concerning free elections, see Papers and Documents, pp. 122–123.
  3. General elections in the Federal Republic were scheduled for Sept. 6.
  4. The eighth point of Adenauer’s memorandum stated that the EDC Treaty would limit the armed forces of the Federal Republic and, hence, safeguard its neighbors. Point five of the Bundestag resolution stated that an all-German Government should have freedom of action consistent with the principles of the United Nations. (Papers and Documents, pp. 117–118)
  5. The text of the Convention on Relations between the Three Powers and the Federal Republic of Germany, signed at Bonn, May 26, 1952, is printed in volume vii .
  6. Printed in volume vii .
  7. Telegram 89 from Bonn, July 6, p. 1591.