396.1 WA/7–653: Telegram

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

top secret

89. For the Secretary and Riddleberger. My personal estimate of adequacy of Adenauer’s analysis reported in our telegram 53 of July 2.1 (See Deptel 56732) In answer to questions put to paragraph 6 of Deptel 5673, my opinion is that it would be inadvisable to hold a Four-Power conference prior to German elections. A declaration and broad statement of policy by three Foreign Ministers at conclusion of Washington Conference along lines indicated in following paragraphs would be preferable to another tripartite note. Additional tactics supplementary to those outlined in Deptel 5625 [5626]3 are suggested below.

In light of my recent conversation with Adenauer and political temper here, I believe it might be helpful to set forth my personal ideas as to effective results, from point of view of German considerations, which might come out of Washington conference. I should welcome [Page 1592]declaration or series of declarations at the end of conference along following lines.

A reaffirmation of principles of EDC forcefully stated by three Foreign Ministers. Such a statement would be most valuable if it contained an assurance on part of French that EDC ratification would be made first order of business when French National Assembly reconvenes in fall. Such an assurance would help to counteract most effective arguments of German opponents of Chancellor who are claiming with more and more telling effect that the keystone of Adenauer foreign policy will never be set in place because French will never ratify EDC.
A broad statement of policy by three Foreign Ministers on Germany. This should commence with protest against oppressive tyranny imposed by force in East Zone, which was revealed to world by uprisings of June 17–18. It should demand the immediate termination of these intolerable conditions. Declaration might follow suggestions of Chancellor (see our reference telegram) by declaring that division of Germany into four zones assumed development of free and democratic government in each zone not the creation of dictatorial and brutal government.

Declaration should then deal with subject of German unity. It should reaffirm strong support by Allied Powers of German unity and should take as its point of departure five-point Bundestag resolutions of June 10, as follows:

Holding of free elections in all of Germany;
Formation of a free government for all of Germany;
Peace treaty freely negotiated with this government;
Settlement of all outstanding boundary questions in this peace treaty;
An all-German Parliament and an all-German government must have right of freedom of action within framework of principles and aims of United Nations.

Declaration should not develop in any detail position of Three Governments upon later [latter?] points of resolution and in particular should avoid at this time discussion of thorny problem contained in fifth point. Declaration should, of course, emphasize that June 10 resolution was adopted unanimously by Bundestag with exception of KPD deputies. This Bundestag resolution is clear statement of what majority of Germans consider to be minimum conditions acceptable for German reunification. Declaration should then state that obviously no free elections could take place as long as present conditions continue in East Zone. Following four steps must be taken:

Opening of all zonal border crossing points and restoration of free circulation in Berlin and in all of Germany.
Elimination of “dead zone” along borders.
Freedom of press, assembly and activity by all political parties.
Restoration of democratic laws for protection of human beings against arbitrary acts and terror. When these measures have been carried out, Three Powers will direct their HICOMers to meet with Soviet HICOMer to plan for all-German elections.

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This declaration would put Kremlin squarely on spot by requiring it either to discredit itself by refusing to accept this offer or to make sweeping political concessions in East Zone which would seriously compromise Soviet control throughout the satellites.

Secondly, conditions could not be met in time to require a meeting of four HICOMers prior to German elections. Since any Four-Power conference prior to German elections seems inadvisable from viewpoint of our interests in Germany and since silence and inaction on part of Allies on basic issue of German unity would place both Allies and coalition in indefensible position in eyes of German and European public, I believe proposal outlined above is best line of action open to us.

It seems to me above is preferable to proposal of Chancellor for an exchange of notes for two reasons.

Because of the long and inconclusive battle of notes last year,4 German public has become especially cynical about this procedure.
Chancellor’s thought that conference could be delayed by note exchange might cause an unfavorable reaction by reminding German public of notes of last year.

In my opinion if line of action suggested above is followed in conjunction with steps suggested in our telegrams 86 of July 3 and 84 of July 3,5 some of efficacy of SPD attacks on Chancellor’s foreign policy could be neutralized. At this time, it is important to emphasize cordial relations between German Government and West Allies so that former appears to be effectively representing German views and interests with Allies who can be counted upon to defend them.

Referring to Chancellor’s recommendation special committee to work toward normalization relations between contractuals, I endorse his suggestion but doubt willingness of French and British to go along.

It is general opinion here in HICOG, which I share, that if elections were held tomorrow coalition would be returned to power. Greatest danger to my mind is that Soviets may make an offer on German unity which would be a golden apple of discord. This danger may be just over the horizon and urgent action by us is required. Another danger is that failure of Allies to seize the initiative may be used effectively by SPD against Allies and Chancellor as supporting Allies’ policy. This point goes beyond election. Believe events in East Zone put us in position to lead from strength and we should move boldly and rapidly.

  1. Ante, p. 1587.
  2. Dated June 30, p. 1585.
  3. Dated June 25; for text, see volume vii , chapter III.
  4. Documentation on the eight notes exchanged between the three Western Powers and the Soviet Union in 1952 is presented in volume vii .
  5. Neither printed; the former discussed the quantity and type of food being considered for aid to the Soviet Zone of Germany, while the latter discussed possible action which could be taken on a variety of access and communication problems in Berlin. (862B.49/7–353 and 762.0221/7–353)