396.1 WA/7–653: Telegram

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

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90. For the Secretary and Riddleberger. In connection with recommendations made in our telegram (89, July 6, 3 p.m.1) that at conclusion of Washington conference three Foreign Ministers should issue joint statement on German unity which would take as a point of departure five point Bundestag resolution of June 10, I wish to add certain additional comments. I believe that in following this line of action we must be prepared to face squarely at a later date issue of freedom of alliance for a future all-German government which is demand made in fifth point of resolution. Although many will feel there is some danger in release of an all—German government from controls of occupation unless she is contractually obligated in advance to enter an integrated European defense system, under present circumstances this seems to me a calculated risk which we must take. This risk seems remote as before any discussion with an all—German Government will be possible, EDC will have been ratified or other developments involving relations of Allies and Federal Republic will have taken place. Failure to do so would place us in weak position vis-à-vis Russians because it would be public evidence of a lack of faith in Germany and because it is hard to imagine this point not coming up at a later date in public discussion in such a way that Allies would be required to take a stand on it. In my opinion, majority of Germans fear USSR sufficiently strong so that they would recoil from prospect of being left alone on borders of Soviet world; if given free choice they would opt for joining western defense system rather than surrender their right to freedom of alliance and be faced with immediate withdrawal of western defense forces before creation of an adequate German military establishment. However, in order to dispel wishful thinking which exists in many German minds that US would guarantee a neutralized Germany, i.e., that they can have the best of both worlds, there might be value in statement by a high American official that US would not surrender its freedom of action by guaranteeing in advance that it would defend a neutralized Germany from attack. Such a statement involves high military strategy and its advisability might be overruled by other considerations but it might be effective in undermining position of German neutralists.

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