396.1 WA/7–1453: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in France 1

top secret

Topol 51. As representative of host Government for tripartite talks you are authorized to make this report on behalf of three Governments, in concert with your French and UK colleagues:

The Foreign Ministers of the United Kingdom, France and the United States have completed a series of meetings in Washington with frank discussion various topics of special interest in atmosphere of sincere cordiality. Since a number of the subjects considered are of great interest to other partners in NATO, the Governments of the UK, France and the US desire to inform NAC regarding conclusions reached.

Considerable time during first tripartite session was devoted to discussion of significance of Soviet policy Beria purge. Recognizing it too early to determine exactly significance this act, sense of the discussion was as follows:

Beria purge may mean a tougher nationalistic Soviet line as similarity between recent Pravda editorial and the March 1939 report of the 18th Congress Russian CP are striking. Would be dangerous, however, to overemphasize historical analogy and firm up now an interpretation of the event, which may in fact result in continuation “peace offensive”.
Recent softer internal Soviet line very possibly caused by pressure of public opinion within the Soviet Union as well as in the satellites, especially Eastern Germany and Hungary.
Peace offensive destined as offensive weapon against the West has boomeranged against Soviets at home.
While situation still unclear, major events are obviously taking place and at a rhythm unprecedentedly rapid in the Communist world.
Basic policies of West have been successful, particularly in preventing consolidation of Soviet world and should be pursued without faltering. At same time, tactical flexibility in application of our policies should be preserved to take advantage of developments in Soviet Union. It was also agreed that hopes of eventual freedom for satellite peoples should be supported and developed by the West while avoiding inciting open revolt.

In lengthy discussion of Germany, the three Ministers agreed that the West must recognize that German opinion attracted increasingly by hope of re-unification. They agreed upon the necessity for reaffirming publicly and vigorously the policies of their governments in support of European unification and of EDC in particular.

[Page 1708]

They agreed that the three governments should take the initiative in inviting Soviet Union to a four-power meeting to be held about the end of September. This agreement accords with the views of Chancellor Adenauer. To prevent unsettling effects in Germany it was considered that invitation to USSR for four-power talks should be announced prior to German elections, but meeting to be held after those elections. It is felt that announcement might assist Government of GFR in coming elections and at the same time assist ratification of EDC in France.

It was agreed that any four-power meeting would be of fixed and limited duration with a limited agenda. Although Germany will be the major agenda item, it is agreed that scope of four-power discussion which would be at the Foreign Minister level should be restricted to topics which can be solved, e.g. free elections, provisional independent German Government free to choose its own courses of action, and method of control over elections. Austria would also be on agenda. Four-power Foreign Ministers meeting as proposed does not exclude the possibility of other meetings on other subjects at an appropriate time. Experts will meet in Paris to discuss details German and Austrian peace treaties at time to be settled later.

The Ministers considered the danger inherent in holding four-power talks with Soviet Union prior establishment EDC, but agreed desirable because of German elections and alternative of further delay in ratification EDC Treaty.

US and UK Foreign Ministers stressed that EDC would remain firm in the policy of their Governments and that four-power talks would not be permitted to re-open the question of EDC.

The French Foreign Minister presented the Indochina problem, stressing military difficulties and the French political declaration of July 3.2 The British and Americans expressed great satisfaction over liberal French plans for completing sovereignty of Associated States.

The American Secretary of State presented a résumé of the Korean situation. See Wireless Bulletin for text communiqué issued July 14.3

Full text follows by separate telegram identic notes to be delivered by three powers at noon July 15 Washington time to Soviet Ambassadors at their respective capitals, to be released for morning papers July 16.4

This cable has been approved by UK and French Delegations here.

  1. This telegram, which was drafted by Adair and cleared by Merchant, was repeated priority to London and Rome.
  2. See footnote 3, p. 1644.
  3. Supra.
  4. For text of the note, see p. 1701.