662A.00/9–154: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Office of the United States High Commissioner for Germany, at Bonn1


621. 1. Department telegram 566 to Bonn repeated London 1163 Paris 734,2 British have replied they feel it important give Mendes-France text Protocols immediately and have proposed simultaneous communication to him and to Adenauer. Bonn and Paris in concert with British colleagues should therefore jointly present texts of two London Working Group Protocols on application of contractual and German defense contribution telegraphed yesterday3 as joint proposals of US and UK Governments. They should also be given texts of related notes included in report of Anglo-American Study Group4 with change in second note indicated in Department telegram 1203 to London repeated Bonn 588 Paris 764.5

2. For Bonn. In presenting text to Chancellor you should make clear that proposal to place contractuals in effect without solution of armament problem does not represent in any sense lessening interest on our part in obtaining early German contribution to Defense, nor is there any intention of postponing indefinitely German right to rearm. On [Page 1126] contrary Article 3 of Protocol is designed to force solution this problem as soon as possible. You may make clear if necessary that this text is designed to eliminate continued veto by any one country. It is our intention that Federal Republic will participate fully in all considerations of this question and our view that solution must be found which permits German participation on basis of equality and without discrimination.

3. For Paris. You should make clear to Mendes-France that US and UK Governments are seeking Chancellor’s reaction to proposal and will wish take it into account in making final decision. You should give him aide-mémoire containing following explanation of basic concept of protocols. We do not believe, as stated in Secretary’s statement of August 31, that we can continue indefinitely withhold from Germans sovereignty, including right to defend themselves and to contribute to Western defense. Provisions in Article 1 of second protocol for deferment of German rearmament “for the time being” are designed to afford opportunity for further efforts to reach mutually satisfactory solution this problem. However we are confronted with threat serious deterioration of our position in Germany and we could not envisage situation in which one of the Signatory Powers could block solution acceptable to others and create conditions which might cause us loss of Germany to the Western cause. Therefore, the provisions of Article 3, taken in combination with those of Article 1 are construed by us as in no sense permitting any one country to maintain a continuing veto on arrangements for the rearmament of the Federal Republic after the expiration of the 90-day period provided in Article 3.

4. For London. Please inform British of paragraphs 2 and 3 above and urge that they instruct their missions in Bonn and Paris similarly.

5. For Bruce. Believe paragraph 3 takes care of concern regarding French veto expressed in Coled 33.6

Addendum (Primarily for Bonn)

Since above telegram drafted British have informed us that Cabinet this afternoon decided joint approach to Adenauer not advisable since it would constitute conspicuous snub of French. We understand British High Commissioner being instructed see Adenauer as soon as possible after former’s return Germany.

You consequently instructed to carry out above instructions when you See Chancellor tomorrow. When handing copies of protocols and related notes you should make clear you are acting on behalf of UK and US and that your British colleague will be calling on Adenauer [Page 1127] to make similar presentation shortly. For your background purposes, we are transmitting to you copies of British instructions to their High Commissioner which were given us here.7 Fact that British propose sounding out Adenauer on his views with respect to NATO, which we are not prepared to do, in our opinion makes separate interviews advisable.

We have informed British that we accept their proposition of separate approaches to Chancellor on understanding that (1) British High Commissioner will make it clear to Adenauer that he is not speaking on behalf US when he refers to NATO matter and that (2) démarche on Mendes-France will be joint and will occur on Friday.

We have also informed British with respect to second sentence of numbered paragraph 3 above.

  1. Drafted by Reinstein and cleared with Cowles, Merchant, Bowie, and Murphy; repeated for action to London and to Paris for Bruce.
  2. Not printed; it approved the recommendation that Chancellor Adenauer be approached concerning the protocols (see footnote 3, below) prior to consultation with the French. (740.5/8–2754)
  3. This is a reference to two protocols which were transmitted to Bonn in telegrams 595 and 596, Aug. 31 (662A.00/8–3154); the texts of the two protocols were based on a part of Document 3 which was attached to the Report of the London Study Group, July 12, p. 997. These protocols were subsequently referred to as the “London protocols.”
  4. The texts of the related notes under reference were also a part of Document 3 which was attached to the Report of the London Study Group (see footnote 3, above).
  5. Not printed; it approved the deletion of the words “pending the entry into force of the Treaty establishing the EDC” from the opening sentence of the second exchange of notes the texts of which comprise a part of Document 3 (see footnote 3, above).
  6. In telegram Coled 33 from Paris, Sept. 1, Bruce expressed the view that the language of the protocol dealing with a German defense contribution implies that the French have a veto power since nothing will be done by the United States and United Kingdom unless the French agree (740.5/9–154).
  7. The text of the instructions to the British High Commissioner for Germany concerning the presentation of the two protocols was transmitted to Bonn in telegram 622 of Sept. 1 (662A.00/9–154). A summary of the discussion at the Department of State on Sept. 1 when British officials gave copies of the Foreign Office instructions to Department officers, is in a memorandum by George L. West of Sept. 2 in file 740.5/9–254.