662.001/6–2852: Telegram

No. 117
The Secretary of State to the Department of State1

secret priority

Secto 26. Three FonMins had long discussion at morning and afternoon sessions draft reply to latest Sov note on Ger which resulted [Page 276] in agreement on amendments to draft text which were sent by earlier wire.2 Adenauer’s fears were carefully considered. Schuman stated, however, that in view of Fr public opinion it was essential to ratification that Sov intentions be revealed at four-power mtg. He thought mtg shld have strictly defined agenda which shld not be reopened and Western Powers shld agree among themselves that it wld not be permitted to run beyond a reasonable period. He thought note shld avoid appearance of trying to avoid mtg as wld be case if note imposed conditions to which satisfactory Sov reply required before mtg cld be held.

Secy and Eden agreed that account must be taken of Fr requirements and proposed incorporation by refs of para 11 (iv) of note of May 133 in para 7 of new note, to which Schuman agreed. Eden thought no necessity to repeat conditions stated in last sentence para 3 in form requiring explicit Sov acceptance before mtg cld be held and Secy agreed to language now contained in first sentence amended para 7.

There was long discussion of whether note shld propose one mtg or two. Schuman felt strongly that if any interval were permitted between possible agreement on free elections and discussion of status future Ger Govt, the pressure of Ger public opinion wld relegate latter issue to second place and prevent Western Powers from insisting successfully on necessary safeguards. He thought our position in second mtg wld be very weak and that if it were to fail after agreement had been reached on free elections we wld be accused of causing failure.

Secy pointed out that if we agree to discuss status Ger Govt in same mtg as free elections we will face precedent of former mtgs where four powers have gone on to discussion of later items on agenda after failure to agree on earlier. Thus we wld face great risk of being forced into discussion powers of future Ger Govt. If this were to happen Sovs wld insist on repudiation all prior commitments of FedRep and wld interpret our insistence on Ger participation in integration of West as limiting Ger freedom. This wld also raise Art 7 of Contractuals which wld not be to our interest. Secy questioned Schuman’s assumption that there wld be a second mtg. He thought Sovs wld fail to agree on composition and functions of impartial comm or wld refuse to accept its report. Given this probability he saw great and unnecessary risk in agreeing now [Page 277] to talk about powers future Ger Govt. A mtg limited to first item wld disclose Sov intentions and satisfy public opinion.

Schuman finally agreed that formulation new para 8 met his requirement that free elections cld not be held before status all-Ger Govt had been discussed. This formulation, since it incorporates by ref the requirement that the report of the impartial commission be available, was satisfactory to us.

Will be noted that amendment to para 1 expressly refutes inference of any retreat from former position. Final sentence para 3 states position on which a conference wld fail at outset unless major change in Sov policy, and given agreement of three powers not to let conference drag on unreasonably wld cause its failure in circumstances favorable to us before Ger ratification note in Sept or Oct. Para 6 also calculated to help Adenauer, as is last sentence new para 8. But whole tenor of note puts onus on Sovs sufficiently to make it unlikely that Sovs will agree to mtg on terms proposed. Secy, therefore, feels he has secured agreement on a text which goes far to meet Adenauer’s requirements and that he shld not consider that note adds seriously to his difficulties.

Though mtg is proposed, all our basic positions are reaffirmed and onus is thrown on Sovs for failure to unify Ger. Adenauer must realize necessity reconciling in reply conflict between his views and very strongly held Fr position. Secy will give additional explanations to Hallstein in Berlin and supply McCloy with arguments to use with Adenauer.

  1. Repeated to Paris, Moscow, Bonn, and Berlin.
  2. U.S. minutes of the two tripartite Foreign Ministers meetings on June 27, MTL TRI–1 and MTL TRI–2, are in Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 111. The amendments under reference here were transmitted in Secto 25 from London, June 25. (662.001/6–2752) The text of the note as approved by the Foreign Ministers at the meetings on June 27, is printed infra.
  3. Document 101.