No. 118
Draft Reply to the Soviet Note on Germany, Approved by the Foreign Ministers of the United States, the United Kingdom, and France1

In their note of May 132 HMG made various proposals in the hope of facilitating four-power conversations which could lead to [Page 278] unification of Germany and negotiation with an all-German Government of a German peace treaty. They observe with regret that the Soviet Government in their note of May 243 do not answer these proposals. HMG reaffirm all the views and proposals in their note of May 13. In the present note however they wish to concentrate attention upon the immediate practical problem of procedure for setting up, through free elections, an all-German Government with which a peace treaty can be negotiated.
In their note the Soviet Government once more propose simultaneous discussions on peace treaty, unification of Germany, and formation of all-German Government. For their part, HMG maintain their position on this question, namely that an all-German Government must participate in negotiation of peace treaty, and that, therefore, before undertaking such negotiations Germany must be unified and an all-German Government established. Unification of Germany can be achieved only through free elections. Essential first step is obviously determination that conditions necessary for such free elections exist. Second step would be holding of those elections.
In regard to the first step, HMG proposed in their note of May 13 that an impartial commission should determine whether there exist throughout Germany conditions necessary for holding of free elections. While pointing out great advantages of using UN Commission, HMG nevertheless offered to consider any other practical and precise proposals for impartial commission which Soviet Government might advance. Soviet Government advances no such proposals and limits itself to maintaining its position on appointment of commission to carry out this verification by agreement among Four Powers. It is not clear to HMG whether Soviet Government consider that commission should be composed of representatives of Four Powers or merely that Four Powers should agree on its composition, and HMG would be pleased to receive clarification on this point. HMG remain convinced that commission composed solely of members with direct responsibilities in Germany would be unable to reach useful decisions since it could only reflect present differences of opinion among Four Powers as to conditions existing in Federal Republic, in Soviet Zone and in Berlin. HMG consider that if commission is to carry out its work effectively, it should be composed of impartial members, should not be subject to veto or control by Four Powers, and should be empowered to go freely into all parts of Germany and investigate conditions bearing on the possibility of holding free elections.
In regard to the second step, HMG similarly proposed that as soon as commission’s report was ready there should be a meeting of the representatives of the US, French, Soviet and UK Governments to discuss early holding of free elections throughout Germany, including creation where necessary of appropriate conditions. HMG maintain this proposal to which Soviet Government have not yet replied.
HMG further proposed to examine at this same meeting assurances to be given by Four Powers that the all-German Government formed as a result of these free elections will have the necessary freedom of action during the period before a peace treaty comes into effect. It is the understanding of HMG that the only concrete proposal envisaged by the Soviet Government is that the all-German Government must be guided by Potsdam decisions. This would mean re-establishment of quadripartite system of control which was originally designed to cover only “initial control period”. An arrangement of this kind would revive a system of control which proved to be impracticable and would, moreover, ignore whole evolution of events in Germany in recent year. A German Government subjected to such control would in practice enjoy no freedom in its relations with the Four Powers and would not be in a position to participate freely with four above-mentioned governments in the negotiation of draft peace treaty.
HMG also observe, with concern, that while the Soviet Government in its notes repeatedly reaffirms its desire for unification of Germany, it has recently adopted without any justification a series of measures in the Soviet Zone and in Berlin which tend to prevent all contact between Germans living in territory under Soviet occupation and 50,000,000 Germans in the Federal Republic and in the Western sectors of Berlin. These measures aggravate the arbitrary division of Germany. HMG wish to emphasize that agreements recently signed with the Federal Republic open up to Germany wide and free association with other nations of Europe. These agreements reaffirm determination of Three Powers and the Federal Republic to promote unification of Germany. Moreover, they expressly reserve competence of Three Powers with the view to drawing up of a peace treaty freely negotiated between Four Powers and Germany.
In order to avoid further delay HMG, in concert with the French Government and the United States Government, and after consultation with the German Federal Republic and with the German authorities in Berlin, propose that there should be an early meeting of representatives of the four governments, provided it is understood that the four governments are in favor of free elections throughout Germany and of the participation of a free all-German [Page 280] Government in the negotiation of a German peace treaty. The purpose of this meeting would be to reach agreement on the first question which must be settled if further progress is to be made, namely, the composition and functions of the commission of investigation to determine whether the conditions necessary for free elections exist. HMG propose that the representatives discuss:
The selection of members of the commission in such a way as to ensure its impartiality.
The functions of the commission with a view to insuring its complete independence to make recommendations to the Four Powers.
The authority of the commission to carry out its investigation in full freedom and without interference.
In order that free elections can be held it will also be necessary to reach agreement on the programme for the formation of an all-German Government as proposed in paragraph 11 (iv) of HMG’s note of May 13. HMG therefore repeat that proposal for the discussion of these further important issues by representatives of the Four Powers. When such agreement is reached it will then be possible to proceed to the unification of Germany.
Since Soviet Government have repeatedly expressed their desire for an early meeting in preference to continued exchanges of notes, HMG trust that the present proposal will commend itself to them.
  1. The source text was attached to a memorandum from Barbour to Matthews, dated June 30, which stated that the draft was being transmitted to the Deputy Under Secretary for his information. The text was also transmitted to Moscow in telegram 7, July 2 (repeated to London, Paris, and Bonn, 662.001/7–252), for coordination with the British and French Embassies on its delivery to the Soviet Foreign Ministry, provided that Adenauer and Reuter approved the text.
  2. Document 101.
  3. Document 102.