662.001/8–2552: Telegram

No. 126
The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in France 1


1078. 1. Foll are preliminary reactions of Dept to Sov note on Ger.2

2. Note does nothing to change view held here for some time that (a) Sovs have accepted ratification of contractuals and EDC as virtual fait accompli and (b) Sovs are not ardently desirous of having Four-Power mtg, whatever their intentions were when they wrote first note. (c) Nor are they really desirous of seeing unified democratic Ger as we understand term. By picking up most vulnerable points in contractuals and by harping on arguments most often heard from Ger opponents of these agreements and of EDC, Sovs hope to stiffen opposition and create as much trouble as possible. By insisting on wide agenda and by otherwise failing to make any helpful move forward, they evidence more desire to embarrass us and brand us as enemies of unity than to move into a mtg.

3. Only two points can be called new in any respect. (a) After implicitly rejecting any internatl Comm as insult to Ger nation, they sug E-W Ger Comm. While new in Sov notes, this is simply continuation of Vishinsky line in UN speech on Comm proposal.3 Since it is only slight variation on Grotewohl proposal of Sept 15, 19514 for E–W Ger talks on elections, which was rejected by Bundestag (including SPD) and countered by Bundestag appeal for UN Comm, we wld not suppose it wld cause us much trouble with Gers. (b) Sovs sug including Fed Rep and Ger Reps in Four-Power talks on “appropriate questions”.

4. Sovs were put on defensive by two points in our last note, (a) ref to return to Four-Power control under Potsdam and (b) ref to divisive methods of Sovs, esp along Ger borders. In denying that (a) correctly reflected their intentions, Sovs have however emphasized afresh necessity to return to Potsdam (demilitarization, etc.), and in process have evaded any further mention of their proposal for Ger defense forces, as set forth in their first note. We suppose this reflects awareness of unfavorable reaction in Ger neutralist and pacifist [Page 299] circles, as well as in both Fr and in E. Eur to idea of purely Ger army.

5. Attempting to make their lure more attractive, they have twice referred to future withdrawal of OCC forces.

6. Dept feels new note is directed primarily at Ger opinion and is a negative, if skillful, rehash of old themes. It opens up no prospect of mtg except on terms which we have repeatedly rejected. It opens up no prospect of agreeing on formation and functions of investigating Comm, which West has always insisted must be first step. Dept is convinced any mtg with Sovs on proposed wide terms of ref cld only be harmful at this time, as calculated to delay Ger and other ratification of EDC and contractuals and thus hinder program of Ger integration and Western strength build-up. We therefore conclude that our task in replying will be to avoid accepting Sov proposal, while keeping open our limited proposal. We shld seek to terminate this futile exchange of notes, but at same time must do so in manner best calculated to demonstrate our continuing support for Ger unity and our continuing readiness to “talk turkey” with Sovs whenever they will do so on common sense basis.

7. It wld be our hope that Brit and Fr analysis will be along similar lines and if so we see advantage their reaching such conclusions with minimum stimulus from us. Consequently foregoing is essentially for ur background and any use you decide to make thereof with FonOff shld be of maximum informality. Bonn may use these views also in conversations with Ger leaders. Dept is particularly desirous of having earliest reports on Ger reactions to note and esp preliminary views of Adenauer and of other leaders both pro and anti govt on best way of replying.5

  1. Drafted by Laukhuff and cleared with EE, EUR, G, GER, GPA, and S/A. Also sent to London and Bonn, and repeated to Moscow.
  2. Supra.
  3. For documentation on the question of establishing a U.N. Commission before the U.N. General Assembly, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. iii, Part 2, pp. 1747 ff.
  4. For documentation on the Grotewohl proposals of Sept. 15, 1951, see ibid .
  5. On Aug. 26 Gifford reported that he had conveyed these preliminary views to Roberts who commented that they seemed to be substantially in accord with British reactions. Roberts particularly liked point 3 (a), but stressed that while the British would also like to terminate the futile exchange, the Allies “must keep the ball in play until ratification”. (Telegram 1096 from London, 662.001/8–2652)

    For the French and German reactions, see the memorandum of conversation, infra, and telegram 980, Document 132.