No. 143
Memorandum of Conversations, by the Director of the Bureau of German Affairs (Byroade)


Subject: Conversations with Dr. Walter Hallstein, Secretary of State of the Federal Republic of Germany.

  • Participants: As mentioned in Memorandum.

1. Adenauer Visit: Yesterday I talked to Hallstein and Krekeler alone for 45 minutes before Hallstein’s meeting with the officers of GER.1

Hallstein first raised the question of Adenauer’s visit to the U.S. He went to great pains to explain that past indiscretions and announcements from Germany on this subject had not been the personal fault or doing of Adenauer. He then stated that in his opinion Adenauer should not leave Germany prior to the signature, or perhaps ratification, of the EDC and Contractual Agreements. He also stated that he could well appreciate the fact that Adenauer should not come to Washington this fall just prior to the U.S. elections. He stated that in his own mind he was beginning to wonder whether Adenauer should come to the U.S. at all this year.

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I believe his last remark above was thrown out to obtain our reactions to an Adenauer visit. I stated that we would be pleased to see Adenauer come to the U.S. at a time mutually acceptable to both of us if he desired to make the trip. I concurred with Hallstein that Adenauer should not leave Germany prior to the signature of the Agreements; also as to whether a trip between signature and ratification would be helpful from Adenauer’s point of view could be judged best by him. I told him of the crowded schedule of visits this spring. I stated that from our point of view sometime in May would be the best date. This would, however, have to be cleared by the President and I could not speak officially as regards that date. We left the matter on the understanding that Hallstein would talk to Adenauer and that we would receive Adenauer’s views, on an informal basis, regarding a visit to the U.S. in May. (assuming the Agreements had been signed), either through McCloy or Krekeler.

2. Moscow Note:2 I asked Hallstein for his views as to the effect of the recent note from Moscow on the West German people. He stated that he was certain that the Moscow note would have no effect whatever on the Chancellor or the Government. They would readily see the loopholes in the note and that it presented no basic change of heart on the part of the Russians. He stated that the note would have some effect on the people of Germany but he did not consider that this would be too serious. In his opinion the only question before us was the matter of the proper tactical handling of the note so as to get the best advantage from our reply in Germany.

I read to him a draft press statement prepared by Laukhuff which was substantially the same as the background statement read by McDermott to the Press on Tuesday evening.3 He heartily concurred in the statement and said he thought the effect in Germany to such a reply would be good.

3. The Saar: I took Hallstein somewhat to task over the submission of the Saar issue to the Council of Europe. He gave a long explanation of the reason for their action. I told him that he developed his case with about the same arguments and logic used by the French in the case of their appointment of an Ambassador to the Saar. He stated that their memorandum to the Council had been very carefully drawn so as not to reflect upon the French but only upon the Saar regime. He also stated that, while Adenauer felt he had to take some public action at this time, that Adenauer would [Page 334] be satisfied with shelving the matter by reference to committees during the meeting of the Council of Europe. Hallstein said he thought he had this already arranged with the President of the Council at the next session.

I urged upon him the desirability of obtaining a Franco-German statement of a willingness to negotiate on this subject subsequent to the signing of the EDC and the Contractual Agreements. I asked that if at all possible they work with the French to obtain such a statement prior to the meeting of the Council of Europe, thus making it possible to remove the Saar from its Agenda. He stated that he was certain Adenauer would be quite agreeable to such a course and that Adenauer had hoped that such a two-Power statement could have been made before this time. He stated that in the private talk between Adenauer and Schuman at Eden’s house in London the subject had been discussed and that Adenauer felt there was substantial agreement between them that such a statement should be made.4 He stated, however, that subsequent to Adenauer’s return to Germany word had been received from France (presumably Quai d’Orsay) that talks between Adenauer and Schuman were to be considered as being entirely on a personal basis and without commitment of the French Government. I again urged that they make an effort to obtain such a statement and stated that we would be willing to use our influence with the French in that direction.

4. Location of Meeting for Signature of Agreements: Hallstein expressed the hope that the Contractual Arrangement Agreements could be signed by the Ministers in Germany. I stated that I did not consider they should be signed in any of the 4 Capitals of the countries involved. Hallstein quite agreed with this suggestion and stated that he had had in mind some convenient location in Germany (he mentioned the name of a resort town but I have forgotten the name).

I stated that if the EDC and Contractual Agreements could be signed at the same time it might be well to consider Strasbourg as a place of signature which could be used to great advantage to give all of the Agreements a European connotation. He seemed to think this a good suggestion.

On the basis of a discussion on this subject among the Foreign Ministers at the close of the Lisbon meeting,5 I told Hallstein that [Page 335] I did not believe there would be strong feelings that the signature should take place in either London or Paris and that I personally thought it quite probable that the Agreements could be signed in Germany if the Strasbourg suggestion were not favored.

5. Israeli Claims: Hallstein stated that they were being increasingly embarrassed due to the fact that discussions on claims against Germany were taking place in two separate forums, i.e. the Debt Commission in London and the Israeli claims in Benelux. He asked if we could not in some way combine these two discussions. I stated that I was not sufficiently familiar with the situation in this field to give him an answer but I believed his suggestion would cause us considerable difficulty. The matter was left at that point due to the breakup of our meeting. Thorp told me last night after the dinner party at Krekeler’s for Hallstein that Hallstein had mentioned the subject to him and that he thought we should look into the matter to see if we could meet Hallstein’s point. (I suggest Margolies talk to Thorp about this subject to see if any answer should be made to Hallstein while he is in Washington.)

At 4:45 Hallstein, Krekeler and myself met with the Secretary for 30 minutes. Outside of the general exchange of pleasantries, the subjects of the Moscow note and the question of the Saar were the only important items discussed. Hallstein’s remarks on the Soviet note were essentially the same as during my conversation dictated above. The Secretary agreed with Hallstein’s analysis. The Secretary took a quite strong line with Hallstein on the question of the Saar and of the need to remove the item as an issue before the Council of Europe. He stressed the desirability of a Franco-German statement along the lines I had discussed with Hallstein. Under pressure from the Secretary, Hallstein stated that he would see if it were possible to obtain French and German agreement to such a statement immediately upon Adenauer’s arrival in Paris next Tuesday. If they could agree at that time perhaps they could issue the statement prior to the opening of the meeting on Wednesday or at least prior to the time when the Agenda item on the Saar arose. (Laukhuff should consider sending this suggestion to our Embassy in Paris.)

In the talks with me, and later with the Secretary, Hallstein stated that he believed the EDC Treaty and the Contractuals could be ready for initialling by the first week in April. The Secretary stated that he very much wished to attend the signature of these Agreements and hoped that it would be possible. He stated that he [Page 336] had just made a commitment to be here on April 9th but thought if it were later on in the month he might be able to make the trip.6

  1. Hallstein was in Washington on an unofficial visit the week of Mar. 10 for a series of lectures and seminars at Georgetown University. In addition to the subjects considered in this memorandum, Hallstein discussed German representation in Austria with Ambassador Donnelly on Mar. 12, contractual relations and East-West trade at a meeting in the Bureau of German Affairs on Mar. 14, and following the latter, Federal Republic support of Berlin. The Department of State reported on these discussions in telegrams 2078, 2095, and 2174 to Bonn, Mar. 15, 17, and 20 (662A.63/3–352, 740.5/3–1752, and 862A.00/1–3052), and a memorandum of conversation by Lewis, Mar. 14 (460.509/3–1452).
  2. For the Soviet note of Mar. 10, see Document 65.
  3. The draft press statement under reference here has not been identified further; for an extract from McDermott’s statement on Mar. 11, see the New York Times, Mar. 12, 1952, p. 10.
  4. No other record of this meeting has been found in Department of State files. The possibility of a meeting is referred to briefly in paragraph 10 of Secto 12, vol. v, Part 1, p. 58.
  5. For documentation on the Ninth Session of the North Atlantic Council, held at Lisbon, Feb. 20–25, see vol. v, Part 1, pp. 107 ff.
  6. On Mar. 14 Hallstein discussed Federal Republic support for Berlin at a meeting in the Bureau of German Affairs. For a report on this session, see telegram 2174, Document 533.