762 00/10–252 Telegram

No. 155
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Denmark1

top secret

427. 1. Dept has studied with some misgiving Embtel 407 (rptd Bonn 11, Oslo 32, Stockholm 30, London 27, Paris 72 and our being repeated to other addressees)2 reporting conversation with Den Social Democratic leader Hans Hedtoft in which he claims Eur Socialist parties are going to back Ger social Democrats at Socialist mtg in Rome soon by issuing call for four-power talks. Further development along this line can become definitely embarrassing to us and can weaken our policy both re Ger and re EDC.

2. Addressee Missions shld therefore take every appropriate opportunity to explain to Socialist leaders US position re four-power talks as follows (to whatever extent is suitable in local circumstances) and try to head off Socialist support for Ger social Democratic position.

US is not opposed to four-power talks. We will be first to welcome them whenever they can contribute to solution of any of our east-west problems. But as wld be case with any kind of talks with anyone, we insist on knowing what we’re going to talk about and that subjs are relevant, and whether there is remotest indication other party has serious intentions.
US feels evidence of four Sov notes so far exchanged, as all other Sov or Ger-Commie actions and statements, fails to give any indication of real Sov interest in unifying Ger or in talking seriously about it. The evidence all pts, to the contrary, to Sov intention to talk about other things for other reasons, while cloaking their reasons under “unity” mantle. Socialist backing for “Four-Power Talks” under these circumstances means in effect blind support for Sov slogan and Sov tactics which are to use talks for other purposes than to achieve Ger unity.
Those “other purposes” are to befuddle and confuse west Ger and West Eur opinion in effort to weaken if not completely disrupt west’s efforts to build EDC and generally strengthen self politically and morally. This tactic, if successful, cld be disastrous to west’s unity of purpose and wreck very considerable success so far achieved which has already brought substantial increase of strength and self-confidence to western countries. Ask Socialist leaders to sit down and compare their own state of mind now with what it was in June 1950 and to consider whether they want to risk progress made by falling in with Commie slogan of “four-power talks”.
What will new four-power talks accomplish by way of proof of Sov intentions which is not already accomplished by long careful exchange of notes (recall that western ones have very specific and honest proposals for talks), or by notes on other subjs (such as Aust treaty), or by 258 mtgs of Aust Deputies, or by three months of talk at Palais Rose by Mins Deps in 1951?3 Everyone professed to be convinced by last-mentioned effort. What in Sov acts or words has given any hope for change? In connection with Aust Treaty, recall Sov failure to show up at last two mtgs Aust Deps. In connection with Palais Rose Talks, recall they closed with open-ended invitation from West to have mtg on Ger without any Agenda whatever.
Make clear that we seek talks on Ger unity and have not been hiding behind dispute over agenda, as Ollenhauer and Gersocial Democrats mistakenly appear to think. This is no agenda dispute. Ask Socialist leaders actually to read last western note. We are talking of something much more fundamental and real than order of items on agenda. We stand on very basic principle here. There is only one way to attack problem of Ger unity. That is through free elections. By our insistence on discussing only this question at this time we are standing guard for entire west against Sov design to create another satellite, another sham democracy, another Czecho. We also stand guard for whole Ger people including Social Democrats to protect their own right to a voice in peace treaty and prevent “diktat”. Therefore, we are not prepared to draft peace treaty at this time simply because of recognized importance of having all-Ger Govt in existence.

3. For these reasons we believe our position is right and logical and we believe we have right to expect full support and understanding from all parties and all groups esp in NATO countries but also elsewhere in west. Convinced by all evidence that present Commie drive for four-power “talks” is phony, with ulterior motives, we plead for solid support to end that west can complete job of bldg strength so as eventually to bring about real talks with honest aims and some prospect of resolving tensions instead of fanning propaganda war.

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4. Important to avoid giving impression that our position stems from decision to give higher priority to ratification EDC treaty than to Ger unity, as charged by some Gers,. Reasons (a) to (e) above are honest, stand on own merits and do not add up to this conclusion.

5. Tactically it may be best not to oppose adoption of some res in favor of four-power talks but rather to suggest res shld clearly safeguard west’s interests by calling for talks on free elections or when Sovs demonstrate sincerity of purpose on unity or some similar formula.

6. With particular Socialist leaders known to share our viewpoint, foregoing cld be given as supporting arguments for them to use with their colleagues.4

  1. Drafted by Laukhuff; cleared by Lewis, Williamson, and GPA; and repeated to Bonn, London, Paris, Oslo, Rome, The Hague, Brussels, Luxembourg, Vienna, Stockholm, and Moscow.
  2. Telegram 407 reported, inter alia, that while Hedtoft and other Western European Socialists were skeptical regarding any change in the Soviet attitude on German unity, they proposed to issue a call for four-power talks on Germany at their meeting in Italy. (762.00/10–252)
  3. Reference to the Four-Power Exploratory Talks, held at Paris Mar. 5–June 21, 1951.
  4. Replies to this telegram from The Hague, Brussels, Rome, and Vienna all indicated that the Socialists in the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and Austria were unlikely or unwilling to support the proposal for a four-power meeting. (Telegrams 486 from The Hague, Oct. 10; 383 from Brussels, Oct. 10; 1699 from Rome, Oct. 14; and 1002 from Vienna, Oct. 10, 762.00/10–852 through 10–1452) For Bonn’s reaction, see telegram 1633, Document 157. No further replies have been found in Department of State files.