762A.00/10–1052: Telegram

No. 157
The United States High Commissioner for Germany (Donnelly) to the Department of State


1633. While we appreciate fact that Dept’s 1608 to Bonn of Oct 31 is directed primarily to other missions and while we have used arguments with SPD identical with those set forth in tel under ref, it might be useful for Dept to know the latest SPD views on Ger unity and four power talks.

Conversation with Ollenhauer last week and other recent observations we have made have emphasized widely differing approaches of Western powers and SPD on question of agenda for four power talks. In our opinion SPD resistance to Western emphasis of election issue has four main motivations:

SPD internal polit position; the SPD has adopted line of being sole champion of Ger unity and must consequently push for a four-power conf under almost any conditions.
SPD suspicion of French intentions in Ger unity issue, of which recent Wehner charges are sensational reflections.2 This suspicion of French motivation is accompanied by growing mistrust of UK and US intentions on unity, since SPD believes ruling circles in Brit fear econ competition of united Ger and considers that US prefers deal with “easily manageable conservative-clerical parties” in Eur of six. Thus SPD no longer views Western powers insistence on order of agenda as evidence of their “timidity” in dealing with Stalin, but has shifted more toward believing that none of them actually wants Ger unity. Therefore, the desire to see where Ger really stands with Western powers in regard to unity has become almost as important as SPD desire to smoke out Kremlin on this issue.
Some SPD politicians like Erler and Baade strongly believe that determined effort must be made to ascertain if Kremlin wld give up Sov Zone “if the price were right”. This group feels that it is futile to talk first about free elections and thus the liberation of the Sov Zone which is, after all, what the Kremlin wld give in return for “adequate payment”, before discussing what that payment cld be. SPD proponents of this theory are joined by Pfleiderer, Klaus Mehnert, Bodensteiner Mehs (CDU), Von Dirksen, and Sethe, in fact, almost all Ger sov experts as well as so-called neutralists. [Page 382]According to this theory, since the kernel of the Ger unity problem is ques of Ger’s future power relationships, it is only realistic to discuss this point first.
Many SPD leaders, including Ollenhauer and Mellies, are convinced that there is actually a chance, if only a slight one, that USSR is now willing for world-wide deal with US, of which Ger unity only one aspect. To exploit this chance, they say, it is obvious that the two powers must be brought together; the question of formal agenda is secondary.

Of these four reasons, first is probably most important, but SPD also deeply desires discover if there is any chance that Sovs really mean business with their unity offers. Party leaders do not believe that theoretical exploration during four power talks cld of itself lead “to Warsaw or Prague situation”. Our own impression is that SPD and other Gers who are pushing hard for four power talks under almost any circumstances have worked selves into position where they feel compelled to endeavor to ascertain Sov intentions for themselves directly; i.e., through participation in four power talks in advisory capacity, and not merely through second-hand impressions gained from Western powers contacts with Sov auths or through long exchange of notes.

  1. Printed as telegram 427, Document 155.
  2. At a meeting of the SPD on Sept. 26 Wehner had stated that he could prove the existence of an East-West conspiracy to maintain the division of Germany. The conspiracy, according to Wehner, centered around Franco-Russian secret conversations in Geneva. These events were reported on in the German press on Sept. 27, especially the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Tagesspiegel.