611.62A/3–252: Telegram

No. 169
The Acting Secretary of State to the Office of the United States High Commissioner for Germany, at Bonn1


4462. Urtel 4035.2 We have always felt that conclusion cultural convention was intended symbolize accomplishment normal relationships between US and Germany and, in point of timing, should follow rather than precede ratification contractuals (vide Departmental Policy Statement of July 25, 19513 concerning revision public affairs program and conclusion cultural treaty; also note [Page 404] that language of preamble states explicitly that convention motivated by desire “affirm restoration friendly and peaceful relations” between peoples of US and FedRep). Question of timing has been discussed repeatedly by Kellermann with HICOG officials and also with Dr. Salat and with members of Diplomatic Mission in Washington including new cultural attaché. All parties concerned have expressed appreciation of reasons for moving in manner suggested. Incidental but not exclusive reason for procedure was consideration of public and possibly congressional reaction in event Department should push for what might be regarded treaty of friendship with Germany at time when ratification contractuals remain in suspense. It may be doubtful although not impossible that Congress willing ratify cultural convention pending or preceding ratification contractuals.

On other hand it could be argued that signing of cultural convention at this time, i.e. irrespective of status contractuals, is defensible move on our part demonstrating progressive de facto normalization U.S. relations with Germany and also manifesting our confidence in willingness, at least of official German circles, to proceed with formalization of status quo through early ratification contractuals. Not inconceivable that gesture of this nature may have beneficial psychological effects in Germany, even with opposition, which might outweigh such public relations problems as may arise stateside.

Wonder whether your suggestion for early signing cultural convention was prompted by above considerations, or whether yours and FedRep Government’s proposal to use Chancellor’s visit as occasion for signing was predicated on assumption that contractuals ratified by then. We agree that in latter case Chancellor’s visit would indeed provide excellent setting for official ceremony.

Assume you realize that we are not opposed to reconsideration previous position provided that you reasonably convinced that psychological and moral advantages to be gained from early conclusion of convention justify acceptance certain risks here. We want to make certain that in reaching decision you keep in mind possibility of queries and even unfavorable reactions by groups here which may wonder why we bestow token of friendship on Germans in face their continued bickering and delay of contractuals. Latter reaction, of course, even more likely in event of Adenauer’s political defeat in matter of ratification. Would appreciate your views and decision soonest.

Department accepts text as revised.

  1. Drafted by Kellermann and cleared, inter alia, with Morris, Raymond, and Riddleberger.
  2. Telegram 4035 stated that the Federal Republic wanted to sign the cultural convention, under negotiation at Bonn between representatives of the Federal Republic and the United States for several months, during Adenauer’s visit to the United States in April. (611.62A/3–253) Further documentation on the negotiations on the text of the convention is in file 611.62A. For documentation on Adenauer’s visit, see Documents 177 ff.
  3. Not printed.