Secretary’s Letters, lot 56 D 459, “H

No. 227
Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Director of the Office of German Affairs (Lewis)


Subject: Visit of Professor Dr. Walter Hallstein

  • Participants: The President
  • Professor Dr. Walter Hallstein, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the German Federal Republic
  • Dr. Heinz Krekeler, Chargé d’Affaires of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • Geoffrey W. Lewis, Acting Director, Bureau of German Affairs

Dr. Hallstein began by conveying to the President the Chancellor’s greetings and best wishes. The President thanked Dr. Hallstein and remarked that he greatly valued the picture which the Chancellor had given him on the occasion of the Chancellor’s visit1 and that it served as a reminder of that pleasant occasion. Dr. Hallstein said that the Chancellor had found the business of forming his cabinet very difficult because his victory had been so complete that all elements of his coalition felt that there was no excuse not to grant their wishes in the matter of representation in the Cabinet. The President asked if the solution might not be to form extra cabinet posts and Dr. Hallstein confirmed that this had in fact been done.

The President then expressed concern about the Yugoslav attitude in connection with Trieste. He observed that Trieste was of no real intrinsic value to the Yugoslavs and hoped that Tito would not allow the issue to interfere with the development of Western defensive strength. He wished that Tito would show the same determination [Page 548] that this relatively small problem should not be permitted to weaken the West as had Chancellor Adenauer in connection with the Saar.

Dr. Hallstein then said that the Chancellor had asked him to discuss three points with the President, one of which was the EDC. He assured the President that the Chancellor was unwavering in his support and that failure to obtain prompt ratification would indeed be catastrophic both for the Western world and for the Chancellor himself since he had won the election on his foreign policy which in turn centered around support of the EDC. The Chancellor was considering no alternatives to the EDC but if it were long delayed he felt that some other method would have to be found to enable Germany to contribute to the defensive strength of the West. He was greatly concerned lest the French by inaction would allow this great opportunity to further European integration to slip by.

The President replied that, as Dr. Hallstein knew, he had been supporting the EDC concept in every way that he could. He knew that the Chancellor was unalterably opposed to the formation of a national German army. He asked if there was anything that the Chancellor thought should be done at this point to make further progress. Dr. Hallstein replied that he thought that the closest possible association by Britain would be extremely helpful particularly in gaining the essential support of the French Socialists. The President said he thought that Sir Winston was now thoroughly in favor of EDC and would lend all possible support to it.

Dr. Hallstein then said that the Chancellor’s position on the Saar was unchanged but that the question was difficult for him particularly since he now found opposition from some of the members of his own coalition to his views and he therefore had these men to cope with as well as the SPD. It might well be that the aid of some outside body like the Council of Europe or the diplomatic influence of the US would have to be sought to obtain a satisfactory solution.

The President said that this government would do all that it could in this regard but that as Dr. Hallstein knew, we felt it important to stay out of this question to the greatest extent possible. The President said that he knew that in particular the Secretary of State, Mr. Bruce, and Dr. Conant, would be available to assist in any way they could.

Dr. Hallstein then said that the Chancellor was greatly concerned about Van Zeeland’s suggestion of a security guarantee.2 As the Chancellor saw it, a Russian guarantee would be substituted for the presence of American troops if this plan were followed and [Page 549] that alarmed the Germans. He also thought that the plan in effect embodied a confirmation of the Oder-Neisse line which also could not be accepted by the Germans. Lastly, the Chancellor felt that it was a great mistake to discuss matters of this sort before the foundation of EDC had been securely established.

The President said he appreciated those points and sympathized with them. He agreed that we should first obtain ratification of the EDC. We could then perhaps develop some arrangement which would bring about withdrawal of the Russian forces further East so as to give us more warning should they decide to attack.

The President then inquired as to whether Dr. Hallstein was satisfied with the progress made on EPC in the recent Rome meeting which he understood Dr. Hallstein had attended.3 Dr. Hallstein said that he was indeed pleased with progress but that representatives of the Quai d’Orsay had not been particularly helpful in promoting progress and had indeed, he thought, deliberately followed delaying tactics. He added, however, that other French officials, notably Teitgen, had worked hard to make the meeting a success.

The interview began about 8:55 a.m. and lasted for nearly 15 minutes.

  1. A reference to Chancellor Adenauer’s visit to Washington in April.
  2. See footnote 4, supra.
  3. A reference to the EPC meeting at Rome, Sept. 22–Oct. 9.