No. 257
The Department of State to the Embassy of the Soviet Union 1

The Secretary of State presents his compliments to the Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and requests him to transmit the following to his Government:

The development of the international situation and the recent events in Eastern Germany and in Berlin2 have intensified the universal desire to see peace more firmly established and to ease existing tensions in a way consistent with the fundamental right to freedom.

While recognizing the fact that enduring peace can only be ultimately assured when certain basic problems, such as controlled disarmament, can be dealt with, the United States Government desires to dispose now of those problems which are capable of early solution.

The conclusion of the German and Austrian Treaties which are long overdue clearly constitutes an essential element of the European settlement which the United States Government regards as a major contribution to peace.

A German peace treaty can only be negotiated with the participation of a free and representative all-German Government in a position freely to discuss such a treaty. Such a government can only result from free elections.

The conditions under which such a Government should be formed and enjoy full liberty of action, constitute a problem which is capable of early solution if there is good will on all sides. It is [Page 602] equally clear that no real progress can be made toward a general relaxation of tension in Europe so long as this problem remains unsolved.

In its notes to the Soviet Government, the last of which is that of September 23, 1952,3 to which no answer has yet been received, the United States Government made constructive proposals, which were fully reflected in the resolution of the German Bundestag of June 10th of this year.4 These proposals are designed to satisfy the unanimous desire of the German people for unity in freedom.

Mindful of the even greater urgency which the recent events have given to German unification, the United States Government is determined to make a new effort so as to bring to an end the abnormal situation to which the German people is subjected. It has therefore decided, after consulting the German Federal Government and the German authorities in Berlin, to propose to the Soviet Government a meeting of Foreign Ministers of France, the United Kingdom, United States, and the Soviet Union. This meeting of limited duration might begin about the end of September at a place to be mutually agreed. The subjects for discussion should be the following:

The organization of free elections in the Federal Republic, the Eastern Zone of Germany, and in Berlin. This would involve discussion inter alia of the necessary guarantees for freedom of movement, freedom of action for political parties, freedom of the press, and the enjoyment of the basic freedoms by all Germans before, during and after elections.
Conditions for the establishment of a free all-German Government, with freedom of action in internal and external affairs.

These are essential steps which must precede the opening of discussions with the Soviet Government for a German peace treaty, itself a major element of a general settlement.

The United States Government also considers that at this first meeting agreement should finally be reached on the Austrian Treaty.

  1. The text of this note was drafted and approved by the Foreign Ministers of the United States, the United Kingdom, and France at their meeting in Washington, July 10–14, 1953. For documentation on their meeting, see vol. v, Part 2, pp. 1582 ff.
  2. For documentation on the demonstrations in Berlin and East Germany starting on June 16, 1953, see Documents 713 ff.
  3. Document 138.
  4. For the June 10 Bundestag resolution, see Papers and Documents, pp. 117–118.