396.1/8–1453: Telegram

No. 263
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom 1

772. Following is text proposed US draft reply to Soviet note August 42 which is transmitted for use in tripartite drafting group which we understand from Paris 5343 will begin work early next week. In meantime you should make text available to Foreign Offices and report initial reaction. Re London’s 581.4 Embassy there requested convey Salisbury my appreciation his personal greetings and convey to him thought that following draft text embodies my assessment of tactics we should use in replying to Soviet note.

  • “1. Presents its compliments, etc.
  • 2. In its note of July 155 the US Government proposed a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of France, UK, US and the Soviet Union to discuss the German question, including the reunification of Germany, the holding of free elections, the establishment of a free all-German Government, and the peace treaty, as well as agreement on the Austrian treaty.
  • 3. The Soviet reply of August 4 s devoted largely to the theme that the Chinese People’s Republic should be brought into the discussions as a government having legitimate rights in all international affairs.’ The German problem has been a subject of discussion at Four-Power meetings since 1947, but never before has there been any suggestion of Chinese participation. The status of the so called [Page 615] Chinese People’s Republic is itself a matter of serious international controversy and it has no recognized competence in German affairs. The US Government finds totally unacceptable and rejects the suggestion that the Chinese Communist regime is entitled to participate in the discussion of the problem of German unification, or that discussion of the problem of Germany be subordinated to the solution of the problem of China.
  • 4. Real progress toward peace and the lessening of international tensions can be made by the solution of immediate concrete problems, such as the German problem, and the injection into the discussion and solution of such problems of numerous other complicated issues can only result in delay and possible failure. The US Government seeks by all means at its disposal to find solutions for problems which lie at the base of international tensions, but it does not believe that progress can be made within a framework permitting only superficial consideration to important questions. In this connection the US Government would remind the Soviet Government of a statement contained in an editorial published on May 24, 1953 in Pravda, widely believed to be an authoritative source of Soviet official opinion, which appears to endorse the views of the US Government in this regard. Pointing out that ‘the present international situation is known for great complexity of its outstanding problems, Pravda expresses the opinion that ‘an attempt to discuss and solve all controversial outstanding problems at once would end in failure’ and added that ‘a move forward in the settlement of such sore problems as the problem of the war in Korea or the problem of Germany could help to ease the tension in the present international situation and prepare the soil for the settlement of other problems.’
  • 5. The Korean Conference to achieve by peaceful means the unification of a free and independent Korea and the work of the United Nations Disarmament Commission, charged with the important task of the reduction of armaments, are concrete examples of the present existence of opportunities for the lessening of world tensions and the advancement of peace and means that should be availed of to that end. The solution of the German problem and the conclusion of the Austrian treaty will be major steps toward the achievement of peace and will furnish a firm foundation for the solution of other international problems. They should therefore not be delayed or hindered by extraneous issues.
  • 6. The Government of the US welcomes the statement that the Soviet Government attaches importance to the joint consideration of the German question by the Four Powers, and in response to the United States note of July 15 agrees to examine the German question at a conference of Ministers. For its part, the Government of the US fully shares the hope that such consideration will make it possible to examine thoroughly the pertinent problems relating to the restoration of German unity and the question of a peace treaty with Germany, as a contribution to the strengthening of peace in Europe.
  • 7. The Government of the US therefore proposes that the Foreign Ministers of the USSR, Great Britain, France, and the United States, meet at Geneva (or in some other mutually agreeable location [Page 616] in Switzerland) on October 1, 1953, and if this is agreeable, will communicate with the Government of the Swiss Republic to ascertain whether the Four Powers may take advantage of its traditional hospitality and to make the necessary arrangements.
  • 8. This Government is of the opinion that in examining all relevant aspects of the German question, including the restoration of German unity and a peace treaty, the four Powers should not fail to take any practical step which would serve as a means towards these ends, or which would in any event constitute integral parts of a solution of the German problem. As expressed in its note of July 15, 1953, the Government of the United States considers free elections and the constitution of a free all-German Government, in response to the clearly expressed wishes of all Germans, to be a practical and fundamental point of departure, which would most facilitate reunification and the negotiation of a German peace treaty.
  • 9. With respect to Austria, the Government of the US has never been of the opinion that the reestablishment of the freedom and independence of this liberated country, as required by the Moscow Declaration of November 1943, should be subordinated to the German question. This Government believes that the solution of any one of the major outstanding international questions has a reciprocally beneficial effect on the possibility of solving others, and with this thought in mind has invited the Soviet Union by a note dated ————— to a conference of Deputies for the Austrian State Treaty to be held in London on —————. This Government believes that world opinion would find the best augur for the success of the following conference on Germany in the speedy conclusion of the Austrian State Treaty.
  • 10. The Government of the US is surprised that the Soviet Government should misinterpret as inadmissible collusion the initiative taken by the Foreign Ministers of the US, UK and France at their recent meeting in Washington. As is their custom and right, the three Ministers considered questions of mutual interest in the development of a prosperous and secure European Community between nations manifesting a willingness to cooperate toward that end.”
  1. Drafted by Thurston; cleared with Morris, Bowie, Merchant, L, and U; and approved for transmission by Dulles. Also sent to Paris and repeated to Moscow, Berlin, and Bonn.
  2. Document 259.
  3. Telegram 534 reported that coordination of the reply would take place at Paris with de Margerie representing France and Reilly, the United Kingdom. (396.1/8–1153)
  4. In telegram 581 Aldrich reported that he had discussed the Soviet note with Salisbury who had asked for the U.S. position. (396.1/8–1053)
  5. Document 257.