No. 266
Editorial Note

The tripartite drafting group began its meetings in Paris on August 20 with Theodore Achilles, D’Arcy Reilly, and Roland de Margerie representing respectively the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. At the initial meeting the group had before it drafts from each of the participants. The United States draft, which had been cabled to Paris in telegram 554, August 8 (396.1/8–1853), was similar to that in telegram 772, Document 263, but took into account the second Soviet note of August 15, Document 264, while the British draft was a more general reply and the French a more detailed response. Achilles reported on the first meeting in telegram 675 from Paris, August 21. (396.1/8–2153)

At the second meeting the drafting group adopted a French revision as the working draft for further discussion. (Telegram 697 from Paris, August 21, 396.1/8–2153) This draft was similar in substance to a draft prepared in the Office of the United States High Commissioner for Germany which was only four paragraphs in length and proposed a four-power meeting to begin on October 1. (Telegram 697 from Bonn, August 18, 396.1/8–1853) While progress had been made, Achilles reported that there were still substantial differences to be ironed out since the British wanted a four-power conference to discuss problems other than just Germany and Austria, [Page 627] while the French wanted such a meeting limited only to Germany. (Telegram 710 from Paris, August 22, 396.1/8–2253)

Following further changes with consequent references to individual governments the drafting group on August 26 approved the text of a reply to the Soviet notes. The following day this text was shown to Chancellor Adenauer who reacted strongly to paragraph 7, the last sentence of which he believed would have to “be removed if not to damage him in the elections and jeopardize the German position.” (Telegram 816 from Bonn, August 27, 396.1/8–2753)

This paragraph reads:

“7. United States Government considers it desirable that meeting of Foreign Ministers should concentrate on German problem and, in first instance, on question of free elections and status of future German Government. This need not preclude Foreign Ministers from discussing any other aspects of problem of German unity nor even from considering the principle of a German peace treaty, which is, of course, an essential part of a world settlement.” (Telegram 762 from Paris, August 26, 396.1/8–2653)

Paragraph 7 then became the object of several cables among the three capitals before an acceptable draft note could be presented to the Chancellor on August 31. For Conant’s report on the meeting with Adenauer, see his letter to Secretary of State Dulles, infra. At the same time the draft was shown to Mayor Reuter and Foreign Minister Gruber for their approval and to members of the North Atlantic Council for their information. For the agreed note, as delivered to the Soviet Foreign Ministry on September 2, see Document 268. Documentation relating to its drafting and the work of the tripartite drafting group is in file 396.1.