396.1/10–353: Telegram

No. 273
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom1

1742. Immediately following telegram2 contains US draft of proposed reply to Soviet note of September 283 which you should give to British and French. In drafting this reply we have had very much in mind comments from British and French, which we fully share, that reply should be as forthcoming as possible. The draft has been approved by the President. The following comments are for your guidance in discussing it with French and British.

With reference to second sentence, paragraph 3, of draft note, in using the phrase “the relation of the German problem to European security” we have in mind, in the first instance, emphasizing the contribution which EDC will actually make to overall European security, including that of the USSR. We are also aware that in recent weeks suggestions have been made as to possible further moves in the general field of European security. Our attitude regarding these is one of open mindedness and willingness to consider them on their merits in consultation with our allies. We have no specific plan of our own to present at this time.

The intent of the last two sentences of the fourth paragraph is to press Soviets to attend Lugano conference by conveying thought that in any event the other Foreign Ministers wish to get on with [Page 649] the important business at hand. Moreover, we believe it would be useful for the three Foreign Ministers to exchange views on a number of current issues at the conclusion of the proposed tripartite talks in Paris. This procedure also has the advantage of taking the wind out of the Soviet sails in the matter of accusing the Western Foreign Ministers of “ganging up”.

For HICOG: You will note from first two sentences of paragraph three that our objective is general exchange of views, as in UN procedures, before we get down to agenda and possibilities for argument on procedural question of order of agenda. We have no objection to Soviets talking about any point they wish to raise, which can be anticipated to be largely propaganda. We would hope effectively to puncture Soviet arguments while developing line laid down in our previous notes as our own substantive position. We shall endeavor persuade Adenauer at proper time that he and West Allies can well afford to develop additional points of their position against Soviets without excluding free elections and status all-German government, and that it would greatly underestimate strength of our position to attempt confine discussion to single point as we have done in past notes. This FYI and not to be taken up with Germans until agreement on text reached by Tripartite Drafting Party.

  1. Drafted by Kidd and Thurston; cleared with MacArthur; and initialed for the Secretary of State by Bonbright. Also sent to Bonn and Paris, and repeated to Berlin, Moscow, and Vienna.
  2. Telegram 1743, infra.
  3. Document 271.