396.1/10–353: Telegram

No. 274
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom1

1743. Following is draft referred to in immediately preceding telegram:2

The United States Government, in its customary close consultation with the Governments of the United Kingdom and France, has carefully studied the Soviet Government’s reply of September 283 to the proposals of the three Western Powers for a four-power meeting at Lugano on October 15. The Government of the German Federal Republic and the German authorities in Berlin have also been consulted.
Although it is not clear whether the Soviet Government intends that a discussion of German problems should follow or depend upon a settlement of other matters, the United States Government hopes that the Soviet note reflects a willingness promptly to discuss the German and Austrian questions. These are of obvious importance to any relaxation of international tension as well as vital to the future of the German and Austrian peoples. Moreover, this conforms to the judgment of the seventeen European countries as expressed in the recent resolution of the Council of Europe which called for a convocation of the proposed four-power conference as the first step toward relaxation of international tension. The United States Government is convinced that a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the US, USSR, UK, and France can better enable the four powers to make progress on the German and Austrian questions than through a time-consuming and inconclusive process of exchanging further diplomatic notes.
The United States Government envisages that this conference will enable the Soviet Government to state its views on any aspect of the German and Austrian questions which it may wish to present. For its part, this Government would welcome the opportunity to put forward its views concerning questions dealt with in its previous notes, as well as the relation of the German problem to European security. It trusts that despite the fact that the Soviet note seems to relegate the important question of concluding the Austrian State Treaty to the less satisfactory procedures of negotiation through diplomatic notes, the Soviet Government would consider it appropriate that the Foreign Ministers discuss this problem as well, with a view to reaching agreement on the Austrian State Treaty at this time.
The United States Government therefore once more inquires whether the Foreign Minister of the USSR will attend a conference of Foreign Ministers at Lugano in the very near future. Since the date of October 15 originally suggested by the United States Government is now impracticable, this Government proposes that the conference take place on November 9. In view of the urgency of the German and Austrian questions, the Foreign Ministers of the United States, United Kingdom, and France have had in mind engaging in an exchange of views at that time. The United States Government would be most regretful if the Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union were not able to participate.
The Soviet note also proposes an additional five-power conference to consider measures to lessen tensions in international relations. The United States is always prepared to discuss the underlying causes of such tensions with a view to their removal, but wishes to do so under conditions which offer reasonable prospects [Page 651] for positive results and assure that the views of the directly interested governments are properly represented. Accordingly, the United States Government has already agreed to the Political Conference on Korea in the form proposed by the Communist side in the Korean armistice negotiations and recommended in the armistice agreement and by the UN General Assembly. All of the five governments mentioned in the Soviet note could be represented at this conference which it is hoped will convene at an early date to enable the removal of one of the major sources of tension in the Far East. As to disarmament, the United States is ready at all times to go forward with the work of the United Nations Disarmament Commission on which the major powers are represented and which is now charged with the task of considering the complex problems in this field. Other matters mentioned in the Soviet note are under either current or projected discussion in the UN General Assembly where the many nations concerned are directly represented; indeed, several of the subjects mentioned in the Soviet note were recently inscribed on the agenda of the current General Assembly at the request of the Soviet Union.

Thus on these various questions, the way is open for progress, which if accompanied by a fruitful four-power discussion of the German and Austrian problems as proposed in the United States note of September 24 could go far toward restoring the necessary conditions for peaceful and friendly relations among nations.5

  1. Drafted by Kidd and Thurston and cleared with MacArthur. Also sent to Bonn and Paris, and repeated to Berlin, Moscow, and Vienna.
  2. Telegram 1742, supra.
  3. Document 271.
  4. Document 268.
  5. On Oct. 5, the Embassies in Paris and London reported that they had presented the U.S. draft to the respective Foreign Ministries and had been told that the draft was in general parallel with that Ministry’s thinking. (Telegrams 1353 and 1426, from Paris and London, 396.1/10–553)