762A.00/10–1253: Telegram

No. 276
The United States High Commissioner for Germany (Conant) to the Department of State1
secret priority

1361. For Merchant from Conant. Courtesy call on Chancellor this morning with Aldrich provided opportunity for Chancellor to start discussion with me on Berlin and Allied reply Russian note. Berlin, Chancellor anxious to retain coalition government, presented good reasons Suhr as SPD man for mayor’s position. He urged me to talk to people in Berlin tomorrow, which I shall do. Will report details from Berlin.2

He then turned to subject of Allied reply and spoke very strongly to Aldrich and myself as to necessity of restricting the invitation to Soviets, repeating much of argument we had with him over reply last time.3 It is clear that he had received from some source intimation of nature of draft reply and was very much upset. His arguments this time were much less concerned with reaction in Germany than with his firm belief that any invitation to discuss broad [Page 653] German problem and particularly relation of EDC to security of Europe would provide opportunity for Russians to drive a wedge between three Allies and delay ratification in France. He repeated number of times his concern over delay in ratification in France and said every month situation will become worse. He reminded me that he had officially communicated to three Allied Governments through AHC his opinion that answer to Russian note should be short and not argumentative.4 He was afraid that proposal to Russians to state their position and a declaration we would state ours would lead to confusion among three powers and be seized by anti-ratification forces in France most effectively.

I assured him that it was intention of three governments to consult him officially through AHC with British in chair this month and I could not believe but his views would be given very careful consideration by Secretary of State and Foreign Ministers. It would be my personal opinion that it would be extremely inadvisable to present him now with text proposed in London cable 1519 to Department, repeated Bonn 101.5 I am worried if present text is shown him there will be a long and bitter debate. If text could be revised or he could be shown alternative versions, chances of eventual agreement much better. His arguments seem to me to be well taken and not to turn on sensitivity of German opinion.

He further told me his Cabinet will not be formed for another week and he will not give his formal speech until middle of next week. This has no reference to consultation on note, but does indicate further delays on meeting with Bidault on Saar question, though this problem was not discussed.

  1. Repeated to London, Paris, Moscow, and Berlin.
  2. No further report on Berlin has been found in Department of State files.
  3. Regarding Adenauer’s attitude on the first reply, see Document 266 and telegram 978, Document 269.
  4. On Oct. 5 the High Commissioners had asked Adenauer for his views on the reply to the Soviet note. The Chancellor stated that he strongly favored a short, clear repetition of the invitation to a Foreign Ministers Conference to discuss Germany with other matters being handled through normal diplomatic procedures. (Telegram 1299 from Bonn, Oct. 5, 396.1/10–553)
  5. See the editorial note, supra.