of the United States to the Soviet Ministry for Foreign Affairs1
[Moscow, November 16, 1953.]
- In close consultation with the Governments of France and the UK, the US Government has carefully studied the Soviet Government’s note of November 3 in reply to the note of October 18 in which the US Government proposed that the four Ministers of Foreign Affairs should meet at Lugano on November 9. The Government of the German Federal Republic and the German authorities in Berlin have also been consulted.
- The US Government notes with regret that the Soviet Government has for the third time within the past four months ignored its [Page 672] invitation to discuss the most urgent international problems. The US Government is still of the opinion that the best way of reducing international tension is to persevere in constructive efforts for the progressive solution of outstanding problems, starting with those which most urgently require an early settlement. With this in mind, the United States Government proposed a meeting of the four foreign ministers in order to reach agreement on Germany, especially on its reunification in freedom, and on the Austrian State Treaty. In the same spirit, it is continuing its efforts to enable the political conference on Korea to take place.
- To judge from its note of November 3, the Soviet Government contemplates a meeting of the foreign ministers, “with the participation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Chinese Peoples Republic” of such a different character that it would not only become involved in futile and endless debate, but would also prevent all progress in the settlement of questions which are both urgent and concrete.
- The United States Government laid down no conditions in its invitation and made every possible effort to take into account the views of the Soviet Government. But the latter has made a meeting of the foreign ministers conditional upon the acceptance of a number of demands. Some of these have no relation to Europe, but must in the Soviet view be met before even the study of European problems could be initiated. Others would entail the abandonment by the US, UK and France of all their plans to safeguard their own security. A defenseless Western Europe appears to be the price demanded by the Soviet Government for participation in a conference. The Soviet Government must be well aware that such demands are totally unacceptable.
- The US Government can only conclude from the latest Soviet note that the Soviet Government does not wish at the present time to enter into any negotiations which might have positive results. The US Government nevertheless remains determined to seek by all appropriate means agreement on the most urgent questions the solution of which is essential to the lessening of international tension. Therefore it leaves open the invitation addressed to the Soviet Government on October 18. The US Government is convinced that negotiations on these vital problems would open the way to broader agreement and would thus improve the chances of re-establishing real peace in the world.
- Transmitted in telegram 1915 from Paris, Nov. 14. Following transmission of the draft in telegram 1813, supra, the working group met daily Nov. 9–14 to prepare a final draft. This note, which was approved on Nov. 14 with the first and last sentences in brackets, was shown on Nov. 15 to Chancellor Adenauer who requested the removal of the brackets. The resulting text, printed here, was approved by the three governments and Mayor Schreiber and delivered to the Foreign Ministry on Nov. 16. Documentation on the work of the tripartite working group is in file 396.1.↩