No. 284
The Soviet Ministry for Foreign Affairs to the Embassy of the United States1
No. 43/OSA

Soviet Government acknowledges receipt note Government USA of November 16, 19532 which is an answer to Soviet Government’s note of November 3.3

Government USA alleges that Government USSR has refused proposal for conference Ministers Foreign Affairs on most urgent international problems. Such allegation does not correspond with reality and is in clear contradiction with what was said by Soviet Government in its note of November 3.

As is known, in this note Soviet Government not only did not refuse proposal for convocation conference Ministers Foreign Affairs on most urgent international problems, but on contrary, again affirmed its favorable attitude toward convocation such conference although proposal Government USSR did not coincide with proposal Government USA.

Soviet Government proposed:

“To call conference Ministers Foreign Affairs and at this conference

To examine with Ministers Foreign Affairs USA, England, France, Chinese People’s Republic and Soviet Union measures for lessening tension in international relations.
To consider with Ministers Foreign Affairs USA, England, France and Soviet Union the German question including all proposals advanced during course preparation for conference”.

Soviet Government considers it necessary recall that it has repeatedly advanced its proposal for convocation conference Ministers Foreign Affairs during course recent months, i.e.: August 4, September 28, November 3.4

Thus Soviet Government has consistently insisted on convocation conference Ministers Foreign Affairs for examination general question concerning measures for lessening tension in international relations and especially the German question, decision of which is [Page 674] connected in closest fashion with assuring security in Europe and, consequently, with lessening tension in international situation. Soviet Government at present time still considers convocation of such conference necessary. Such conference, according to Soviet Government’s opinion, should not be confined in advance to examination of any one question but should actually be able to examine most urgent international problems.

Soviet Government’s proposal for convocation conference with participation Ministers Foreign Affairs USA, England, France, USSR and Chinese People’s Republic for examination measures for lessening tension in international relations, and also with participation Ministers Foreign Affairs USA, England, France and USSR for consideration German question was advanced with one general aim—to contribute to easing international tension and, in particular, to assuring stable security in Europe, which requires definitive settlement German problem.

Government USA also speaks of its desire for lessening international tension and also mentions as most urgent questions: German problem, conclusion Austrian state treaty, and cooperation convocation political conference in Korea. Even the listing of above-mentioned problems shows that Government USA regards both specific questions concerning Europe as well as questions concerning Asia as among the most urgent international problems suitable for consideration at Conference Ministers Foreign Affairs.

Inasmuch as US Government has recognized that at conference Ministers Foreign Affairs it is also appropriate to examine those problems which concern situation in Asia, then it follows that participation Chinese Peoples Republic, together with other four great powers, in examination and settlement such type of problems is completely natural and necessary. In addition, there is no basis to deny obvious fact that time has become ripe for examination measures for lessening tension in international situation as a whole, towards which persistent efforts of Soviet Government are directed as well, and this means that conference with participation Ministers Foreign Affairs USA, England, France, USSR and Chinese Peoples Republic is matter which must not be put off.

It is exactly because examination question of measures for easing international situation as a whole is not only urgent necessity but also not to be postponed that Soviet Government has considered and considers it necessary to convoke conference with participation all great powers without any exception whatsoever. As US Government states that it also is pursuing aim of contributing to easing international tension, obstacles to convocation conference five powers, USA, England, France, USSR and Chinese Peoples Republic, should disappear. From this is also evident the whole baselessness [Page 675] of objections contained in note of November 16 on question at hand.

Government of USSR reaffirms position stated in its note of November 3 concerning meeting of Foreign Ministers.

In addition Government of USSR again states that plans for creation so-called “European army” opening door to rebirth German militarism and remilitarization Western Germany together with creation foreign military bases on territory number European states which creates threat to security of other European states, are incompatible with interests security in Europe.

Soviet Government rejects as without any foundation statement contained in note US Government of November 16 alleging that negative attitude of Soviet Union toward creation European army represents demand for “abandonment by US, Great Britain and France of plans for ensuring their own security” although position which USSR has stated in no way touches on question of military forces these states. Equally unfounded is statement clearly made for propaganda purposes alleging that “a defenseless Western Europe appears to be price which Soviet Union demands for participation in conference.”

As is well known, an attempt is being made under the label of “European army” to create an army of six states: France, Western Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. Consequently, this plan envisages the creation of army of narrow groupment of European states which does not include majority European countries. Moreover, principal purpose of creating European army is to make possible reestablishment regular army in Western Germany with West German Army included as basic military force in above-mentioned European army. Creation of European army is being supported in every way by former Hitlerites and other German revanchists who in order to serve their aggressive purpose are striving to prepare unleashing of new war and involve in it not only German people but also other peoples of Europe since creation of European army will be forced on them.

Danger of carrying out this plan of creating European army must be understandable to all peoples of Europe, including peoples of those countries which are now being involved in creation this army, since it is clear that under cover of so-called “European army” army of German militarism is being revived. Creation of European army can mean nothing but creation of aggressive groupment of several European states which relying on armed forces and including in its composition West German revanchist army will set itself in opposition to a whole series of other European states: Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia and other countries. By same token plan for creation European army can in no way assist [Page 676] strengthening peace in Europe. Such plan includes setting one part of Europe against other part of Europe. It cannot lead to lessening tension in international relations, but, on contrary, will contribute to inflaming contradictions between countries of Europe and thereby increasing danger of new military adventure. Thus, creation of European army unleashing forces of German militarism, most dangerous for peace in Europe, will contain threat of new world war which peace-loving peoples of whole world cannot fail to take into account.

In opposing so-called “European army” Soviet Union proceeds from fact that creation such army can in no way contribute to strengthening security in Europe, but rather, inevitably, will lead to contrary results. Nor does creation such army have anything in common with desire not to permit “defenseless Western Europe” which, moreover, no one is threatening.

The guaranteeing of security Western European countries will be firm if it is based not on setting countries of Western Europe off against countries of Eastern Europe but on obtaining concord of efforts all European countries in regard to assuring security in Europe. These efforts can and must be based on obligations previously assumed by states concerned, aim of which is to prevent new acts of aggression in Europe.

In opposing creation European army Soviet Union is acting in interests of forestalling threat of new war and, consequently, in interests securing real peace in Europe.

Soviet Union is ready to exert all efforts together with other countries Europe to cooperate assuring European security by means of appropriate agreement between all countries of Europe independent of their social structure. Security can be fully guaranteed for all European countries if efforts of all European states and other states interested in this will make their efforts conform to these specific purposes. This also requires that solution of German problem, which has very important significance for strengthening security in Europe, will be carried out in interests of re-establishing unity and independence of Germany as democratic and peace-loving state.

The foregoing permits the conclusion that inasmuch as Governments of United States America and USSR are striving for reinforcement of peace and international security they must be interested in urgent examination of the questions of measures for the reduction of tension in international affairs in general, as well as, in the specific examination of questions concerning security in Europe and the consequent resolution of the German problem. This was also the substance of the proposal of Soviet Government in its note of November 3.

[Page 677]

Since, however, the exchange of notes between the USSR and United States America, and also with England and France, has not led, up to present time, to the establishment of a common viewpoint in regard to the above-mentioned proposal, it is necessary to examine this question at an appropriate meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs. In this connection, Soviet Government has taken into consideration statement contained in note of Government of United States of November 16 to effect that its participation in a conference of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of United States America, USSR, England and France is not connected with any conditions of a preliminary character. Similar statements were made by Governments of England and France. Being guided by the desire to cooperate in the speedy settlement of urgent (ripe) international problems, Soviet Government expresses its readiness to take part in a meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the United States America, USSR, England and France.

Soviet Government considers it necessary to declare that in light of considerations set forth above, at this meeting there will be brought up by it the question of the convocation in near future of a meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of United States America, England, France, USSR and the Chinese Peoples Republic for purpose of reducing tension in international relations. In opinion of Soviet Government, a suitable place for the meeting of the Ministers of the Four Powers could be the city of Berlin. Soviet Government has sent similar notes also to Governments of England and France.

  1. Transmitted in telegrams 618, 620, and 621 from Moscow, Nov. 26 and 27. This translation should be compared for minor textual differences with that in Department of State Bulletin, Dec. 21, 1953, pp. 853–854.
  2. Supra.
  3. Document 280.
  4. Documents 259, 271, and 280.