PPS files, lot 64 D 563, “Paris Tripartite Conversations”

No. 320
Memorandum by Leon W. Fuller of the Policy Planning Staff to the Director of the Staff (Bowie) 1

Subject: Summary of Paris Tripartite Working Group Final Report, December 23, 1953.

Following is a more comprehensive summary of the tripartite positions reached in preparation for the Berlin four-power talks, to replace my memorandum of December 23.2

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1. Objectives and Tactics for Berlin

Main Western Objectives: reunification of Germany through free elections establishing all-German Assembly and Government; freely negotiated Peace Treaty; integration of united Germany (or at least, of GFR) in Western European community, itself part of Atlantic Community; in lieu of agreement, establish Western proposals as only means to German unity in freedom; show that our proposals assure security requirements of Europe and USSR and serve peaceful relations of USSR to West; ascertain Soviet intentions, and, if negative, show Soviets responsible for continued division of Germany and Europe; avoid impasse as result Soviet delaying tactics; keep open prospect of further negotiation with USSR; conclude an Austrian treaty, or show USSR alone responsible for failure.

Presumed Soviet Objectives: frustrate NATO policies and EDC; achieve US withdrawal from Europe; prevent integration of Germany, West or united, in Western European community, and serving Western defense purposes; isolate and ultimately dominate Germany; pending above, restore and strengthen Soviet power and prestige in East Zone; obstruct conclusion of Austrian treaty until German objectives are won.

Presumed Soviet Tactics: give priority to discussion of five-power conference; raise security issue; stress conclusion of German peace treaty as main conference task; possibly suggest disarmament talks; relegate Austria to diplomatic channels; seek conference breakdown on questions tending to throw responsibility on West for thwarting constructive achievements.

Suggested Four-Power Tactics: propose at least three of four meetings in US sector; resist revival of CFM, but not to breaking point; rotating chairmanship with US first; simple agenda (Ger unity, Austrian treaty, Security in Europe, other matters); prevent indefinite prolongation of meeting; avoid referring issues to Deputies except for Austrian treaty; broad presentation of issues, pointing up Soviet responsibility for past failures to agree, giving priority to free German elections and all-German Government; avoid breakdown on agenda; refuse discuss substance of peace treaty in absence Ger reps, but let Russians speak on this if they wish; refuse admit reps of East Zone; aim at agreement on free elections and all-German Government safeguarding Ger and Western interests, including right of all-German Government to assume obligations of GFR; on security, stick to idea of unilateral declaration and avoid discussion of broader security arrangements, making clear defensive nature of Western intentions and rejecting Soviet concept of exclusive European security arrangements; seek to defer [Page 735] discussion on specific guarantees re Germany until after territorial settlements; reject proposed restoration of quadripartite control over Germany; use of unilateral declaration will depend on whether all-German agreement is reached; consider participation Austrian Government reps in Austrian treaty talks, but be ready refer to Deputies; refuse admit link between Austria and German questions.

2. Soviet Proposal for Five-Power Talks

US–UK: illogical in Eur context; should hold Korean conference, and discuss other matters in UN framework; or use diplomatic channels.

French: illogical at Berlin, should be separate; CPR should first give evidence of good intent, as in engaging in Korean conference; other matters in framework of UN.

3. All-German Elections

Should receive major emphasis; Fon Mins should agree on principles, leaving details to subordinates (working group); details to be settled by four powers, not by GDR and GFR; should stress adequate supervision and guarantees of freedom, including free movement; electoral law not to be negotiated between GFR and GDR but promulgated by four powers, possibly based on existing GFR and GDR laws (WG to be set up for this purpose), but avoid breakdown on this issue; prefer GFR electoral law of Feb 6, 19523 as basis, but might consider law along lines Weimar law of 1924; detailed system of guarantees not needed, but must insist on freedom of political activity and movement, immunity of candidates, freedom from victimization, absolute secrecy of ballot, radio freedom; supervision by commissions covering whole area at regional and local levels, radiating from central body (there would be 40,000 voting places); presence of supervisory bodies should be apparent to population, especially in GDR; supervisory bodies should observe, supervise and report, but might have certain powers of decision and sanction as well; supervisory commissions should be organized on collegial basis, decide by majority, be composed of “neutrals,” but might include mixed personnel (allied and German) if necessary for agreement.

3. [sic] All-German Government

Objectives: must avoid “Austrian” situation or arrangements precluding German integration in Europe; put onus for German partition on Soviets; prolong GFR until assured of attainment of our objectives [Page 736] with united Germany; Fed Govt has no rigid views on steps leading to unification but agrees with basic allied objectives.

Proposals: Assembly may form provisional all-German “Authority” with limited powers, to assist in drafting constitution, prepare way for future all-German Ministries, and aid preliminary work toward Peace Treaty negotiations; such “Authority” might, if authorized, actually begin Peace Treaty negotiations; meanwhile, GFR and GDR continue with present powers; after constitution adopted and approved, all-German Government would then take over or begin Peace Treaty negotiations; decisions concerning transfer of powers from GFR and GDR to new all-German Government and phasing out of former to be made by National Assembly in absence disapproval by majority of four powers; all-German Government would be free in this connection to assume international rights and obligations of GFR and GDR (unless disapproved by majority four powers), pending final peace settlement; four powers, while keeping existing authority, should exercise no special control over National Assembly or provisional all-German “Authority”; after all-German Government is established, four powers would exercise no greater controls than those envisaged in the Bonn Conventions, up to time Peace Treaty goes into effect (their decisions would be by majority vote, but some question as to how this would operate).

4. German Peace Treaty

Refuse discuss in absence reps of all-Ger; may have to exchange views on peace treaty in general terms, but avoid being drawn into substantive discussion or letting conference deadlock on such issues as frontiers or neutralization; on frontiers, refuse enter into discussion at this stage; on neutralization, either refuse to discuss, or declare such a formula unacceptable.

5. Allied Position Toward Soviet Proposals (in notes 4 )

Soviet proposals in essence call for creation of all-Ger Govt through agreed arrangement by GFR and GDR, with so-called “free elections,” with unified Ger barred from any such arrangement as EDC or NATO, with forced withdrawal of occupation forces, with Oder-Neisse as frontier, permitted forces for defense, and certain concessions re reparations and occupation costs.

Allies would oppose GDR participation in arrangements for free elections and formation of govt from existing Ger reps; oppose barriers to Ger inclusion in integrated Europe; avoid unlimited Ger [Page 737] army as enabling Ger to play off East against West; refuse accept Oder-Neisse as final frontier.

Re economic Proposals:

On reparations, US and UK note Soviet proposal that no further reparations be required after Jan 1, 1954, and indicate they will ask no further reparations and oppose inclusion reparations payments for other countries in peace settlement; France reserves rights to reparations for settlement in peace treaty, refusing to prejudice such rights at this time and would discuss reparations with Soviets, accounting for all “takes” and criticizing Soviet methods of exacting reparations in past.

On inter-govt. debts, Soviets attack bilateral agreements, as in London Debt Settlement;5 West will defend as due compensation for previous claims and the more justified in view of West’s contribution to German economic restoration.

On external occupation costs, Soviets may propose renunciation; West would then state willingness to waive claims for reimbursement in peace settlement.

On level of current occupation costs, West would refuse to be drawn into detailed discussion but justify costs as mutually agreed contribution to West Ger defense; unnecessary for four powers to agree on occ costs prior to formation of all-Ger govt.

6. Security in Europe

General Considerations: Soviet security demands would require dismantling of Western defense arrangements; West has suggested juridical guarantees, but must refuse to renounce present means of defense in area; West ready to consider additional unilateral declarations to supplement UN Charter provisions, stressing exclusively defensive character of Western arrangements; West not ready now to consider guarantee pacts (mutual assistance or non-aggression), as these appropriate rather to post-treaty stage (note that UK and France now have mutual assistance pacts with USSR).

Proposed Declaration: would be tripartite assertion of peaceful intentions, stating “purely defensive” character of NATO and EDC (latter precludes “any individual armed action in Europe” by a member state); notes that GFR under Bonn Convention has agreed to adhere to UN Charter principles in conduct of its policy; declares Western powers will observe Art. 2 of UN Charter in relations with GFR; [US draft: in event of violation of above pledges, would consider this an act against their own security and act in accordance with Article 4 of NAT with respect to withholding support from govt concerned and, to extent considered necessary, regard selves as released from commitments to it]6 [French draft: [Page 738] would regard any recourse to force in violation of above pledges as threat to own security, would withhold military aid from such govt, would regard selves, to extent considered necessary, as released from commitments to it, and would take any further appropriate measures under Article 4 of NAT] (N.B. UK would accept either draft, but prefer French); Western powers agree to act similarly re a united Ger, and to seek similar action by other NATO members; GFR would also issue declaration accepting obligations of Article 2 of NAT, stating EDC precluded any individual armed action by members, undertaking to refrain from action likely to impair defensive character of EDC, or from recourse to force in any case (Adenauer has approved such a declaration for GFR).

Tactics: Western proposals best adapted to conference failure and continued cold war; must be prepared for Soviet proposal of more concrete nature; general approach would be to develop argument that Soviet actions in Europe since 1945 have posed real threat to Europe’s security by forcing division of Europe into hostile camps; therefore West has envisaged only adequate security system as one assimilating Ger in joint Eur arrangements precluding independent military action by Ger and limiting its armaments; West ready to consider post-treaty assurances for USSR and France that US and UK would withdraw support from Ger govt resorting to force to modify its frontiers; at Berlin, defer issue at first if possible, but be ready meet issue squarely if raised by Soviets by pinning on them responsibility for present division and insecurity of Europe, citing their tactics re armed Soviet Bloc; issuance of any declaration on security must be contingent on progress made in Ger unity negotiations (as to nature and timing).

Demilitarized zone and limitation of forces: West would not favor any arrangement for demilitarized zone (whether complete, partial, or limited to narrow zone) as creating dangerous military vacuum, difficulties of enforcement, scene of new “incidents”; partial withdrawal of Western forces, in event of demilitarized West Ger zone, would weaken NATO defenses; easier for Soviet troops to withdraw into subject “hinterland” (Poland) and quickly return, than for Allied forces to withdraw while retaining potential strength in Europe; narrow demilitarized belt would be least objectionable; tactically, avoid raising issue, but would find difficulty in opposing if Russians proposed it, which they might conceivably do; would not propose setting ceiling on Western and Soviet forces in Ger as means of relieving tension, because this would create difficulties of inspection and would weaken West more than it would USSR.

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7. Consultation with Germans

No GFR “observer” to be at conference; Western delegations to maintain contacts outside conference with Prof Grewe as special envoy of Fed Govt; tripartite group would inform and consult Grewe; Fed Govt also to be consulted directly on questions of particular importance.

8. Austrian Question

Make clear West wants conclusion of treaty; refuse link treaty with Ger settlement; ask for early discussion of Austrian item, and if Soviets agree, propose Deputies seek agreement on basis “long draft” before end of conference; support Austrian request for participation in treaty negotiations, and at least insist Austria be allowed to state views before conference; point out we have withdrawn “short draft” treaty,7 in event Soviets raise point; seek to reopen discussion of Article 35 with view to alleviation of its economic provisions (on basis request by Austrian govt), then proceed to other unagreed articles; refuse to discuss Trieste as irrelevant; refuse to discuss denazification and demilitarization as covered by previous Austrian and Allied actions; resist any Soviet proposal to neutralize Austria to detriment Austrian and Western security, noting that Austrian Govt has stated it would not join post-treaty military alliances, and preserving Austrian right of free association under principles of UN Charter; not let negotiation break down solely on refusal to accept Soviet version of unagreed articles, though seeking to get Western versions.

9. Consultation with Other Governments

With GFR , agreed that tripartite position papers to be shown, with certain omissions and deletions, to Fed Govt, especially those on elections and all-Ger Govt.

With Austria, agreed to inform Govt re own views on tactics, Austrian participation, Article 35 and other issues.

With Benelux, give govts full summary of tripartite report, and arrange consultations during conference through AHC and Benelux reps at Bonn.

With NATO Govts, make short statement to NAC not going into detail.

10. Other Papers

No further work was done on “Declaration of Intent,” which is still in part unagreed, it being felt differences are still too great to be adjusted except at highest level; if Soviets set forth at Berlin a [Page 740] strongly appealing program for a German peace settlement, this may cause us embarrassment and require further efforts to get Western agreement on effective declaration.

The British also presented papers on “Heads of a German Peace Treaty” and “Procedure for Negotiating a German Peace Treaty.”

  1. Attached to the source text was a copy of the Final Report of the Tripartite Working Group (PREP D–5), dated Dec. 23.
  2. Not found in Department of State files; presumably it transmitted a preliminary summary of the report.
  3. See footnote 6, Document 80.
  4. For documentation on the exchanges of notes with the Soviet Union leading to the Berlin Conference, see Documents 257 ff.
  5. The Intergovernmental Agreement on German External Debts came into force on Sept. 16, 1953; for a description of its terms and the negotiations leading to its conclusion, see Department of State Bulletin, Oct. 12, 1953, pp. 479–481.
  6. These and following brackets are in the source text.
  7. For documentation on the U.S. short draft Austrian Treaty, see Documents 882 ff.