Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 205

No. 345
Minutes of a Meeting of the United States Delegation at the Berlin Conference, January 22, 1954, 3:30 p.m.
top secret
  • Present:
    • The Secretary
    • Conant
    • Parkman
    • MacArthur
    • Schwartz
    • Gerhardt
    • Freund
    • Davis
    • Merchant
    • McCardle
    • Bowie
    • Bruce
    • C. D. Jackson
    • Page
    • Tyler
    • Morris
    • McConaughy
    • Thurston
    • Reinstein
    • Steere
    • Ausland
    • Nagle
    • O’Connor
    • Eddy
    • LaSelle
    • Herfurt
    • Manfull
    • McAuliffe
    • Seamans
    • Matthews
    • Gilman

Physical Arrangements

Mr. Eddy reported that the table arrangements in the ACA Building were for a square conference table with five seats at the table for each delegation and 10 seats in the second row. At the Unter den Linden building there were three seats at a smaller round table and we have asked for 12 seats in the second row.


With regard to entertainment Ambassador Conant said that if the three powers start entertaining with the West Germans the Russians would undoubtedly hold quadripartite entertainment with representatives of the East German Government being invited. Even a social meeting with the East Germans would have a bad psychological effect in West Germany. Ambassador Conant noted that there would be many social activities in Berlin and he suggested tripartite coordination to make sure that all three foreign ministers did not attend the same entertainment on one night.

With regard to Soviet entertaining Mr. MacArthur suggested that attendance at such functions should be worked out with Ambassador Bohlen when he arrives.

Mr. Eddy reported that there would be a simple buffet at the break in each session of the conference or at the end of the session, depending on the wish of the Chairman. No liquor will be served at these buffets and at the ACA Building the expenses will be shared tripartitely.


With regard to press communications Mr. Eddy reported that space for the press in the East Sector was adequate but inspection revealed that the Soviets were not providing adequate telephone communication to western points. Mr. McCardle has asked Mr. Suydam to inform correspondents that they could come back to the press center in the western sector after the meetings in the Unter [Page 785] den Linden building to use the more adequate communications facilities.

With regard to press briefings Mr. MacArthur said there were officers specialized in French and German press briefings. Substantive officers would meet together after each session for 10 or 15 minutes to coordinate with their opposite numbers in the other two western delegations regarding the general line to be taken. So far as the briefing sessions themselves were concerned the British and French will be checked as to their proposed procedure so that all three delegations would be following a similar line with the press, although the respective national treatment would be tailored to the national interests.

Ambassador Conant said that there had been and undoubtedly would continue to be free circulation of people between the western and eastern sectors. Should any violation of this principle occur to any of our people it would constitute an international incident.

Consultation with Germans

With regard to consultation with the Germans, Ambassador Conant suggested that if it were approved at the tripartite meeting tomorrow at 11:001 it would be easy to arrange for a meeting with Blankenhorn tomorrow afternoon, which he considered of primary importance. Ambassador Conant said that there was restrained optimism on the part of the Germans with regard to the conference. The SPD were more enthusiastic publicly than in private. There was more optimism in the eastern zone where there were more hopes to fulfill. Ambassador Conant emphasized the manner in which the conference broke up would have a profound effect on German opinion.

Reports to NAC

With regard to reporting to the North Atlantic Council, Mr. MacArthur suggested that Mr. Page should get together with his opposite number in the other western delegations to work out a report every week or two weeks. The point was made by Mr. Creel that other members of the diplomatic community in Berlin were extremely anxious to receive word on the progress of the meeting. It was the general view that while it would not be possible to have a tripartite briefing of the entire diplomatic community, Mr. Merchant, Mr. Page, and Mr. Creel would get together to work out a procedure for briefing representatives of those governments who have asked for such briefing or where we think it will do most good. In this regard the Benelux countries and Italy should be given special consideration.

[Page 786]

German Questions

With regard to German questions, Ambassador Conant asked that he have some time with the Secretary to discuss the complicated issues involved and time was provisionally set aside immediately after the Delegation meeting.

Security Guarantee

With regard to the security guarantee, Mr. MacArthur noted that the United States and the United Kingdom were in agreement but the French had not been able to agree at the Tripartite Working Group meeting in Paris with the proposed US–UK draft.2 The French will not raise this subject during the tripartite sessions and it is not the intention of the United States or United Kingdom to discuss it at this time.

Five-Power Conference

With regard to the probable Soviet proposal for a five-power conference, Mr. McConaughy reported on the latest position of the French on this subject. Although their initial position was strong, their retreat position was to agree to a five-power conference under conditions which would not necessarily preclude Soviet acceptance.

The Secretary said there were two aspects of a meeting with the Communist China regime. If the conference were to include Communist China as one of the five great powers, as provided in Article 106 of the UN Charter, and the conference was to proceed under such general terms of reference as those indicated in that article it would be impossible for the U.S. to attend. While we have never agreed that Potsdam covered Far Eastern matters, the United States would not have the same objections to a conference to settle certain Far Eastern problems in the proper context. Such a conference would include the nations interested in the problems and, with respect to Indochina, the Associated States might well be invited to the conference. The Secretary noted that since we were carrying on negotiations with the Chinese Communists with regard to Korea we could hardly object to the French discussing the Indochina problems with them.


With regard to Austria, Mr. MacArthur suggested that there should be a specific briefing on this subject with the Secretary tomorrow morning before the tripartite meeting.

[Page 787]

General Discussion of Conference

The Secretary said that one reason the United States has been reluctant to hold a four-power conference was the possibility of the Soviets using the conference to promote their objectives in the Satellite countries. For example, pictures of western and Soviet leaders in congenial poses might be used in Soviet propaganda to imply that the West accepted the moral position of the Soviets and dealt with them on an equal plane. Therefore the Secretary had maintained the position that the four foreign ministers would meet only on specific issues and not in the context of a periodic reunion. He asked that members of the Delegation attempt to avoid making a particularly friendly appearance in any dealings with the Soviets. The United States Delegation should be correct, formal and polite.

With regard to security matters, it has been agreed quadripartitely that the Soviets would be responsible for the Unter den Linden building and that the three western powers would be responsible for the security of the ACA Building. From an inspection of the building in the Soviet Sector this morning Mr. Herfurt concluded that all offices to be used by the Delegation in the Unter den Linden building were wired for detecting conversations. All primary substantive discussions should be held in the U.S. Compound. Although equipment would be used to attempt to counteract detection devices in the ACA Delegation offices, even the ACA building could not be considered completely secure. The conference room in the U.S. Compound was secure and similar conference rooms in which tripartite discussions would be held in the British and French elements were also secure.

The Secretary said that the technical preparations for this meeting had been more complete than they had ever been before for a conference of this type. For this he expressed his appreciation. The objectives of the conference with regard to Germany and Austria were well known but perhaps the most important results of the conference would be its byproducts. While there was hope for a treaty with Austria and the unification of Germany, we should not be under the illusion that those objectives were the only positive results to be gained. From his experience as an adviser to U.S. Delegations the Secretary reviewed some of the indirect results achieved at CFM’s. The Secretary emphasized that the consequences of the present conference would affect a long span of history. He asked for dedicated service on the part of all members of the Delegation, regardless of the nature of the tasks to be done, so that everything could be done to enhance the possibility of future cooperation between France and Germany, and with her two western allies.

  1. For a report on this meeting, see Secto 10, infra.
  2. Regarding the different positions on a European security guarantee as reported by the Tripartite Working Group, see the memorandum by Fuller, Document 320.