396.1 BE/1–2354: Telegram

No. 346
The United States Delegation at the Berlin Conference to the Department of State 1
secret priority

Secto 10. Department pass OSD. Three Western Foreign Ministers held first meeting at 11 a.m. January 23 at Berlin residence French HICOMer. They discussed following questions: Chairmanship and opening statement, nature of conference, Chinese participation, control of passes, Austria, translation, press, time of meetings, and consultation with Federal Republic.

Chairmanship and opening statement. Secretary Dulles proposed and it was agreed that Bidault should make first substantive statement. It was agreed to use French alphabet for seating with US in chair first meeting which supported by fact ACA building in US sector. Secretary would then call upon Bidault to speak first. Agreed that Secretary Dulles should approach Molotov shortly before first meeting of 4 Foreign Ministers and seek his agreement re above arrangements and daily rotation chairmanship of meetings.
Nature of conference. Agreed not desirable treat conference as meeting of CFM and that discussion this question would not be initiated by Western powers.
Chinese participation. Secretary Dulles noted press reports re delegation of Communist Chinese in Berlin. Agreed Western powers would not accept their admission to conference if Soviets propose, even as observers.
Control of passes. Agreed more important provide additional control entry into Foreign Ministers meeting beyond pass system for ACA building, but no definite decision made yet upon how this could be accomplished.

Austria. Agreed would seek early preliminary discussion Austrian problem and principles of solution. Agreed Austrian question would not be referred to Deputy Foreign Ministers but that after general discussion by Foreign Ministers it might be referred to group of conference experts who could report back in few days to conference. Would propose that Austrians be allowed state their case during general preliminary discussion by Foreign Ministers leaving question full Austrian participation full negotiation open for further Foreign Ministers consideration. (At afternoon session [Page 789] on Secretary’s motion agreed to support at conference participation of Austrians in substantive discussion treaty.2)

Bidault said that Yugoslavs in a note had asked French that Yugoslavia be informed of and consulted on four-power discussions re Austrian settlement. Ministers agreed that Yugoslavs would be kept informed but not consulted.

Translation. Agreed simultaneous translation could be used for prepared statements but not for oral exchanges. Also agreed that if Soviets refused install simultaneous in Unter den Linden building West could not insist.
Press. Texts of statements expected to be released in full to press immediately after each meeting of Foreign Ministers. Allied experts who will brief press will meet briefly to agree on line in advance. Then each delegate will hold press conferences open to all members of press. (This would not preclude delegates holding additional background conferences for own press.)
Time of meeting. Agreed propose 3 p.m. to Soviets although Secretary pointed out possibly desirable hold additional meetings as conference progresses and this should be stated to Soviets in discussion this item.

Consultation with Federal Republic. Foreign Ministers discussed primarily recent Adenauer proposals for holding new Volkskammer elections at same time as all-German elections for national assembly and reduction Volkspolizei.3 Agreed that it would not be desirable to amend Allied proposal to provide for these. Three HICOMers will discuss these questions with Blankenhorn.

Meeting ended with agreement to meet again at 4:30 p.m. at residence British HICOMer. After meeting, Foreign Ministers agreed informally in briefing press on this meeting emphasis would be on discussion of substantive matters studied by Paris working group rather than procedural questions, in order avoid giving Soviets impression Foreign Ministers had settled all procedural matters in advance.

  1. Repeated to London, Paris, Bonn, Moscow, Vienna, and Frankfurt.
  2. For a report on the afternoon meeting, see Secto 12, infra.
  3. For a further elaboration on Chancellor Adenauer’s views, see telegram 2342, Document 342.