396.1 BE/1–2654: Telegram

No. 360
The United States Delegation at the Berlin Conference to the Department of State1


Secto 24. Department pass OSD, USIA. Following is text of statement by Secretary Dulles at second quadripartite session:2

I. This conference affords us the chance to recapture the lofty spirit of those who, with sacrificial dedication, won for us the chance to make the peace. The United States has come here, and will perservere, in that spirit. During the nine years that have elapsed since the end of World War II, many hopes have turned to despair and many friendships have dissolved in bitterness. It is, indeed, five years since our four Foreign Ministers have even met together. Those five years have been marked by a major war in Korea; the intensification of war in Indochina; and growing fear that we are merely in another interlude between world wars.

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This conference provides the occasion for making a fresh start. We meet here in a city whose ruin and division symbolizes the tragic consequences of aggression. Here it should be possible, in a mood of equalizing humility, to work together for peace.

When we came here we knew that there were many matters where we disagreed. But we hoped to find an area of agreement which, if it were jointly cultivated, would invigorate peaceful principles which would finally encompass us all, everywhere. We thought that Germany and Austria provided such an initial field for successful effort.

That was the mood which was made manifest by the opening speeches of M. Bidault and Mr. Eden. Neither of them uttered a single word of recrimination. Both dealt constructively with the future and sought the cooperation which would enable the four of us to build here in the heart of Europe a society which, turning its back upon the tragic past, would be a monument of enduring peace.

II. It was thus a matter of profound disappointment to hear the opening address of the Soviet Foreign Minister. It was not that he said anything that was new. I have heard the same speech many times before. What was saddening was the fact that he seized upon this occasion, the opening of this new conference, this beginning of what could be a new chapter of history, to accumulate and repeat the old false charges and recriminations which have been heard so often from Soviet rulers.

III. If any one thing is certain, it is that the future will never be a future of peace unless it reflects new ideas and new vision. Peace is not had merely by wanting it. We all, I suppose, want peace, on our own terms. Men have always wanted peace on their own terms. Instead of getting peace, they have gotten an endless cycle of recurrent war. War has constantly bred war because, with rare exceptions, the victors in war have been so animated by the spirit of vengeance and hatred that they have been blinded and have themselves unwittingly become the causes of new war.

If, from this standpoint, we review the three speeches which were made yesterday, we cannot but be struck by the difference. M. Bidault and Mr. Eden both made constructive proposals for Germany, which, because they were just, would be lasting. They proposed a Germany which would be united under a government of its own choosing and which would bury its antiquated nationalistic and militaristic ambitions in a durable unity with those who in the past have been the victims of its aggression.

As I listened to the calm, wise words of M. Bidault, I could not but think of our own President Lincoln, who, animated by the spirit of “malice toward none and charity toward all”, forged a political [Page 829] unity which has produced the largest measure of human welfare that the world has yet known.

As Mr. Molotov pointed out, France, equally with Russia, was a victim of Nazism. But M. Bidault evoked the spirit which can bind up and heal the wounds of war. Mr. Molotov evoked the spirit of vengeance and of hatred which marked the ill-fated treaty of Versailles. He recalled the decisions of Yalta. It was Yalta which called for the “dismemberment of Germany”, for the stripping of Germany of all removable assets and for impressed German labor.

These decisions of Yalta, which my own government shared, were understandable in the context of the day. The German war was still in full vigor and wars are not won by a spirit of tolerance. But it is sad that today, nine years since the German armistice, one of the parties to the Yalta conference should attempt to revive the bitterness and the hatred of those days and the cruel decisions which that hatred and bitterness occasioned.

I had some part in the Paris conference which created the treaty of Versailles. It is easy for me to recall the mood of that conference. We then believed that the way to exorcise evil from the German spirit was to occupy Germany, to demilitarize Germany, to impose upon Germany humiliating discriminations so that she would always be a nation apart, branded openly with the stigma of Cain.

From that experiment, those who truly and wisely seek peace have learned that no great nation is made harmless by subjecting it to discriminations so that it cannot be an equal in the family of nations. Restrictions such as were imposed by the treaty of Versailles, and as are implicit in the Soviet proposals of yesterday, merely incite a people of vigor and of courage to strive to break the bonds imposed upon them and thereby to demonstrate their sovereign equality. Prohibitions thus incite the very acts that are prohibited.

IV. In contrast to the Soviet reversion to a sterile and dangerous past is the French approach as put forward by M. Bidault. France has resolved not to repeat that past. In the interest of permanent peace, she is striving to forge strong links of common interest and purpose to unite Germany with her neighbors.

We can well pause here to pay tribute to the genius of France which has drawn together the six nations of Western Europe in the Coal and Steel Community, which has conceived the European Defense Community and which stimulates the development of a European Political Community.

Such creative thinking marks freedom at its best. It condemns to ridicule those who would destine France to a humble place in the Soviet world of enforced conformity.

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Mr. Molotov professes to fear that the European Defense Community would be dominated by German militarism. That is precisely what EDC is designed to prevent. It is a program which acceptably precludes any German national army and any German General Staff. I say “acceptably” because the treaty operates in a nondiscriminatory way. Each of the countries of the European Defense Community accepts for itself in Europe the same conditions as apply to Germany. Thus, there is brought into being a modest defense force in which individual Germans have a minority part and the whole of which is dedicated to defensive purposes. No part of the European army can ever be used to serve any national ends in Europe. That is a program which the Germans themselves willingly accept. The German people are eager, as are the people of France, to find a way to end forever the hideous spectacle of the European nations fighting each other. The treaty to create the European Defense Community was conceived by France, has been signed by France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg. The process of ratification is far advanced. There is no known substitute for EDC. Certainly the Soviet Union has proposed none except a return to the obsolete, bankrupt system of Versailles and other so-called “peace” treaties which have bred war.

Surely statesmanship can do better than to recreate the world’s worst fire hazard. The country and people of the Soviet Union have been cruelly mutilated by the consequences of German hostility toward France. It seems incredible that Soviet leaders should now be devoting themselves to reviving that Franco-German hostility and to obstructing a unification which would realize the vision of the wise European statesmen who for generations have been preaching unity as the indispensable foundation for lasting peace.

V. The Soviet Foreign Minister suggested that the formation of a European or North Atlantic treaty military force might lead to the creation of a defensive alliance of other European countries, thus splitting Europe into two opposing military groups of states. This is a grotesque inversion of history.

Following the end of World War II, the United States withdrew its vast armies and air and naval forces from Europe and largely dismantled its military establishment. The United Kingdom did likewise. Western Europe itself was left totally devoid of military strength. The Western nations put their primary dependence in the pledges of the United Nations charter. They continued to do so until June 1951. Then the sudden outbreak of hostilities in Korea showed that the United Nations charter did not constitute any absolute guaranty against armed aggression. The free nations realized their insecurity if they remained disarmed and disunited in [Page 831] the face of a powerful military bloc combining the resources of 800,000,000 people.

Mr. Molotov, in his address, cited the principle that action provokes reaction. That is true, as we see; but not with the application which Mr. Molotov gave it.

Another disheartening aspect of the Soviet Foreign Minister’s statement was its reiteration of the importance of accepting the Chinese Communist regime as one of the so-called “five great powers” which have world-wide responsibility for the establishment of peace.

This off-spring of Soviet Communism committed flagrant aggression in Korea, for which it was formally condemned by the United Nations. It is actively promoting aggression against Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. All of the nations which are the neighbors of this Chinese Communist regime feel menaced by its scarcely concealed aggressive purpose.

Although six months have gone by since it agreed to hold a political conference with relation to Korea, Communist China has constantly found excuses and placed obstructions in the way.

This convicted aggressor is the nation which the Soviet Union chooses to be its companion in its quest for peace and which it demands should be accepted by the US and others. I would like to state here plainly and unequivocally what the Soviet Foreign Minister already knows—the US will not agree to join in a five-power conference with the Chinese Communist aggressors for the purpose of dealing generally with the peace of the world.

The US refuses not because, as is suggested, it denies that the regime exists, or that it has power. We in the US well know that it exists and has power, because its aggressive armies joined with the North Korean aggressors to kill and wound 150,000 Americans who went to Korea in company with British, French and other United Nations forces to resist that aggression in response to the appeal of the United Nations. We do not refuse to deal with it where occasion requires. We did deal with it in making the Korean armistice. We deal with it today at Panmunjom in our effort to bring about a Korean peace conference. It is, however, one thing to recognize evil as a fact. It is another thing to take evil to one’s breast and call it good.

Moreover, the United States rejects the Soviet concept that any so-called “five great powers” have a right to rule the world and to determine the destinies of other nations. The United Nations charter confers no such mandate. Nor is any such mandate to be found in principles of justice and fair dealing. Undoubtedly great power carries with it a great responsibility for promoting and protecting peace, but such power gives no right to dictate to smaller powers or [Page 832] to manage the affairs of the world. We believe in the principle, embodied in the charter of the United Nations, that there is a sovereign equality of all states, great and small.

Despite the discouragement which must be the first reaction to the Soviet Minister’s speech, I propose that we refuse to be discouraged and get ahead with our business. We hope that there will be a genuine opportunity for us to explore together new ideas such as have been put forward in the addresses of the Foreign Ministers of France and of Great Britain. In this respect, Mr. Eden has made a series of concrete proposals regarding Germany which deserve our serious consideration.

Mr. Molotov has proposed an agenda.3 It is not the agenda that we would propose, but it is an agenda which we will take for the sake of getting on with our work. We do not want to turn this conference into another Palais Rose conference4 where our deputies met for many weeks in futile argument about the agenda. The Soviet Foreign Minister has proposed a first agenda item which includes the convening of a meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of France, Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union and the Chinese People’s Republic. The US is willing to deal with, and dispose of, this agenda item.

Then would come the German question and the problem of insuring European security. Germany is a matter which primarily concerns us here, and the sooner we can get to it, the better.

Then the Soviet Union proposed discussion of the Austrian state treaty. Since the treaty was already substantially concluded five years ago, and since the Soviet Union has already received much more than the reparation which it originally demanded, this problem should be quickly disposed of. We would have preferred to deal with it earlier. But if the Soviet Union prefers to leave to the last what is the easiest to do, then we will accommodate ourselves to their wishes in this respect.

The important thing is that we quickly show a capacity to discharge our responsibilities toward others and not to waste our time in recriminations as amongst ourselves.

I have said that power carries with it a great responsibility today; as the four occupying powers in Germany and Austria, we possess a responsibility for which, unless it be well discharged, the verdict of history will find us guilty.

Therefore, I say, let us get on with our work. Let us truly discharge that responsibility on which the hope of millions center.

  1. Repeated to Bonn, Paris, London, Moscow, and Vienna.
  2. For a record of the second meeting, see Secto 29, supra.
  3. For the proposed Soviet agenda, see Secto 17, Document 355.
  4. Reference to the Four-Power Exploratory Talks (Conference at the Palais Rose) at Paris, Mar. 5–June 21, 1951.