396.1 BE/1–2754: Telegram

No. 368
The United States Delegation at the Berlin Conference to the Department of State 1


Secto 31. Department pass OSD. Following is text Secretary Dulles’ speech2 before the third plenary session January 27:3

“It is proposed by the Soviet Union that there be a five-power conference which would include the four of us plus the Foreign Minister of Communist China to consider ‘measures for reducing international tensions’.

If I understand rightly what Mr. Molotov has said, this proposed meeting of the so-called five great powers is designed primarily to establish and implement the principle that these five powers have a special mandate to run the affairs of the world.

Mr. Molotov pointed out that the Charter of the United Nations gives special rights to the five powers by making them permanent members of the Security Council. From this, Mr. Molotov deduces that they have world-wide responsibilities which should bring them [Page 845] together in a five-power conference which would be held outside the framework of the United Nations.

Mr. Molotov should, however, remember what I am sure the rest of us remember—and it so happens that all four of us were in San Francisco in 1945—that the conference which created the United Nations rejected the concept of world dominance by five powers. It was, it is true, agreed that the five powers should be permanent members of the Security Council …4 but it was also agreed six other nations should be members of that Security Council and that even if the five permanent members were unanimous, their action would not be effective unless it was concurred in by at least two of the so-called ‘small’ powers. It also required that all parties to a dispute shall participate in any discussions relative to a dispute.

Mr. Molotov further stated that if it is legitimate for the four of us to meet together and confer, it is even more legitimate for five powers to do so.

This argument, it seems, bases the legitimacy of this meeting on a false foundation. We four are not meeting here because other nations have given us or because we have usurped a right to deal generally with world problems. We four are here to deal with the problem of Germany and the problem of Austria because we are the four occupying powers. There are no other occupying powers. Therefore, the liberation of Austria and the unification of Germany depend upon us alone. We are the proper and indispensable parties. There can be no end to the occupation unless we four end it.

Had the matter at issue been the liberation of Korea from foreign troops, then Communist China would be a proper party because it is, even though wrongfully, in occupation of a large part of Korea. The United States indeed actively seeks a Korean political conference in which Communist China would be a party. Also, of course, the Republic of Korea would have to be a party because its government, established by virtue of internationally supervised free elections, speaks for all the Korean people except those in the north who are not allowed to participate in such elections.

For the foregoing reasons, and for the reasons alluded to [in] my opening statement,5 the United States rejects the conception of a five-power meeting to end international tensions.

As far as Asia is concerned, Korea and Indochina constitute the principal sources of tension in the Far East. Nothing that has happened up to date enables us to say that Communist China is willing to collaborate in efforts to bring about a solution on an acceptable [Page 846] basis of the Korean or Indochina questions, or for that matter of any other Asian problem.

The means for settling the Korean political question with the participation of the five governments mentioned in the Soviet proposal is provided in the form of a political conference recommended by the Korean Armistice Agreement.

It is useless to speak of another Asian conference to deal with Korea so long as the so-called Chinese People’s Republic with Soviet support employs all possible means to prevent the holding of the political conference which was agreed to by the Korean Armistice terms, and indeed proposed by the Chinese Communists themselves.

There already exist appropriate forums for the discussion of other matters which have been alluded to in the course of the statements made by the Soviet Foreign Minister.

If the Soviet Union finds it undesirable to avail [itself] of existing United Nations and conference procedures, there remain diplomatic channels through which any and all problems can be discussed. The United States, and I have no doubt, also the United Kingdom and France, are prepared to discuss by means of normal diplomatic channels all points which the Soviet Government wishes to explore.

We have no desire that tensions should persist merely because there is no mechanism for allaying them. We believe that such mechanisms do exist either through the United Nations, or through conferences on specific matters which will bring together the parties in interest, or through diplomatic channels.

We are not aware of any concrete problem the solution of which would be facilitated by establishing a new mechanism consisting of the Foreign Ministers of the four powers here represented plus the Foreign Minister of Communist China. It seems to us that the proposal for a five-power conference to include the Chinese Communist regime is primarily a device to attempt to secure for that regime a position in the councils of the world which it has not earned or had accorded to it by the international community generally, including the United Nations. Certainly, this four-power conference is not the place to decide that matter.

We four have met here in Berlin to discuss two concrete problems—Germany and Austria. For this discussion we have a special and unique responsibility as occupying powers. These two problems are capable of solution and demand urgent solution.

It seems to me strange that we should be seeking to enlarge our task even before we have demonstrated that we can solve the particular tasks which primarily bring us here.

Surely, it would be wrong if, having come together for the first time in five years, we should fritter away our time in discussing [Page 847] whether and how to set up a new conference rather than in dealing with the substantive problems which the world expects us to solve.

The United States therefore proposes that we should take no action on the first agenda item and pass on to the second and third. If we can solve these two problems, then, and then only, can we stand before the world as capable of assuming other and heavier tasks. Then there will be opened up vistas of new hope.”

  1. Repeated to London, Paris, Bonn, Vienna, and Moscow.
  2. This speech was circulated as FPM(54)8 in the record of the conference.
  3. For a record of the third plenary session, see Secto 35, supra.
  4. Ellipsis in the source text.
  5. For this statement, see Secto 24, Document 360.