396.1 BE/1–2954: Telegram

No. 371
The United States Delegation at the Berlin Conference to the Department of State1


Secto 38. Eden tells me that at his dinner for Molotov last night they first discussed agenda item 1 (five power conference).2 Eden said he took the position that it was useless trying to go on reaching an agreement on this item and urged that after one more round at the conference table the Ministers pass on to the next two agenda items with the understanding that they could revert to item 1 when they had finished dealing with Germany and Austria. Molotov did not take a definite position. Eden could not be sure but Molotov seemed to take the line that he had or would make concessions by splitting the two parts of the “proposal” which he made in the last paragraph (summarized in penultimate paragraph of Secto 353) of his speech on January 27.

They then had a long discussion on Europe. Eden explained at length reasons why EDC should be brought into being. Molotov gave him no encouragement and what he said seemed to add up that there must be continuing four power control in Germany. Eden also stressed heavily free elections. Molotov pointed out that Hitler came to power as a result of free elections and, therefore, the important thing was to decide what kind of government would result from elections before they took place.

Eden (as did Roberts who was present) had the impression (not based on any specific statement) that if Germany were to be rearmed the Soviet might consider EDC as the least bad alternative. This impression in part due to fact that while Molotov stated his opposition to EDC he did not violently denounce it. When Eden asked him what his alternative to EDC was, Molotov replied “That’s an easy question to ask but a difficult one to answer” and left it at that.

  1. Repeated to London, Paris, and Moscow.
  2. For Eden’s account of his dinner meeting with Molotov, see Eden, Full Circle, p. 73–75.
  3. Document 367.