396.1 BE/2–254: Telegram

No. 398
The United States Delegation at the Berlin Conference to the Department of State 1


Secto 65. Department for OSD. Following summarizes first part of Seventh Meeting Foreign Ministers held February 1 in residence Soviet High Commissioner East Sector, Molotov presiding:2

Secretary said he would have comments on Molotov’s statement at previous meeting, but since Molotov had made only preliminary comments, Secretary said he would defer remarks until later.

Bidault said3 he wished to make preliminary comments on Eden’s proposal4 and Molotov’s declaration of January 30.5 Regarding Eden plan, he said primary problem to which Ministers should devote their attention was organization of free elections. This involves two essential points. First, organization of elections must necessarily be worked out by four powers. Second, freedom of elections must be guaranteed, particularly through Control Commission’s functioning in impartial fashion which would assure that guarantees be observed before and after elections. Eden proposal satisfied these requirements. While reserving right to raise points of detail in further discussion of Eden proposal, he had only one immediate substantive comment. He felt there should be neutral [Page 911] participation in election commissions, which would guarantee impartiality and would facilitate adoption of majority vote which he described as essential to effective functioning of commissions.

Turning to Molotov’s statement, he understood Molotov agreed on need for holding free elections. He asked whether Molotov envisaged as he did that elections would come first and organization of all-German Government second. He was encouraged by Molotov statement that all-German Government should have complete freedom in external and internal affairs. This was position which had been taken by the Western powers in their notes of the last two years.6 He said Soviet proposal that Government should not be free before treaty to participate in coalitions and alliances was not consistent with Molotov statement. Molotov had misunderstood West position in this respect. There was no question of extending automatically to all-German Government agreements made by Federal Government. All-German Government would be wholly free to choose whether or not it desired to assume obligations previously undertaken by Federal Government, and no conditions in this respect were being laid down by West. While he understood that Mr. Molotov looked at the problem differently he stressed that it was only way in which problem could be resolved, that is, to accept decision of German people. France, does not make entrance of United Germany into EDC condition to unification. It cannot however accept converse condition of prohibition on Germany’s entrance into community.

Bidault said Molotov had misunderstood Bonn and Paris treaties and their relation to reserved powers. These powers would disappear when peace treaty came into force. During pre-treaty period, Western powers would reserve certain rights they have in common with Soviets for purpose of insuring peaceful reunification of Germany and conclusion of peace treaty. There was no question of imposing on Germany occupation controls over long period of years. On contrary, purpose was to hasten treaty.

Bidault stressed that essential decisions such as those relating to German constitution, formation of Government, transfer of powers to Government, and negotiation of peace treaty would be made by Germans. Occupying powers would do only those things which they alone capable of doing. He saw no possibility of Germans working out electoral law or organizing elections. It was impossible to conceive of two regimes based on completely different political principles agreeing regarding such matters. It was also necessary to [Page 912] guarantee complete freedom of expression. In present state of affairs, impossible for that to be done without international supervision. In conclusion Bidault said that Allies alone are in position to end division of Germany.

Eden said7 agenda item was German problem and European security. This was Molotov wording and order in which Molotov had placed problems was, he thought, proper one. Main problem of Ministers was to reach agreement on reunification of Germany and conclusion of peace treaty with all-German Government resulting from free elections. He wished to explain relationship of his plan to problem of security. Allies were pledged by Potsdam agreement to assist Germans in reconstruction of their life on peaceful, democratic basis. This did not mean that all provisions of Potsdam were applicable today. Molotov himself had admitted that some had been overtaken by events. Problem must be looked at in light of actual situation and and not as things were nine years ago.

Eden said he assumed Soviet delegation envisaged giving Germany right to provide for her defense in view of Soviet proposals regarding peace treaty of March 1952 and August 1953.8 However, there must be safeguards against new aggression by Germany. UK does not believe that imposed settlement can be maintained and thinks aim can be achieved only by associating Germany so firmly with other peaceful countries that she will neither seek nor be able to commit aggression. This can best be done through EDC.

Eden said EDC treaty is designed to contribute to maintenance of peace and its aims are purely defensive. In view of British association with EDC, he wished to describe it and character of guarantees which it offered, stressing revolutionary character of concept embodied in EDC. He described institutional arrangements which, he said, would make it impossible for any member of community to launch war with its own forces. He asked Molotov whether such a European army would not be better guarantee for peace than series of national armies, including German national army as proposed by Soviets. Summing up, Eden said UK Government would not revert to type of control provided by Potsdam. He reiterated statement in previous session that United Germany would not be obligated to join EDC. UK Government feels it should have a right to do so and believes it would wish to do so.

Regarding Molotov statement on Saturday, Eden said he agreed with comments made by Bidault. In particular, he felt occupying powers must draft electoral law and put it into force. They could [Page 913] consult German Governmental authorities. West would certainly work very closely with Federal Government. He also stressed importance of supervision of elections. Concluded with appeal for settlement not based on narrow and bitter recollection of past.

  1. Repeated to London, Paris, Bonn, Moscow, and Vienna.
  2. The U.S. Delegation verbatim record of the seventh plenary meeting. USDEL PLEN/7, is in Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 193. For a record of the second part of the meeting, see Secto 66, infra.
  3. For Bidault’s statement, see Cmd. 9080, pp. 47–50, or Berlin Discussions, pp. 71–74.
  4. For this proposal, see FPM(54)17, Document 510.
  5. Regarding Molotov’s declaration on Jan. 30, see Secto 56, Document 390.
  6. For documentation on the exchanges of notes with the Soviet Union concerning all-German elections (1952) and the convening of a four-power conference (1953), see Documents 65 ff. and 257 ff.
  7. For Eden’s statement, see Cmd. 9080, pp. 50–52.
  8. For text of these proposals, see the notes from the Soviet Union, Mar. 10, 1952, Document 65 and Aug. 15, 1953, Document 263.