396.1 BE/2–1554: Telegram

No. 487
The United States Delegation at the Berlin Conference to the Department of State1

Secto 150. Department pass OSD. Following is text Secretary’s statement February 15:2

“I would like first of all to answer the last questions which the Soviet Foreign Minister put. He said, do we want collective security in Europe? The answer to that is, we want collective security everywhere [Page 1124] in the world. We have tried to get that security during the war and postwar years in many different ways.

“We tried to get it by the Atlantic Charter, to which all of our governments subscribed. I am afraid none of us can feel that the provisions of the Atlantic Charter have been lived up to, provisions which assure the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live and to see sovereign rights and self-government restored to those who have been deprived of them.

“We tried to get it by the declaration of Yalta, which provided—among other things—a declaration on liberated Europe which provided for the establishment of free governments by the free elections throughout Europe.

“And then we tried to get it by the UN Charter, which requires all of us—and most of the nations of the world—not to use force against the political independence or territorial integrity of other states.

“Why have we not gotten European security and world security out of these documents we have signed? Nothing is wrong in the wording.

“What has been wrong is—at least in the opinion of some—that other parties to the agreements have not lived up to these agreements and there has followed a great sense of insecurity in the world because of lack of trust and confidence in men’s and nations’ will to live up to their pledged word.

“That is why there has grown up in the world, in addition to the proposed universal system of the United Nations, other regional collective security arrangements exercising what the Charter calls ‘the collective right of self-defense’.

“These special security arrangements do not have any words that add anything not already in the United Nations Charter. The addition which they provide is that they are agreements between nations which, over long periods of time, have come to trust and have confidence in each other. They provide the element of confidence which unfortunately has not been present on a universal basis.

“The Soviet Foreign Minister has asked why, if the 21 American nations had made a Rio pact, is it not equally logical that the mysterious ‘32’ nations of Europe should not make a pact if Rio pact, the pact of the Americans, is not just a regional pact. It is a pact which, as the treaty itself provides, contains this declaration:

“Peace is founded on justice and moral order and the moral order and the protection of human rights and freedoms.

“Those are not mere words, in the case of the pact of the Americans, that is an expression of reality which has been demonstrated by close association for 150 years. And the ingredient which makes [Page 1125] the Rio pact a dependable reality is the fact of confidence which is based upon 150 years of peaceful association.

“And so it is that groups of countries have sought to augment the words of the United Nations Charter with the essential element of confidence based upon long historic association.

“That is true of the British Commonwealth of Nations. It is true of the nations which are bound together by the North Atlantic Treaty.

“The North Atlantic Treaty is based upon the expressed determination of their peoples to safeguard the freedom, common heritage, and civilization of their peoples, founded on the principles of Democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law.

“And those words, again, are not just ink on paper. Those words are the expression of a reality which has been demonstrated over many generations and which are bound not by ink, but by blood which has been shed in protecting that common heritage.

“It is suggested that this North Atlantic Treaty is a cause of division. It is clearly evident that history has revealed that the coming into close association of the Western nations is not a cause of disunity, but is caused by the fear and apprehension which, to an increasing degree, seized hold of these countries as the result of actions which occurred elsewhere.

“I recall that this postwar coming together had its first major beginning in the Brussels pact of March 17, 1948. I recall, however, that that was preceded by the Communists’ armed efforts to overthrow the lawful government of Greece and by the forceable coup d’état whereby the Czech Government was overthrown and a Communist Government installed in its place.

“Then I recall that there was the blockade of Berlin, which brought war very close to Europe.

“And it was during that period that the idea of strengthening the Brussels pact by bringing in the United States, Canada, and other countries first was conceived, and that treaty, the North Atlantic Treaty, was then realized in 1949.

“Even then, however, it was not thought to be necessary to implement that treaty with any large military organization.

“I recall that I was in the US Senate at the time of the ratification of that treaty, and we did not think it would be necessary actually to implement any large military organization under the Atlantic treaty.

“But then came the armed aggression in Korea, in June 1950, followed by the Chinese Communist aggression of November 1950. And these events created fear to such a degree that it seemed necessary to build a sufficient strength in Europe to create a respectable balance of power.

[Page 1126]

General Eisenhower came over at the end of December 1950 to be the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, and under his inspiration there was developed military strength in Europe. Now that there is at least a reasonable defensible posture in sight, that expense is being leveled off.

“I think it would be very difficult for any impartial observer to say that the North Atlantic Treaty, or the organizations under it, have created the division of Europe. It has been responsive to a division of Europe which already existed and the danger of which was accentuated by such events as I have outlined.

“The Soviet Foreign Minister has asked us to study and analyze the precise words and drafting of his project.3 I must say in all frankness that I am not interested in the words. I could heap this table high with past words that are just as fine as the human hand and mind can pen. I have referred to some of them this afternoon. What I ask is, will these words bring with them confidence? The words already exist; they exist in the United Nations Charter. They have existed in many other documents. The essence is not the words, but whether in fact the proposal will bring a confidence which will end the disunity of Europe.

“I can say with, I hope, assurance that I will be believed, that there is no international objective which is as dear to the hearts of the American people as real peace and security in Europe. That ought to be our wish, because the lack of that has cost us very dearly and very heavily in the past.

“I have, however, grown skeptical of the possibility of solving great problems merely by repeating old words or inventing new words. I do not believe, myself, that the division of Europe, which so desperately needs to be cured can be cured by a formula of words. I believe there are some things which need to be done first.

“One of the things that needs to be done is to end the division of Germany. Here is a problem which is our own particular problem. It lies here on this table, it is symbolized by the city in which we meet. And yet we seem unable to even make that start in ending the division of Europe.

“Mr. Eden has laid before us a plan for the unification of Germany,4 a reasonable plan which, unhappily, it seems is not acceptable. And I would be forced in all candor to say that the reasons which make it impossible for us four to agree upon the unification of Germany are precisely the reasons which deprive the fine words [Page 1127] which are presented in the Soviet proposal of the value which I wish deeply they carried.

“What is the reason that makes the United Kingdom’s plan unacceptable? It is because it is based upon having supervised free elections in Germany and one of us four is not willing to trust the results of these elections. That is why the perpetuation of the division must go on.

“There is unhappily a long history which suggests that the rulers of the Soviet Union are not willing to trust anything which they cannot themselves control. That is the reason, it seems to me, fundamentally why we around this table have been unable to bring about the unification of Germany. And I say if that ground for distrust exists and if there cannot be unity except by control, control by the Soviet Union, then I am very skeptical if any good can come out of the plan which has been submitted by the Soviet Foreign Minister.”

  1. Transmitted in two sections. Repeated to New York, London, Moscow, Vienna, Paris, Bonn, and CINCEUR.
  2. For a report on the eighteenth plenary, Feb. 15, see Secto 151, supra.
  3. Presumably Dulles is referring to the Soviet proposals on European security, FPM(54)46 and 47, Documents 516 and 517.
  4. FPM(54)17, Document 510.