Conference files, lot 60 D 627, CF 213

No. 526
Tripartite Communiqué on the Berlin Conference1

No. 80

The major problem facing the Berlin Conference was that of Germany. The three Western Delegations urged that the reunification of Germany should be achieved through free elections, leading to the creation of an all-German Government with which a peace treaty could be concluded. They put forward a practical plan to this end. Their proposals were not accepted by the Soviet Delegation, even as a basis for discussion, and they were forced to the conclusion that the Soviet Government is not now ready to permit free all-German elections, or to abandon its control over Eastern Germany.

The three Western Governments will continue their efforts to achieve German reunification in freedom and by peaceful means. In the meantime, they have suggested certain measures which could reduce the effect of the present division of Germany and its consequences for Berlin. They have proposed that the three High Commissioners should study these questions with the Soviet High [Page 1207] Commissioner. As regards Berlin, the three Governments reaffirm their abiding interest in the security of the city as expressed in the Tripartite Declaration of May 27, 1952.2 They will do all in their power to improve conditions in Berlin and to promote the economic welfare of the city.

The three Western Ministers did their utmost to secure agreement upon the Austrian State Treaty. They accepted the Soviet version of all the remaining disagreed articles. The Austrian Foreign Minister, who was present at all the discussions on this question, declared himself ready to sign the Treaty in this form. The Soviet Foreign Minister, however, insisted upon adding new provisions to the Treaty. The effect of these would have been to leave foreign troops in Austria for an indefinite period after the entry into force of the Treaty, and to impair Austria’s right to play her full part in international life.

The Treaty could therefore not be concluded in Berlin, despite an Austrian offer accepted by the Western Ministers, that troops of the Four Powers should remain in Austria until the 30th of June 1955. The three Governments are prepared to continue their efforts to conclude the Austrian State Treaty, but progress depends on the Soviet Union modifying its attitude. Meanwhile, they will continue to seek every means of lightening the burden of occupation on Austria.

The three Governments remain ready to take advantage of any further opportunity which may arise to promote, by renewal of the contacts established at Berlin or by other means, a solution of the German and Austrian problems.

The three Ministers explained and reaffirmed the purely defensive character of Western security arrangements.

Offers were made to discuss how the undertakings which already protect the Soviet Union against aggression could be reinforced. The Soviet Delegation made no response to these offers. Their own proposals would have involved the dissolution of the Western security system, while the military power of the Soviet bloc in Europe remained intact. The three Powers do not intend to be deflected from their efforts to develop the system of defense on which their survival depends.

  1. Released to the press on Feb. 19 with an embargo until the following day.
  2. For the Tripartite Declaration of May 27, 1952, see vol. v, Part 1, p. 686.