662.001/3–2552: Telegram

No. 80
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom1


4744. Re Deptel 2209,2 Dept believes unlikely Sovs will reject Western reply3 outright but will reply probably along lines one of fol alternatives: (a) a gen statement in which Sovs disregard or brush aside particular pts made in West note, reiterate position set forth in Sov note of Mar 104 and demand early mtg of four powers possibly with a specified date and place; or (b) rejection and detailed argumentation against particular West pts, ending, however, with demand for “early” mtg.

If Sov reply along lines of (b) above, which Dept inclined think more likely, Dept believes Sovs, along with repetition “proof” Sov efforts achieve Ger peace treaty and Ger unity and West obstruction these efforts, will:

Reject inspection by UN Comm as violation various four power agreements and as constituting unwarranted interference internal affairs Ger. (This reaction is strongly suggested among other things by Grotewohl speech Mar 14,5 position taken in East Ger commentaries [Page 193] since Mar 20, and Pravda article Mar 24.) Sovs may well counter with proposition “any inspection necessary” shld be under four power control or even by Gers themselves. Sovs will almost certainly deny they oppose free elections and will contend they have consistently supported formation all Ger Govt “responsive to will of Ger people”.
Reject West contention formation all Ger Govt must precede four power discussion as simply a delaying tactic. Sovs may take position four power mtg necessary for working out arrangements to effect unity but Dept considers more likely Sovs will continue to leave unclear relation between four power mtg and creation all Ger Govt. It is not excluded that Sovs may adopt East Ger line that estab all Ger Govt is a matter in first instance for Gers themselves to work out and may assert in line recent East Ger statements that basis has already been laid in respective electoral laws of East and West Ger regimes.6
Probably not dwell on boundaries issue because of necessity tight rope act between Pol and Ger opinion. Dept believes reaction, if any, will be along lines “views Sov Govt well known”.
Probably react strongly West pts re rights all Ger Govt enter into assocs and especially final para West note relating Ger participation “defensive Eur community”. Likely to assert Sovs not opposed assocs “compatible with the principles and purposes of the UN”, but will argue that West note seeks to include Ger in “notoriously aggressive” NAT which is “spearheaded against the Sov Union and the peoples democracies” and completely incompatible UN charter and principles. Will probably argue natl Ger army as provided Sov proposal wld be solely for defense of Ger, compatible with sovereignty of Ger people and wld not carry threat of aggression because Ger wld be “peace loving and democratic”. They will argue further that West pt that Ger army shld be integrated Eur forces under Eur unity plan is designed force Ger participation “aggressive” North Atlantic plan and to insure Ger contribution cannon fodder US dominated West Eur armed forces not as equal but as puppet.

Dept wld appreciate soonest ur own estimate likely Sov reaction West note, ur appraisal significance and implications thereof for Sov policy, and where possible, likely views Govt to which you accredited, without making any official inquiries.7

  1. Drafted by Davis of EE and Guthrie and Harvey of DRS, cleared by Bohlen and Calhoun, and signed for the Secretary of State by Barbour. Also sent to Paris, Berlin, Bonn, and Moscow.
  2. Document 78.
  3. Regarding the Western reply, see telegram 1529, supra.
  4. Document 65.
  5. For an extract from the declaration of governmental policy by Minister President Grotewohl on Mar. 14, see Documents on German Unity, vol. II, pp. 62–63.
  6. For text of the draft electoral laws of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic, dated Feb. 6 and Jan. 9 respectively, see Documents on German Unity, vol. II, pp. 31–37 and 44–46, or Papers and Documents, pp. 64–75.
  7. Responses to this telegram showed general concurrence with the analysis presented in this telegram. Berlin expressed its general agreement in telegram 1182, Mar. 27. (662.001/3–2752) Moscow also expressed general agreement with the analysis as did British and French representatives in Moscow who were consulted by the Embassy. (Telegram 1548 from Moscow, Mar. 28, 662.001/3–2852) London reported that the Foreign Office expected the next Soviet note to be more positive in tone than did the United States. (Telegram 4320, Mar. 28, 662.001/3–2852) Bonn shared the views of Berlin subject to minor shades of interpretation. (Telegram 2189, Mar. 29, 662.001/3–2952) The Embassy in Paris reported that the French believed the next Soviet note would attempt to maintain the pressure for further negotiations or exchanges, while the Embassy itself agreed with the Department of State analysis, expecting the Soviet Union to reject the Western note and present detailed arguments against the Western position. (Telegrams 6018 and 6023, Apr. 1, 662.001/4–152)