762B.00/6–2653: Telegram

No. 717
The Director of the Berlin Element, HICOG (Lyon) to the Office of the United States High Commissioner for Germany, at Bonn 1


1881. For HICOMer and if he considers appropriate for transmission to the Secretary.

Events in Soviet Zone June 16 through 18 have produced following results:

Authority which SED party exercised over East Germany has been badly damaged, momentarily and possibly for extended period.
Soviet position in East Germany and internationally, which prior June 16 was strong and on way to placing West on defensive, has been seriously undermined, but probably only temporarily.
Large masses of East Germans, exhilarated by display of force and release of emotions, are totally disdainful of SED and partially so of Soviets at moment.

We believe that, perhaps for brief period only, rebellion of East Germans has given opportunity to deal Soviet specious blow and benefit free world. Expeditious exploitation of present situation urged as maximum provide powerful stimulus to Adenauer election victory and setback for Communists in Western Europe. At minimum would wrest initiative on unity issue from Soviets.

Several US journalists here have suggested to me that consideration be given to President’s issuing in very near future public invitation for highest level Four-Power Conference on Germany at specified date 2 or 3 weeks hence, whatever minimum time required, for coordination main lines tripartite position. In view of Department’s view as expressed to me on June 20 by HICOMer, I would hesitate to make that recommendation. If it is done, however, while Soviets off balance, which will not be for long, believe:

East Germans will maintain resistance and keep Soviets off balance.
Soviets will have to take choice between making major concessions and forfeiting election victory to Adenauer and initiative on unity to West.

If some such action not taken in near future believe Soviet may regain control of situation and recoup major part of lost prestige. Still seems quite likely that, in process of attempting to re-establish selves as masters of situation, they will call for Four-Power Conference before Federal Republic elections and EDC ratification.

Prime questions seem to have narrowed to who initiates call, and whether other side can afford reject invitation.

  1. Transmitted to Washington in telegram 5486 from Bonn, June 26, which is the source text.