Eisenhower Library, C. D. Jackson papers, “1931–67”

No. 722
Memorandum by the Special Assistant to the President (Jackson) to the President

East Germany

Something new is developing in Germany which could have serious results unless action is taken fairly soon. The simplest way to describe it is to quote a headline from Monday’s New York Times—“Adenauer Regime Under Fire for Inaction on Riots in East.” The full story is attached if you want to read the detail.1

The other day Bishop Lilje, the top Lutheran in Germany, came to see me at Hauge’s suggestion, and quite independently and much more pleasantly, made the same point—namely, that unless some sign is forthcoming very soon from the United States, there could be a terrible letdown in both East and West Germany, which would seriously affect the U.S. position and even more seriously affect Adenauer’s position.2

In other words, the very thing that was so gratifying, i.e. that these German developments were spontaneous and not engineered from the outside, is now about to bommerang because we have not moved in, and apparently the statements by the Western Commandants in Berlin were not considered sufficiently high level, and the [Page 1609] exchange of cables between you and Adenauer seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle.3

Had Bermuda taken place when and as originally planned, it might have been possible to produce a communiqué on this matter. Even if the Foreign Ministers address themselves to this problem and issue a communiqué or statement, it could not compare to what would have been a Bermuda communiqué. Churchill is ill and out of the running; Laniel doesn’t know the international ropes, and in all probability the French would drag their feet anyhow.

The situation therefore opens up for you to take some kind of personal action without being accused by our allies of unfair unilateral action.

Attached is the draft of a possible letter to Chancellor Adenauer, into which I have tried to inject the elements of sympathy, peaceful help, encouragement, free elections, unification, and EDC (the neatest trick of the week).4

This memorandum and the attached draft have not yet been coordinated with State.

  1. Not found attached to the source text.
  2. A further account of Lilje’s activities in Washington is contained in a memorandum by Fuller to Bowie, Document 202.
  3. Reference is to Adenauer’s cable to President Eisenhower, June 21, Document 716; Eisenhower’s response of June 25, Document 718; and Adenauer’s acknowledgment of June 26, quoted in footnote 4 to Eisenhower’s response.
  4. The draft letter is not printed. According to a memorandum by Under Secretary Smith to Jackson, dated July 9, the Secretary of State had advised on July 8 that the letter not be sent until the Foreign Ministers meeting of July 10–14 had issued a communiqué. (762A.13/7–653) Jackson’s draft letter was subsequently revised in order to serve as an expansion of the points made regarding Germany in the communiqué. For the letter as it was finally sent to Adenauer on July 23, see Document 207.