139. Memorandum of a Conversation, White House, Washington, June 14, 19551

PARTICIPANTS

  • The President
  • Chancellor Adenauer
  • The Secretary of State
  • Mr. Murphy
  • Amb. Conant
  • Mr. Merchant
  • Amb. Blankenhorn
  • Amb. Krekeler
  • Mrs. Lejins (US interpreter)

After an exchange of greetings the draft communiqué, as approved by the Chancellor and the Secretary, was discussed. It was approved with the addition of a final sentence presented by the President to the effect that all of our policies were governed by our pursuit of peace.2

The Chancellor commented humorously that peace had not been mentioned in the original draft because “we civilians take it for granted.”

The President assured the Chancellor that the sole duty of soldiers was to regain the peace which civilians had lost.

The Secretary then reported that the Chancellor and the Secretary had had two satisfying and frank conversations.3 He wondered if the Chancellor had any points which he wished to raise with the President.

The President interjected that he was particularly glad that the Chancellor had found it possible to make this trip shortly before the 4-Power meeting at Geneva and with the invitation from Moscow in his pocket.

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The Secretary said that the Chancellor had told him that he planned to accept the invitation and was thinking of making the trip in September, assuming that the 4-Power conference did nothing to undermine his bargaining position.

The President said that it would be undermined only by gross stupidity on our part. The Chancellor said that he was happy to hear this and felt in no danger of being undermined by stupidity.

The Secretary remarked, and the President agreed, that we must keep in extremely close contact with the Chancellor before and during the Geneva meeting.

The Secretary then referred to difficulty we had run into in connection with the air transport agreement with Germany. The Department had insisted that it be made as favorable as possible to Germany and he feared that the technicians conducting the negotiations for us had somewhat overdone it. In consequence signing had been delayed in order to review the agreement particularly in light of the outcry from Congress. He thought that we would be able in the end to carry it through substantially in its present form.

There was some discussion of the routes involved, closing with the Secretary’s comment that it would probably require a couple of weeks for us to work the matter out within the government.

There was then a considerable discussion of the Chancellor’s trip via Iceland, his aircraft and air travel in general.

The Chancellor referred to the degree which he would receive in a day or so from Harvard at which time Ambassador Conant also was to be honored. The President remarked that this made both of them fellow alumni of his since he also held an honorary degree from Harvard. The Secretary referred to the degree which he had just received at Indiana University and the President rejoined with his experience in receiving an honorary degree (the first in 50 years) from Penn State approved by the Board of Trustees over the objection of his younger brother, the President of the College.

At 12:50 the photographers were admitted to the room for the customary pictures.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 033.62A11/6–1455. Secret. Drafted by Merchant.
  2. For text of the joint statement of the Chancellor and the President, see Department of State Bulletin, June 27, 1955, pp. 1033–1034.
  3. Regarding the conversation between Dulles and Adenauer on June 13, see Document 137 and supra . A memorandum of the conversation on June 14 is not printed.