141. Memorandum From the Secretary of State to the President1


  • Geneva Conference

As the result of our two days of talks in New York, my own ideas are beginning to shape up with reference to the Geneva Conference. I give you this rough outline, as I now see it:

1. Global Disarmament, Atomic and Conventional

This topic will surely come up. Undoubtedly, one of the major Soviet desires is to relieve itself of the economic burden of the present arms race. We want to keep this discussion within the narrow and, theoretically, confidential confines of the United Nations Disarmament Subcommittee which is now dealing with it. Probably the Soviet Union will propose again, as it did in Berlin, a world disarmament conference. They believe that if world opinion can be aroused and focused upon us, we may accept disarmament under hastily devised and perhaps imprudent conditions.

2. Unification of Germany

This topic also will surely come up. Adenauer expects us to make it a principal topic. He himself, although being urged by the Soviets to go promptly to Moscow, does not plan to go until after the Geneva Conference, probably in September.

3. European Security

This topic also will almost surely come up. The Soviets will probably repeat their plan for a regional security system, as they did at Berlin. The Western powers generally feel that it is not possible to have the unification of Germany except within the context of some general plan for regulating European security and assuring the Soviets that East Germany will not be made an advance military position of the West. In this connection, we will be examining the “map” which Adenauer left with us.2 Adenauer will also mention this topic to Harold Macmillan and Eden, whom he will see on his way back. General Hussinger will probably be coming here next week for discussions with Admiral Radford.

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4. Satellite Liberation

Our Western partners agree this should be raised. Macmillan and Pinay are stoutly with us. However, the Soviets will probably strongly oppose.

My idea is that we should raise the question but not insist upon its being a subject for future negotiation but rather emphasize that if in fact the Soviets wish to reduce tension with the United States, they must deal with this problem which our people feel is covered by war agreements which have been violated and which feeling is constantly kept alive by the many American citizens who derive from these areas. Probably, in private conversation, you can do more along this line than can be done in formal conference.

5. International Communism

The position is about as above stated with reference to the satellites.

Pinay mentioned that he raised with Molotov the question of the Communist Party in France.3 Molotov shrugged it off by saying “Why don’t you use your police?” and then Molotov met with the leaders of the French Communist Party at Cherbourg. As with the satellites, I think the best results here are obtainable by purely private agreements, although the subject should also be raised at the conference table because of the Litvinov Agreement. Also, it was much discussed in Belgrade and the results expressed in the communiqué.4

6. Trade

The Soviet bloc is a deficit area and the free world is now a surplus area. No doubt the deficit countries would like to get our surplus. This may be the highest card we have to play. We should not give it away until we know that we are getting what we want in relation to Germany, the satellites and international Communism.

John Foster Dulles5
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, White House Memoranda. Secret-Personal and Private.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 138.
  3. Molotov had lunch at Paris with Pinay on June 9 on his way to San Francisco. The Embassy in Paris reported that nothing of substance had been discussed. (Telegrams 5404 and 5409, June 9; Department of State, Central Files, 651.61/6–955)
  4. For text of the joint Soviet-Yugoslav Declaration of June 2, see Documents (R.I.I.A.) for 1955, pp. 267–271.
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.