160. Telegram From the Department of State to the Delegation at the Paris Working Group1

95. For Beam. Makins was told yesterday2 that British July 4 memorandum3 goes too far in regard to position to be taken by three powers at Geneva on European security. He also told we believed it would be mistake for three powers to talk in terms of any specific arrangements relating to European security before they had thoroughly explored among themselves entire question and arrived at decision [Page 314]on what definitive arrangements they would be prepared to accept. This would not be possible before Geneva. To suggest at Geneva any specific possibilities on this general question before we had thought problem through clearly could result in a disastrous situation where we found ourselves embarked on a course which would adversely affect our own security.4

Makins was handed redraft of paras two and three of British July 4 memorandum as indication of US views on position which three powers should take at Geneva. US redraft follows:

Verbatim text. It is not desirable that any cut and dried proposal should be tabled at Geneva. That should be left to the Conference of Foreign Ministers. But the Western Heads of State should inform the Russians that they understand the Russian desire for security, and that they are ready to consider measures to ensure that the unification of Germany and her freedom to associate with partners of her choice shall not involve any threat to Russian security. Any proposals in this field would not exclude or delay the work of the United Nations Disarmament Commission on global disarmament.

They accordingly propose that the Foreign Ministers should be instructed when considering the problem of German unity to examine the proposals which the Western powers will be ready to make in order to take into account legitimate Soviet interests and security. End verbatim text.

FYI, Secretary saw Makins this subject today5 and indicated willingness to go somewhat beyond position described above. However exact formulation would have to be carefully considered so that whatever was said would not appear to Soviets or general opinion as concrete proposal.

British Embassy agreed recommend that British July 4 memo would not be introduced into Working Group and that Secretary and Macmillan could discuss this at dinner July 14 prior to tripartite ministerial meetings July 15. For purposes Working Group, believe you should hold line on basis redraft paras 2 and 3 of July 4 memo as set forth above. You may of course discuss this with Harrison. End FYI.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/7–955. Top Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Galloway and signed for the Secretary of State by MacArthur.
  2. No further record of this conversation was found in Department of State files.
  3. Document 147.
  4. Beam and Harrison also discussed the British memorandum along these lines on July 8. (Telegram 119 from Paris, July 8; Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/7–855)
  5. No further record of this conversation was found in Department of State files.