164. Telegram From the Delegation at the Tripartite Foreign Ministers Meeting to the Department of State1

Secto 6. In general discussion with Macmillan after dinner last night it was agreed at Secretary’s suggestion that it would be advisable arrange for exchange at Geneva on Sunday morning of texts or outlines of opening statements to be made at Conference by three Western heads of Govt.2

Inconclusive discussion then ensued on plans for European security which might be presented by West at Geneva.

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Macmillan outlined problem presenting our ideas to the Russians in form that would not be old and stale but would not go beyond safe limits. Soviets probably did not mean business; they would not reject further discussions on security but would not go very far in meeting us. They would probably try bribe Adenauer to break away from West. We should not join them in meaningless principles but should try to do practical business. We should (1) support Adenauer, and (2) persuade NATO we are constructive and are willing to make a practical start on a settlement. Our approach to Russians should be we are willing to assure them security in order to promote mutual confidence; we should be vague within necessary limits but sufficiently precise to give satisfaction to Adenauer and Europeans. We should neither present a plan nor a timetable, but something in between.

Secretary said we should consider what West Germans needed by way of encouragement. Last TASS statement pointed way to neutralism and continuing existence of two Germanys.3 It was reasonable expect that German reunification and remilitarization should be achieved under safeguards which will protect everybody, including Germany. This would be Foreign Ministers’ task; it could be approached through a number of ways and by the time of next meeting we could have a program. On the other hand, it was dangerous at this stage to commit ourselves to specific solutions at Geneva. Some of plans we have considered have looked less good on second thought. Many combinations exist, such as Van Zeeland Plan, proposals for guarantees, etc. We may find something reasonable, given all the possibilities. It would not be safe to go beyond presenting some kind of framework which might be explored. Although other plans are not satisfactory, we have as yet no plan of our own. Implications of a demilitarized strip are obscure. Working Group report4 suggestion of harmonization of Eastern military organization with that of the West not satisfactory since might obligate us to recognize the Warsaw group, thus giving impression we confirm Soviet tutelage. Also might invite Soviet demands demilitarization of Western areas. We could illustrate scope of what we have in mind, but should not tie our hands.

Secretary said question has not been thought through whether arrangements for inspection and control which might be acceptable to the USSR would be acceptable to us. It has been claimed by Soviets [Page 321]that WEU controls are inadequate and if this is so, would we wish to come to agreement with the Soviets on this basis?

Secretary said we have examined many possibilities but are not yet ready to take risk of premature commitments. Future meetings should study problem. We should be free to accept or reject what comes forth. Possibly we can present something by way of illustration, but we should not commit ourselves at this stage.

Macmillan said we should be ready to demonstrate to Russians that we are willing to consider their preoccupations for security in event of a reunified Germany. Disarmament would continue under UN but we would try to work out a settlement on security. If Russians reject our ideas, it must be clear that it is their fault.

Secretary said security should be remitted to Foreign Ministers for study on basis that Germany’s reunification would not increase danger to either side. We can’t go further in specifying what we have in mind, although we could indicate this is a subject which could be explored.

Macmillan mentioned Prime Minister Eden had wanted to go further and had proposed a demilitarized strip, a security pact, and arrangements regarding disposition of forces.

Secretary said whatever presented should be general and he asked Macmillan to try his hand at such a formula.

Macmillan said he would do his best. We should not commit ourselves to the Russians but define general nature of a proposal. The Soviets had two good cards—Adenauer’s age and the various appeals they can make to Germany. We must be able to present an equally effective appeal. UN Disarmament Commission should meet about the end of August and Foreign Ministers should go about solving European problems as a first step, rather than global problems. He suggested we endeavor to find out what the French have in mind.

Secretary pointed out that UN Disarmament Subcommittee must report at some time to full Committee. As regards security, mention should be limited to “reciprocal safeguards”, without going further into vague plans about harmonization of East and West systems which was unreal since Eastern bloc was not made up of independent nations.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 530. Top Secret; Niact. Drafted by Beam. Repeated to London.
  2. Secretary Dulles left Washington at 4:30 p.m. on July 13 and arrived at Paris at 12:30 p.m. on the following day. For text of his statement on departure, see Department of State Bulletin, July 25, 1955, p. 132; a copy of his arrival statement is in Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 494. He then made a courtesy call on Pinay at 3 p.m. (Secto 2 from Paris, July 14; ibid., Central Files, 110.11–DU/7–1455) before proceeding to the American Embassy for a briefing at 3:45. No record of the briefing has been found in Department of State files. At 8:30 Macmillan, accompanied by five advisers, arrived for dinner.
  3. Presumably a reference to the statement on July 13 that a solution to the German problem was inextricably linked with European security. (Telegram 104 from Moscow, July 13; ibid., 762.00/7–1355)
  4. Document 167.
  5. Macmillan and Dulles also discussed the Far East, Indochina, the Middle East, and NATO. Reports on the conversation on the Far East, Indochina, and NATO were transmitted in Sectos 9, 8, and 7 from Paris, July 15. (Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 530) Memoranda of the discussions on these four topics, and of that reported in this telegram, USDEL MC–2 (Paris) and SUM MC–5, both dated July 15, are ibid., CF 494.