167. Report of the Paris Working Group1

The Geneva conference will have three phases:

—Opening statements;
—Exchange of views on the problems requiring solution;
—Establishment of procedures for finding the solution of concrete problems.

I.—Opening Statements

The Working Group consider that the opening statements of the Western Heads of Government can only be coordinated at the last moment, at Geneva itself.

II.—Exchange of Views

In accordance with the instructions given by the Foreign Ministers in New York, the Working Group have pursued the examination of the subjects mentioned in Part II of the Report of the Washington [Page 326]Working Group.2 The results of this examination are set out briefly in this covering report and in greater detail in the papers annexed to it.

A. Soviet Approach

The Soviet Delegation may be expected to develop its ideas for the relaxation of international tension on a world basis. A list of items put forward in recent Soviet statements is at Annex I.3

They may also be expected to make great play with recent initiatives (Austria, the Malik disarmament proposals, visit to Belgrade, invitation to Dr. Adenauer) and contend that it is now up to the West to respond.

B. Western Approach

We shall wish at Geneva to isolate and to formulate the issues on which we think progress could most fruitfully be attempted.

1. Germany and European Security

The Soviet Delegation is likely to argue that the reunification of Germany is only possible provided that such a Germany is free of one-sided alliances and foreign bases. They are further likely to put forward, as the first stage in the reunification process, a withdrawal of all foreign troops from Germany and the provisional co-existence of the two parts of a Germany in the European security system proposed by Molotov.

Our principal tasks will be:

to insist that the reunification of Germany through free elections must be treated as the first and immediate problem; (the revised Eden Plan is at Annex II)
to seek to persuade the Soviet Delegation that we understand their desire for security and that we are ready to take steps to ensure that the reunification of Germany and her freedom to associate with partners of her choice shall not involve any increased threat to Soviet security.

We should thus formally recognise the link between the reunification of Germany in freedom and European security, and we should accept the need to develop our solutions for the two, concurrently, in subsequent negotiations.

Our position could be developed along the lines of the following propositions:

The reunification of Germany for which the Four Powers cannot evade responsibility, is an essential element of security.
Reunification must take place under conditions which provide security for all states, including a reunified Germany.
A reunified Germany must be free to assure her defence in association with partners of her choice. Collective security requires that a reunified Germany shall not be isolated.
The Western defence organizations are designed to make impossible any individual recourse to force or aggression. They provide for the security of member countries as well as non-member countries. They, thus, contribute to collective security and the Western Powers cannot agree to dismantle them.
The Western Powers recognise the need to take account of legitimate Soviet security interests. They consider the provisions of the Paris Agreements concerning non-recourse to force, withdrawal of assistance from an aggressor, force ceilings and armaments already respond to the legitimate needs of Soviet security.
However, they are ready to examine with the Soviet Union supplementary measures which would apply in the event of German reunification and be compatible with the security interests of all:
provisions for the reinforcement of the undertakings contained in the Paris Agreements concerning non-recourse to force and withdrawal of assistance from an aggressor;
certain more concrete reciprocal guarantees concerning the Armed Forces of such a nature as to answer the security requirements of the interested parties.

The Working Group consider that the advantages for the Western Powers of reunification of Germany on terms acceptable to themselves warrant thorough study of measures which might induce the Soviet Government to accept it.

A paper on European Security is attached at Annex III.

Future procedure is considered under Part III.

2. Disarmament

The Soviet Delegation will probably wish to discuss this question and will seek to exploit their proposals of May 10.

The Western Powers should themselves take the initiative and should enter into a general, but not a detailed, discussion of disarmament.

The Western Powers should demonstrate their real desire for agreement on disarmament and probe the Soviet position. Such an approach should aim at persuading the Soviet Government not to make agreements in the disarmament field conditional on settlement of extraneous political issues.

The Western Powers should concentrate on demonstrating the desirability of the Soviet Government accepting an effective system of inspection and control while at the same time indicating that the West realizes the difficulties which such a system could involve, particularly in the nuclear field.

[Page 328]

The Western Powers should insist that the subject of disarmament is too technical for detailed discussion at Geneva and should propose that further negotiations be undertaken by the UN Disarmament Sub-Committee.

A paper on disarmament is attached at Annex IV. Future procedure is considered under Part III.

3. Other Issues

The Western Powers will wish to raise other causes of world tension:

Activities of International Communism;
The Position of the Satellites;
The Iron Curtain;
Prisoners of War.

The Soviet Delegation on its side may put forward proposals for:

The Far East;
A World Economic Conference;
A General Declaration of Principles.

Issues to be Raised by the West


Activities of International Communism

The Western Powers may wish to draw attention to the activities of international communism as a source of tension which is within the power of Soviet authorities to remove in the interest of restoring mutual trust.


Position of the Satellites

The Western Powers may also wish to draw attention to the situation in the Satellites, where, contrary to international agreements, the Soviet Union has imposed governments which do not derive from the free expression of the will of peoples.

A paper is attached at Annex V.


Iron Curtain

The Western Powers might at an early stage:

  • —state their continuing belief in the value of exchanges between their countries and the countries of the Soviet bloc;
  • —indicate their hope that exchanges between their respective countries and Soviet Union might develop further.

Recent Soviet declarations have indicated that the Soviet Government intends to take the initiative at Geneva.

It is therefore important that the three Western Governments take the first step in order not to allow the Soviet Government to take credit for a development which they have frustrated for years.

A paper is attached at Annex VI.


Prisoners of War

The failure of the Soviet Government to repatriate prisoners of war is a subject which might be taken up with the Soviet Delegation outside the conference.

Issues to be Raised by the Soviet Delegation


Far East

The Soviet Delegation is likely to raise the question of the status of China either specifically or indirectly by proposing a Five-Power meeting with Communist China or a larger conference, including Communist China, India and other Asiatic States. They may also bring up the question of Indo-China alleging that the Geneva Agreement last year has not been fulfilled.4

The Western Powers should seek to avoid any discussion of Far Eastern issues at Geneva. They should resist Soviet proposals for a Far Eastern Conference and should take the line that the solution of Far Eastern problems is more likely to result from de facto progress and informal approaches than through formalised procedures.

A paper is attached at Annex VII.

The Western Powers should oppose any proposal for a Five-Power Conference on Indo-China or any reconvening of the Geneva Conference of 1954.

If the Soviet Delegation press strongly for Four-Power discussion of the Indo-China issue, the Western Powers should take the position that the best chance of securing fulfillment of the Geneva Agreements lies with leaving discussions with the Vietnam Government to the Western Powers while the Soviet Government use their influence to urge conciliation on the Viet Minh.

The above considerations are developed in Annex VIII.


World Economic Conference

In his speech at San Francisco, Mr. Molotov suggested a world economic conference sponsored by the U.N. in order to develop international trade.5 The primary Soviet objective would probably be to mobilise support for the abolition of strategic controls; they would no doubt also try to work up a propaganda line in favour of underdeveloped countries, putting forward some proposals which would be embarrassing to the Western countries.

The Western attitude should not be one of immediately setting aside Mr. Molotov’s suggestion. We can state that we are very favorable to an expansion of world trade in non-strategic commodities. If the Soviet Delegation then asks what our attitude would be towards the Conference meeting under the auspices of the United Nations we should reply that we do not feel that such a conference is necessary [Page 330]at the present time, inasmuch as there exists numerous possibilities for an international discussion and for collaboration in economic matters, amongst others the Economic Committee for Europe. If the Soviet Delegation claims that existing institutions are not adequate in certain aspects to solve the problems which concern them we could ask them to define these problems.

As regards strategic controls, it would be against our interests and mistaken tactics to be led into detailed discussion. If the Soviet Delegation shows any disposition to negotiate about the individual controls themselves, we should maintain firmly that the controls are exercised entirely for our own security and that they are not negotiable as such with the Soviet Government. If a détente between the East and the West, based on substantial Soviet concessions, occurs, this is one of the issues on which we could make concessions to Soviet demands even to the extent of accepting some risk. The maintenance of our controls is a valuable asset in any negotiations with the Soviet Government and their abandonment could not be compensated by any concessions the Soviet Government might make in the trade field alone.

A paper is attached at Annex IX.


General Declaration of Principles

It is probable that at Geneva the Soviet Delegation will try to persuade the Four Heads of Government to adopt a declaration of principles similar to those to which the Soviet Government have recently subscribed. (Nehru–Chou En-lai, Bandoung, Belgrade, Nehru-Bulganin,6 Soviet attempt to get a Declaration at San Francisco.) It is also possible that they will unilaterally publish their own declaration of principles if they do not succeed in getting their text accepted by the West.

The Three Governments should resist any Soviet proposal to associate themselves with a declaration of principles, using the following arguments:

We do not need a new declaration of principles; the United Nations Charter contains all the necessary principles;
Furthermore, to exclude from a declaration certain principles of the Charter would raise questions as to whether these principles have been abandoned or whether they have lost their importance;
The Four Governments have recently adhered to the Van Kleffens declaration which reflects the unanimous feeling of the members of the United Nations;
Any joint declaration of new principles agreed to with the Soviet Union might contain ambiguities which could be embarrassing in the future;
In any case, what the world wants is action and not words.

III. Future Procedure

A. Europe

In connection with, or separately from, a Foreign Ministers meeting, the Soviet Delegation may propose a general European Conference. The suggestion should be rejected for two reasons: first, because such a conference would not provide a suitable forum for the discussion of questions such as German reunification; second, because a wider conference cannot usefully be held until further progress has been made by the Four Powers amongst themselves.

The Western Powers should press for immediate reference of specified European questions to the Four Foreign Ministers. This should be done in carefully and precisely defined terms.

In order to allow sufficient time for preparation and in view of Chancellor Adenauer’s visit to Moscow sometime in September, as well as the opening of the UN Federal [General] Assembly in the second half of September, sometime in October would seem to be the earliest practicable date for the Foreign Ministers to convene.

In order to avoid procedural discussions, there would be advantage in making Geneva the accepted place for the meeting of the Foreign Ministers.

A paper is attached at Annex X.

B. Disarmament

The Soviet Delegation will probably resist any formal separation of the political and technical subjects contained in Soviet proposals of May 10. It may thus be necessary for the Four Foreign Ministers to pursue as part of their European study the political aspects of the Soviet Plan whilst the technical aspects should be pursued in the UN. It is to be hoped that the Four Heads of Government should be able to agree to instruct their representatives on the UN Disarmament Sub-Committee to resume consideration of all those disarmement questions which come within the competence of the UN at an early date to be settled in consultation with the Canadian Government.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 494. Secret.
  2. See Document 136.
  3. None of the Annexes referred to in the source text is printed.
  4. For documentation on the Geneva Conference, see Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, volume xvi .
  5. For text of Molotov’s address on June 22, see Tenth Anniversary, pp. 103–115.
  6. For text of the Nehru–Bulganin statement, issued at Moscow, June 23, 1955, see Documents (R.I.I.A.) for 1955, pp. 472–475.