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

Secto 18. Secretary met for an hour Friday afternoon at Hotel Matignon with Faure, Pinay and Macmillan. Also present were Massigli, Jebb and Dillon.2

Faure outlined contents of opening statement he proposed to make at Geneva and said he had personally just completed drafting first half of his statement and expected to finish the drafting by noon Saturday. First part of statement would deal with question of German unification and European security which he considered to be one and the same question. Second part of his speech would deal with his views on disarmament. He said the whole speech would take about 45 minutes to deliver. It was evident that he had not discussed contents of his speech in any detail with Pinay, and also that he had never read report by Working Group.3 Secretary on two occasions pointed out that purpose of Geneva Conference was to outline problems and agree on terms of reference for further consideration of these problems by Foreign Ministers and other appropriate bodies, such as U.N. Disarmament Commission. Secretary also pointed out dangers of making concrete proposals at Geneva.

Faure said that he was in general agreement with the Secretary’s views but that from a public opinion and propaganda point of view he felt it would be essential for the West to appeal to public opinion at Geneva and this would require them to make their over all positions on the major issues of German unification, European security and disarmament clear.

Faure’s views on Germany were:

German unification is essential.
Neutralization of Germany is unacceptable and unified Germany must be free to join the Western security system if she so desires.
While the West should stand absolutely firm on the first two basic points they should agree to explore any and all means of giving the Soviets satisfaction regarding their security.

Faure went on to say that the Soviets would be making a great sacrifice in giving up Eastern Germany and would naturally require some quid pro quo which could take many forms. He mentioned the [Page 334]following as examples, all of which he intended to include in his opening statement:

A unified Germany should accept arms and armament limitations presently contained in the Western European Union Treaty.
The West should give the Soviets specific guarantees against German aggression.
The West should be willing to consider the creation of an all inclusive European security organization. (This organization to be in addition to the presently existing organizations such as the Western European Union and the Warsaw Group, both of which could continue.)

Faure said that it would even be in the interest of the West to have some such over all organization as it would provide the mechanism for controlling German arms and armament in case, which he considered to be theoretical, Germany should choose to remain neutral and not join the West or the East.

Macmillan suggested that this theoretical question might be better handled by a five power agreement limiting German armament. Faure immediately said that this was an excellent idea and should be discussed as an alternative to an over all European organization. Faure also said that the creation of a demilitarized zone in East Germany should be seriously considered as a possible guarantee to the Soviets. (This was directly contrary to position taken by Pinay at Quai d’Orsay during morning meeting.4) Faure said that in no event should the Western powers agree to the demilitarization of any portion of the West German Federal Republic.

Faure then developed his ideas on disarmament, saying that he had discovered that President Eisenhower had had a similar idea somewhat earlier and, therefore, his idea was not as original as he had at first thought. Faure said that the Soviets now had the propaganda initiative on disarmament with their May 10 proposals5 and he felt it important to correct this situation by making some new suggestions. He also said there was no effective way to carry out adequate inspection and control of armament and it seemed to him that budgetary controls, such as he had suggested,6 might perhaps be the best solution. He said that there were technical difficulties with his plan and that he would have to expand on it in some detail in order that it be fully understood. He also suggested that there might be certain concrete advances in disarmament if the Western European organization and Warsaw organization both agreed on reduced troop ceilings. In answer to a question he said that while he at first had [Page 335]been intrigued by the possibility of harmonizing the Eastern and Western security organizations he now considered that this was impractical and undesirable.

Macmillan said that the U.K. would never agree to put the savings from armament reductions into a fund for underdeveloped areas. He said that a substantial portion of any such savings would have to be used to reduce taxes and he pointed out that such a tax reduction naturally would increase the private funds available for investment and so would help in the development of backward areas.

Secretary then pointed out that if Faure’s speech should last 45 minutes it would actually require 2–1/4 hours because of the consecutive translations. This would make it impossible to complete the four opening speeches on Monday. Secretary suggested that it would be better to have the opening speeches more general and shorter so as to leave more time for discussion of detailed problems with one or more days being set aside for the discussion of each of the major problems which would come before the conference. Faure had not realized that consecutive translations would be required and suggested that it might be possible to follow the procedure used at Bandung where speeches had been merely handed around in written form and never actually delivered. Macmillan said that this would be impossible as Eden would speak extemporaneously from very rough notes. Faure then asked how long President Eisenhower’s opening speech would be and the Secretary replied approximately 15 minutes. Faure then said he would do his best to shorten his speech but that it would be difficult. He said it had been his idea to develop his full thinking in his opening speech and that thereafter he had not intended to have a great deal to say. He recognized that this was a somewhat different approach from that of the U.S. Delegation.

As the meeting broke up the Secretary told Pinay that he hoped Pinay would have an opportunity to read Faure’s text before it was finalized so as to assure that it would conform to Working Group decisions. Pinay said he felt sure he would have such an opportunity.

In conversations after the meeting it appeared that the British had been greatly impressed and pleased with Faure’s presentation of his views on Germany and in particular on his support for creation of a neutral zone as this fitted in closely with Eden’s views. On the other hand they were not in accord with Faure’s views on disarmament which they considered to be most unsound.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/7–1655. Secret. Drafted by Dillon.
  2. The meeting took place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.; a memorandum of the conversation, the same in substance as the record presented here, is Ibid., Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 494.
  3. Document 167.
  4. See Document 166.
  5. For text of the Soviet disarmament proposal, see Documents, (R.I.I.A.) for 1955, pp. 110–121, or Department of State Bulletin, May 30, 1955, pp. 900–905.
  6. Regarding Faure’s statement on disarmament, see Document 163.