202. Telegram From the Delegation at the Geneva Conference to the Department of State1

Secto 50. At 11 a.m. meeting Western Ministers forcefully developed logic their position on German and European security but Molotov simply fell back on previous Bulganin statements, adding nothing thereto.

Chairman Macmillan made clear urgency Western delegates attach German reunification. Soviet delegate had explained its system and plan for reaching same objective. Soviet plan seems to West distant and prolonged process whereas Soviets may consider our suggestions called for too rapid action. German reunification and European security closely linked together and solution of first may lie in solution of second.

Molotov said Soviet views on Germany fully stated yesterday. Would listen with interest to Western observations on Bulganin’s remarks re European security.

Secretary explained we feel prolonged German division threat to European security whereas Soviets apparently feel division can be prolonged without danger to European security provided certain supplementary measures are adopted which they suggest. US ready accept apparent sincere Soviet conviction German unification would not bring increased security. We are equally sincere in wishing German unification occur under conditions which would increase security for all. Two sincere positions might possibly be drawn together if we could ascertain basis for Soviet feeling German unification would be danger. If Soviet Union, for example, fears German unification would mean advance eastward of threatening bases and military position, that is specific fear we could understand even though we did not agree. Same true re Soviet fear of enlargement German military establishments. If Soviets made their apprehensions clear in specific terms we could deal with them in specific practical way. US eager find common ground since does not wish create new cause of insecurity by eliminating one cause.

Pinay said task seek acceptable formula is part of four power responsibility for German unification. Bulganin had indicated no objection unification based on free elections and Molotov at Berlin had suggested adoption Weimar electoral law. Elections could be held [Page 406] quickly under control and supervision neutral commissions. Impossible restore unity otherwise, given differences which have developed West and East Germany. Prolonged process suggested by Soviets dangerous since would perpetuate cleavage and would make every step dependent on two regimes with possible East German veto. Molotov replied must keep in mind two real facts: Ratification Paris agreements and start of German militarization within Western grouping. Soviet answer given yesterday by Bulganin. Wished Western powers comment on Soviet proposals for European security.

Macmillan said useful bases established future study and governments should seek contemporaneous solution which avoid disadvantages of both a too distant solution and one too rapid for Soviets. European security had two aspects: (1) Treaty aspects involving exchange assurances such as Eden suggestion for pact between four powers plus united Germany. Bulganin had suggested all-European pact with some 20–6 [26] members. Possibly should study something in between, containing obligations enforceable under UN authority, (2) practical aspects in terms of action bearing on size and location of forces and armaments. Paris agreements had provided examples practical arms control such as checking stocks and prohibiting manufacture certain weapons. Re location of forces security could be helped by reducing contact at most sensitive points as suggested Eden’s demilitarized area.

Secretary said President yesterday had given clear and eloquent comment on one of Bulganin’s central proposals on security, namely, that security could be enhanced by withdrawal of foreign forces and reestablishment pre-World War II situation. President had spoken with triple authority as US Commander-in-Chief, as former leader Western portion victorious coalition, and as first NATO commander. President had expressed solemn and considered conclusion general security is promoted by integration different national forces which cannot operate offensively without a unanimous conjunction of [will] by independent states which in fact would be unobtainable. President had indicated presence in Federal Republic of UK, US, French and Canadian forces integrated with prospective Federal Republic forces will constitute great security for all. We should avoid reproducing conditions prior to World War II out of which war itself came and NATO liquidation suggested by Bulganin would not in fact promote security. US like USSR not member Brussels treaty which Bulganin suggested also be liquidated but by way of analogy Brussels treaty served both US and USSR security purposes by ensuring against type of Western European division which produced last two wars. US realizes NATO and WEU could be perverted although unlikely and can understand USSR not happy to have its security depend in part on arrangements to which it does not belong. USSR [Page 407] could usefully consider elements. Western nations could for their part usefully study elements in Bulganin opening statement such as adoption mutual commitments not to use armed force and obligation hold mutual consultations in event threat to European peace.

Pinay pointed out Bulganin had accepted Paris agreements as established fact and this being so security plans should be based on recognition this fact. Bulganin’s reference to foreign troops and bases in Europe not pertinent since whole represents a consolidated system with pooling resources member countries. In order make headway could we have clear answer from Soviet delegation whether they in fact favored German reunification.

Molotov said clear reply given Bulganin’s statement yesterday and should satisfy Pinay. Valuable views have been exchanged on European security and USSR will study them. Grateful for statement yesterday by President for whom Bulganin had expressed highest appreciation and respect. USSR in turn wished ask question: how would security of states such as Poland and Denmark be assured under British five power pact.

Pinay said not satisfied with Molotov answer since Bulganin described Paris agreements as fact. German unification should, therefore, recognize that fact.

Molotov recalled Bulganin had pointed out Western Germany now member NATO and WEU. Because of these facts Germany unity could not be accomplished immediately but must be solved gradually step by step.

Macmillan answering Molotov question said he supposed wise Foreign Minister would have nothing to add to what his head of government had previously said. Would, however, take risk and say that should Soviets propose extending pact to include security requirements of others UK might be ready study something between a pact limited to five and one including all European states.

Molotov indicated German discussion exhausted under Item 1 and afternoon meeting should proceed to second item, namely, European security.

Meeting agreed brief communiqué should be concerted by press officers.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/7–2055. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Beam and concurred in by Phleger. Repeated to London, Paris, Moscow, and Bonn. The U.S. Delegation verbatim record, USDEL/Verb/M–2, July 20, and the records of decisions, CF/DOC/RD/5, July 20, are ibid., Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 509.