207. Telegram From the Delegation at the Geneva Conference to the Department of State 1

Secto 56. Fourth meeting Heads of Government convened 4:00 p.m., July 20, Eden in chair. Eden referred Foreign Ministers recommendation discussion should be on second topic of agenda, European security.2

Bulganin spoke first.3 Soviets want to stress importance they attach to system of collective security for Europe. Only through joint efforts of all nations of Europe can security of countries of Europe be brought about. Maintenance of peace in Europe would have paramount importance for maintenance of universal peace. USA could also take part in system of European collective security. GDR and Federal Republic of Germany and later a united Germany could also take part. Soviets have already proposed a 2-stage system. During first stage nations would continue commitments under existing treaties but would refrain from use of armed force and settle all disputes by peaceful means. During second stage states would assume full commitments of system of collective security and NATO, Paris agreements, and Warsaw Treaty would be terminated. Overall collective security treaty should provide for necessary consultations when there is a threat of armed attack in Europe. Attack on one or several signatories would be regarded as attack on all signatories. Effective measures should then be taken by all available means including use of armed force for restoring peace and security.

Such system would improve atmosphere and bring about trust and confidence in relations between countries without which outstanding international issues such as German problem cannot be settled. Bulganin then tabled Soviet proposal sent separately Secto 49.4

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President spoke next.5 Described principal point of difference between Soviet and US thinking as urgency with which US views need for reunified Germany. Soviets seemed to believe new overall pact deferring for moment reunification Germany would contribute to security. US believes division of Germany contributes to insecurity. In US view two matters of unification of Germany and security of Europe are inseparable. To start on security pact without making move toward reunifying Germany would appear to confirm division of Germany. We should set up machinery for doing whole job and give some competent group job of working out what needs to be done.

Faure also stressed closeness of security problem to problem of German unification. Was willing to discuss problem of security with reservation that it could not be separated from problem of unification. Discussed Bulganin’s two stages. Saw no difficulties involved in idea of prevention of the use of force and peaceful arrangements for settling disputes. Believed that Bulganin’s idea of undertaking not to increase military establishments also worth studying. At first sight could see no objections.

In discussing Bulganin’s second stage said there was difficulty arising from fact second stage seemed to link overall security organization, unification of Germany, and finally abolition of organizations6 because states which were members would not want to proceed with this. Welcomed reference in Soviet proposal to rapid solution of German problem. Pointed out seeming discrepancy in specification of 2 or 3 years’ length of time in article 12 with lack definition of time involved in later article. Thought that part of Soviet proposal which called for abolition of existing organizations was not very satisfactory. Questioned whether even if organizations were abolished Soviet proposal could in any way prevent setting up of defensive organizations outside the overall system. Said he was favorably disposed to the general idea of overall security system. With such a system there could be limitations on armed forces and armaments, agreed ceilings could be worked out and existence of ceilings might make it possible to bring about reductions. This was close to his own disarmament idea which he would discuss at later point on agenda. Concluded by suggesting that Soviets bear in mind the relationship between German unification and security which he thought was evident even in their own proposal.

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Eden then stated UK would be glad to take part in any security proposals which would result in increased confidence in Europe. There were two broad aspects of the security question. First, treaty provisions including membership and second, question of timing. Five-power pact which he had proposed had same purpose as Soviet proposal.7 If 5 powers were in agreement there would not be much risk of trouble in Europe. Such a pact could give assurance to smaller powers. British were ready however to consider extending membership of pact if that were generally desired. On the matter of membership a middle course might be practical. On timing, Eden stated there was clearly wide divergence of views. It would not be effective to try to build security pact with Germany still divided and Germany ought to be unified now. It might be worth studying the possibility of carrying out creation of pact and unification of Germany simultaneously but only if pact is not so wide in scope and membership that it would unreasonably delay German unity.

Bulganin spoke next, observing that USSR did not want to reopen discussion on subject considered yesterday, namely, reunification of Germany. Everything that could be said on that subject had already been said yesterday. Today should consider system of collective security in Europe. No doubt two questions are interconnected but they are not the same questions. Soviets prepared to consider proposals to improve their draft document. Referred particularly to considerations mentioned by Eden which Bulganin stated were of considerable interest.

President said that each delegation would study Soviet draft carefully.8 Stated that from individual talks with members of Soviet delegation he believed they earnestly desired finding peace. Problem was to find a bridge between differing viewpoints. We were now discussing matters that we could not handle in detail in this conference because other countries would have to be dealt with. Noted Bulganin’s statement of 15 July which said this conference could be only a beginning. If we could establish a real spirit of conciliation and an effort to get along together, Foreign Ministers and other agencies might solve some of problems and build kind of bridge he had described. Believe we should ask Foreign Ministers to suggest kind of machinery which should be set up or when they would like to undertake more detailed conference on subjects of unification of Germany and European security. Ministers could present recommendations in such a way that the Heads of Government could give them a directive.

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Faure seconded the President’s suggestions. Thought that Foreign Ministers might try to find principles common to all delegations and report tomorrow afternoon. This conference cannot enter into details nor draw up actual drafts, but they should not simply refer matters for study to Foreign Ministers.

Eden summed up discussion by saying that it was clear that all agreed that German unification and European security are intimately linked. He agreed with what the President had just said. A point had been reached on these two subjects where it would be profitable for Foreign Ministers to enter more detailed discussion to try to find common agreement on a practical plan. Ministers will need some directive from Heads of Government. We should try to settle our directive before conference ends. Suggested that directive might include following points: study of unification of Germany having regard to security of all concerned; study of security pact for Europe or part of Europe; study of limitation and inspection of forces and armaments in Germany and countries neighboring Germany; and finally, study of the possibility of creating a demilitarized area. Suggested that Foreign Ministers should discuss question of a directive for themselves and see whether it is possible to produce an agreed draft.

Bulganin thought that directive should be clarified by one additional amendment. Should include provision that problem of system of collective security in Europe should not be made dependent upon problem of German reunification.

President said that we are seeking peace in Europe because of its importance to the peace of the world.9 Any advance should be made dependent upon nothing else whatsoever. Believed that the directive should come from the guidance Ministers have had from the discussions they have heard and see whether they can bring about something that represents an advance.

Faure supported suggestion made by Eden. Thought it satisfactorily summed up framework of the discussions. Thought that Foreign Ministers should proceed on basis of these discussions which would of course not prejudge right of Heads of Governments themselves to take decisions concerning the principles.

There was then general agreement to the statement of Eden that Foreign Ministers should be asked to meet tomorrow morning to consider whether they can frame proposals for their own directives to guide their study of the two subjects of European security and reunification of Germany.

Meeting adjourned at 5:42 p.m.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/7–2155. Secret. Copies of the U.S. Delegation verbatim record, USDEL/Verb/4, July 20, and the record of decisions, CF/DOC/RD/6, July 21, for this session are ibid., Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 510. For Eden’s account of the Fourth Plenary, see Full Circle, pp. 336–337.
  2. See Document 202.
  3. The full text of Bulganin’s speech was circulated as CF/DOC/7, July 20. (Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 514)
  4. See Document 251.
  5. For text of President Eisenhower’s speech, see Geneva Conference, pp. 51–52.
  6. In the outgoing copy of Secto 56 in the delegation records the following phrase followed here: “and groupings such as called for in the Paris Agreements. Thought there might be indefinite delay to abolition of existing organizations.” (Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 524)
  7. Regarding Eden’s proposal for a five-power pact, see Document 197.
  8. For the full text of President Eisenhower’s statement, see Geneva Conference, pp. 52–53.
  9. For the full text of President Eisenhower’s statement, see ibid., p. 53.