238. Telegram From the Delegation at Geneva to the Department of State1

Secto 69. Foreign Ministers reconvened at 6:18 p.m., Secretary presiding.

[Page 481]

Secretary called on Molotov to speak to question of participation other governments on Germany. Molotov said position unchanged. Macmillan suggested amendment in wording that might meet thoughts of all: “Foreign Ministers will make whatever arrangements they may consider desirable for consultation with other interested parties”.

Molotov said must recognize existence of two Germanies both of which interested in German problem.

Secretary said Soviet proposal2 gave other governments a right of participation which is perhaps ill-defined. Could interpret Soviet proposal to say that German representatives would have right to participate at all times and no decisions could be taken without concurrence of both of them. On other hand, we have no desire ignore representatives of both parts of Germany. Secretary hoped Soviets would accept Macmillan proposal subject to minor amendment: “Participation of or consultation with other interested parties”.

Macmillan and Pinay accepted amendment. Molotov said might be possible accept such amendment and then went on to propose one of his own: “Ministers will examine this question with participation in conference for purpose of consultation of representatives GDR, etc.”

Pinay said Molotov last proposal less acceptable than former one as it implied must have representatives two Germanies at table every point.

Macmillan said proposed text recognized responsibility of four powers for doing work on Germany, that certainly some consultation with a group or groups of Germans desirable, but four Ministers should remain masters of our own procedure.

Molotov said Austrian problem had been solved with Austria, and it might improve work on Germany if done in consultation with Germans.

Pinay said he would agree to consult Germans on Austrian basis, but we must first turn Germany into a state, having representative government following elections.

Secretary suggested this topic be dropped for time being and considered further early in morning. Secretary reviewed status of Soviet proposal and Macmillan proposal, Macmillan adding that his proposal could be added to paragraphs 1, 2 or 3.

Secretary referred to draft directive on disarmament proposed by three Western powers and compared it with Soviet text.3 After [Page 482]noting opening similarities, remarked that Soviets had particularly referred to prohibition of atomic and hydrogen weapons. Said US had no objection to specific reference to atomic and hydrogen weapons where we speak of armaments and armed forces, but not possible for us to accept principle of prohibition of atomic and hydrogen weapons in view of fact recognized by Soviets in May 10 statement4 that it is not possible to have checks or controls ensuring fact that atomic and hydrogen weapons may be used. Reference to armaments and armed forces including atomic and hydrogen weapons would leave situation, as in case of other weapons, where they would be subject to effective international controls and inspection.

Macmillan expressed preference for original draft three Western powers.

Molotov said it was impossible to remember precise text of Soviet May 10 statement but it should not be difficult to find therein provisions on prohibition atomic and hydrogen weapons. There is no contradiction between present Soviet proposal and May 10 draft. Said system of disarmament must cover all kinds of armaments. If disarmament sub-committee is dealing with atomic weapons as well as conventional ones it would not be proper to have no mention of principle of prohibition of atomic weapons. Therefore should refer to need for definite levels conventional armaments and also to prohibition atomic and hydrogen weapons with institution of effective internal controls.

Secretary said that if substantive questions gone into, Ministers would get nowhere. We can accept general proposition of desirability of system of control and reduction of armaments including all armaments. Secretary then quoted precisely from part of Soviet May 10 statement on ability of nations to accumulate incontravention agreements large quantities of atomic explosives. In view thereof, could not agree to statement on matter thus shown to be impossible.

Macmillan suggested that Ministers should turn attention to specific terms of reference and then fill in preamble. Secretary agreed. Secretary said first difference is whether Foreign Ministers should try to agree, or whether conference should agree on point of view to be presented to UN. Western draft attempted to carry out what we thought was instruction of the Heads of Government, Bulganin having asked if it might be advisable to draft agreed recommendations to UN. Secretary pointed out sub-committee meetings August 29, then GA will meet and if Foreign Ministers do not meet until October and then are faced with heavy schedule, they would not be [Page 483]able to get forward with what is a very urgent task if new procedure, contrary to one agreed by Heads of Government were followed.

Secretary reviewed points on which agreement reached. Molotov said would be embarrassing if only decision on disarmament would be to have sub-committee meet August 29. Macmillan said Molotov overlooked paragraph 2 (a) which asked representatives take account in their work of views and proposals advanced by Heads of Government in this conference. After referring to President’s and Bulganin’s statements of yesterday,5 he supported Secretary’s position with respect to atomic and hydrogen weapons and urged sub-committee be asked to study control problem particularly inspection, reporting and publicity. Subparagraphs (a), (b) and (c) could thus record work of Heads of Government, make a proposal useful in light of Soviet declaration of May 10 and provide practical piece of work to further function of sub-committee. Molotov said this conference could not instruct sub-committee, as only UN had authority to do so. Secretary said perfectly clear from English text that we propose to instruct our own representatives, not instruct sub-committee. To meet Molotov’s point, he suggested deletion of “to give priority in its work” so clause would read “to request sub-committee to study as a matter of urgency the methods of instituting effective controls”. Pinay and Macmillan agreed, but Molotov continued proposed deletion paragraph (d).

Secretary asked if Soviets would agree to referring matter to UN sub-committee rather than to Foreign Ministers. Molotov said subject discussed by Heads of Government were proper for further consideration by Foreign Ministers, including disarmament. Meanwhile results from work of sub-committee might be expected, as they could start before Foreign Ministers. Said Soviets had accepted Western proposals on security and hoped we could accept Soviet proposals here.

Secretary said referring disarmament to Foreign Ministers would not give matter prompt attention called for by its urgent nature. Pointed out President had designated representative of Cabinet rank to deal with disarmament, to give detailed consideration necessary, Secretary of State, though giving close cooperation and broad policy guidance had too many other duties. UN sub-committee fully familiar with work and could carry it ahead.

Pinay suggested sub-committee meeting August 29 be postponed. Secretary said this was logical but he hated to reopen only point in agreement. Pinay said matter should go to Heads of Government. Secretary then read points on which there were apparent agreement. Molotov pointed out Soviet proposals not included and [Page 484]remained to be discussed. Secretary then suggested discussing Western paragraph (b) on effective international control including inspection, reporting and publicity. Molotov position remained unchanged.

Secretary suggested short adjournment. Molotov pointed out Russians had invited British to dinner at eight o’clock, and suggested adjournment to 10 p.m.6 Molotov suggested might meet early in morning as alternative, but then said postponing work until tomorrow might cause delay and noted President planning to leave early in afternoon and therefore might not be able to finish. Secretary proposed meeting at 10:30 p.m., but if mood is bad quick recess should follow until tomorrow morning.

Meeting recessed 8:10 p.m.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/7–2255. Secret; Priority. Repeated to London, Paris, Moscow, and Bonn. The U.S. Delegation verbatim record, USDEL/Verb/M–6, July 22, and the record of decisions, CF/DOC/RD/10, July 23, are ibid., Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 509.
  2. Under reference here is Molotov’s proposal at the fifth Foreign Ministers meeting earlier in the day, see Document 235.
  3. For text of the Western proposal on disarmament, see footnote 4, Document 232; for text of the Soviet proposal on disarmament, see Document 235.
  4. For text of the Soviet disarmament proposal of May 10, 1955, see Documents (R.I.I.A.) for 1955, pp. 110–121.
  5. See Document 221.
  6. For Eden’s account of the dinner with the Soviet Delegation, see Full Circle, pp. 340–342; that part of the dinner conversation regarding Indochina is also summarized in telegram 293 to Saigon, July 26; see vol. i, p. 497.