257. Directive of the Heads of Government of the Four Powers to the Foreign Ministers1


The Heads of Government of France, the United Kingdom, the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A., guided by the desire to contribute to the relaxation of international tension and to the consolidation of confidence between states, instruct their Foreign Ministers to continue the consideration of the following questions with regard to which an exchange of views has taken place at the Geneva Conference, and to propose effective means for their solution, taking account of the close link between the reunification of Germany and the problems of European security, and the fact that the successful settlement of each of these problems would serve the interests of consolidating peace.


European Security and Germany. For the purpose of establishing European security with due regard to the legitimate interests of all nations and their inherent right to individual and collective self-defence, the Ministers are instructed to consider various proposals to this end, including the following: A security pact for Europe or for a part of Europe, including provision for the assumption by member nations of an obligation not to resort to force and to deny assistance to an aggressor; limitation, control, and inspection in regard to armed forces and armaments; establishment between East and West of a zone in which the disposition of armed forces will be subject to mutual agreement; and also to consider other possible proposals pertaining to the solution of this problem.

The Heads of Government, recognizing their common responsibility for the settlement of the German question and the re-unification of Germany, have agreed that the settlement of the German question and the re-unification of Germany by means of free elections shall be carried out in conformity with the national interests of the German people and the interests of European security. The Foreign Ministers will make whatever arrangements they may consider desirable for the participation of, or for consultation with, other interested parties.



The Four Heads of Government,

Desirous of removing the threat of war and lessening the burden of armaments,

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Convinced of the necessity, for secure peace and for the welfare of mankind, of achieving a system for the control and reduction of all armaments and armed forces under effective safeguards,

Recognizing that achievements in this field would release vast material resources to be devoted to the peaceful economic development of nations, for raising their well-being, as well as for assistance to underdeveloped countries,


for these purposes to work together to develop an acceptable system for disarmament through the Sub-Committee of the United Nations Disarmament Commission;
to instruct their representatives in the Sub-Committee in the discharge of their mandate from the United Nations to take account in their work of the views and proposals advanced by the Heads of Government at this Conference;
to propose that the next meeting of the Sub-Committee be held on August 29, 1955, at New York;
to instruct the Foreign Ministers to take note of the proceedings in the Disarmament Commission, to take account of the views and proposals advanced by the Heads of Government at this Conference and to consider whether the four Governments can take any further useful initiative in the field of disarmament.


Development of Contacts between East and West

The Foreign Ministers should by means of experts study measures, including those possible in organs and agencies of the United Nations, which could (a) bring about a progressive elimination of barriers which interfere with free communications and peaceful trade between people and (b) bring about such freer contacts and exchanges as are to the mutual advantage of the countries and peoples concerned.

The Foreign Ministers of the Four Powers will meet at Geneva during October to initiate their consideration of these questions and to determine the organisation of their work.
  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 63 D 123, CF 514. This directive was approved at the Final Plenary Session of the Heads of Government, July 23; see Document 249.