260. Telegram From the Consulate in Switzerland to the Department of State1

198. From Kidd. Two-hour visit with Adenauer and Blankenhorn yesterday, in which I found Chancellor in excellent mood after press conference in which he had laid German position very positively on the line. Substance of his statements to press was that within limits of what Geneva Conference had set out to do it had been success, Western powers had conclusively demonstrated their consideration of German interests, were never more united than at Geneva, and this was one of results of Federal Republic’s close alliance in Paris Pacts.2

Chancellor listened very thoughtfully to description of background and atmosphere of conference and appeared more interested in personalities of Soviet representatives and their basic problem than in fact value of positions they stated …3 was struck by difference of deportment of Soviets at Geneva and Belgrade4 and impression Soviets gave of acting as team which perhaps included members who had remained in Moscow. Particularly struck by Soviet reserve, change in atmosphere, and defensive attitude after President’s disarmament proposals at Thursday session.5 Considered President’s proposals of decisive importance. Also asked especially whether it was not our view that with all the problems the Soviets had to face, both internally and externally, they were not over-extended. I said there [Page 538] were differences of opinion on this. Some felt that the Soviets could keep up the pace for a time. “For a time” or “for ever” he said. “That was important distinction”.

In sum, he felt Geneva had demonstrated that Soviets wanted very badly to be accepted into “decent company” again. Also felt conference demonstrated more than ever importance of tripartite unity. In this respect said he was most worried about possible results of French elections next year. Would do anything within his power to strengthen position of Pinay, for whose efforts during Conference and with respect to Faure he was grateful. Chancellor felt that something should also be done to revive or strengthen European idea.

Date for trip to Moscow tentatively set around September 8 or 10. Said that we could be sure he would not give up anything at Moscow. If Soviets offered unification at price of Germany withdrawing from Western alliances, Chancellor had thought of an argument (much like President’s statement re NATO at Tuesday session of Conference6) . . . . Line of thought was that if Soviets genuinely interested in security, Germany in NATO would be the most interested in keeping peace since its territory would inevitably be first battleground. If, however, Soviet interest was in breaking up unity of Western Europe, they would be creating conditions under which a future Germany could be as dangerous as in past. (In subsequent conversation Hallstein inclined to doubt that Soviets would offer Chancellor unification proposals so early in the game. Brentano on other hand feels that they may, not with hope of reaching any agreement but of discrediting him in eyes of German people as leader who stands in way of reunification.)

All the Germans have extraordinary interest in visit to Moscow and appear a little at a loss as to just what they should do and how. In this connection Chancellor suggested sending Blankenhorn to Washington for consultations around September 1 unless, better still, Merchant could come to Bonn for couple days consultation around September 4. I mentioned comment Merchant had made that Geneva Conference reminded him most vividly of importance of sense of timing. Chancellor said that on basis of lifetime experience he could say nothing more important in politics than “warten koennen” (“to know how to wait”).

[Page 539]

Detailed memo of conversation follows by pouch.7 Chancellor’s letters to President and Secretary transmitted by separate telegrams.8

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/7–2655. Secret; Priority; Limited Distribution. Repeated to Bonn for Conant and Lisbon for Merchant.
  2. For text of the Paris Agreements, concluded at Paris in October 1954, see Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. v, Part 2, pp. 1435 ff.
  3. Ellipsis in the source text.
  4. Khrushchev and Bulganin visited Belgrade, May 26–June 2, 1955.
  5. For text of President Eisenhower’s “Open Skies” proposals, see Document 221.
  6. For text of President Eisenhower’s statement at the Third Plenary, July 19, see Geneva Conference, pp. 45–47.
  7. Not found in Department of State files.
  8. Adenauer’s letter to Dulles is printed infra. His letter to President Eisenhower, dated August 1, is printed in Department of State Bulletin, August 15, 1955, p. 259. Copies of both letters are also in Department of State, Central File 396.1–GE/7–2655.