264. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State1

290. Soviet press today published text of FedRep’s note of June 30 and Soviet reply August 3 (Embtel 2522). Soviet note makes it plain that they intend officially at least to confine discussions solely to establishment diplomatic, trade and cultural relations with FedRep and reference to “no preliminary conditions” for establishing such relations appears designed to make clear that German unification, and related matters will not be officially discussed. From information we received at Geneva I do not believe that this intended apply release POWs which Soviets would be prepared settle but not however as condition recognition. Soviet note also makes plain that while agreeable preliminary exchange unofficial views in Paris between Ambassadors actual recognition will be worked out during expected visit Chancellor.

We have already discussed from here previously certain implications (Embtel 2196, June 83) FedRep willingness establish relations with Soviet Union. When I was in Bonn in discussion with minor German officials Foreign Office it seemed to me that West German Government had not fully thought out certain these implications, particularly the quasi legalization division Germany inherent in acceptance [Page 545]formal diplomatic relations with Soviet Union which at same time maintains to say least full diplomatic relations GDR. There also related problem in such circumstances of West German attitude towards GDR which Russians will certainly stress to Adenauer as only course towards unification in present circumstances. I also found these German officials very much concerned at practical problems in connection with Chancellor’s visit, such as security, code communications, et cetera in absence official FedRep mission in Moscow.

Since it is now apparent that Soviet Government will not officially at least undertake discussion with Adenauer on German unification it is difficult to see what advantage there would be to West German Government and to West in general by personal visit prior to establishing diplomatic relations. In general, more orderly and proper form would be to work out at lower level actual recognition rather than unprecedented step of Chancellor visiting country with which his government has no diplomatic relations. Unless matters therefore progressed too far in regard to visit consideration might usefully be given by West German Government to reversing order and postponing visit until after formal relations have been established. Soviets obviously greatly prefer visit prior established relations but I believe they are sufficiently anxious establish relations with Bonn primarily as considerable step in direction legalization position GDR as to give FedRep considerable bargaining power as to method and timing his visit. It would also have additional advantage giving West German Government somewhat more time to think through thoroughly implications established relations with Soviet Union.4

Bohlen
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 661.62A/8–655. Secret. Repeated to London, Paris, and Bonn.
  2. Telegram 252 reported that the Soviet Government accepted the German proposal that their Ambassadors in France discuss the preliminaries for establishing diplomatic relations and Adenauer’s visit to Moscow. (Ibid., 661.62A/8–255) For text of the two notes, see Documents (R.I.I.A.) for 1955, pp. 249–250.
  3. Telegram 2196 reported that the timing of the Soviet invitation had not been forecast, but its substance was not unexpected. (Department of State, Central Files, 661.62A/6–855)
  4. On August 9 the Embassy in Bonn commented that Adenauer and his advisers seemed well aware of the “pitfalls and complications” of the visit and the considerations set forth in this telegram, and stressed that if the Soviets were intransigent about the visit, it would be canceled or postponed. (Telegram 453; ibid., 661.62A/8–955)