274. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union1
282. Urtel 6062 received too late to offer any suggestions for your meeting with Chancellor Sunday afternoon. At next opportunity you should however convey following personal message from Acting Secretary:
American public as well as US Govt is following meetings in Moscow with keenest interest.3 German positions prepared in advance seem to us sound and Chancellor has presented them skillfully and with dignity. It would be our inclination to stand on them as firmly as German public opinion will allow. Of this he is best judge but from course of conversations as they have developed so far we should imagine that German public opinion would find his positions much more reasonable than anything Soviets have yet offered (particularly Soviet support of the GDR and Khrushchev’s defense of Red Army behavior in Germany).
There is no indication that Soviets will alter their stand on unification at this time. With respect to prisoners and diplomatic relations however Chancellor should bear in mind that Soviet concessions, if any, usually come in the last hour (of which you can give examples). We are not surprised at hardness of initial Soviet position which resembles their attitude in current conversations with Japanese regarding Japanese peace treaty. However so long as Chancellor retains German opinion behind him, failure of meeting may well prove in long run more embarrassing to Soviets than to him. It will throw very different light on their pose as champions of peace and détente, which they were at such pains to establish at San Francisco and Geneva. Chancellor’s handling of discussions inspires every confidence.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 661.62A/9–1155. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Kidd and cleared in draft with Beam, Merchant, MacArthur, Murphy, and Hoover. Repeated to Bonn, Paris, London, and the Denver White House.↩
- At this point the following sentence was deleted before transmission: “So far, it seems to us, all the material and political strength represented by the Soviet Union does not outweigh the moral strength of Chancellor’s position.”↩