276. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union 1

285. Eyes only Ambassador. Urtel 618.2 Our impression that negotiation has now reached typical hardcore stage which could be foreseen and for which Germans were in a sense prepared with their plan for counter-proposals falling short of full diplomatic relations. The only great surprise is brutal nature of proposal. You should advise them that if we were in their place we should not forthwith accept this Soviet offer but endeavor as strongly as possible to press counter-offer. We should not refuse, but would try counter-offer for all it was worth.

Re Soviet commitment in writing on number of prisoners, we would suggest getting this in as broad language as possible, i.e. if a figure is mentioned, add a clause to effect that right of repatriation should apply “not only to X figure but to all German nationals in Soviet Union.”

You correctly informed Blankenhorn that matter is for decision of Chancellor. You may add however that if in the end he feels in his own judgment that proposal must be accepted, we would fully understand.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 661.62A/9–1355. Top Secret; Niact. Drafted by Kidd and cleared in substance with Appling, Merchant, Murphy, and Hoover.
  2. Supra .
  3. In telegram 286 Hoover reported that he had discussed telegram 618 with President Eisenhower who fully concurred with telegram 285. Bohlen was instructed to “inform Chancellor on President’s behalf that he is keenly aware of the problem confronting Chancellor at this difficult stage and that he will stand behind Chancellor in whatever decision Chancellor believes right.” (Department of State, Central Files, 661.62A/9–1355)