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

630. Eyes only Acting Secretary. Three Western Ambassadors met at 10:30 last night with Blankenhorn who gave us results of final agreement reached between Adenauer and Soviet Govt. Germans have agreed to establishment full diplomatic relations with exchange of Ambassadors when and if this decision is approved by the Cabinet and Bundestag in Bonn and Council of Ministers and Presidium of Supreme Soviet in Moscow. This agreement is embodied in exchange of letters2 between Adenauer and Bulganin but will, according to Blankenhorn not be published for two to three weeks. Letter makes platitudinous reference to fact that establishment diplomatic relations between FedRep and USSR will contribute to solution of main problem affecting German people, namely unification of Germany as democratic state.

Germans attempted to obtain Soviet acceptance as part of exchange of letters dealing 1) with reservations concerning future German frontiers and 2) reservation concerning relations with GDR. Soviets categorically refused and after originally envisaging separate letters on these subjects, which would have expressed diametrically opposing points of view on both subjects, after intervention Khrushchev this afternoon against additional letters subject dropped and understanding was merely that Germans would unilaterally send such letter to Soviet Government containing two above reservations.

On prisoners Germans obtained no written agreement whatsoever and accepted “word of honor” of Soviet Government that 9 thousand odd prisoners would be either repatriated or returned respectively to West or East German courts for review as criminals under sentence depending on place of domicile. On civilian category Soviets said they did not know of any but would be prepared to investigate any genuine German nationals under detention in Soviet Union if FedRep would submit detailed lists.

Communiqué3 which had still not been fully agreed on at time of our meeting will merely state mutual intention to establish diplomatic, cultural and economic relations subject to approval Governments and Parliaments with exchange of Ambassadors. Chancellor will have press conference tomorrow and with Soviet agreement he will indicate nature “gentlemen’s agreement” on prisoners and announce [Page 583] contents of unilateral letters on two reservations outlined above which he will send tomorrow morning to Soviet Government. Soviet response to these letters was left completely up in the air.

Blankenhorn informed us that discussions had been very difficult today. Soviets in connection with prisoner issue referred to alleged ten thousand Soviet citizens imprisoned in West Germany. Soviets this afternoon showed Adenauer and German delegation sample of balloons which they claimed launched by US from Germany into USSR containing three hundred pounds propaganda, including forged copies Pravda. Soviets asserted that there had recently been eighteen hundred such balloons and requested Chancellor to do something to bring this to an end. Adenauer promised Soviets to take this matter up with US authorities. When Blankenhorn told me of Chancellor’s “promise” and implied acceptance by him that US Government was involved in these activities I told him that I was very much surprised at Chancellor’s statement, particularly coming on heels of strong expression of personal confidence in Chancellor from President of the United States,4 and that I felt it to be my duty to report the Chancellor’s statement to my government. I added that I hoped he would inform the Chancellor to that effect and that I wished to add as a personal note that I particularly appreciated the advice that he had found it necessary to send through me on Sunday to the US Government confirming absolute necessity of firmness in dealing with the Soviet Union. My observation to Blankenhorn had in part been provoked by expression of appreciation from the Chancellor for the President’s message.

There is hardly any comment to be made in regard to the complete collapse of the West German position during these negotiations. It would have been at least understandable had the Germans obtained any genuine or concrete satisfaction on prisoners question and, while I believe Soviets will conceive it to their interest to return in the form indicated the nine thousand war criminals, they have successfully established that they are indeed war criminals and will deal with both GDR and FedRep.

Soviets have achieved probably their greatest diplomatic victory in post-war period. Far more important is real reason why Germans accepted this agreement in flat contradiction insofar as I can judge from every assurance given Western Powers both prior to and during the Moscow talks. I find it difficult to believe that Adenauer would accept this arrangement, implications of which he was surely aware, unless he had received something more substantial than oral promises on partial solution prisoners question. I have no information on the subject and I do not wish to promote unjustified suspicions of [Page 584] West Germany policy, but given facts available tonight to me it is difficult to conceive that arrangement which will be in part announced tomorrow does not have some other basis of understanding than that given us this evening by Blankenhorn. I do not need to elaborate a point which I have made in previous telegrams concerning effect of this development on our position against acceptance status quo in Europe.

In accordance with my correspondence with Secretary I am leaving Moscow on Thursday Sept 15 on leave but if Dept desires I can come to Washington for immediate consultation.

Department repeat as desired.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 661.62A/9–1455. Top Secret; Priority.
  2. For text of these letters, dated September 13, see Documents (R.I.I.A.) for 1955, pp. 253–254.
  3. For text of the communiqué, dated September 13, see ibid., pp. 251–253.
  4. See footnote 3, supra.