279. Telegram From the Embassy in the Federal Republic of Germany to the Department of State1

896. Chanc started report on Moscow trip by citing at some length his conversation with Khrushchev and Bulganin which was not concerned directly with issues involved with negots.2 In his conversation [Page 586]Chanc seemed to be impressed by sincerity of Russian fear of US. Khrushchev and Bulganin said they were now convinced of President’s and Secy’s desire for peace but that Pentagon was source of their anxiety. This anxiety required them to continue to spend vast sums of money on their armament. Chanc replied that US felt forced to keep its armaments high because of fear of attack by Russia and if Russia felt concerned to keep its armaments high also because of fear of US, it seemed to him there should be some way for two exchanging views over a period of time to avoid this tremendous expenditure of money which could so much better be spent for peaceful purposes. Russians boasted to him of their military power particularly in re to air. They bragged this time about planes which could fly from Moscow to Peiping in six hours and of a plane which could take off from a very small area and land again on the same small area because of jet power as a brake. These claims and others were accepted by the Gers with many grains of salt. Russians also told Gers that all inhabitants of Moscow could be accommodated in deep air raid shelters as part of their subway system, an underground construction so vast and complete that it would accommodate all inhabitants of Moscow without danger from any kind of bombardment. Even the air system was so arranged that no poisonous gases could be introduced. To what extent Gers believed this story in its entirety, I am not sure.

In this and other conversations Bulganin and Khrushchev spoke of the vast need of Russians for building up their industrial resources and detailed some of projects, particularly proposed electrical installations which would require large expenditures and which they could not undertake as long as armament race with US continued. Chanc and Hallstein were both interested in Russian statement that they had no plans for use of atomic energy on large scale for industrial purposes in near future. They seemed to discount this probability and felt Brit plans, to which Chanc referred, were extremely optimistic.

From these statements of Russians Chanc drew conclusion that while he believed overall objectives of Sovs had not changed, they sincerely desired and required breathing space. He and his delegation were impressed by emphasis on historic traditions of Russia and sensitivity of Russians to prestige of Russia. Indeed, in answer to question of Francois-Poncet towards end of meeting, he said he thought primary reason why Russians wanted Embassy in Bonn was because of prestige. He also said categorically that reason there was no reference made to release of prisoners in final communiqué was that Russians insisted question of establishing diplomatic relations should be a freely entered into arrangement and not a bargain. In negots, however, Russians were extremely tough and Chanc, Brentano and Hallstein [Page 587]repeated more than once their indignation at way Russians used 9,000 Ger prisoners as bargaining card in connection with establishment of diplomatic relations. Size of staffs of two embassies to be established in Bonn and Moscow and all details are to be settled by subsequent negots between Molotov and Hallstein.

In re personalities of Russians, Chanc reported that military was not in evidence at any time, that Molotov was very much in background, and Khrushchev and Bulganin seemed to work effectively as team. On basis of few conversations Chanc said he had gotten good impression of Malenkov, to which Brentano objected and said it was only a relatively good impression. In answer to question from Francois-Poncet, they all agreed they put no trust whatsoever in what Russians said but on point of return of prisoners were convinced they would keep their word.

On question of 100,000 more Gers which Chanc and his delegation claim are in Russia, Gers have relatively little hope of getting many of them back. This they admitted freely but are going to make an attempt. When Chanc told Russians he had letters with exact names, dates and places from 100,000 Gers now in custody of Russians, Russians replied these letters were forged by Americans and were part of Cold War tactics. In answer to question from Francois-Poncet about Russian statement as to existence of 220,000 Russians in FedRep, Chanc said Russians claimed they were working with American troops, I judge, as laborers. When he or Brentano offered to have Russians send representative to FedRep to check this claim subject was dropped.

Ger delegation was surprised at contrast between luxury of their entertainment, including superb ballet performance, and the looks of people on streets. They were surprised at how ill clad they were and how hard they had to work and shocked at number of women laborers. In whole conversations and in discussions very little was said about relation between Sovs and Govt of GDR.

To attempt to sum up the three-quarters hour of report by Chanc to reps of US, UK and France, I might say that he was shocked by toughness of Russians in negots and surprised at contrast between their personal rudeness in these negots with friendliness in social gatherings. He seemed to be convinced of anxiety of Russians as regards US and their sincere desire for breathing space in order to enable them to get ahead with their industrial expansion for both heavy goods and consumer goods. While recognizing dangers of having Russian Emb in Bonn, he and Brentano seemed to feel this danger was at minimum, and as to any recognition of GDR being involved in this step, Chanc and Hallstein were firmly in negative.

In response to number of questions from Brit Chargé Hallstein emphasized importance of statements made by Gers in their official [Page 588]declaration as to right of FedRep to speak for whole of Germany and in re Eastern boundary. He admitted Russians had refused to accept these statements but this made no difference from point of view of their validity since they were incorporated in statement made by FedRep itself. Point was not further argued by any of us present.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 661.62A/9–1655. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Repeated to London, Paris, and Moscow.
  2. For the rest of Adenauer’s report, see telegram 877, supra .