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

740. As we interpret Soviet behavior immediately following the departure of the German Federal Republic delegation, Adenauer would be well justified in pondering Jeremiah’s wicked men who “lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men”. The Embassy must defer to the Department’s and Bonn–Berlin’s judgement upon the legal and practical impact in Germany of the Soviet–German Democratic Republic arrangements and of the Soviet pronouncements seeking to destroy Adenauer’s reservations, but the nature and rapidity of developments here since September 14 seem to make the Adenauer visit appear remote and even implausible, and the coming Geneva Conference unpromising. With the Finnish and East German negotiations, which Soviets in their haste scheduled with overlap, now concluded and with Austrian negotiations as example in background, it is evident that weak powers have advantage at present in dealing with Soviet Union, to whom it can make gestures without giving anything from its security especially if contrasted to image of West Germans engaging Soviet prestige by pronouncing beforehand their terms for diplomatic relations. (Khrushchev’s remarks to Japanese Parliamentary delegation on this score seem opposite: Embtel 736.2) First by the agreement on relations with German Federal Republic and then by statements and communiqués and now the East German arrangements, the Soviets either by pushing German Federal Republic down or the German Democratic Republic up, have as a practical matter placed on a level of equality the rival German Governments and qualified them for consultation at Geneva. There should be little doubt now as to the Soviet position on Germany at Geneva in October. The only terms on which Soviet Union states it will discuss unification are those under which the all-German Government would be a truly democratic one in the Soviet definition, short of “agreement” between the two Germanies on something else acceptable to the Soviet Union; i.e., no NATO, et cetera.

The Soviet–German Democratic Republic documents state with clear candor that what the Western powers do for the Federal Republic the Soviet Union can do equally well or better for the East German regime. All “decisions” henceforth made by the East German [Page 596]Government are those of a sovereign independent country, according to the treaty. Provision is made for consultation and joint measures in connection with the issues threatening the peace; for economic and other cooperation. The Berlin “proposal” to withdraw foreign troops is repeated in the somewhat negative form that Soviet troops will remain provisionally with East German consent, under conditions to be agreed upon until all foreign troops are withdrawn.

The escapes there have been to avoid treating the East Germans as a legal government appear now to have been closed, excepting insofar as Western representatives and position in West Berlin are concerned, although even that is described as temporary “until an appropriate agreement is reached” whatever this may signify. Embassy looks forward with interest this connection reading Bonn analysis responsive to Deptel 826 (347 to Moscow3).

The alternatives the Soviet Government now offer, nevertheless are unification on Soviet terms or negotiations between Germans on equal footing as between East and West, and unless the cognizance the Secretary took in his United Nations speech of Soviet concern for “security” is accepted by Soviets as a new basis for four-power negotiations of re-unification, a stalemate before Geneva is even convened seems certain on item 1.

It is obvious at this end, anyway, that the “spirit of Geneva” which the Soviets consistently invoke is atmosphere that signifies no relaxation of their perseverance in the pursuit of policies relating to their estimate of security needs.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 661.62A/9–2555. Secret. Repeated to London, Paris, and Berlin.
  2. Telegram 736 reported the highlights of a conversation between Bulganin and Khrushchev and a group of Japanese parliamentarians on September 21. (Ibid., 661.94/9–2455)
  3. This telegram reported that the United States should make clear to the Soviet Union that, despite the treaty with the German Democratic Republic, it was still responsible for the execution of four-power agreements on Berlin, and asked for an analysis of the implications of that treaty. (Ibid., 661.62B/9–2155)