289. Letter From the Director of the Office of German Affairs’ Special Assistant (Kidd) to the Director (Reinstein)1

Dear Jacques: Many signs here point to a very fundamental difference with the British, which we are papering over in the Working Group,2 but which will probably come out in due course either when the Ministers meet or at Geneva. These signs are perhaps merely straws, but the wind blows them all in the same direction.

. . . . . . .

3.
At the New York meeting of Ministers,3 when [name deleted] objected to the clause in our draft declaration about having no intention of recognizing the GDR, he told me that, although he did not care to say it publicly or officially, the British felt that a time might well come when it would be necessary to recognize the GDR and that they did not wish to prejudice their position in advance by statements of intention such as we had proposed.
4.
The next thing was the hurriedly called special meeting of the Working Group at Bonn last week, in which the British proposed the possibility of separate elections in the East Zone and the West Zone (Bonn’s 12024).
5.

This past weekend Bill Tyler noticed the following articles in the newspaper:

“I would like to draw your attention to the editorial in Saturday’s London Times, on the Geneva Conference. It is quite orthodox most of the way and then, suddenly, before the end, uncovers the idea of a ‘provisional security treaty’ which would come into force even if there were no agreement on the reunification of Germany. [Page 615]Thus, the hopes of mankind would be given something to chew on instead of stark failure.

“I noted on Sunday an article in the Sunday paper: Journal du Dimanche, by an influential and well-informed commentator on foreign affairs called Claude Veillet-Lavallee who is also foreign editor of France-Soir.

“Without reference to the London Times article, Veillet-Lavallee also mentioned the ‘provisional security treaty’ idea and more or less implied that it is being considered by the Working Group.”

Boeker this morning told me that the Germans had been quite concerned about these articles, and on Saturday Herwarth5 went to Kirkpatrick especially to inquire about them. The Germans felt that Kirkpatrick had not given a very satisfactory response: he depreciated the articles as mere newspaper speculation, perhaps proceeding from something which Pravda might have said.

6.
This morning in the Eden Plan Working Group, during a discussion of the signatories of the European Security Treaty, [name deleted], perhaps by inadvertence, mentioned that both the Federal Republic and GDR might be signatories of the provisional or interim arrangements, pending the accession of an all German Government after it should have been formed.

The direction to which all these signs point, in my opinion, is that at a given stage of the coming negotiations we shall hear British proposals to the effect that half a loaf is better than none at all, even though this involves temporary recognition of the GDR and its participation in “interim measures” of the type which the Soviets might be willing to settle for. I might mention one more point which I heard from Grewe yesterday, that Schaefer had been told … to go slow on the German military build up. This may have been merely … professional talk …, but the Germans were inclined to think that it had political implications also. I may perhaps be overly suspicious in this matter, but I find that all the straws of evidence have a remarkable consistency. Perhaps you may have an opportunity to discuss this with Livie before he departs.

Yours,

Coburn
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/10–1755. Confidential; Official–Informal. Copies were sent to Dulles, Merchant, MacArthur, Bowie, Phleger, and Hoover.
  2. Kidd was at Paris as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the Paris Working Group. See the editorial note, supra .
  3. See Document 284.
  4. Not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/10–1455) Regarding the Bonn Working Group, see the editorial note, supra .
  5. Hans-Heinrich Herwarth von Bittenfeld, Ambassador of the Federal Republic in the United Kingdom.