298. Telegram From the Delegation at the Foreign Ministers Meetings to the Department of State 1

Secto 57. 1. First session Conference of Ministers opened October 27 with Pinay presiding. In discussion procedural points it was agreed that (a) Directive of Heads of Government2 would serve as conference agenda; (b) Conference deliberations would be secret but documents and general statements not involving give-and-take of debate could be published as in summit meeting; (c) There would be no communiqué to press except on common agreement. Relations with press would be handled by separate delegations with respective press officers consulting together after each session; (d) Ministers would meet each week-day at 3:00 pm and not on Saturday or Sunday with exception October 29. Also meetings would not be held November 1 and November 7 (these being French and USSR holidays).

2. At conclusion his opening statement Pinay proposed and Ministers agreed send message of good wishes for President’s recovery (Secto 453).

3. Three Western Ministers in opening speeches4 pointed to historic responsibility of conference to seek clear and concrete solutions problems singled out by Heads of Government. Pinay made point that German reunification and European security would have to be [Page 634] linked to make progress on either. He said disarmament would require long effort, which should be begun by taking first practical steps as outlined in President Eisenhower’s proposal.5 Encouragement of East-West contacts should help foster understanding between East and West Europe and benefit both. Three agenda items should be approached in spirit of seeking practical solutions based on legitimate interests all concerned. Macmillan associated himself with Pinay’s statements. Secretary made statement (text transmitted wireless bulletin) saying all four governments recognize present situation is not satisfactory basis for secure peace. At same time each has concern that changes in present situation should not impair its security. Yet time has come move forward in series common actions designed restore confidence. He stated that Western Ministers have proposals to make on each agenda item which would not impair security of either side but would enhance security of all by removing existing sources instability and tension.

4. After voicing Soviet Government support for telegram to President, Molotov stressed importance contribution President and other Heads of Government had made toward easing international tension, ending cold war and creating durable peace. Molotov then listed steps Soviet Government had taken to relax tension: (a) reduction of armed forces, (b) withdrawal from Prokkala and Port Arthur which were only two military bases Soviet Government held outside USSR, (c) establishment diplomatic relations with Federal Republic and recent agreements with GDR both of which contribute to “regulation of German problem”. Molotov then repeated standard arguments in support priority European security over German reunification and referred to previously advanced European security proposal6 as only solution. NATO Bloc, foreign bases and German militarism major obstacles to security and must be liquidated. Growth of militarism in Federal Republic and West German membership in NATO create situation in which reunification of Germany as democratic and peaceful state can be brought about only gradually and after rapprochement of two German states. In commenting on Western idea of achieving security in stages, Molotov said this could not be accepted if merely intended mask German remilitarization by stages. Two Germanies have different social systems and social progress in GDR cannot be sacrificed for sake of unity. “Mechanical” merger two parts Germany therefore unacceptable. Since reunification is matter for Germans themselves, four powers should assist them in finding solution rather than attempt impose four-power plan.

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5. Molotov stated disarmament most important problem. He repeated usual Soviet line re reducing military forces and assuring prohibition atomic weapons. While acknowledging necessity of controls and inspection, Molotov charged it was unconvincing to talk about them while continuing arms race. He referred USSR May 10 disarmament proposal7 and said four powers have subsequently achieved large measure agreement many points. Recent correspondence between President and Bulganin 8 also said to have helped clarify certain important aspects. Soviet Government prepared consider all proposals designed advance solution of disarmament problem.

Finally Molotov said Soviet Government thinks considerable possibility exists for progress in field East-West contacts. While stressing desirability eliminating obstacles international trade and finance he also spoke favorably of opportunities for agreement improve exchange information and persons in fields culture, science, technology, tourism, industry, and agriculture.

After first round initial statements, Pinay opened discussion Agenda Item 1 (European security and German reunification) with brief remarks in rebuttal Molotov statement regarding NATO. He then tabled dual Western proposal on security and reunification.9 After Macmillan called on as next speaker, Molotov raised procedural question regarding desirability of commencing discussion Agenda Item 1 toward end of meeting. Molotov requested that consideration Agenda Item 1 be commenced Friday so that all delegations would have opportunity address themselves to subject. Because of lateness hour Western Ministers agreed, whereupon Molotov urged that postponement of discussion Item 1 implied that Pinay’s document had not been tabled and could not be considered as conference document until morning. Pinay as presiding officer pointed out that discussion Item 1 had in fact already begun without objection at the time from any delegation and that proposal was already in hands of secretariat and process circulation. On ensuing hour-long argument Molotov insisted that consideration Item 1 had not begun with consent Soviet Delegation and could not begin except by general agreement. Meeting eventually closed upon suggestion of Macmillan that three Western Ministers would consider discussion Item 1 to have begun, while Soviets free to retain their interpretation. In informal tripartite meeting after adjournment Western Ministers agreed not publish memo tabled today.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/10–2855. Secret. Repeated to Paris for USRO. Copies of the U.S. Delegation verbatim record of the first Foreign Ministers meeting, USDel/Verb/1 (Corrected), October 27, and the record of decision for the meeting, MFM/DOC/RD/1, October 28, are ibid., Conference Files: Lot 60 D 627, CF 567.
  2. Document 257.
  3. Secto 45 transmitted a brief message for Eisenhower’s prompt and complete recovery and included a summary of the discussion by the Foreign Ministers concerning the message. (Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/10–2755) The message is printed in Foreign Ministers Meeting, p. 26.
  4. For texts of the opening statements by Pinay, Macmillan, and Dulles, circulated as MFM/DOC/2, 6, and 5, see ibid., pp. 14–18 and 24–25.
  5. For text of President Eisenhower’s “Open Skies” proposal, see Document 221.
  6. Reference is to Document 251. For full text of Molotov’s statement, circulated as MFM/DOC/3, see Foreign Ministers Meeting, pp. 18–23.
  7. For text of the Soviet proposal of May 10, see Documents (R.I.I.A.) for 1955, pp. 110–121, or Department of State Bulletin, May 30, 1955, pp. 900–905.
  8. For texts of Bulganin’s letter to Eisenhower, dated September 19 and Eisenhower’s interim reply, see ibid., October 24, 1955, pp. 643–647.
  9. For text of this proposal, circulated as MFM/DOC/7, October 28, see ibid., November 7, 1955, pp. 729–732, or Foreign Ministers Meeting, pp. 27–33.