39. Letter From Chancellor Adenauer to Secretary of State Dulles1

Dear Mr. Dulles: After having resumed my official duties since some time, I should like to use an opportunity that offers itself to continue our exchange of views. These weeks of forced leisure gave [Page 58] me time to study the situation quietly. Especially I have contemplated the 1st and the 2nd Geneva conference2 and the steps which Bulganin and Chruschtschow have undertaken thereafter in Asia, furthermore their abusive language against the free world, above all against England and the USA. In my opinion the 1st Geneva conference showed that the Soviets do not understand a reasonable and normal language and that they are inaccessible for objective considerations. They are and remain convinced that communism will rule the world and that they are and shall stay to be the leaders of communism. Insofar the 1st Geneva conference will have a good effect, if the free world is going to draw the necessary conclusions therefrom, as you have already said in a press interview.

However one more thing seems to be necessary in my opinion: The free world or better said the masses in the free countries who influence public opinion strongly have no clear idea on communism and on what communism does to Russia and other countries. They know nothing about it and they live in a feeling of security that is wholly unjustified. In my opinion it is an essential task to inform our peoples on this: What communism teaches, what it does, what happened to the peoples whom it has subjugated and what would happen to those it would subjugate in the future. This of course cannot originate from the governments alone. There have to be found special ways—with the universities, by founding appropriate associations, with the political parties, the trade unions—.

I believe that we cannot get out of this great danger for the free world without a great information campaign that is ideologically synchronized.

You certainly know that I had and have still at present a dispute within the government coalition. I have brought about this clarification myself because I believe that it is—first of all—essential to dispel any doubt the Soviets might have about the determination of my government and of those who back it up to continue the policy I pursue. Even if in this process some should eliminate themselves who have given only halfhearted support to my policy I deem this concentration to be much better than the doubts and uncertainties provoked not only in the camp of our enemies but also with our friends by the attitude some people assumed in public. Besides one shall see that the fundamental [basis?] for the policy which I pursue will then be the more firm and also broad enough for the determined mastering of those tasks which are our share. I therefore look upon this development as a contribution to the strengthening of our side.

The specific tasks of the Federal Republic are clear. We intend to set up those forces that we contribute to the NATO alliance as rapidly [Page 59] as possible, The taking over of the Federal Frontier Police that was recently decided will enable us to incorporate about 18,000 trained men into the first divisions to be formed. It goes without saying that we shall replenish the Frontier Police thereafter.

I should like to say here with great emphasis that—apart from the consideration of political aspects by which we want to make sure that our soldiers by their conviction are prepared to defend democracy and freedom—that in the formation of our forces only military and technical viewpoints shall be determining. Financial considerations shall under no circumstances inhibit or delay the carrying out of this program in any way.

Parallel to this internal consolidation European cooperation should be strengthened. Also in this respect—I should like to say— my government is ready to cooperate to the utmost in all programs for European integration and that we shall participate in every measure be it for the creation of a common market or the atomic pool.

I believe that the determination that manifests itself in the realization of this program shall not fail to impress the Soviets if one more premise is given that I have already mentioned:

The determination of action must be matched by the resoluteness of the language and the firmness of the attitude towards the Soviets. It is evident that the Soviets interpreted the language used in the first Geneva conference as a signal of weakness of the West and specifically as a weakness of the will. I think it probable that they felt encouraged for their behaviour in the second Geneva Conference and for their performance in India by the impressions they got in the first Geneva conference. Our prisoners of war who returned from Russia have told me repeatedly that also in their camps the saying proved to be right: Who approaches the Russian as servant shall be treated as servant, who comes as the “boss” is treated as the “boss”.

I don’t think it very likely that we shall make considerable progress before the year 1957. The Soviets in all probability intend to wait for the elections in the United States and the election for our Federal Parliament that will most probably take place in fall 1957. Nevertheless we shall have to demonstrate all the time our firmness and determination. We may not allow the problem of the unity of Germany to become quiescent in order not to let all Germans in the Soviet occupied zone and all satellite peoples lose their hope. I know that the Soviets hope for my elimination in the next two years because of my age. I do not intend to please the Soviets in this respect. I work for the formation of my party so that it shall win the campaign and election of 1957. My party would then with certainty continue to pursue my foreign policy also without me.

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I wish to you and to Mrs. Dulles a blessed and merry Christmas. Would you please also give to the President—if the opportunity presents itself—my sincerest and respectful regards and wishes.

With kind regards

As always yours

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, Strictly Confidential File. Personal. Delivered by Ambassador Krekeler. The source text indicates it is a translation.
  2. For documentation on the two Geneva Conferences, see volume v.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.