57. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, June 13, 1956, 2:30 p.m.1


  • United States
  • Secretary of State
  • Mr. Hoover
  • Mr. Murphy
  • Ambassador Conant
  • Mr. Bowie
  • Mr. Elbrick
  • Mr. Charles Sullivan
  • Mr. Timmons
  • Mr. Reinstein
  • Federal Republic of Germany
  • Chancellor Adenauer
  • Prof.-Dr. Hallstein
  • Ambassador Krekeler
  • Ambassador von Eckhardt
  • Dr. Von Kessel
  • Dr. Karstens
  • Interpreters
  • Mrs. Lejins (U.S.)
  • Mr. Weber (Federal Republic)
  • Reporting Officer
  • Jacques J. Reinstein

Mr. Dulles asked the Chancellor whether he knew of any way in which he could be of help in the question of reunification.

Chancellor said he was of the opinion that it was essential that the Soviets not be given the impression that reunification had been shelved. It must be re-emphasized again and again. It is not enough for the Germans to speak again and again. It is necessary that the Three Powers keep the pot boiling, so to speak, so that the Soviets would not think the matter had been dropped. He said he was certain this would have an effect on the satellites and East Zone. He thought that certain developments might take place and that this course of action might precipitate them.

Mr. Dulles said that the United States Government was prepared to transmit the letter it had received from Bulganin to the NATO Council for discussion in accordance with the suggestion the Chancellor had made the previous day. He assumed the Federal Republic was prepared to do likewise in view of the Chancellor’s suggestion.

The Chancellor said that this was correct and that he was very grateful for Mr. Dulles’ agreement.

Mr. Dulles said that we might suggest to our representatives that the reply to the Bulganin letter as respects Germany should recall the pledges made by Bulganin and Khrushchev at Geneva. He thought we should do as the Chancellor had suggested with regard to reunidication, that is, we should keep the subject in the forefront and continue to keep pressure on the Soviet rulers.

Mr. Dulles asked whether there were any other subjects which should be discussed. He said that he thought that the question of EURATOM had been dealt with in the discussion with Admiral Strauss the previous evening. He wondered whether there was anything to be discussed in regard to Berlin.

The Chancellor said that there had been some rather unpleasant developments in Berlin recently. There had been contacts between the Soviets and the Berlin authorities. He said there was a group in the SPD in Berlin, which is the strongest party in the City, which favored discussions with Pankow. He thought that the only way to deal with this subject was through the other parties. He remarked that the SPD has two wings and there are communist elements in it. This was the reason why it was so difficult for him to come to agreement with the SPD on questions of national interest.

Mr. Dulles said that it was hoped that the President would be able to send a letter to President Heuss on the occasion of the commemoration [Page 123] of the June 17 uprising.2 The Chancellor said he would be grateful if this could be done.

The Chancellor and Mr. Dulles then discussed and agreed on the news communiqué.3 In the course of the discussion, the question was raised as to whether the word “determined” should be used in the following sentence:

“Secretary of State Dulles and Chancellor Adenauer emphasized German reunification as a major objective of the West and the conviction that the attitude of the West toward the Soviet Union should be determined by the endeavor to promote the reunification of Germany in freedom.”

The Chancellor said that he thought it was important to express the thought in strong terms. He said that the reunification should be used as a criterion for judging Soviet action. He referred in this connection to the Soviet conversations with the British and French. He said that the Soviets had tried to frighten the British and French by saying that if Germany were reunited, it would dominate the whole of Europe. He said that the question of reunification of Germany was the decisive one for the future of Europe. If a weak formulation were used in this connection, the Soviets would notice it. He thought it was important to indicate American policy clearly. He suggested that the sentence as drafted accurately reflected previous American policy.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 711. Confidential. Drafted by Reinstein.
  2. On June 16 and 17, 1953, workers in East Berlin, responding to Communist-imposed work norms and economic controls, demonstrated throughout the city. Martial law was declared and Soviet troops and tanks were required to restore order. For documentation on the incidents, see Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. VII, Part 2, pp. 1584 ff.
  3. The text of the joint communiqué, issued on June 13 as Department of State Press Release No. 322, is printed in Department of State Bulletin, June 25, 1956, pp. 1047–1048.