67. Memorandum From the Acting Director of Central Intelligence (Cabell) to the Secretary of State 1

The following message has just been received from the Director of Central Intelligence with the request that it be passed to the Secretary of State on an Eyes Only basis:

“On Saturday afternoon, August 25, I had a three-hour meeting with Chancellor Adenauer at his vacation retreat above Baden Baden.2 The meeting was part social and part business. Those [Page 145] present in addition to the Chancellor were Dr. Hans Globke and translator Weber. Subsequently, during tea and an afternoon walk, Adenauer’s daughter and my daughter and son-in-law joined us. The Chancellor seemed in excellent health, lucid as usual, vigorous, and just as strong at the end of the meeting when he insisted on taking a walk with us as at the beginning of the afternoon.
“During tea gave most amusing account his Moscow visit. Later in private session stressed his feeling of Khrushchev’s utter ruthlessness, brutality and personal vanity. He seemed impressed with apparent difference in situation between time his visit when K and B seemed have equal authority and that described to him by Mollet when K clearly in ascendancy. Also remarked that when he saw B and K military men had been given standing room only but according Mollet they had been much in evidence during his later visit.
Adenauer seemed to be still impressed with K’s emphasis on vast burden placed on Soviet to meet at same time
Need for internal social betterment
Competition with USA in armament race

Continuing demands Communist China.

“However he obviously impressed with K and B’s own confidence in ultimate triumph Communism and vigor and danger in their policies. He said B greatly elated at having received three personal letters from President. I suggested possibly not so pleased with last letter which I understood not published in Russia despite full publication in free world.

“After asking whether I familiar exchange letters re possible reduction conventional forces (which I confirmed), and referring USA newspaper and columnist stories of which he had a pile on his desk, he launched into long exposé German attitude which he felt generally shared by France (particularly Gen. Valluz, new Chief Staff) and some other NATO members. He described Heusinger’s trip3 and latter’s conversation at Pentagon which he said tended confirm his view that we expected rely on nuclear weapons even in small wars. He then repeated all arguments with which you familiar, including growing strength of East German forces. I replied you had dealt with these matters in your letters, etc. I added that recent NSC review our defense effort which I attended had indicated no disposition whatsoever reduce our overall military strength. Quite the contrary free world had and I believed would maintain sufficient strength in conventional forces, if supplemented by adequate German contingent, to [Page 146] meet any emergency other than direct Soviet intervention. Latter situation would create new conditions where our growing retaliatory power could play its role. I also pointed out that review of events of past few years showed that even if we had had twice the amount of conventional forces now available, our policies and actions would not have been different than they were.
Adenauer then described how his experts appraised Soviet military might stressing particularly their view that in three years Sovs would have ICBM with nuclear warheads and now have more subs than USA, Britain and France together. I countered with general statement that in quality modern weapons, particular nuclear and aircraft, we keeping ahead and making major effort in field ballistic missiles and well ahead in airbreathing unmanned missiles.
“Apparent purpose Adenauer’s exposé this point was his fear that USA would be neutralized by such weapons from using nuclear power while Soviet conventional weapons would take over Europe. He remarked that if Germany in three years had 500,000 men under arms and like number in immediate reserve, situation would be very different than it otherwise might be.
Adenauer then referred to tragic misery of Russian people who dared ‘neither laugh nor cry’. At same time he greatly impressed with recent rise in confidence of Sov leaders. He particularly mentioned visit of two Sov cruisers to Norway when Prince Regent had made three visits to mere Naval Captains. Fortunately he said Lange had had good sense to absent himself.
“As regards NATO, Adenauer expressed himself forcefully and without reticence. He said that with most French troops in Africa, with British withdrawing contingent from Germany, if USA cut its conventional forces in Germany it would be last straw after Nasser defiance of West which he feared would end up with sufficient Nasser victory to increase his prestige. He said Brentano coming to report to him August 26.
“Apparently someone, presumably his NATO reps, had been giving him gossip regarding our NATO position. He remarked that our NATO rep got no news or instructions from Washington, had been caught flatfooted by George appointment and placed in most embarrassing position. I replied that you working particularly with our NATO representative and Senator George, Julius Holmes, etc, to devise new ways and means to build up NATO prestige. He would hear more of this.
Adenauer then in most confidential voice said he fully understood and appreciated your position but feared that someone was coming between you and boss. I asked him where he got such malicious gossip and who he had in mind. After some hesitation he mentioned Sherman Adams. I told him that this absolute nonsense and [Page 147] that it just did not happen and Sherman Adams, whom I knew intimately, never intervened in such matters; that you had direct, continual and intimate contact at all times and on all foreign policy questions and that most complete accord existed. I said that during past three years and more I, myself, had had immediate and personal access to boss on all intelligence matters and that this was way he operated.
Adenauer then described serious unrest pervading German thought. After what German people have gone through in two wars, they are mentally ‘upside down’. His own position was seriously threatened. He referred to a recent as yet unpublished Gallup type poll in which while both his position and that of opposition had declined in popular esteem, the dangerous point was the largest group of those tested was undecided as between his policies and the opposition. The future was very uncertain.
“Reverting again to the military situation, Adenauer said Heusinger told him that little effort had been made to improve conventional weapons since the war, particularly artillery, and that much could be done here. I replied that while I was no technician as regards artillery, I knew that what was said did not apply to aircraft both conventional and unconventional.
Adenauer said he had inquiry from you whether Germany will buy British tanks and that President agreeable to this if Adenauer willing. He said he viewed this as purely military matter. He had consulted his experts who had told him that USA tanks better. Hence he wanted our tanks and in any event did not want Centurions.
Adenauer deplored the situation of German press which failed give him support or properly to present American viewpoint on world affairs. This had been evidenced by their failure make clear potential seriousness Suez crisis to Germany. Specifically he asked whether something could be done on American side to get fair presentation American attitude through re-publication in German language of good articles on American policy; possibly German language weekly could do this.
“He said that recently statements of leading German bankers warning against inflation had caused uneasiness and had opposite effect to that intended. He was most anxious to keep integrity of German currency and was thinking of issuing gold coin on convertible basis but had been told we would oppose this. He realized that initially there might be some hoarding but did not think this would go far. I said that this outside my competence and for treasury experts but that such issue was illegal with us. Also if one great country alone started this practice it might result in making Germany [Page 148] basis for international hoarding operations and consume big slice their gold reserve.
“At conclusion meeting Adenauer outlined to me series of secret reports received from special Russian source with reputedly high Moscow contacts. Reports covered Soviet Fleet preparations and parachute type ops for possibility war in Egypt. These reports seemed to me to be unreliable, probably false and designed cause apprehension. He finally gave me full texts which cabling separately for analysis.4
“My impressions are following:
  • “A. Adenauer is badly in need of having near him some high ranking American preferably the Ambassador in whom he has confidence and in whom he can confide. He is obviously being filled with bad info by some of his German friends both on general intelligence lines and as regards our policy and intentions. (It was almost pathetic how after three hours of conversation he hung on to me as one who he thought had close contact with American policy on which he obviously feels his own fate and reputation largely depend. I would not wish this be construed as any indication he gave any signs of weakening on course he has set for his country.)
  • “B. On military side I gather he has impression that while he risking his reputation in pressing for rearmament, those who dispose of nuclear power will alone make decision affecting his country’s fate and that he will be playing with marbles.
  • “C. He clearly feels his control of electorate may be slipping and that urgent measures and help from us required to turn the tide during coming year before elections. Emphasis seemed essentially to be reaffirmation by U.S. of continuing NATO support and significance of German rearmament.
  • “D. While I avoided any inference I empowered deal with substantive policy matters he may feel that as regards para 13, 14, and 15 he has made inquiry or given decision on matters where further action lies with State. As regards intelligence para 16, I will pass him our appraisal through my covert channel.5
“In case you wish to handle any matters referred to in this message through covert channels, particularly answer para 13, 14, and 15 we have in Bonn, Henry Pleasants, whom you know, man who is close to Hans Globke, and who could pass any message directly to Adenauer. Globke was present throughout entire meeting.
“O’Shaughnessy had prior knowledge of meeting and will be briefed by Pleasants on non-sensitive points mentioned above. Unless otherwise directed German station will take no further action and no further distribution this message will be made.”
This memorandum has been sent to you on an Eyes Only basis. You may wish to disseminate further certain portions of this [Page 149] information. If this should be your desire and we can assist in any way, we shall be happy to contribute in accordance with your wishes.

C.P. Cabell

Lieutenant General USAF
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, White House Memoranda. Top Secret; Eyes Only; Personal and Private. Notations on the source text indicate that Dulles, Hoover, and Elbrick saw this memorandum. On August 31, Dulles called Cabell and asked him to send a copy of this message to President Eisenhower, which Cabell agreed to do. (Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers)
  2. For Adenauer’s account of this meeting, see Erinnerungen, 1955–1959, pp. 211–213.
  3. Presumably a reference to Heusinger’s trip to Washington in July 1955. A memorandum of his conversation with Admiral Radford on July 7 is in the Eisenhower Library, Whitman File.
  4. The reports have not been found in Department of State files.
  5. Not found in Department of State files.