192. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Germany0

1954. For Bruce from Acting Secretary. Re urtel 1895.1 German suggestion that Murphy or Merchant visit Bonn next week presents such serious difficulties that we doubt it would be feasible to arrange this. In these circumstances there seem to be two alternative responses to this request on which I would like to have your views urgently.

The first alternative is following letter from me to Chancellor, which you could deliver or which could be delivered to Grewe if he transmits the request mentioned in your tel:

“I have received a message from Ambassador Bruce which gives me the impression that you may be feeling uneasy about developments, particularly about the direction which a quadripartite review of our positions might take. The Ambassador indicated that you might like to see one of our senior officers whom you know, such as Bob Murphy or Livie Merchant. Much as I appreciate your concern, I think this would not be feasible in the present circumstances. In the Secretary’s absence, both are carrying additional burdens, of course, and both are well enough known that some harmful speculation might result from a trip to Bonn.

“As you know from your talks with the Secretary and from the fact that he was our careful selection to place next to so esteemed a friend, the President and the Secretary have full confidence in the discretion and judgment of David Bruce. I hope that in these present circumstances you will feel confident that you can talk with him with complete freedom and frankness. We do need the benefits of your thoughts.

“I hope that this message will find you in the best of health.”

The second alternative would be to reply orally, explaining difficulties noted in A about sending somebody to Bonn, expressing full confidence in you, and saying that we are prepared to call you home at once for consultations. You could thus bring with you any thoughts that the Chancellor particularly wants us to have and further receive from us our latest thinking, for you to communicate to him on your return. FYI. I envisage that under this alternative you might in addition to having useful substantive consultations here in Department, be able also to call on Secretary briefly and possibly on the President. While such calls cannot be assured in advance, perhaps if arranged they would serve to [Page 402] strengthen the impression of close consultation between us and German Government, which seems to be latter’s principal motive.

If any other way of dealing with this request commends itself to you I would, of course, welcome your suggestions.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/2–2859. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Greene and cleared by Herter and Merchant.
  2. Document 189.
  3. On March 1 Bruce replied that alternative A should not be used and that an oral statement either by him or an official of the Department of State to Grewe was warranted only if the Germans requested it. (Telegram 1898 from Bonn; Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/3–159) On March 2 Grewe discussed the question with Merchant who stated that it would be physically impossible to have a senior officer visit Bonn. But Merchant stated that Bruce would go to Paris for the second week of the working group meetings, then visit Washington before returning to Bonn to brief the Chancellor on the latest U.S. position. (Memorandum of conversation, March 2; ibid., 762.00/3–259)