434. Telegram From the Delegation to the Foreign Ministers Meeting to the Department of State0

Secto 301. At meeting of Western Foreign Ministers this morning, after agreeing procedure to be followed in today’s plenary session, following topics which had been raised in coordinating group1 were discussed by Ministers: (1) German proposal to admit Poles and Czechs to conference to set stage for GFR unilateral declaration or possible offer of non-aggression pact to those two countries; (2) German suggestion that Western powers propose creation of four-power commission, to which German experts could be attached, to study problems East-West contacts, reunification and peace treaty during interim of temporary agreement on Berlin.

Although US, UK and French FonMins agreed that idea of GFR offer of non-aggression pact to Poland and Czechoslovakia was interesting and merited study, they were unanimous in their view that Poles and Czechs should not be admitted to conference for reasons advanced at beginning of conference and which were still valid. Furthermore they agreed that Geneva conference was not best forum for such a proposal if eventually made by FedRep. In these circumstances Von Brentano said he would not insist on his suggestion but would circulate to Ministers German draft declaration2 which he hoped they would study.

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Von Brentano then urged German point of view as set forth in their working paper (entitled “Western tactics during second phase of conference” available in Department)3 that in reconvened conference Western FonMins should put primary emphasis on overall German questions and referred to German proposal for four-power commission. Couve described his strong objection to proposal first because it created link between Berlin problem and that of Germany as a whole, and secondly because it would create what would in effect be a permanent body which afforded Russians means to interfere in internal affairs of Federal Republic. This would facilitate Soviet objectives of strengthening GDR and weakening GFR. Thirdly he saw danger in having identical terminal date for Interim agreement on Berlin and work of four-power commission. This would provide Soviets with convenient leverage to create crisis and pressure on Berlin problem.

Von Brentano replied linkage was originally Western not Soviet idea. The object was to insure that discussions of German question would continue.

Couve contended that Western powers did not establish link but had said that they would not accept any change in status of Berlin outside process of reunification. He considered it dangerous now to accept link which made it implicit that status of Berlin would change without reunification.

Secretary observed that Couve’s position posed serious problem since he and Lloyd viewed German proposal favorably. Furthermore, he understood Couve had some suggestion how Berlin problem and all-German issue could be separated.

Accordingly he proposed that Ministers formulate their views over night and meet July 14 at 10:30 a.m. in effort to resolve issue. This was agreed.

Agreement was reached to seek private meeting July 14 at plenary today. General approval was also expressed of Lloyd’s suggestion that probe of Gromyko’s position (with particular reference to his June 28 statement4 re status Allied rights at expiry any period agreed for temporary Berlin agreement) could be conducted without accepting Soviet proposal of June 195 as basis for discussion by comparing subject by subject its points common with those of Western proposal of June 16.6

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE–7/1359. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Merchant and Reinhardt.
  2. A record of the Coordinating Group meeting at 10:30 a.m., US/MC/116, is ibid., Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1341.
  3. Not found.
  4. Regarding the three draft West German papers, see footnote 1, Document 433.
  5. For text of Gromyko’s statement, see Foreign Ministers Meeting, pp. 349–360.
  6. See footnote 4, Document 415.
  7. See footnote 1, Document 411.