443. Memorandum of Conversation0
MEETING OF FOREIGN MINISTERS PALAIS DES NATIONS, GENEVA, 1959
- United States
- Mr. Merchant
- Mr. Reinhardt
- Mr. Becker Admiral Dudley
- Mr. Hillenbrand
- Federal Republic
- Ambassador Grewe
- Mr. Duckwitz
- Mr. Fechter
- Mr. Oncken
- Mr. von Hase
- United Kingdom
- Ambassador Reilly
- Mr. Hancock
- Mr. Ledwidge
- Mr. Hope
- Mr. Drinkall
- M. Lucet
- M. Laloy
- M. Froment-Meurice
- M. Baraduc
- Meeting of the Coordinating Group
The following were the principal points made at today’s meeting of the Coordinating Group:
At today’s plenary meeting, after Gromyko has been given an opportunity to speak, the Secretary will make a statement re-presenting and analyzing the Western proposal on Berlin of June 16.
Mr. Merchant noted that the Secretary hoped during his presentation to be able to raise the possibility of requesting the Secretary General of the UN to provide a representative to report on propaganda activities. The views of the other delegations were requested on an urgent basis so that Hammarskjold could be told before this afternoon’s session, as a matter of courtesy, that the Secretary was going to raise this possibility. The British indicated on the spot that they were agreeable. Both Grewe and Lucet said they would have to consult with their Foreign Ministers before giving an answer.
- If Gromyko chooses to speak at the outset of the meeting and, as seems indicated, again stresses the importance of the All-German [Page 994] Committee, the Secretary would open his remarks by stating that he felt this subject had been disposed of by the Western Foreign Ministers yesterday, but that some of his colleagues might have some further comments to make. He himself preferred to go ahead along the lines which he had indicated as desirable in his closing remarks yesterday. If it seemed desirable, Couve would then follow with a further rebuttal of Gromyko’s statement.
- Ambassador Grewe indicated that he likewise had a short statement prepared rebutting the Soviet position on the All-German Committee which could be used if it seemed desirable.
- The French distributed the final version of the semiweekly report1 to the NAC on developments at Geneva, but there was no discussion of the text. Mr. Merchant indicated that the American Delegation, whose turn to prepare the report came next, would complete its report on Friday to include the proceedings of that day. This could then be distributed to the Council in Paris on Saturday morning.
- Mr. Merchant noted that Gromyko had invited the Secretary either for dinner on Friday or lunch on Saturday, with or without his wife, with or without aides, and with or without their wives. The Secretary was indicating to Gromyko that he would accept for lunch on Saturday for himself and Mrs. Herter alone.
- At the request of the British press officer, Mr. Hancock stated that British journalists were becoming increasingly unhappy, particularly in view of the length of the meetings so far, about the procedure being followed at the Maison de la Presse for distribution of texts of speeches. Under quadripartite agreement such texts were only distributed at the conclusion of the Plenary Sessions each day. The Russians had been cheating in that they were releasing the texts of speeches immediately after their delivery in Moscow but had observed the agreement here in Geneva. In any event, representatives of British papers were finding that they could not meet their late afternoon deadlines tinder the present system. They therefore requested that the necessary arrangements be made so that speeches could be released immediately after delivery at the Plenary Sessions. The French Press Officer, who was present at the meeting, said that some journalists had actually requested that the Plenary Sessions be moved up to 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon and he believed the Russians would favor such an advance of the meeting time. After further discussion in the Coordinating Group, it was agreed that the Western press officers should approach the Soviets noting the unsatisfactory state of affairs under the present system for Western [Page 995] correspondents and suggesting that agreement be reached so that speeches could be released immediately after delivery. In this connection, consideration might be given to pointing out to the Soviets that their present practice was to release Gromyko’s statements in Moscow immediately after delivery here. If the Soviets should not agree to this proposal, but suggest that the meetings be advanced to 3:00 p.m., this would be a question which would have to be decided by the Western Ministers.
There were three reports given of recent conversations with Soviet officials: (a) Ambassador Reilly, who had dined with Malik yesterday evening, indicated they had had a long and discursive discussion. Malik’s attitude was one of discouragement and pessimism. He particularly complained about the sharpness of the exchanges yesterday afternoon between Lloyd and Gromyko. Ambassador Reilly told him that Gromyko’s speech of July 13 had seemed to imply a stiffening of the Soviet position. Malik was particularly firm on the subject of the All-German Committee and its necessary link to any temporary arrangement which might be agreed for Berlin. In effect, he said that if the Western Powers could not accept the All-German Committee, then there could be no agreement reached in Geneva, and the Soviets would have to go ahead and sign a separate peace treaty with the German Democratic Republic. Malik also placed some stress on the issue of reducing Western troops in Berlin, particularly emphasizing the subversive activity which he alleged was carried on under cover of the occupation as well as the creation of tension which the Allied forces in Berlin occasioned. On the subject of private meetings, Reilly said he had expressed disappointment about developments on the opening day of the conference. Malik said that the private meetings between the four had always been unsatisfactory to the Soviets and had not been very fruitful anyway. After further prodding by Reilly he finally took the position that there probably would have to be three kinds of meetings during the present phase of the conference: Plenary sessions, smaller sessions at the UN Palais with six countries present and quadripartite luncheons, dinners and teas.
(b) Laloy reported on an exchange which he had had yesterday with Groubyakov. Groubyakov had likewise attached great importance to the All-German Committee. He indicated that the Soviets might be flexible regarding the time period and perhaps even on the question of parity, but the creation of an All-German Committee was indispensable.
(c) Hancock reported on a discussion which he and Rumbold had had with Malik yesterday at the Palais. Malik said he had been drawing up a paper comparing the Western and the Soviet positions. Hancock indicated that the British were likewise preparing such a paper. Malik’s reaction was “Splendid, why don’t you give me a copy of it.” Hancock indicated that he thought that this might provide a basis for a fruitful [Page 996] exercise, but noted that Malik had not offered to provide the British with his paper. (After some discussion in the Coordinating Group, the general consensus was that provision of such a paper to the Soviets probably involved more disadvantages than advantages, particularly because it would put the Soviets in the position of being able to split the differences between the two extreme positions.)
- The British Delegation distributed two papers: (a) A comparison of the Western and Soviet positions, and (b) Some questions which might be put to Mr. Gromyko in connection with this comparison.2 There was some discussion of these papers and a number of changes were suggested by the American, French and German representatives present.
- The Germans distributed a new paper3 which the Ambassador described as a summary of the ideas of Foreign Minister Von Brentano as reformulated in the light of discussions of the past few days (he did not mention any discussions with the Chancellor as being among those which had contributed to this reformulation).