445. Telegram From Secretary of State Herter to the Department of State0

Cahto 148. For Dillon from the Secretary. I am disturbed at possible misunderstandings in Defense and State with respect to our negotiating position here owing to fact that position paper1 which I had discussed with President and which he had approved in general terms had not been discussed with all elements State and Defense. Matter somewhat further confused by analyses from Defense of working paper transmitted by State which I had never seen and which indicated certain alternative fall-back positions which had never received my approval.2

In light this situation, believe it would be desirable have conference between yourself, McElroy and, if possible, President so that clear understanding will be reached among us as to what we conceive our negotiating position here to be.

The position paper in form of draft communiqué given to President shortly after my arrival Washington contained three substantive changes from the paper submitted to the Soviets as the last Allied proposal on June 16. These were:

The utilization of a representative of the Secretary General of the UN to report to the SYG on propaganda activities directed at either East [Page 999] or West Berlin which could be considered interference in internal affairs. This change obviously desirable from our point of view.
The creation of a four power committee with German advisers to carry out discussions regarding a German peace treaty, the reunification or Germany, and facilitating interchanges between East and West Germany. This new proposal would have been a counterproposal to the Russian all-German committee. It was approved orally by Von Brentano before leaving Geneva and appeared in written form in German working paper3 submitted to three Western Foreign Ministers just before reassembling here. This item now under cloud because of possibility its being repudiated by Adenauer and French desire that it not be tied in with temporary Berlin settlement but considered as entirely separable item. If the Soviets accept this proposal (which they almost certainly will not) I believe that our position would be strengthened by this reaffirmation of four-power responsibility for German reunification and by bringing to bear West German influence on the East Germans however lacking in confidence in themselves the former may be.
A time limit on temporary arrangement regarding Berlin in lieu of latter carrying on until reunification of Germany. In discussing this last point with the President, no specific time was fixed upon but in Russian proposal for time limit Russians when pressed suggested first one year, then year and a half, then said time limit neither important nor matter of principle.

With respect to above changes, there appeared to be question in some people’s minds as to whether matters of principle sacrificed or occupational rights forfeited. In discussion with our Allies here, we have made language this paper conform almost identically with wording our offer of June 16. If our language accepted, both our Allies and we convinced no such rights forfeited nor any sacrifice of principle. We are unanimous in conviction no further concessions should be made and are sticking to this.

I also discussed with the President leaving the troop figure blank for summit decision. For negotiating purposes here there would be no acceptance of any reduction, the tactic being to use the present figure of 11,000 or some similar formulation and as a concession agree to leave a blank for consideration by the heads of government.

If there are any doubts as to propriety or wisdom our negotiating position as indicated above, would like to be advised soonest as I am most anxious there should be perfectly clear understanding and agreement on line we are taking.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/7–1659. Secret; Niact.
  2. Attachment B to Document 418.
  3. Not further identified.
  4. See footnote 1, Document 433.