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

Secto 338. Moscow for the Ambassador. Four Western Foreign Ministers met this morning to discuss tactics for today’s luncheon meeting with Gromyko. It was agreed to endeavor to direct conversation to Western June 16 paper, but not to bring up proposal for four power commission. Lloyd said he would like to pick up his statement of yesterday comparing Western and Soviet positions. Couve stressed importance of concentrating on principal issues which he listed as time limit, situation at end of period and all-German committee in order to avoid appearance of West blocking an agreement almost achieved. In discussion of relative importance of several issues, Secretary pointed out that question of access, although it might seem less important an issue in interim agreement than it would be if separate German peace treaty were signed, was in fact particularly important on civil side. In fact it offered only opportunity we might have to improve Berlin situation from our point of view.

Grewe reaffirmed Bonn’s unwillingness to agree to any arrangement which called for direct discussion between East and West Germans but reaffirmed Bonn’s support of proposal for four power commission. Couve, however, demonstrated reluctance to accept even this formula and took up willingly Lloyd’s idea that thought should be given to a possible formula for keeping present conference in being in some form as alternative to four power commission proposal. Lloyd undertook to prepare something along this line, and it was agreed that four power commission proposal would not be raised with Gromyko until Ministers reached a decision concerning possible alternatives.

Baraduc (French Press Officer) reported that Kharlarhov (Soviet Press Officer) had asked him at what time he should appear at French residence following luncheon in accordance with past practice at private meetings. It was noted that this revealed Gromyko’s decision that today’s luncheon would in effect mark resumption of private meetings.

Couve and Grewe reported that correspondents were talking about a new US draft. It was agreed to tell press that there were many papers and to deny that any specific paper, US or otherwise, was subject of particular attention of Ministers.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/7–1759. Secret; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Moscow.