450. Memorandum of Conversation Between the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Merchant) and the German Ambassador (Grewe)0




  • Four-Power Commission

Grewe came to see me last night at his request. His main point was that he thinks it essential Mr. Herter should at the first opportunity and [Page 1007] in strong terms reject the Soviet proposal for an all-German committee. He feels the Soviets are under the impression that we have an open mind on this. He also feels that the Soviets may misunderstand the relative politeness and moderation of the Western Foreign Ministers in their conduct of debate with Gromyko. He confirmed that the Germans will accept (Adenauer has specifically approved yesterday) the concept of a four-power commission with German advisers attached. It was clear there is the proviso, however, that this should not be merely a device to lock the two German delegations in a room together. I said my own concept was that on reunification and the principles of the peace treaty the four-power commission would formulate their views, calling on the two delegations of advisers to speak or submit memoranda as the four powers considered helpful, and that remissions to the advisers by the commission for joint proposals should be confined to such technical matters as freedom of movement, etc. In any event, I said that if the Soviets accepted a four-power commission proposal, which I greatly doubted, I did not think it would be necessary here to get into a debate on the exact terms of reference of the commission. I referred to the difficulty we have in feeling that there is any consistency or reliability in positions taken by the German delegation here. He was guarded in what he said, but he did not disguise his own unhappiness or the source of the difficulty.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1341. Secret.