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

Secto 361. Paris pass USRO. Twenty-second Plenary Session July 20, 4:02 to 6:55 pm. Gromyko Chairman.

Begin summary. Secretary opened with statement presenting new Western proposal for continuation Geneva conference (Secto 358).1 Couve and Lloyd supported it. Lloyd reviewed conference to date, reasserted West must have clear statement re situation at end interim period, voiced objections to all-German committee and noted advantages new.Western proposal.

After Bolz emphasized necessity GDR participation in negotiations on basis full equality and supported all-German committee proposal, Grewe said FedRep supported new Western proposal.

Gromyko, in uncompromising statement, emphasized basically different approaches of Soviet and Western proposals and thought new Western proposal unacceptable because its basis entirely different from that of Soviets. Again stated Soviet willingness consider forms for discussions between two Germanies other than all-German committee which were agreeable to all parties but not subject to four power surveillance. Reserved right comment further. Secretary appealed for consideration of principles, not forms of discussions.

Next meeting July 22 at 4 pm. End summary.

After Secretary’s statement and Couve’s very short statement in support, Lloyd briefly reviewed conference to date. Noted both Western proposal June 16 and Soviet proposal June 19 for interim Berlin settlement dealt with same general subjects, e.g., force levels, activities, etc. Important point was fact Gromyko not willing say clearly what would be situation at end interim period. West could not accept blank check on this point. Also said it unreasonable to expect West accept Soviet contention that agreement on all-German committee must precede discussion other points interim Berlin settlement. However, new Western proposals represent attempt go some way to meet Soviet position. Lloyd objected to all-German committee on following grounds: (A) Juridical—would involve de jure recognition of division of Germany; [Page 1018] (B) practically no progress could be made if four powers abrogated responsibilities; (C) procedural—Soviet proposal would make possible use of threat and pressure on all-German committee members and on West Berlin people. Lloyd noted new Western proposal was flexible, did not shelve all-German question and provided (in its last sentence) for exploring different ways to make progress.

Bolz spoke next emphasizing necessity for GDR participation on basis full equality in negotiations concerning Germany and supporting all-German committee. Denied Secretary’s statement that GDR regime is imposed on people. Suggested possibility establishing six power body, all participants having equal status, to consider concerted views of two other bodies consisting of: (A) Two Germanies; (B) four powers. Stressed necessity setting time limit for deliberations. Said reunification could not be brought about from outside as West proposed. Re contacts between two Germanies, meant fundamental political contacts such as agreement on renunciation of force, rather than technical agreements on railroads, etc.

After Grewe had given FedRep support to new Western proposal, saying it differed only in form from earlier FedRep proposal spoke for itself since position FedRep on peace treaty and reunification well known. Gromyko then said he would speak briefly on proposals Mr. Herter had just put forward, reserving right say more later. Said Western and Soviet proposals envisaged basically different approaches. Soviet propose four powers should assist two Germanies to reach agreement between themselves while West envisages settlement by four powers of German questions with assistance German advisers. Reunification only possible through rapprochement between two Germanies and Soviets proposed all-German committee as form of securing this which would be acceptable to all. Soviets willing consider other forms such as commencement in Geneva of negotiations between GDR and FRG without control or surveillance of four powers. Door not shut to other proposals but new Western proposal does not reflect desire find another acceptable form because its fundamental basis differs from that of Soviet proposal and does not contemplate equality and sovereignty for parties concerned. Gromyko appealed to West to be more flexible in taking into account Soviet views. If differences between social and economic structures of GDR and FRG did not exist there would be no problem of finding proper form of discussion. Therefore, should not dwell on these differences as Secretary had. Wrong to say as Lloyd did that Soviets underestimate importance of reunification. They merely favor realistic approach.

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Secretary concluded meeting by noting Gromyko had talked of basic principles and asked for greater flexibility by West in connection with Soviet views. Hoped that principles themselves can be discussed henceforth, not just forms for working out principles.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/7–2059. Official Use Only. Repeated to Bonn, London, Moscow, Paris, Berlin, and USUN. The U.S. Delegation verbatim record of this session, US/VR/22 (Corrected), is ibid., Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1397.
  2. Dated July 20. (Ibid., Central Files, 396.1–GE/7–2059) For text of Herter’s statement and the other statements described below, see Foreign Ministers Meeting, pp. 439–456, 559–560, and 592–596 or Cmd. 868, pp. 276–289 and 342–346. Herter’s statement is also printed in Documents on Germany, 1944–1985, pp. 672–676, and Department of State Bulletin, August 10, 1959, pp. 191–194.