459. Telegram From the Department of State to the Delegation to the Foreign Ministers Meeting0

Tosec 343. Private sessions. For Secretary from Acting Secretary. Re Secto 352.1 You certainly have our sympathy in your dealings with Gromyko. These are our comments.

Gromyko’s reaction to your reference to the possibility of your visit seems to be standard boiler plate. It is reminiscent of Soviet and GDR objections to West Berlin elections. We are glad you mentioned it in the context you did as this method would be as disarming as anything could. Obviously your trip is a political gesture and we would hope its effect on your present discussions would be useful. Gromyko’s remarks seem to us to make visit mandatory.
We find that Gromyko has surpassed himself when, after stating (Para. 2) the Soviet Government would sign no agreement of any kind which would perpetuate occupation rights, he adds “Soviet Government on its part would not require any statement on part Western Foreign Ministers that such rights abrogated by temporary agreement” then summarizes “in other words, rights as such should not be mentioned.”

This statement illuminates further Soviet tactics to develop an accumulation of words out of which later will emerge as a result of repetition of distorted interpretation a false impression we have agreed on a terminal point for our rights. In view this, silence on subject seems clearly unacceptable.

It might be well to say to Gromyko that looking over your notes of this part of your conversation you believe you must have misunderstood, [Page 1020] or there must have been an error of translation if he spoke in Russian. You could add that surely he would not state this in terms of a Soviet requirement. We could not recognize that. We are discussing a matter of our rights. These we intend to mention whenever we consider it necessary. It would be in the general interest of both sides not to lend ourselves to equivocation.

In any event, Soviet position expressed by Gromyko makes us feel irreducible minimum would be explicit Western statement re retention of rights until Germany reunified and of continuing Western determination maintain these rights at any cost.

Re Secto 3532 proposal for extension present Geneva conference seems to us a good move. Couve’s analysis of problem (last sentence para 2) struck us as particularly simple, lucid statement of basic issue.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/7–1859. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Murphy and Kohler, cleared with Calhoun, and approved by Dillon.
  2. Document 455.
  3. Document 454.