462. Telegram From the Delegation to the Foreign Ministers Meeting to the Department of State 0

Secto 373. Embassies Moscow, Paris, London, Bonn—eyes only Ambassador. US Mission Berlin—eyes only Gufler. Subject: Private Session.

In almost two hour discussion after Gromyko’s luncheon today, Foreign Ministers went over much the same ground as that covered in yesterday’s private session. Couve again argued that Western proposal is not prejudicial to either side’s position on responsibility for reunification, but had no visible effect on Gromyko. As at last session, Lloyd underlined the significance of last sentence of Western proposal as insuring possibility of procedural experiments for discussion of all aspects of German problem (contacts, reunification, peace treaty, European security) which could be stressed include negotiating procedures along lines of Soviet proposal for certain of these aspects if both German parties agreed. Gromyko continued adamant in his insistence that reunification could not be responsibility of four powers but must be reserved exclusively for all-German negotiations free of outside control or supervision. While he again called upon Western Foreign Ministers to suggest alternative proposals for Soviet consideration, it was clear from his remarks that such proposals to be acceptable must embrace Soviet concept of all-German responsibility for reunification problem.

Only new element to emerge from this afternoon’s discussion was shift in Gromyko’s previous position that discussion of all-German negotiations must precede consideration of other issues before conference (meaning Berlin). He now agrees to suspend consideration of German negotiations question and to discuss in “parallel manner” Berlin problem, but insists on returning to former question in due course. Despite persistent probing by the Secretary, Gromyko refused to make clear whether Soviet position now is that achievement of settlement on Berlin problem must be preceded by agreement on all-German negotiations question. The Secretary, seconded by Lloyd and Couve, put following specific question to Gromyko: “Can we infer from your remarks that no agreement is possible on Berlin problem without prior concurrence in Soviet demand that arrangements be made for negotiations between [Page 1025] two German states?” Gromyko replied that this may be Western interpretation of his remarks, for which he could not be held responsible; the Soviet position was as he had expressed it.

After Gromyko had resorted several times to these exasperating evasive tactics, Secretary said he saw little purpose in entering into discussion of Berlin question if on termination thereof Gromyko would then revert to insistence on Western agreement with Soviet position on reunification question before concluding interim settlement of Berlin problem. In short, Secretary said, perhaps we better agree to disagree. When pressed by Lloyd as to whether this also Gromyko’s position, Gromyko merely replied this was Secretary’s comment, not his.

At one point in conversation, Gromyko, questioned by Lloyd, said that if under Soviet proposal no agreement on reunification reached by Germans at end of prescribed time limit then four powers would meet to discuss peace treaty with two German states. He made clear that if German negotiations produced no formula for reunification within time limit, further discussion of reunification would be useless and world would be obliged to recognize permanent existence of two German states. The Secretary commented that, since there is no possibility that GDR would ever agree to free elections, Soviet formula would thus consign Germans to permanent division of their country without giving them any opportunity to express their wishes in the matter.

At Gromyko’s request, Foreign Ministers will meet at plenary session tomorrow at 4:00 p.m.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/7–2159. Secret; Limit Distribution. According to a nine-page detailed memorandum of the conversation, US/MC/144, this meeting followed a 1 p.m. luncheon. Secretary Herter joined the meeting at 2:30 p.m., after a separate luncheon engagement, but participated in all substantive discussion. (Ibid., Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560, CF 1341)