65. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between President Eisenhower and Secretary of State Dulles0


The Pres returned the call and after exchanging amenities, the Sec said they were talking about Berlin and he referred to Adenauer’s letter.1 The Sec is rather disposed to answer it to the effect that while as far as we see it we would not perhaps see any great obstacles in dealing on a de facto basis with GDR lower officials, nevertheless if from the Chancellor’s and FedRep’s standpoint that would be interpreted as a sign of weakness and they want us to adopt a stronger line, we will. The Pres said the trouble with his scheme is—you say it but what do you do? The Sec said we would have to be prepared to send something through. The Pres mentioned his getting too rigid in his attitude that this actually constitutes recognition—he does not try to take them over by force—in his country there is a status quo rebellion. The Sec said he agreed not to use force to reunify Germany. The Pres said he wonders rather than doing it on an either-or basis if the Russians go out we deal with the lower levels on a de facto basis but that is that. We take no recognition action. They may say we will block—then we have to do something. The Sec compared it with Quemoy—one thing is reasonable but you have a psychological problem which is if doing that breaks the morale of one of your strong dependencies you have to take that into account. The Sec hates to run out on him. The Pres does not think he should. We recognize him but the only way to get back his Germany is for a peaceful agreement with the authorities there and so the Pres thinks he is a bit illogical. They are governing that area. The Sec said we have agreements with the Russians to get through. The Pres can see a place where we have to say we have to go through. The Sec thinks we should get some expression of our views to him before he sees de Gaulle Wednesday.2 The Pres thinks so too. The Sec will draw something up and will call about 6.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, White House Telephone Conversations. No classification marking. Drafted by Bernau.
  2. Document 60.
  3. See Document 75 and footnote 3 thereto.