88. Telegram From the Embassy in Germany to the Department of State 0

1205. Paris pass USRO, USCINCEUR, Thurston and West. Von Brentano, van Scherpenberg and Duckwitz met with British, French Ambassadors and myself this afternoon and gave us paper posing various questions connected with Berlin problem, translation whereof forwarded immediately preceding telegram.1

FonMin made certain comments but said not necessary to answer at this session except as we individually wished.

His chief observations were:


Does not think definitive answer to Soviet note can be produced at or immediately after Paris meeting, since answer should be complete and leave no false Soviet statement uncontradicted. Personally favors a preliminary answer for delivery early January. Replies would be made by individual governments, would contain same substance but variations in form.

Steel thought preliminary reply should be sent around Christmas. Seydoux expressed view NATO communiqué might serve as preliminary response and would take place of proposed note. I remarked I thought decision this point could well await FonMins Paris conference.


FonMin said, now that Senat and other officials Berlin, as well as many people FedRep and elsewhere generally familiar with content standing orders traffic to and from Berlin, Allied intention regard substitution Soviet by GDR officials certain to be increasingly criticized in Berlin where it is already hot issue. He feels in any event since receipt of Soviet note GDR officials cannot plausibly be treated as Soviet agents. Therefore, in opinion FedRep Govt, standing orders should be reexamined immediately and, it hopes, changed.

Steel observed present orders were still satisfactory but he will report request for re-examination to his govt. His govt has no intention recognizing GDR but this question standing orders is relatively unimportant compared with the larger problems needing consideration. (It has long been evident Steel favors continuance present system.) Seydoux said he would seek instructions from his govt. I said US Govt [Page 157] internally was already in process of re-examining orders but had not yet consulted with other FonOffices concerned about possibility changes. Brentano declared himself content to have us report this to respective govts.


FonMin thinks most practicable place for a working party to deal with answer to Soviet note and other matters arising out of it would be Bonn.

Seydoux said this question should be put to FonMins in Paris; I agreed. Steel strongly favors Bonn.

FonMin believes important at Paris meeting determine (a) what report should be made to NATO re deliberations four FonMins; (b) degree to which PermReps should consult on Berlin question. Seydoux suggested perhaps there should be two statements made after Paris meeting, one by the United States, United Kingdom and French Ministers, another by the four.
FonMin said questions presented were in working paper form. He would welcome any questions our govts might have to ask, and would appreciate, if possible, having preliminary replies to his inquiries that might be discussed in Bonn before Paris meeting.
Having disposed of paper, FonMin said Chancellor had been ill, but not seriously, yesterday from cold and fever contracted in Berlin,2*** but was better today.
Additionally, he wished to ask one more question: should Mayor Brandt come to Paris at time of meeting? I answered I had no instructions from my govt this regard, but expressed personal view this was affair to be settled between FedRep Govt and Brandt. It seemed to me inadvisable, indeed impossible, for him to be present in any capacity that could be construed as making him a fifth minister, but that I saw no personal objection to his going as a member of the German delegation and be available for expert advice. Steel associated himself with this view. Seydoux said he would consult his govt. Brentano said he was most anxious have soonest possible any comments from our respective govts this connection. It was evident he attaches much importance to this point and strongly favors Brandt going Paris. For many reasons it would be wise to have him there as member German delegation.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/12–858. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to Berlin, London, Paris, Moscow, and USAREUR Heidelberg.
  2. Telegram 1204 from Bonn, November 8, transmitted the paper, which stated that four topics should be clarified before the meetings in Paris took place: 1) the form of the answer to the Soviet note, 2) its contents, 3) revision of contingency plans, and 4) what the Foreign Ministers meeting at Paris should do. (Ibid.)
  3. Adenauer visited Berlin December 4–6.