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

294. Paris pass Thurston and Finn and USRO. Chancellor showed great pleasure and relief when informed President prepared visit Bonn.1 I think it well to assess situation in which he now finds himself compared with even few months ago.

Internally, his leadership, though still dominant, has suffered from recent performance on issue Presidency. German people have not brushed off his vacillations as quickly or completely as he had hoped and expected. Very fact he exploded bombshell on eve of slack summer political season caused unusual echoes of confusion and criticism to reverberate, without any available issue of domestic significance giving opportunity to divert public attention and reassert his influence. Am not suggesting Adenauer’s political star will further decline but certainly is not presently at zenith.

Externally, his prestige has undoubtedly suffered. The Soviets were ready and did capitalize on this. Moreover, the state of Anglo-German relations, already unsatisfactory, was further exacerbated by derogatory glee expressed in British publications over the Chancellor’s daisy [Page 2] plucking Presidential antics. His frequent and indiscreet references to British “softness” in dealing with Soviets, his conviction that their tactics reflected appeasement spirit, fear lest Macmillan had made secret concessions in Moscow, and other suspicions, coupled with reports of how he was regarded in certain English circles as a tiresome, stubborn, arrogant and unrealistic old fogy, overcame his usual sense of caution and his innate politeness. He does not understand British mentality and character, although genuinely admiring the race and in particular, Winston Churchill. Per contra, if the British are in an appeasing mood it certainly does not extend to their transactions with Adenauer, nor have their negotiations with him been distinguished by grace or tact. Especially since the Heuss visit,2 the Germans, so desirous of being liked, have realized that the British have long memories, and ineradicable pride and prejudice.

It is, therefore, with heightened alarm and resentment that Adenauer has lately viewed what he thinks is British effort to influence United States Government to establish a new and dangerously naive Anglo-Saxon policy regarding SovUnion. Normally, he would have turned to De Gaulle for comfort and understanding. But now such support has partially failed him, for the General has made it quite apparent that the Franco-German entente is all very well, but on some matters France’s position is unique. Perhaps, Adenauer sorrowfully feels that often there is one who loves and another who lets himself be loved.

As consequences of such preoccupations and misgivings, although as devoted as ever to the cause of European integration, he may yearn more than ever for American good will and sympathy, but feels less certain than in past few years of its being extended to him.

President’s visit will afford valuable chance to soothe Chancellor’s apprehensions. I would recommend for consideration, instead of any formal agenda items, the President’s approach in talks with Adenauer should be reassuring on broad aspects of Western unity, and that he reassert support for basic policies we have hitherto followed, and with which Chancellor personally identifies himself. I do not think there are specific outstanding issues between US and Germany needing attention in relatively short time prescribed for conversations. The old gentleman likes to talk and will not be backward in presentation, including his views on Chinese population growth and Siberian dust bowl.

The better the atmosphere of cordiality and mutual understanding on fundamental aspects of East-West relations, the greater the benefits will be, not only with regard to Adenauer’s own attitude, but also in exposing [Page 3] and refuting Soviet campaign directed against him personally and against Fed Rep as member Western Alliance.

We must bear in mind that one of Moscow’s principal aims continues to be to drive wedge between Adenauer and his allies, particularly ourselves. The mode of this political offensive is directly related to Communist propaganda line hailing the forthcoming visits3 as dawn of new era in East-West relations, and as golden opportunity for mankind (chiefly due to unremitting efforts of SovUnion) to end cold war. Soviet propaganda, of course, is also emphasizing that extent of dedication to cause of peace of individual governments and statesmen is revealed by degree to which they rejoice over implications of visits as defined by Moscow. Any doubts or lack of enthusiasm are exploited by Moscow as clear evidence of opposition to cause of peace, and thus of desire to perpetuate cold war in order fulfill aggressive aims. SovUnion is obviously trying to pin onto Adenauer label of frustrated and embittered supporter of continued East-West tension and revanchist policies.

For months there have been rumblings and grumblings in Germany, and much criticism abroad, of Adenauer and the obduracy of his political conduct. However, I do not personally know of a single major incident having occurred for years, where, after he has freely expressed his own opinion, he has not aligned his political action to conform to that decided upon by the United States Government. Age has not blunted his combativeness, and neither has it lessened his conviction that there are only two great powers in the world, the US and the USSR. He chose long ago partnership with the former, and although he may at times fear bankruptcy he will remain determined to assume his share of the liabilities. Speculations about his senility are, in my opinion, baseless, nor do I find him more difficult to deal with now than in the past.

I think it likely he feels the course of events of recent months has brought about an impairment of his prestige and position in councils of the West. I do not believe he feels this goes as far as disavowal of his policies, but he may fear we consider him not sufficiently aware of new opportunities to be explored. Therefore, it would seem important that President’s visit Bonn serve to remove doubts Adenauer may entertain on this score, and make clear to world opinion (especially Kremlin) that efforts to brand Adenauer as aggressor and isolate him from his allies have failed and will fail.

Adenauer will certainly want to discuss Khrushchev’s visit to the United States in context of possibility serious examination possibility new disarmament negotiations, matter which is dear to his heart. He [Page 4] will also look for assurance that United States remains firmly committed to NATO and that conversations between the President and Khrushchev will not lead to any alteration in basic US attitude to general problem of Western security in Adenauer’s mind ghost of “Radford Plan” episode in 19564 has never been fully exorcised. He will certainly appreciate utmost frankness from President, and I am sure he will in any case be greatly encouraged by mere fact that President has been willing to give him opportunity express his views in private conversation.

  1. Source: Department of State, Bruce Diaries: Lot 64 D 327. Secret; Noforn. Repeated to Moscow, London, Paris, Rome, and Vienna.
  2. At 10 a.m. Washington time, August 9, the White House announced that the President would visit Bonn in the course of his trip to London and Paris August 26–September 7.
  3. President Heuss paid a State visit to the United Kingdom beginning October 20, 1958.
  4. Khrushchev’s visit to the United States in September and the President’s anticipated return visit to the Soviet Union.
  5. Documentation on the “Radford Plan” incident in the summer of 1956 is in Foreign Relations, 1955–1957, vol. IV, pp. 84 ff.