18. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Germany0
694. Following is text of message for delivery from the President to Chancellor Adenauer. Advise date time delivery.
“September 28, 1959.
Dear Mr. Chancellor: I know how interested you are in the results of my meetings with Mr. Khrushchev. I expect very shortly to send you a summary of all that occurred and follow that up with my more considered personal impressions of the man and what the visit so far may have accomplished.1
Meanwhile, however, I want to send you immediate word concerning my discussions with Mr. Khrushchev regarding West Berlin. I do so particularly because some confusion seems to have arisen out of one question posed in my press conference this morning.2
At the outset let me say that I made the situation of Berlin and the removal by the Soviet Government of any appearance of a threat or time limit to the settlement of this problem the touchstone of my talks with the Chairman. Indeed, the fact that we did not cover the list of items which we had informally agreed we would try to cover at Camp David was due to the prolongation of our discussions on the subject of Berlin and my insistence that any hint of duress must be specifically removed before I was prepared to talk about anything else.
Mr. Khrushchev finally accepted the fact of our determination to insure the security and freedom of the people of West Berlin. This I told him was a responsibility and an obligation which we had accepted and from which we would not be driven. I told him that we were prepared to resume negotiations on the Berlin question subject, of course, to agreement by the others directly concerned—the British, the French, and yourself. I told him that we would negotiate in good faith for a solution which would assure the freedom and security of West Berliners. I said that we had no intention of prolonging those negotiations indefinitely but that we would not enter upon them if there was to be any time limit fixed for their conclusion. He agreed to this and I so stated publicly this [Page 54] morning. Mr. Khrushchev also assured me that he would publicly confirm this understanding, and I am momentarily awaiting word that he has done so.
The problem of a divided Berlin, as you and I have agreed, is like the problem of a divided Germany, abnormal and unjust. The logical solution is the reunification of Germany and this remains our objective. But the attainment of that objective may, and it seems probably will, be postponed for a considerable time and I feel that we must seek a firm arrangement under which the people of West Berlin are secure in their freedom and from any harassment against themselves, their economy and their communications, and are not interfered with in their movement to and from the city and the Federal Republic. Such an arrangement or solution we will do our best to find, one that is fair to all, so far as this may be achieved within a divided Germany. Meanwhile, I know I don’t have to tell you after our talks in Bonn last month that the United States is resolved together with its Allies to safeguard the freedom and security of the people of West Berlin, so long as this may be necessary.
With warm regard, from your friend, Dwight D. Eisenhower.”
Observe Presidential Handling.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.62A/9–2859. Confidential; Presidential Handling. Drafted by Merchant, cleared in draft by the President, and approved by Calhoun.↩
- The summary, also sent to Macmillan and De Gaulle, was transmitted under cover of a brief personal note on September 30. (Telegrams 714 and 715 to Bonn; ibid., Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204)↩
- See Document 17.↩