2. Memorandum of Conference With President Eisenhower 0

[Here follows discussion of unrelated matters.]

The President next said that the indications are that Adenauer, after showing reason initially, had since become very inflexible in his attitudes during the last couple of weeks. Mr. Herter said he is both inflexible and deeply suspicious. Fundamentally he is approaching his problems from a domestic political standpoint—he is fearful of the large Socialist vote in East Germany. In fact, Mr. Herter believed that Adenauer for that reason does not want a reunified Germany even though he continues to call for reunification publicly, as he must.

The President commented that if Adenauer is really fearful of reunification, he should be favorable to steps short of full reunification. Mr. Herter said the West Germans would like to have contact with the East Germans, without recognizing them, limiting contacts to the technical level, and having the Western countries represented in any committee that is set up. The President asked Mr. Herter whether all this means that we are just going to take an adamant and negative stand. He asked what ideas we have.

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Mr. Herter said that the crux of the matter is that the Soviets want to destroy our protection of West Berlin. He thought it might be useful for us to tell Khrushchev that we have no desire to stay in West Berlin in perpetuity. That is why we wish to find some solution in Germany. The President asked what can be done that Adenauer will accept. Mr. Herter thought we should try to get an arrangement which would carry us over the German elections in the fall of 1961. Thereafter, contacts between the West Germans and East Germans might prove possible to work out.

Mr. Herter said there are two matters of principle involved. The Soviets are trying by pressure to get us out of our rights in West Berlin. They are also trying by pressure to get us to reduce our troops in West Berlin. The President said that if Khrushchev wants to liquidate the occupation he should agree on free elections in Germany.

The President said he would like to meet with the State Department representatives on Monday or Tuesday and have from them a working paper that he can use for each of the capitals he is going to visit. Behind that there should be a paper indicating just what are the limits to which we can go in talking to Khrushchev. Mr. Herter said he really thought that for the time being the best thing for us to do is to get a two-to-three year modus vivendi. The President said we must have our own position with respect to the Soviets on Germany very clear and with this in mind consider how we can best talk with Adenauer, Macmillan and De Gaulle.

[Here follows discussion of unrelated matters.]

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, DDE Diaries. Secret.