20. Diary Entry by the Ambassador to Germany (Bruce)0
[Here follow six paragraphs discussing Bruce’s conversations with other officials.]
The Chancellor asked me to come and see him, so I did at 5:15 p.m. He told me he wanted to talk to me as his friend Mr. Bruce and not as Ambassador. Whenever he uses such a phrase, I know he is going to express fears about U.S. Government policy and some individuals connected with it. I know this is a way for him to let off steam, and am careful about what I report concerning such conversations since he requests me to regard them as private.
He observed that from his study of the communiqué,1 press comments and his letter from the President,2 he thought a new manner in [Page 56] diplomacy had emerged in the United States. Were Dulles alive, he observed, Khrushchev would never have been invited. The German Ambassador to Moscow Kroll had reported a great rise in Khrushchev’s prestige at home and in uncommitted countries because of his American tour. (I have read a good many of Kroll’s reports and have little confidence in his judgment, although in this respect it is probably correct.)
The Chancellor then asked me an extraordinary question: “Are Mr. Herter’s eyes not too kind?” When I explored this query, I found what he had in mind was the fear of Herter being too gentlemanly to engage Khrushchev or Gromyko in rough and tumble debate. I told him that in my opinion Herter was fully capable of taking care of himself under all circumstances. He had a long political career in Massachusetts where toughness in speech and action is requisite to success. Moreover, I thought his rebukes to Gromyko at Geneva were sharper and more effective than any I heard from other Foreign Ministers.
The Chancellor then got onto the subject of the Soviets wanting financing, instruction and technical assistance for building chemical plants. He understood the Dupont Company in the U.S. was considering accepting some working arrangement with them. I told him I was not specifically informed but hoped this was not true since, especially at this time, I would think it inadvisable. It is evident that the Russian economy has become widely self-sufficient, but to change at this juncture our attitude toward trade relations with them would seem to me ill timed and in some respects dangerous. He said he was in agreement and had no intention of permitting German firms to participate. Industrialists, he thought, were as a class lacking in political acumen.
He fixed me with a genial eye and said he had committed an indiscretion while the President was here3 by telling Eisenhower he hoped he would refuse to accept my resignation as Ambassador and that I would remain here indefinitely. The President seems to have answered this was beyond his control—he would like nothing better, but it was up to the Chancellor and not himself to persuade me. I got out of that one by saying that, happy as I had been in Germany, I simply must go home and next month seemed the logical time. He wagged his head and said we would talk about it further later.
[Here follow two paragraphs describing Bruce’s activities for the rest of the day.]