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

690. Ref: Moscow’s 1161 to Department.1 Since first Khrushchev talk with Kroll there has been increasing public and private speculation about a possible improvement in German-Soviet relations, with rumors of future initiative by Chancellor for exchange of visits with Khrushchev. Although there have been official denials, these rumors have been due in large measure to Chancellor’s semi-public comments on Khrushchev’s friendly attitude, as well as his action in expressing regrets to Smirnov. (It has never been made clear precisely for what regrets were expressed, although Foreign Office has confidently held that no apology was intended. Nor is it clear just why Adenauer sent Merkatz2 to Smirnov, despite Brentano’s advice to contrary. My own interpretation, however, is that nothing more complex is involved than [Page 621] Adenauer’s sensitiveness to Communist charges of “war-monger”, which he feels have gained some credence in West.)

Adenauer had certainly been disturbed by intensity and duration of Soviet propaganda campaign in past against Federal Republic and him personally, and has made no bones about his feeling that he had received less than adequate public support and defense from his principal NATO Allies. His demonstrative effusion of pleasure and attitude following Macmillan’s recent speech in UNGA 3 was doubtless intended to bring home to others, including ourselves, that such a defense of Germany was a rarity and a surprise worth celebrating.

I believe that Chancellor has also been impressed by the realization that differences between him and De Gaulle with regard both to NATO and to Europe are such that he can no longer publicly adopt same pose of a confident and intimate relationship to France as in past. In a sense, foregoing has contributed to Chancellor’s feeling of current isolation of Germany. Finally, it is also no secret that in recent months Chancellor has expressed his recurrent misgivings about the role and the prospective policies of the United States with regard to Europe, and in this respect too he has doubtless found his own justification for feeling somewhat apprehensive and neglected. Psychologically, the Chancellor presents the dubious combination of an extremely tough and shrewd politician and of a man who, if not susceptible to flattery, is at least overly responsive to gestures indicating sentiments of personal benevolence.

It may be that all these factors, coupled with his well-known fears of Western weakness re Berlin, have combined to give the Chancellor the feeling that Khrushchev’s switch to friendly attitude should be utilized to try to reduce the extent of the public friction and hostility between the Federal Republic and the Soviet Union. To sum up, I do not believe for a moment that the Chancellor is engaged in any devious or dangerous flirtation with the Soviet Union. With his sensitiveness to Germany’s exposed position and her relationships within the Western Alliance, however, his tendency, in compensation for unsatisfactory developments in this area, is to turn his attention toward the problem of Germany’s relationship with Soviet Union.

Chancellor’s Christian faith, and his profound conviction that Western Germany’s survival depends upon close association with US are, I firmly believe, adequate guarantee against any “deal” with Soviet Union during lifetime. Given past history of Germany’s Eastern relations, we cannot of course depend upon this guarantee after he passes [Page 622] from political scene, and it is for this basic reason that I have stressed in previous messages, my belief that FedRep must be firmly cemented in to fabric of West as equal ally, and that we must continue to support legitimate aspirations of German people, including reunification.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 661.62/11–960. Secret; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Paris, London, Berlin, and Moscow.
  2. Dated November 8, telegram 1161 from Moscow reported that Kroll had had another long conversation with Khrushchev at a reception on November 7. (Ibid., 762C.002/11–360) The previous conversation occurred on October 18 when Kroll delivered a letter from Adenauer on German repatriation. For Kroll’s account of these two conversations, see Lebenserinnerungen, pp. 465 ff. The Embassy in Moscow reported on the first conversation in telegram 1073, October 26. (Department of State, Central Files, 261.62A22/10–2660) Dowling was briefed on it by Carstens on the same day. (Telegram 615 from Bonn, October 26, ibid.)
  3. Hans-Joachim von Ersatz, Federal Minister for Bundestag and Lander Affairs. The incident under reference has not been identified further.
  4. For McMillan’s speech, September 29, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1960, pp. 719–722.