257. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • US–USSR Economic Strength; Aerial Inspection Zone; Self-Determination and Berlin Plebiscite


  • Dr. Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor, Federal Republic of Germany
  • Dr. Heinrich von Brentano, Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • Ambassador Wilhelm G. Grewe
  • Mr. Weber, Interpreter
  • Secretary Herter
  • Under Secretary C. Douglas Dillon
  • Under Secretary Livingston T. Merchant
  • Ambassador Walter C. Dowling

Following dinner, during which the Chancellor was in a jovial frame of mind, the group listed above talked for over an hour in the library. Ambassadors Grewe and Dowling joined the group soon after the conversation began.

The first general subject discussed (launched by the Chancellor) was the economic position of the Soviet Union relative to the free world, and in particular to the United States. The Chancellor referred, as he had the evening before at the German Embassy, to the reports he had of great and growing Soviet strength. At one point he stated that he understood that by 1965 the economy of the Soviet Union would be equivalent to that of the United States. When this was quickly contested, he modified his statement to say that by 1965 the Soviet Union would have the capability of doing great damage at will in the disruption of the free economies of free nations and their export markets.

Mr. Dillon described the recent intention of the Soviet Union to ship 10, 000 small cars into the U.S. market at a price roughly 25% below that at which they are sold within the Soviet Union. If the facts as stated were true, that would constitute dumping and would invoke protective machinery. The Chancellor readily agreed that this was an illustration of what he had in mind.

Mr. Dillon then emphasized that recognition of the growth of Soviet economic strength was one of the major supports behind our policy of encouraging by all means available the common market of the Six and [Page 679] related liberal trading practices on the Continent, so that within the frame of the Atlantic Community the main industrial strength of the free world would operate most effectively and thereby minimize the future difficulties inherent in the growing economic power of the Soviet Union. The Chancellor agreed but added one or two comments which indicated the importance he attached to bilateral economic arrangements, presumably between the Federal Republic and the United States.

The Chancellor then turned the conversation to education, mentioning that he had had a discussion of this subject with Senator Fulbright. It was not entirely clear what points he was making, but he emphasized two. The first was that in the West our educational systems must give greater weight to the inculcation of moral principles to offset with the students the loss of authority of the family and the church. The second point which he did not expand was that something must be done to meet the growing problem of university graduates coming into a world which could not provide for all such graduates enough jobs suitable for their level of education.

[Here follows discussion of the aerial inspection zone and self-determination and Berlin plebiscite. For text, see Document 94.]

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 559, CF 1610. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Merchant. The conversation took place after dinner at Secretary Herter’s residence.