262. Telegram From the Embassy in Germany to the Department of State0

597. Following is translation of Adenauer’s reply, dated October 20, 1960, to the President’s letter of October 7, which Brentano handed me this morning:1

“Bonn, October 20, 1960.

My Dear Mr. President,

Dear Friend, Many thanks for your letter of October 7. Appreciation for our work and our cooperation, when it comes from your side, dear friend, is particularly valuable to me in these weeks filled with anxiety about domestic politics and about Europe—I think in this connection of France.

I agree with you that we Germans must, with all our might, strive to follow the path which the Marshall Plan has shown. I believe that we are able to make a considerable contribution to the aiding of underdeveloped countries. I consider it an excellent idea that you are willing to [Page 695] send Minister Anderson and Under Secretary of State Dillon to Bonn. I shall personally participate in these talks at the appropriate moment. Plans in this direction are already far advanced. However, I should like to ask you that you not form an opinion as yet as regards the question of stationing costs. This is a financial and political question of decisive importance, particularly during the election year in which we find ourselves. As you know, the Bundestag will be reelected in September 1961. I should like, therefore, to reiterate my request that you form your opinion only after the whole complex has been discussed with your representatives.

As regards our own domestic political scene, I take the liberty of submitting to you the following observations. People abroad often think that the Social Democratic Party hews to the same line as we. That is not the case. It is true, the SPD, through its Deputy Chairman Wehner, says that it is for NATO; at the same time, however, it states through its Chairman Ollenhauer, through Werner and Mayor Brandt, that it is opposed to equipping the German Armed Forces with nuclear weapons. I need not explain to you my dear Mr. President at length that troops without nuclear weapons when pitted against the Soviet Forces which dispose of such strong nuclear armament, are nothing but beasts fit for slaughter. The NATO army would be finished in such case where an essential contingent such as the German one is not equipped with nuclear arms. In order to enable the Federal Government to continue the policy which it has pursued during the past 11 years, it is essential for the Bundestag to have a majority which holds the same basic views. A loss of the election by us would mean the end of the European policy as hitherto pursued. Despite the propaganda made for Mr. Brandt, our election prospects are good. Although this propaganda is false and untrue and although Mr. Brandt and the Berlin Senat are not frank in their dealings with the Federal Government, I am restraining myself so that no one will be able to blame us for having damaged Mr. Brandt’s and thereby also Berlin’s standing with the free nations in the light of the development that the Berlin crisis, which is to be expected with certainty, may take. Mr. Brandt is soon to visit the United States. I hope that his reception there will be dignified but not exaggerated.

Our Ambassador in Moscow has recently handed to Mr. Khrushchev a letter from me2 which deals with the repatriation of Germans still retained in the Soviet Union. On this occasion Mr. Khrushchev has drawn our Ambassador into a lengthy conversation and, among other things, has stressed that he has the firm intention of bringing about decision in the German question during the coming year. He was thinking of [Page 696] a summit conference in January or February. He might, if circumstances require, even wait until March or April provided the Western side could advance plausible arguments in support of such delay.

Although I can imagine that great demands are being made upon you at this time, I have taken the liberty of communicating these views about our own domestic political situation and about Mr. Khrushchev to you because I know the great interest which you have in just these two questions.

Your representatives will be welcome at any time. We have started with the preparatory work on the question of aiding underdeveloped countries and I hope that within a few days we shall have worked out definite proposals. Should your representatives prefer not to come during the last few weeks before the elections in the United States, I should like to suggest that they come immediately after the elections. At any rate, my representatives as well as myself shall be at their disposal at any time.

My thoughts are very much with you and I wish you, from the bottom of my heart, all the best for the coming weeks.

As ever, Yours, Adenauer.”

Salutation and complimentary close handwritten.

Brentano stressed that, as stated in letter, Chancellor would be happy to see Secretary Anderson and Under Secretary Dillon at any time. He asked, however, if I could let him know as soon as dates for visit were fixed.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.62A/10—2260. Confidential; Presidential Handling.
  2. The German language text of Adenauer’s letter was transmitted as an enclosure to despatch 534 from Bonn, October 24. (Ibid.) The President’s letter is printed as Document 261.
  3. See footnote 1, Document 237.