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

434. Ref Embtel 413.1 Van Scherpenberg sent for me this morning to say Chancellor had instructed him give me summary 13-page personal letter from Khrushchev, but he was not authorized to give full text. Letter had said no publication of text would be made by Soviets and it would be left entirely in Adenauer’s discretion whether he published it. This he has not yet decided.

Van Scherpenberg stated it differed from recent Soviet notes and letters in that it was in terms such as customarily are used only from person to person, and its language was unusually courteous in spite of the sternness of some of its contents.

It started off with an historical review of Soviet-German relations which are now at a turning point. Khrushchev remarked that, if statements by Chancellor and other FedRep statesmen that they have no territorial claims against the Soviets are true, then there are only ideological differences between the two governments. (Scherpenberg commented that the implications of this portion are unclear.)

The letter goes on to point out there are two independent German states. Adenauer has not been willing to accept this situation, but it does no good to ignore reality.

Then there were references to the militaristic and revanchist tendencies of the West Germans. FedRep is the strongest power amongst the capitalist nations of Europe and is able to build a strong army, which facts the Soviets recognize. But even if FedRep military strength and that of Allies are added together, they will not be able to match Soviet Armed Forces. In this connection, there was bragging about Soviet military power and references to missiles and rockets.

Khrushchev mentioned Hitler’s demands for more breathing space for Germany and said recent developments in the FedRep demonstrate this is not necessary.

If FedRep and Adenauer personally do not subscribe to revanchist ideas, then what prevents them signing a general peace treaty to legalize [Page 9] present state of affairs and tranquilize other peoples as well as their own?

No one should believe FedRep would become socialist or East Germany capitalist against the wish of their own people.

Adenauer’s government has done everything to prevent a settlement of the Berlin question, although it has no rights, legal or otherwise, to deal with Berlin. As long as there is no peace treaty with Germany, as long as occupation lasts, as long as in West Berlin, the “Center of the GDR” foreign troops remain, it will always be easy to create conditions leading to catastrophe. Then followed another appeal to accept reality. The conclusion of a peace treaty would bring reunification into the realm of practicality. If Adenauer wants reunification, he must change present policy.

It is purely an internal question whether Germany develops along capitalist or socialist lines. Invitation to other nations to mix in this affair is dangerous and could lead to war.

If Adenauer desires to leave solution such questions to institutions where capitalist states have 3 votes and socialists only 1, this is absurd and unacceptable. Under the circumstances, the Soviets have reason to believe Adenauer does not want reunification but wishes to continue the cold war. If this were not true, Chancellor would make contacts with GDR to achieve results. As USSR has often said, unless Chancellor accepts such contacts with GDR no reunification is possible. Therefore, he should accept formation of an all-German commission.

USSR has never refused reunification but it must be reached by agreement between two German states.

Khrushchev accuses FedRep Delegation at Geneva of having been foremost in objecting to an all-German commission.

Regarding rearmament, FedRep is more interested in Equipment of Bundeswehr with missiles and nuclear weapons than in reunification. USSR has already warned FedRep and now repeats the dangers of this.

Talks between President Eisenhower and Khrushchev are imminent. The main forces directed against the Soviet Union are stationed in Germany, France and England. This means in the event of war the front line would be in FedRep and she would suffer the brunt of USSR attacks. Khrushchev appeals to Chancellor to overcome his prejudice against GDR and other socialist countries and to establish normal relations with his neighbors. (Scherpenberg finds this reference obscure, so far as it applies to GDR.)

If all this fails, USSR will have to make separate peace treaty with GDR. Another appeal to Chancellor to make his contribution to finish cold war. [sic]

[Page 10]

Paper ends by referring to prospective talks between US and USSR. Language is approximately, “We attach great importance to forthcoming talks with President Eisenhower. Perhaps we find ourselves on edge of historical turning point in relations between two blocs which might lead to rapprochement and guarantee of peaceful co-existence between all states.” USSR cannot limit itself to talking to President about maize and cucumbers but will address itself to unsolved problems of the world.

Most important unsolved problem is to liquidate remains of last war. USSR convinced basis required for mutually acceptable agreement can be found. For its part, it will do everything possible to contribute to such end.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/8–2559. Secret; Noforn; Limit Distribution; Priority. Repeated priority to London, Paris, Moscow, and Rome. Copies were given to the President, Herter, and Merchant on their arrival in Bonn on August 26.
  2. Dated August 24, telegram 413 from Bonn reported that Smirnov had delivered a 13-page letter from Khrushchev to Adenauer and that the Foreign Ministry had given the Embassy in Bonn only a very general outline of the contents. For full text of the letter, August 18, see Moskau Bonn, pp. 586–593. (Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/8–2459)