53. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State 0
1683. German Amb, who has just returned from Bonn, told me Chancellor well satisfied his meeting with De Gaulle.1 Amb said De Gaulle had assured Chancellor French would make strong effort prevent Khrushchev from making propaganda out of his visit to France. Amb agreed with me that there were many signs that Khrushchev would attempt make deal with De Gaulle and particularly to split Germans and French but said Germans were convinced attempt would not succeed. Amb pointed out Khrushchev did not control situation in Algeria which was one of primary French interests and he thought there was little he could offer French.
Amb said Chancellor was obsessed with necessity of winning ’61 elections in order prevent disaster for Germany and all he had accomplished thus far. For this reason Chancellor could make no concession on Berlin, which was an issue clearly understood in Germany and rest of world, and Chancellor would insist that if Berlin were to be discussed it should be within framework of the broader German problem. When I suggested that Chancellor should also take into account effect on elections of failure to make any progress at summit meeting and consequent likelihood of Sov conclusion separate peace treaty, Amb said he fully agreed but inquired what US thought could be done to head off separate treaty. I replied I thought Germans were in best position to answer this since their interests would be primarily involved. I added however that it seemed to me personally possible that a package offer could be devised involving inter alia creation of all-German committee with commitment for elections (along lines our Geneva proposal) at end of fixed period if committee failed to bring about reunification. I pointed out that while commitment for elections might not be worth much it would gain considerable time and I thought Sovs would adhere to agreement not to conclude separate treaty if this were made part of package. To my surprise Kroll expressed great interest in working out something along this line and urged that I submit it to my govt. (Kroll has always been unwilling to make suggestions to Chancellor which he thinks latter might not welcome.) Kroll said Chancellor thought only field in which progress could be made at summit was disarmament but he agreed with my estimate that it was unlikely that sufficient progress could be made on disarmament [Page 136] at summit meeting to relieve Khrushchev of necessity of carrying out his threat to conclude separate treaty. With respect to disarmament Kroll said Chancellor would not accept any arrangements which discriminated against Germany and was for this reason opposed to disengagement schemes.
Kroll thought an added reason for coming up with something positive at summit meeting was to support Khrushchev against his opposition and he pointed out that Khrushchev was capable of reversing his present policies and taking a hard line if occasion warranted. While we both agreed Khrushchev is very much in control here now, we believe policies are at least discussed in presidium and there are doubtless many who are concerned at effect of Khrushchev’s policies, particularly in domestic field, on future of party. I pointed out an additional factor was current strain in Soviet-Chinese relations and Khrushchev’s desire to remain unchallenged leader of Communist bloc. We also agreed that should Khrushchev for any reason disappear from scene in near future, Sov regime would turn toward tougher policy. In my opinion this is less a question of individual personalities than natural play of power factors within Soviet Union. It takes strong leader like Khrushchev to depart from established policies of past, to which chief elements of power, party, military, and police, automatically tend to gravitate.
Kroll said Brentano had little to do with West German policy toward Sov Union and indicated this handled by Chancellor and himself. Despite his lack of modesty I believe Kroll does in fact have considerable influence on Chancellor where Sov affairs are concerned.