59. Telegram From Secretary of State Herter to the Department of State0
Cahto 16. London and Bonn Eyes Only for Ambassadors. Following based on interpreter’s summary of bilateral conversation between President and Chancellor Adenauer which took place late afternoon December 20:1
Chancellor spoke of Khrushchev’s liking for long speeches and letters. President mentioned Khrushchev’s tendency to blame Stalin for things which had gone wrong. In answer to question by Chancellor President spoke at some length about his impressions of his visits to various countries on his trip. The Chancellor said that he regarded Nehru, whom he has met twice, as the greatest “actor” he had ever met in his life. President indicated that Nehru’s thinking had evolved somewhat in last few years. President also indicated some hope that India and Pakistan might be able to compose difficulties over Kashmir and said he has expressed this hope to President Ayub and to Prime Minister Nehru. The President then said that he felt that more personalities of Western world should travel to these countries, not too often admittedly that would cheapen their position, but enough to let their well-being. Chancellor said he also thought this a good idea and mentioned that he intended to visit Japan in March. He said that he felt that President’s visit had been an outstanding success and noted that he had been greeted by huge crowds everywhere he had been. President commented that he too felt that visit had had a plus value and his impression had been that these large friendly crowds were trying to express their attachment to the West. It was important that we give peoples of these countries impression that we were just as interested in them and their welfare as in any other peoples in world.
President then mentioned callousness of Russians in dealing with peoples citing remarks made by Marshal Zhukov in 1945 about removing leaders and intellectuals and remainder of population would prove docile. Chancellor said that Germans had recently had intelligence to effect that a large meeting of Soviet General Staff had been held to discuss whether there was any advantage in going to war or not. Marshal Zhukov had been unanimously invited and had come but he left meeting before Khrushchev’s arrival. German intelligence had been that decision [Page 150] of Soviet Staff was that no advantage to be gained by resorting to war. President commented that this was an interesting report.
Chancellor then noted there were three matters he wished to discuss with President. First of these was request by Turks for temporary $60, 000,000 loan, partly from US and partly from Federal Republic. Turks were reliable allies and maintained large forces and he was favorably disposed towards them, but he wished to know what US position on loan was. President attempted to reach Mr. Anderson but he had just checked out of hotel on way to airport. He said that he would have matter looked into and would let Chancellor know. Chancellor said that if US were agreeable he would do everything on his side to push matter forward. President presumed that US and Federal Republic were each being asked to put up $30, 000,000. Chancellor said he would be grateful for any information President could give him on this matter.
Chancellor said that second matter about which he wished to speak to President was question of German assets in US. President said that this matter had been complicated by fact that at time Federal Republic had been set up there had been agreement that was supposed to have settled matter but in fact it had not done so. Chancellor said that if anything could be done on this matter it would be very helpful to him politically. Many people in Germany were saying that we had been allies for many years and that private property was supposed to be regarded as holy and yet nothing had been done on this score. President said that matter had been made more difficult for him by fact that there was group in Congress who opposed any restitution of assets. Nevertheless he would have matter looked into again so that he could see what might be done. Chancellor expressed his gratitude for this expression of President.
Chancellor said that third thing about which he wanted to speak to President was General De Gaulle. He was not as stubborn as he might appear. He did have difficulties with French Army which had been in Algeria a long time and was much more influential in France that US or German armies were in their own countries. President said that Mr. Bourguiba had expressed this belief to him in Tunis2 and he had mentioned it to General De Gaulle who had said that he had complete control over army. General De Gaulle had this same difficulty on all matters relating to defense as well as to Algeria said the Chancellor. He added that General De Gaulle was a great man and we could not do without him in Europe.
President then voiced his concern to Chancellor regarding difficulties which French were creating in NATO particularly re General [Page 151] Norstad’s plan for integrated air defense. President spoke at some length on military need for such defense and need to get away from nationalistic considerations in order to create a more effective collective defense. Chancellor said that difficulty was not personal with General Norstad and that General De Gaulle had spoken to him several times of his high regard for the General. President expressed hope that Chancellor would convey his concern to General De Gaulle if he had occasion and mentioned that General De Gaulle had agreed to receive General Norstad to hear technical details of air defense plan. Chancellor expressed hope that this matter would be worked out following President’s talk with General De Gaulle and Gen Norstad’s briefing. He said that he had seen General De Gaulle after this morning talk with President3 and while General De Gaulle had not told him subjects that had been discussed he had appeared very pleased with his talk with President.
Chancellor then thanked President for giving him this opportunity to talk with him and said he felt meeting Western Powers had been very useful.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 711.11–EI/12–2159. Secret. Transmitted in two sections. Repeated to London and Bonn.↩
- For Adenauer’s account, see Erinnerungen, 1959–1963, p. 28.↩
- The President visited Tunisia December 17.↩
- A memorandum of the President’s conversation with De Gaulle at 10:15 a.m. on December 20 is in vol. VII, Part 2, Document 151.↩