70. Telegram From the Embassy in Germany to the Department of State 0
1358. Paris for USRO, pass to Thurston and Finn. Ref: Deptel 1559.1 I am fully aware of the difficulties inherent in working out a generally [Page 176] acceptable procedure of national participation in pre-summit consultation. However I wish to point out certain factors which seem to me important with regard to the Federal Government, whose political incarnation, for our purposes, is the Chancellor.
The solution proposed by Alphand is certainly ingenious but, from the German point of view, transparent: it amounts to reducing further the role which the Federal Government will play in the preparations for the summit. We can be certain that the Chancellor will not like it at all and that, given his nature, he will draw conclusions from our acquiescence in it which will feed his already lively sense of suspicion, and his doubts about our ultimate intentions. I must emphasize that my concern is not with Adenauer’s feelings, but with their likely effect, in terms of our long-range interests, on US-German relations, and on relations within the Western Alliance generally.
The effect of their proposed solution on Adenauer must be assessed against the present background of a) sustained Soviet attempt to discredit the Chancellor (whatever Khrushchev’s protestations) and his policies, b) the Chancellor’s own sense of increasing isolation within the Western camp in the face of the Soviet campaign, c) the impact on Western opinion of the recent anti-semitic manifestations in terms of the FedRep’s prestige and popularity, d) the low ebb of Anglo-German relations, and e) the Chancellor’s own congenital inclination to suspect the worst.
Even if, as seems to me possible, the Chancellor accepts the proposed solution without going through the roof, I am convinced that his silence should not be taken as a sign that he is not disturbed by, and resentful of, it. To what extent this state of mind may breed future difficulties in reaching a united and solid Western negotiating position at the conference table is a matter of judgment. I confess that I am apprehensive.
There is a further point which seems to me important: the more Adenauer feels that what he considers to be Germany’s special interests and justified claims are ignored in preparations for the summit, the less he will be likely to associate himself with, or consider himself committed by, Western decisions and positions. I realize that this same argument is valid for, and used by, all other NATO members, but here we have to deal with a country whose attitude is of immediate and critical importance to the outcome of negotiations on Germany and Berlin, and East-West relations. I take it to be in our interest to commit the FedRep to sharing responsibility for Western decisions, and to reduce as far as possible any inclination on its part to dissociate itself from the Western positions, on the ground that it has been excluded from adequate participation in the formulation of such positions. It is surely in the nature [Page 177] of the Chancellor to be particularly sensitive to the foregoing considerations.
Should it nevertheless be decided that we have no alternative to going along with the French suggestion, it seems to me that we might in our own interest, at least get the French to shoulder the principal responsibility. I suggest that the French be asked to inform the Federal Government, in the name of the three powers, of course, of the decision taken, and of the reasons therefor. I should of course prefer suggestion of Ambassador Steel that we leave to plaintiffs in this case onus of pushing Germans aside; but in any case I am concerned to divert Adenauer’s immediate reaction away from US, feeling as I do, that he will be especially wounded and incensed that US should appear to have joined in this maneuver without regard for his position.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–PA/1–2460. Secret; Priority. Repeated to Paris, London, Rome, Ottawa, and Berlin.↩
- Dated January 22, telegram 1559 to Bonn reported that in a conversation with Herter on January 22 Alphand had stated that the four-power Steering or Coordinating Committee should be dissolved. This would solve the problem of representation on the committee, and the West Germans could be informed of summit preparations informally. (Ibid., 396.1-PA/1–2260)↩