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

1743. As reflected mytel 17161 Chancellor remains firm, and in fact rigid, in his view re negotiations on Berlin at summit conference. To my query, during conversation March 8, as to whether German people were prepared to face up to situation which might prevail if no summit agreement possible on Berlin and Khrushchev should proceed with separate peace treaty with East German regime—with danger that might entail for Berlin access—Adenauer replied that Dulles had once set out for him successive steps which Western Allies might have to take to maintain Berlin access in that contingency, and he had assured late Secretary of full support of Federal Republic and German opinion, up to and including use of military force. These assurances, he said, were still valid.

When, in reply to Chancellor’s oft repeated view that emphasis in summit discussions should be shifted as soon as possible from Berlin to disarmament, I suggested as personal view that if conversations began with Berlin, sequence would more logically be Berlin-German unification-disarmament, he agreed. He evaded issue, however, when I went on to say that, again in my personal view, best way to move discussion from Berlin to German unification would be some new and perhaps [Page 217] bolder proposal for all-German talks, although it seemed evident he was aware I had found some agreement for this thesis in Foreign Office.

While there has been, therefore, no change in Chancellor’s views since conclusion of Geneva Conference, I think it evident there has been significant movement in German public opinion, and that Adenauer, attuned as he is to domestic implications of changing moods of his people, has been confirmed in rightness of his firm attitude. One way of putting it might be to say that Germans having at some time in recent past faced fact that unification will be possible only in distant future, have fastened upon Berlin as symbol of their frustration and are determined that it shall not be lost to them. In this frame of mind they accepted fully Chancellor’s theory, generally endorsed by Brandt, that any change in Berlin status can only be for worse.

Evidence of this attitude is, I believe, to be found in unanimity of all parties on this issue, which, as Department is aware, is first time such agreement has been possible on any one aspect of German foreign policy. This unanimity is, I am sure, most important recent development for future of German foreign policy, and its validity cannot be denied by differences among parties on detailed aspects of handling of this policy.

I think it not improbable that this stauncher attitude on Berlin has found its roots in, and has been fed by, upsurge of nationalism which has been so apparent in German reactions to critical attitude British press, Western criticism of antisemitic incidents, and general outburst re German-Spanish military talks.2 This reaction, only beginning to be audible, is to effect that in whole of post-war period Germans have demonstrated their attachment to ideas and ideals which Atlantic community, and notably United States, have advocated. Why then, they ask, should Germans, 15 years after close of hostilities, be regarded as second-class members of this community which they consider they have loyally supported and to which they have so ardently desired to belong.

If this analysis be in any way correct, then I think it must be concluded that we are rapidly approaching end to that era of complete dependence of Germans upon us, which some of us have affected to deplore, and that we shall soon be faced with an independence which, if not heeded and guided to our interest, may contain elements of grave danger.

Department repeat as desired.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International File. Secret.
  2. Dated March 9, telegram 1716 from Bonn reported on Dowling’s conversation with the Chancellor on March 9, during which Adenauer said he would like to discuss the summit meeting, German assets, his trip to Japan, and anti-West German propaganda during his visit to the United States. Dowling guessed that the Chancellor would also want to discuss his concern about the “parlous state” of the Western alliance. (Ibid.)
  3. During November 1959, Spanish Foreign Minister Castiella visited Bonn and discussed with German officials the use of Spanish military facilities in the event of war.