92. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • Summit


  • Dr. Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor, Federal Republic of Germany
  • Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Livingston T. Merchant

Before dinner at the German Embassy, I had the opportunity of a few words alone with the Chancellor. He spoke of his visit to Mr. Dulles’ grave and his long and admiring association with the former Secretary. I then brought up the question of preparations in advance of the Summit dealing with the question of Germany, including Berlin.

I said that I felt sure from his talk with the President earlier in the day any worry he may have had concerning the firmness of our position on Berlin had been dissipated. I said that in the last analysis, the security and freedom of the people of West Berlin depended upon the presence [Page 232] there of American troops, and that it was their presence there rather than any legal theory on which their presence presumed to rest that was the essential factor in the situation. I went on to say that we considered it important that the Four-Power Working Group on this topic be able to consider freely all possible alternatives to the existing arrangement. In addition to the possibility that an agreement might be reached on a more secure and effective arrangement, there was the great negative value of such an examination to which Secretary Herter had referred in the afternoon, namely, that it would expose and familiarize all of us in detail with the particular weaknesses and pitfalls in variants which the Soviets or outsiders might suggest. Moreover, I said, they believed we could best assure a solid Four-Power position if all of us, and particularly the pragmatic British, looked at every conceivable alternative before arriving at what might well be the conclusion that existing arrangements were the best and that no alteration in them should be considered. Accordingly, I concluded, we hoped that the representative of the Federal Republic on the working group would be instructed to participate in such a broad review.

The Chancellor listened attentively and gave some impression of understanding the point and agreeing, but we were interrupted by the arrival of other guests before he had the opportunity (or chose) to make any oral comment.

After dinner, Mr. Hillenbrand and I talked on the same subject to Dr. Von Brentano, and I went over substantially the same ground with him. He indicated sympathy but made no commitment.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 559, CF 1610. Secret. Drafted by Merchant.