361. Telegram From Secretary of State Rusk to the Department of State 0

Secto 59. Following summary based on uncleared memorandum of conversation.1

After Secretary and Chancellor had conferred privately for more than an hour late in afternoon, they joined larger group for discussion of Test Ban Treaty which lasted another hour and a half. At conclusion of frank series of exchanges, Chancellor expressed his satisfaction with clarification of US position which he had received and said he thought that, on this basis, he could probably carry through German adherence to treaty.

Chancellor began by lengthy exposition of German concerns about Test Ban Treaty. He pointed out that:

In this new treaty provision had been made for three depositary states rather than one as in 1962 draft tabled at Geneva.
In Article 4 there was specific language “in exercising national sovereignty”, whereas 1962 text withdrawal article contained no such language. These four words were superfluous. Quite clearly Soviets had put them in the treaty, as well as providing for three depositaries, in order to take care of Soviet Zone. If in “exercising national sovereignty”, Soviet zone could in a year withdraw from treaty, then by implication it now had such “national sovereignty”. Acceptance of these words would have very bad effect on reunification prospects, and ran counter to repeated assurances received from US that Federal Republic alone entitled to speak for German people as a whole.
Therefore German Government had great hesitation re adherence to treaty though, in view of US leadership in achieving treaty, government would like very much to be able to adhere. Bundestag and Bundesrat approval would be necessary. Chancellor estimated that four-fifths of CDU/CSU faction in Bundestag was against adherence. He also referred to evidence from SPD refugee leader that SPD also had serious objections. Thus chances of getting a decent majority, or even a majority, for adherence in Bundestag were not favorable.

Secretary responded by stressing:

US believes very strongly that human survival depended on finding some way, step by step, to bring nuclear weapons under control. [Page 874] We signed treaty because we thought it was in US interests. We were not trying to dictate to Federal Republic which had to make its own decision regarding adherence to treaty. We also believed signature of treaty was in interest of general community of states, and hoped Federal Republic would find itself able to join many states which would sign or adhere to it.
One factor which moved us toward more general type of disarmament arrangement, such as Test Ban Treaty, was desire to avoid anything that would discriminate specifically against Germany. That is why we would want world-wide agreement on nuclear non-proliferation. As Chancellor aware, Soviets had pressed us on this later point repeatedly within German and Berlin context.
Another aspect of particular importance to us was Mainland China. We looked to day when country of 700 million people would acquire own nuclear weapons. We were practically only power which has existing commitments to neighboring countries and would have to deal with this problem when it arises. Therefore we had strong incentive to try to bring all possible pressure on Red China to try to avoid its development of nuclear weapons. This had, however, confronted us with certain complexities which also had bearing on GDR problem. We did not recognize Peiping, but would not want formal considerations to give Red China an excuse for not adhering to test ban. We believed that international law and practice is clear on point that adherence to multilateral treaty does not involve recognition of signers who are not recognized.
We are and have been concerned with problem of Soviet Zone, not just because of Federal Republic but on our own account. Of all NATO members, we had least to do with GDR and have done least to give it status. We do not believe its status would be changed by this treaty or by deposit of signature only in Moscow.
Re point on Article 4, this was a shortened substitute for Article 3 of earlier draft. Actually Soviets had objected strongly to any clause in treaty on withdrawal, claiming that any signatory could exercise its national sovereignty and simply denounce treaty. We wanted to put some limit on such exercise of sovereignty and felt ability to withdraw from treaty should be qualified in advance. Therefore we valued some withdrawal procedure. If Soviets resumed testing, we would not limit our action to withdrawal but would regard treaty as so injured in central point that we would not be bound by it. Words “in exercising national sovereignty” thus were remnant of Soviet argument that sovereignty itself gives right of withdrawal. These words did not come up in any way in connection with East German problem. We made clear throughout discussion that nothing in this treaty could affect our nonrecognition [Page 875] policy towards GDR. Soviets on their part had some harsh things to say re Nationalist China.
We expected to make our attitude on these matters clear in presentation to Senate.

Adenauer said there seemed to be agreement that four words “in exercising national sovereignty” were fully superfluous in text. Their inclusion was good example of Soviet mastery of dialectics, which should be studied by all officers of Foreign Ministries.

At this point the Secretary asked Chayes to read portions of statement to be made before Senate in article-by-article review of provisions of treaty. After Chayes had concluded, Chancellor commented that mental acrobatics involved in formulations which he had just heard were excellent. Whoever had written them did not need any further study of dialectics. Chancellor questioned specifically what US would do if Soviets transmitted GDR adherence. Chayes quoted text of proposed statement to Senate that we would not accept such notification. Adenauer queried as to what specific reply to Soviets would be. After some discussion, Chayes pointed out that our thinking was that it would be along line of reply which we had given Swiss at time of transmission of GDR adherence to Geneva prisoners of war convention.2 We said that we did not recognize GDR but, because of kind of agreement it was, we took note of fact that GDR had stated intention to abide by provisions of convention. Federal Republic, he pointed out, had sent practically identical note to Swiss at that time.

Carstens then summarized for Chancellor conclusions which Chayes and German Foreign Office legal experts had arrived at earlier in afternoon as follows:

GDR subscription to treaty in Moscow would create no contractual relationship between US and GDR. Thus GDR would not be recognized and would not be a treaty partner with respect to US.
GDR takes only a unilateral commitment to abide by provisions of treaty.
GDR therefore has no right to participate in procedures envisaged in treaty.
US will send back notification of GDR adherence received from Soviets with appropriate statement.3

Adenauer was obviously impressed by clear US position. He asked whether we believed UK held same views. Chayes responded that all these points had not been discussed specifically with British, since in [Page 876] talks with German legal experts penetration into problem had been much deeper. However, he supposed British would not have any objections to this analysis as the logical consequence of three-depositaries arrangement. Secretary observed that UK had participated in Moscow discussions on recognition which foreshadowed this result.

Carstens added that US would also transmit position which he had explained to third countries to help influence their attitudes analogously.

Chancellor commented that, on basis of this analysis, he thought he could carry through German adherence with his people. Secretary said he was happy to hear this. We were prepared to work further on points that might arise. We would keep in close touch with Federal Government. Although we tried to anticipate all questions, Senate committee hearings might bring out a few we had not thought of. He urged complete secrecy as to his intended remarks to Senate, since it would be highly embarrassing to have members of committee read what he was going to say to them beforehand in press. Chancellor concluded discussion by remarking that Secretary had not come to Bonn in vain.

Comment: At dinner this evening, Chancellor during toast noted that visit had been successful in producing a basis for positive German action on adherence. Foreign Office officials present were obviously elated. Some were talking in terms of German signature of treaty before it went into effect rather than mere adherence. German Cabinet meets on Monday,4 and they hope definitive decision will be taken then. Foreign Affairs Committee of Bundestag will convene on Friday.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 18-3 USSR (MO). Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. The source text does not indicate a transmission time; the telegram was received at 10:56 p.m. and relayed to White House at 11:30 p.m.
  2. The memorandum of this conversation is ibid., Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330.
  3. The German Democratic Republic had adhered on November 30, 1956, to the Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, done at Geneva on August 12, 1949. For text, see 6 UST 3316.
  4. This the United States did in a note dated August 16, 1963. For partial text, see Treaties in Force, 1964, p. 264.
  5. August 13.
  6. In an August 17 letter to Kennedy, Adenauer stated that his Cabinet had that day decided to accede to the treaty. The Federal Republic welcomed cessation of nuclear tests as much as any country, and had to that extent welcomed the treaty from the outset, but had had misgivings rising from its need to “keep alive the hope of those who are still forced to live under Communist coercion.” The Chancellor asked that in future East-West negotiations the Federal Republic be consulted “sufficiently early” so as to avoid situations “such as the one we have just overcome.” (Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204, Adenauer’s Correspondence with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, 1963-1964 vol. II) In his August 19 reply, Kennedy acknowledged the need to “maintain the closest contacts on future problems of mutual interest.” (Ibid., President Kennedy and Johnson’s Correspondence with German Officials, 1963-1964 Vol. II)