267. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State 1

1959. Eyes only Secretary. In further discussion with British Amb today of my last talk with Gromyko he advanced idea that possibly Soviets felt necessary to shock West into revealing more of their position, particularly in view interpretation they probably place on Macmillan-Adenauer meeting.2 I pointed out Gromyko made no real effort to probe our position on “other questions” and Roberts inclined agree with point 5 mytel 1933.3

In further study of my talk, almost only new point I can find is indication of Sov willingness continue man (temporarily) checkpoint GDR border after conclusion free city agreement. I find it somewhat curious that Gromyko asked no questions about international authority idea even for purpose of being in better position to knock it down.

I find it difficult make recommendations next step. While can see advantage to continuation of talks, any disposition on our part to explore further Sov thinking could be misinterpreted by them in view of rigid position they have taken. They have tabled free city proposal even though already told it was unacceptable and we could of course table paper on international access authority even though they have rejected it. Am inclined believe we should state that their proposal does not form basis for negotiation since their thinking clearly is to leave Berlin to mercy of East Germans and that perhaps we should turn to discussion of what will happen when they sign separate treaty in order to avoid highly dangerous situation.

I should think that when present Sov position becomes known public opinion in France and US would be satisfied that we have made reasonable effort find basis for negotiations. Should think this probably also true of West Germans. Some problem would probably remain however for British. Assuming Soviet position would not depart very far from that taken by Gromyko, particularly on key point of access, it seems to me there is something to be said for Macmillan-Home visit to Moscow since failure of such mission should enable us present really united front. Point on which British themselves most likely be soft, namely recognition GDR, would probably itself not be enough to get Soviets to agree to adequate arrangements for access and I would doubt [Page 759] that British would risk in present circumstances break in policy with other Western powers particularly US.

Alternative might be Adenauer invitation to Khrushchev. At our last Ambassadors’ meeting Kroll said Adenauer personally disliked negotiating with Khrushchev and much preferred deal with Mikoyan. Kroll explained to him this would not be meaningful, from which I take it that quite possibly Kroll had advocated Khrushchev-Adenauer meeting. Adenauer-Khrushchev meeting, which would almost certainly fail, would still leave us with problem of British opinion.

Meeting between President and Khrushchev in present circumstances seems to me out of question and should be held in reserve.

Dept may wish consider calling me home for consultation following my next talk with Gromyko as a way of gaining time, depending on nature that conversation.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/1-1562. Secret; Priority.
  2. January 8-9 at Bonn.
  3. See footnote 1, Document 264.