88. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State1

341. Paris for Kohler. In attempting arrive at possible solution to Berlin and German problems it would be highly desirable for us to make up our own minds as to most favorable approach in order to influence thinking of our Allies and agree with them so far as possible in advance of any discussion with Soviets. Difficulty, apart from danger of leaks, is that in advance of negotiations impossible know what importance Soviets attach to various factors involved. Effort seems worth making, however, and hope following suggestions may be useful. We may for tactical reasons wish to put forward proposals which Soviets likely to reject but following discussion limited to approaches which appear realistic.

All-Berlin solution. I do not personally believe there is great mileage in this approach. Soviets would demand extremely high price for including East Berlin and even solution involving only West Berlin will be extremely difficult. Maintenance of security by troops of four powers involves all the headaches we have experienced previously with four-power administration. Reliance on neutral or UN troops highly questionable. All-Berlin solution would not enable us escape problem of refugees although might be easier for East Germans to control refugee flow for whole city than to close internal sector boundary. All-Berlin solution would probably lead to demand for Berlin and GDRUN membership. From Soviet point of view successful amalgamation of socialist and capitalist systems within city would be powerful argument against their contention that this could not be done for all of Germany. Therefore I do not believe they would agree to or carry out such plan.
Peace package plan postponing for 7-10 years showdown on German reunification through free elections combined with selection of such measures as Western commitment not support change in present frontiers,NATO-Warsaw non-aggression pact, prohibition of atomic arms to East and West Germany, etc. It would of course have to be combined with some interim solution for Berlin along lines of our Geneva proposals. One reason Soviets might be tempted by such solution is that they could easily find means of evading elections when time came by accusing West of violations. It would also resolve Berlin problem for length of time K likely to be in power. Such solution would probably reduce refugee problem to tolerable proportions. It would not meet K’s desire to sign peace treaty but this might be met in part by agreement on [Page 244] principles of peace treaty which we have already drafted and considered advancing earlier. As part of such package we might attempt to get better assurances of West German access to Berlin. Believe K could paint such settlement as victory while we would have avoided dangerous Berlin crisis and not only maintained but strengthened our position on self-determination.
Peace treaty approach. We might attempt to negotiate identical peace treaties which West would conclude with West Germany and Soviets and Allies with East Germany. Such treaty would have to make provision for interim arrangement for Berlin pending reunification either on contractual basis or by maintenance present situation. While negotiations would be extremely difficult believe K would pay high price for such arrangement since it would go far to recognize de facto existence East German government and would appear to be in line with his demands except for status of Berlin. Would be far easier to obtain Soviet agreement reasonable peace treaty terms on such basis than would be case of eventual treaty with reunited Germany. For example, difficult for K to insist on onerous military provisions so long as Germany divided. We would have to be firm in excluding any anti-Nazi provisions which would facilitate intervention in internal affairs. Such approach could of course envisage all-Berlin solution although as indicated above I think this unwise. Such proposals could include some of the sweetening measures described in para 2 above. It would be in line with apparent desire most of our Allies continue division of Germany but would of course be difficult for West Germans to accept. For this reason doubt we should advance it now but suggest it be staffed out and kept in reserve in event we reach impasse on other solution.
Settlement similar to above which would envisage Communist powers concluding separate peace treaty with East Germany but with some interim arrangement on Berlin. Soviets have shown no interest in such solution and K indicated to Roberts2 interim Berlin solution now unacceptable, but cannot be excluded as possibility. Does not appear as attractive to me as foregoing suggestion, since in arriving at it we would have to go far toward recognizing de facto existence GDR and under such settlement Soviets would doubtless insist on arrangements for Berlin that would be more onerous than in foregoing proposal. Disadvantage both these plans is that they would recognize principle of separate treaty which would be awkward if no settlement reached and Soviets proceed with their own plan.
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I am still inclined to favor approach set forth in para 2 above.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/7-3161. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Paris, London, Bonn, and Berlin.
  2. British Ambassador to the Soviet Union Sir Frank Roberts.
  3. On July 31 the Mission to the United Nations submitted its thoughts on the various possibilities involving Western initiatives on Berlin or Germany at the United Nations. (Telegram 305 from USUN; Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/7-3161)