183. Memorandum of Conversation0


SEATO COUNCIL MEETING Paris, April 8–10, 1963


  • U.S.
    • The Secretary of State
    • Ambassador Bohlen
  • French
    • General De Gaulle
    • Mr. de La Grandville


  • Berlin

The Secretary then said that on Berlin there was very little new to report. This did not surprise him since he had always thought that there would be a solution to the Berlin problem only if we offered one in the shape of concessions to the Soviet Union. If we did not do this, there would be no solution. He thought the thing for us to do was merely to hold fast to our present diplomatic and military positions.

Although the Soviets had initiated the talks, they did not seem too interested in pressing them. He had seen Dobrynin a week ago,1 who had nothing to offer beyond the repetition of the UN suggestion which they had made months before—even before the October crisis. This suggestion involved the placing of UN forces in Berlin along with the Western troops for four or five years, after which time the city would become the free, neutralized city about which the Soviets had been speaking. This, needless to say, was totally unacceptable to us—both the U.S. and its allies. The Soviets claimed that there had been no reply to this proposal. The Secretary said he would be seeing Dobrynin again following his return to make our negative position absolutely clear. He repeated that the Soviets did not seem to be pressing the Berlin question although this could change overnight. However, there were no external signs of Soviet anxiety on this question.

  1. Source: Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330. Secret. Drafted by Bohlen. The meeting was held at the Elysée Palace. The source text is labeled “Part III of V.”
  2. See Document 182.