196. Telegram From Secretary of State Rusk to the Department of State0

Secto 11. Paris pass USRO. Berlin for USDel. Reference: Secto 7.1 After President and Chancellor had started private discussions Palais [Page 529] Schaumburg morning June 24,2 Foreign Minister Schroeder suggested that Secretary and other scheduled participants convene in separate session. He thought it useful to have brief survey major issues current interest while we were waiting to join President and Chancellor.

Time available permitted discussion only two subjects—MLF and German reunification. Following summaries based on uncleared memcons.3

[Here follows discussion of the MLF.]

(2) German reunification.

Schroeder said a point which Germans took very much to heart was how problem of German reunification should be set forth publicly. Germans had noted that in recent US statements there were more references to Berlin and Berlin access than to reunification. For US, Schroeder said, Berlin has significance only in context of a policy aiming at German reunification. He was aware this presented practical difficulties to us in our relations with Soviets but thought we could express the matter in a more positive way. Could we not try convince Soviets that exercise of right of self-determination by Germans was in Soviets’ own interest and need not have any unilateral adverse effect. Emphasis should be that to permit self-determination to Germans would help bring about safer and more secure situation for Soviets in Europe. Should we however continue to talk only about West Berlin and our rights there, this helped maintain atmosphere of tension.

Secretary said he glad have these comments. He wished to stress there should be no question of strength our feelings about German reunification in light our attitude about self-determination for peoples everywhere, including at home. He had spoken to Sovs, particularly Gromyko, on many occasions in these terms. He was himself convinced we could not have peace in Europe in absence of self-determination, which included German reunification. But then it was always necessary to face up to next question: what are you going to do about it?

Schroeder suggested there were at least certain indirect steps we could take in concern:

Prevent GDR from acquiring additional status under international law and thereby promoting Soviet thesis re existence two Germanies, and
Avoid any action by Western side which would tend to freeze status quo in Europe and thereby impair right of self-determination for peoples of Europe, including Germans.

[Page 530]

(Latter comment obviously intended to apply to Dobrynin suggestion NATO-Warsaw Pact non-aggression agreement.)4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/Kennedy. Secret; Limit Distribution. The source text bears no time of transmission. Repeated to Bonn, Rome, Paris, London, and Berlin. Passed to the White House on June 26. Secretary Rusk and President Kennedy arrived in Bonn on June 23 for a 4-day visit, including a trip to Berlin.
  2. Secto 7, June 25, transmitted a brief 2-paragraph summary of the talks on June 24. (Ibid.)
  3. No record of the President’s private conversation with Adenauer has been found.
  4. PET/MC/3 and 11. (Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 66 D 110)
  5. Following this conversation the Foreign Ministers joined President Kennedy and Chancellor Adenauer for a more general conversation. A report on their discussion of the MLF is printed in vol. XIII, Document 203; Memoranda of their conversation on trade and the test ban negotiations (PET/MC/12 and 14) are in Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 66 D 110, CF 2275. 4