215. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Germany0

867. Following for FYI only is summary of FRG Foreign Minister Schroeder’s visit to Washington based on uncleared memoranda of conversation, which subject amendment upon review. Memcons will follow.

President met with Schroeder for hour September 24. Subjects discussed were 1) status of East-West discussions, 2) MLF and 3) troop reductions.1 1) President and Schroeder agreed that measures reducing danger of war are useful and provide better atmosphere as regards Berlin, even though there is no agreement in prospect which would improve possibility of German reunification. Schroeder said atmosphere of tension affords no prospect of progress toward German reunification, but stressed need for clear and frequently repeated understanding of Western objectives re Germany and Berlin to prevent feeling in Germany that German problem being ignored. After discussion of Test Ban Treaty, President said important thing as regards future consultation is that FRG receives our views as soon as formulated and vice versa. 2) On MLF President said we should proceed vigorously and should get one mixed-manned ship to sea as soon as possible with US, German and Italian personnel. Early action would have effect of encouraging UK participation. Schroeder agreed. Re French statement (Habib Deloncle at Strasbourg Sept 23) suggesting UK join with French in European nuclear effort, Schroeder said this seemed more like tempting offer for future than concrete offer for present but reinforced need to proceed with MLF. 3) On troop withdrawals President said there would for present be no withdrawals from Germany other than previously announced from Berlin. Schroeder stressed desirability of advance consultation and preparation of public opinion before any future reductions.

At Sept 20 session Secretary and Schroeder first met for 35 minutes without advisers or interpreters and discussed inter alia extension of Test Ban Treaty to Berlin.2 Highlight of conference during remainder first hour and subsequent two-hour working lunch was Schroeder’s exposition on subject German attitudes toward Western initiatives with Soviets.3 [Page 582] He cautioned that pursuit of Western policy to move ahead from problems at periphery to major problems at the center could be effective only so long as we kept constantly in sight (a) basic Communist objectives and (b) Western objectives on the problems at the center. Relaxation of tensions on the basis of progress on peripheral issues ran risk of consolidating status quo on central issues. From German perspective, every arrangement with Soviets which did not have effect of improving German situation would create problems for German public opinion. Constant reiteration of basic Western aims and purposes would reassure Germans these were being kept in mind and would make it easier for Germans to support initiatives with Soviets. Schroeder expressed particular appreciation in this context for President’s positive reference in UN speech to need for German reunification.4

In subsequent luncheon discussion Secretary commented on Schroeder’s earlier remark re danger that relaxation of tensions would lead to consolidation of status quo.5 Secretary, observing this not necessarily so, said postwar experience indicated rather that tension has had a tendency to lead to consolidation of status quo as concerned division of Germany. As we move into more completely nuclear world, this tendency will increase. Secretary noted our commitment to German reunification; said question was how to achieve. Achievement unlikely through increase in tension; after all, since 1945 we have not moved one inch toward reunification. Schroeder agreed but said tension perhaps had advantage of keeping the question open. If tensions relaxed, people would tend to think of present situation as normal and to consider Germans as obstacle to understanding if they keep raising question of reunification.

Other subjects discussed with Secretary were MLF (Secretary expressed strong feeling of President that we must proceed with MLF and stated US belief UK will join if MLF gets under way) and FRG sale of F–86s to Pakistan (to Schroeder inquiry whether delivery 80 aircraft, which MOD “in generous moment” had promised Paks, might be accomplished through US, Secretary replied he saw no advantage in middleman role for US, which would not only transfer problem to US but “make it 10 times worse”). Other subjects briefly touched on were trade with Soviet Bloc, general NATO problems, European agricultural policy and GDR status with Olympic Committee.

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Schroeder’s other meetings included appointments with Bundy and Sorensen, stag dinner hosted by Knappstein including Fulbright, Murrow, Foster, McGhee, Tyler, Nitze, Rostow,6 appearances at Steuben Day parade in NY Sept 20, lunch hosted by Amb McGhee at Middleburg Sept 22 including Ball, Murrow, and Lippmann, visit to SAC Sept 23, and lunch at Senate Sept 24 hosted by Fulbright.

Schroeder scheduled meet with Secretary and Lord Home in NY morning of Sept 27 and return to Bonn Sept 28 or 29.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 66 D 110, CF 2315. Secret. Drafted by Creel, Finn, and Stalder (GER) and approved by Tyler. Repeated to Paris, Rome, London, Berlin, and USUN for Secretary Rusk.
  2. Memoranda of conversation on these topics are in the Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Germany.
  3. No other record of this meeting has been found.
  4. A memorandum of this conversation is in Department of State, Central Files, POL US–USSR.
  5. For text of President Kennedy’s September 20 address before the General Assembly, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1963, pp. 693–698.
  6. A memorandum of this conversation is in Department of State, Central Files, POL 1 W EUR.
  7. J. William Fulbright, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Edward R. Murrow, Director of USIA; and Walt W. Rostow, Counselor and Chairman of the Policy Planning Council, Department of State.