37. Letter From Chancellor Adenauer to President Kennedy 0

My Dear Mr. President: Up to now the repeated attempts to open negotiations with the Soviet Union on Berlin have failed. The latest proposals of the Department of State comprise decisive elements concerning not only Berlin but also the German question, which exceed all previous offers made to the Soviet Union. I have considerable objections against some of these proposals and I would urgently request you, my dear Mr. President, to consider interrupting, for the time being, the negotiations and using this time to reexamine all problems concerning Berlin in common with the three powers.1

With kind regards,

Yours very sincerely,

Adenauer 2
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, President’s Office Files, Germany. No classification marking. The source text is labeled “Unofficial Translation.” The letter was delivered to Kohler by Grewe at 11:45 a.m. on April 14, who stated that it had been prepared before the press leak, but it had not been outdated because of the leak. (Memorandum of conversation, April 14; Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/4–1462)
  2. On April 14 Kohler drafted a reply to the Chancellor’s letter. In the 4-page draft he reiterated the U.S. concern about the press leak, expressed surprise that the Chancellor regarded the latest paper as “something startingly new,” stated that Rusk did not plan to give Dobrynin a further paper at the meeting on April 16, and tried to clarify the German misconception about the nature of the paper. (Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204) On April 15 Rusk discussed the draft letter with the President, and they decided that no reply would be sent at that time, but that Hillenbrand would telephone Dowling to inform him that no paper would be given to the Soviet Ambassador. (Note attached to Kohler’s draft letter; ibid.)
  3. Printed from a copy that indicates that Adenauer signed the original.