49. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Germany 0

3100. Eyes only Ambassador. Following which supplements Deptel 30711 is intended to provide broader framework for your talk with Chancellor Adenauer. You may wish to begin by saying that we regret situation which has developed and which has resulted in sensational press treatment and speculation detrimental to our common interests. Both sides need to take stock, to correct misconceptions and to plan course for future which will avoid repetition of events of past few weeks. It is in this spirit that US Government has instructed you to make observations which follow.

On Berlin question, we are sending you in separate telegram chronologies relating to consultation on “Principles Paper” and International Access Authority paper.2 You may wish to draw on these as appropriate to illustrate that process of substantive consultation with Germans has been both continuing and full. In this connection, you may also draw as pertinent on various messages repeated to Bonn reporting on Secretary’s discussions with Dobrynin.

Point on consultation leads logically to Chancellor’s alleged feeling, as indicated to General Clay in Berlin, that he was badly treated because he had not received reply to his letter of April 14, 1962, to President.3 You may wish to note that, upon his return here, General Clay had mentioned the Chancellor’s feeling in this matter. You might point out that, on April 15, 1962, Secretary of State discussed telephonically Chancellor’s letter with President, who was in Virginia over Sunday. You were thereafter directed immediately by telephone to communicate to Schroeder that, while Secretary would go ahead with his scheduled meeting with Dobrynin on April 16, he would not put forward any further [Page 143] paper at this meeting. You might add that while you were unable to reach Schroeder you did reach Dr. Carstens on evening April 15, who said he would inform both Chancellor and Foreign Minister Schroeder same evening. In view of this prompt response to Chancellor’s letter which dealt with no other subject, a formal reply was not considered necessary as it was assumed governments would be in touch with each other in continuous consultation on substance of Western position. At almost same time, unfortunate leaks occurred of which we are all too sadly aware and distracted attention from normal consultative process.

You should note that we had impression Athens meeting between Foreign Minister Schroeder and Secretary of State as well as between four Western Foreign Ministers4 had gone off in good fashion, had cleared up remaining misconceptions and had resulted in large measure of agreement. Consultations in Athens between senior officials of two countries carried forward work on substantive paper, and we are now awaiting through regular diplomatic channels final German response to points worked out at Athens ad referendum. We were, therefore, naturally surprised by press reports and speculations following upon Chancellor’s two press conferences in Berlin which tended to create impression of major differences between us.

At this point line of argument set forth in Deptel 3071 should be presented, but last two sentences of Schorr broadcast should be omitted.

You should supplement Deptel 3071 by emphasizing that continuing reports from Bonn in recent days have carried similar material. You should state as your own view this can only be increasingly irritating to the President and may raise in his mind a question whether German and American understanding is clear as he thought it was in his most satisfactory meeting with the Chancellor last November. You should state that it is this stream of reports of private comments, rather than any particular disagreement over a minor negotiating tactic, that is bound to give the President concern.

You should point out as your own observation that Chancellor probably has no idea how many accounts of this kind have been reported by newspapermen, broadcasters, and weekly journalists in recent weeks. If Chancellor should attempt a denial, you should indicate that there are so many of these sources that the President cannot be expected to believe that their accounts are invented. Finally, you should indicate as your own idea that a President who has plenty of important and pressing political problems on all fronts can hardly be expected to look with good humor on hints that these things were all done better by [Page 144] John Foster Dulles. It is a principle of this Administration that President Kennedy and not John Foster Dulles is now in charge of foreign policy.

You should then expand on the President’s basic views as you understand them. Beginning after Vienna last June he committed his country to a major military response to Khrushchev’s challenge. 160,000 reserves were called to service; the budget was unbalanced by an additional three and one-half billion dollar defense appropriation, and the United States took the lead in determined preparations to meet all contingencies arising from the Berlin crisis. The response of the US to this crisis far exceeded that of any other NATO nation, both absolutely and relatively. And as the crisis deepened each moment of real test found the US at the center of responsibility. Every test of will in Berlin has been a test fundamentally for the US, and you may wish to note that each of these tests has been passed, so that in spite of the Wall the self-confidence of Berlin has been essentially restored, as the Chancellor will have seen last week. FYI. Our information is that the Berliners are much less troubled with the particular provisions of the International Access Authority than some of those in Bonn. End FYI.

The President thus does not understand public or private doubts about the determination of the US and he understands still less any inclination for Germans to say that General De Gaulle is the only hope; General De Gaulle has talked very energetically but has thus far done very little; there are still only 2 French divisions in West Germany. It is American determination and not French rhetoric that is holding the line against Soviet pressure. Moreover, we not only carry the main burden in Berlin but the overwhelming responsibility also for the critical areas of Southeast Asia which are under Communist pressure. Statesmen like the Chancellor, whose principal concern is with the resistance of Communism, should be the first to understand that covert criticism of the US is destructive.

Nor does the President understand how there can be an objection at this late date to the diplomatic explorations on Berlin which have been going on. At every stage these have been the subject of intense and careful consultation, and if the Chancellor has been surprised at any point it can only be because he did not fully inform himself of the work of his own government. Thus the President was indeed startled by the Chancellor’s letter of April 14th with its sudden and unexplained request that negotiations be discontinued. What the President did, as the Chancellor knows, was to continue the discussions without putting into them anything that had not long been agreed between our two countries. The US remains determined to continue this close consultation, but the President is glad that the Federal Government now definitely supports further negotiation.

[Page 145]

The President, in short, is determined to keep on with the double policy of strong military defense and a constant search for an honorable settlement if possible. He fully understands and has repeatedly stated himself that negotiations may not succeed. But he believes the effort must be made.

If appropriate opportunity occurs you should also make it clear to the Chancellor that we would be greatly troubled if there were any serious change in his government’s long-stated desire to have Great Britain join the Common Market. Arguments on this point are being sent forward separately,5 and the President thinks you may wish to press them with the Foreign Secretary and other Bonn officials rather than directly with the Chancellor. But there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that if Bonn should join Paris in making entry into the Common Market unreasonably difficult, the main responsibility for results will fall on Germany and not on France, with grave consequences to Bonn’s position in the Western alliance.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/5–1262. Secret. The source text indicates that the telegram was drafted by Bundy, but he told Rusk in a telephone call at 3:48 p.m. that the President had “worked hard on it in an effort to communicate sharply with the old gentleman.” (Ibid., Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192) It was cleared by Tyler and Hillenbrand and initialed by Rusk.
  2. Telegram 3071, May 9, transmitted the text of a broadcast by Daniel Schorr that morning that stated that the Chancellor was torpedoing the U.S.-Soviet talks and recited a list of German grievances. The telegram stated that this and other similar statements out of Bonn could only be damaging to the President’s relations with the Chancellor. If the Chancellor had serious reservations about U.S. policy, the President expected “to hear about them directly and not through offensive remarks repeated by journalists.” (Ibid., Central Files, 762.00/5–962)
  3. Telegram 3095 to Bonn, May 12. (Ibid., 762.0221/5–1262)
  4. Document 37.
  5. See Document 45 and footnote 5 thereto.
  6. Not found.