58. Letter From Chancellor Adenauer to President Kennedy 0

My Dear Mr. President: I thank you sincerely for your letter of May 15, 1962.1 I share your view that we cannot afford letting our cooperation be disturbed by misunderstandings out of all proportion to the difficult tasks before us. I also concur with you that the differences between us are much less than the agreements and that there is time enough to work out a clear cut position before a paper is presented to the Soviets.

No one could feel greater satisfaction than I myself, my government and the German people if it were possible to settle the Berlin crisis—which has been smouldering for years—without our common interests being harmed. I agree with you that to this end every possibility must be conscientiously explored and that it is advisable to make clear to the [Page 160] world that an honorable solution is possible as soon as the Soviets are prepared to accept it.

I believe that we will reach a consensus on the most suitable methods to achieve this object. Certainly, we, on our part, will need firmness and patience and we will not be able to make many new proposals to the Soviets. One of these new possibilities to continue the talks with the Soviets I had conveyed through Federal Minister Schroder to Secretary Rusk at the Athens meeting. On some questions, we are quite prepared to talk if the Soviets were ready to allow more humane conditions to be created in the Soviet occupation zone.

I am told that Secretary Rusk is considering a visit to Bonn during the second half of June. I would warmly welcome the realization of this plan and I believe that, particularly during the present phase, frequent and intimate discussions between our two governments are most useful.

Ambassador Dowling spoke to me recently about your interest in Great Britain’s admission to the Common Market.2 So far, I have not communicated in this matter with President De Gaulle. I think it would be best to await first of all the meeting between President De Gaulle and Prime Minister Macmillan.3

With best wishes.

Sincerely yours,

Adenauer 4
  1. Source: Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204. Secret. The source text is labeled “Unofficial Translation.” Attached to a May 29 transmittal note from the German Embassy.
  2. See Document 53.
  3. Presumably a reference to the meeting on May 23 described in Document 56.
  4. June 2–3
  5. Printed from a copy that indicates that Adenauer signed the original.