29. Telegram From the Embassy in Germany to the Department of State1

139. Pass White House. I called on the Chancellor June 13 at my request. I first went over again with him the message from the President contained in Nodis Deptel 67,2 which I had previously conveyed to him through Minister Westrick.3 I complimented the Chancellor on his courageous speech in Munich (in which the Chancellor had made a reference to the communication received from the President) and on the favorable comments on the speech in the German press. The Chancellor seemed particularly interested in the foreign press reaction, and inquired what the American reaction had been. I told him that the news stories had been favorable and offered to send him a summary of editorial comment.

I referred to the Chancellor’s proposal made in his speech for a NATO summit meeting to be held after the American and British elections, and asked how this proposal related to the President’s suggestion that he, the President, might be willing to take an initiative leading to wider agreement between Germany, France, the U.S., the U.K. and Italy. The Chancellor replied that he considered such an initiative could be quite helpful. Before Europe can discuss political union, it must reach a common policy on defense, which means that they must agree on the future organization of NATO. The Germans would welcome a discussion of NATO with a group including France. France would in such a group be isolated in its purely national concept of the NATO military organization. All the others, including Germany, would strongly favor integrated forces. He asked whether or not the President had in mind a meeting of the Five to discuss NATO in general from above, or whether they would meet within the framework of NATO. He would prefer the former. I said that although it was not explicit in the President’s communication, I assume that this is what he meant.

The Chancellor would also welcome the proposed forum to discuss the whole range of problems existing between France and the FRG. He seemed to think that the first step towards any initiative by the President should be a meeting with De Gaulle, perhaps to be followed by a summit meeting of the Five. Even if this could not be held until after the elections, both he and Westrick pointed out that it would be well if preparatory work were begun now.

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The Chancellor then clarified what he considered he had undertaken to report to General De Gaulle in their meeting held July 3–4. It was not incumbent upon Germany to make specific proposals for European political union. Indeed, there was no proposition acceptable to De Gaulle which could meet the vital interests of Germany. He had in his meeting with De Gaulle agreed to propose only methods, or techniques, within the treaty—not plans as to the expansion of the treaty as such. (His aide explained to me later that what he had in mind might, for example, be to recommend a French-German committee to be set up within the treaty to consider this question further, or that representatives of specified nations might be called upon to consider the matter further.) It is quite clear, however, that Erhard has no present intention of making any new substantive proposal for European political union.

The Chancellor seemed quite eager to find out the results of my luncheon discussion (Embtel 136)4 with former Chancellor Adenauer. When I asked him whether he thought he and Adenauer should work together, within the party, the steps that they should take in the future leading toward European political unity, he indicated that he was “skeptical.” (Adenauer, as reported Embtel 136, is not unhappy at the moment because he feels that Erhard has no real views and he is confident he can bring him around to his own, Adenauer’s, views. In a sense, this is right. Although Erhard knows what he does not want, he does not appear to know just what he does want.)

Erhard, on the other hand, is deeply suspicious that Adenauer’s protestations of wanting to put out invitations to a large group (reftel) to join a political union (which Strauss, who has gone so far as to spell out machinery for such a move, also espouses) represent a tactic, whereas his real intention is to force a permanent union between Germany and France. This, in the Chancellor’s view could only result in German domination by France. Since no proposal, acceptable by France, was likely to be acceptable by others, Adenauer would, after the others had declined, have a good moral case for proceeding with German-French union.

In order to assure that France and Germany would have some company (apart from Luxembourg, which is the only other country of the Six everyone agrees would join), Adenauer has been proposing the inclusion of Portugal and Spain. Erhard says that he chided Adenauer as to the appearance which would result if France and Germany ended up in the same grouping with the only two dictators left in Europe. Erhard said that the people at the CSU convention in Munich were so confused that they were proposing that Czechoslovakia and Poland be included in the [Page 64] invitations for political union. Erhard himself, however, reverted to the suggestion made in our meeting of July 65 that invitations to join a political union need not necessarily be limited to the EEC countries—specifically mentioning the UK and Scandinavian countries as being possible candidates.

Comment: I believe that the Chancellor sees real possibilities in the suggestion contained in Nodis 67 that the President take some initiative in bringing together the five countries. The Dept may wish to give additional thought to how this concept can be further developed. We will forward our own suggestions. It is interesting that the principal interest of the Chancellor in such an initiative appears to derive from its possible usefulness in helping him resolve the dilemma arising out of his confrontation with De Gaulle within the narrower framework of the French-German treaty.

Comments on the Chancellor’s observation on political union will be embodied in our overall summary. It is quite clear, however, that he has no intention of making substantive proposals for unity at this time. He is concerned about the future tactics of Adenauer whom, despite what he (Adenauer) says, Erhard sees interested only in driving on toward French-German union.6

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 3 EUR W. Secret;Nodis.
  2. Document 28.
  3. McGhee reported on his meeting with Westrick on July 10 in telegram 120 from Bonn, July 11. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 3 EUR W)
  4. Dated July 13. (Ibid., POL 12 GER W)
  5. See footnote 2, Document 28.
  6. McGhee also discussed the De Gaulle-Erhard meeting with Schroeder on July 14 and concluded that the Foreign Minister and the Chancellor saw “pretty much eye to eye in evaluating the motives of the French,” but there were problems with the “French” wing of the CDU/CSU. (Telegram 138 from Bonn, July 14; Department of State, Central Files, POL FR–GER W)