258. Letter From the Ambassador to Germany (McGhee) to Secretary of State Rusk1

Dear Mr. Secretary:

You will recall that we have submitted in airgram form analyses of German relations with France and with England, of Germany’s Eastern policy and of the problem of reunification. I am now enclosing for your information the final analysis in this series, this one devoted to our own relations with the Federal Republic.2

On the whole, our analysis is an optimistic one. We conclude that there is no conflict in German and American interests now or in the foreseeable future. The problems and tactical objectives of the Federal Republic have shifted in order to meet the changing circumstances of the late sixties, including the increase in the Federal Republic’s own influence and importance. We have had to take this in account in American policy, and it is our conclusion that, generally speaking, this has been successfully accomplished. We have recognized sensitive areas in our relations and have eliminated the most direct causes of contention.

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We also conclude, however, that there has been some deterioration of the American image in Germany which has begun to alter the nature and extent of American influence. The major causes of this are Viet-Nam, the social unrest in America and our balance of payments problem. On the German side, while the political situation is stable, there has been an increase in radicalism both on the right and on the left, and both exploit anti-Americanism. We believe nonetheless that we can have confidence in the future of our relations as an important factor in the stability and security of the western community. What we need is to keep in the closest possible contact with the Germans at all levels to ensure that our policies are mutually understood, and to be willing to adjust our concepts of European security and European economic and political organization to those developed by the Germans, in cooperation with the other Europeans, insofar as these do not genuinely prejudice essential American interests.

I hope that you will find time to read the airgram in its entirety, since US-German relations are, and will continue to be, of such central importance to the success of American foreign policy. I am also sending copies, as I have of the other airgrams, to Nick Katzenbach, Gene Rostow, John Leddy, and in the field, to David Bruce, Harlan Cleveland, and to Woody Wallner in Paris.


  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files,POL GER W–US. Confidential. A notation on the source text reads: “Weekend. A copy of this letter has been sent thru S/S to EUR (copies to U and M) for information.”
  2. Not printed. It was entitled “Principal Issues in US-German Relations,” and transmitted as airgram A–1207 from Bonn, April 11. (Ibid.)