97. Memorandum of Conversation, Washington, April 18, 1975, 10 a.m.1 2


  • President Ford
  • Amb. John Sherman Cooper, Ambassador to GDR
  • Secretary Kissinger
  • Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
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DATE & TIME: Friday - April 18, 1975 10:00 a. m.

PLACE: The Oval Office

President: Does Lorraine like it?

Cooper: Yes, it is not a place you would want to be permanently, but they made a special effort for us in housing.

President: How do they treat you?

Cooper: You don’t see private people. They look at you curiously. People don’t talk at restaurants. We can go anywhere we want, but not near the military establishment.

President: What is the population?

Cooper: Seventeen million, with about 1-1/2 [million] communist.

Kissinger: They are the most industrial country in East Europe. Are they below West Germany?

Cooper: Yes, but they put out they are the most industrial state in the world. They have the two parallel lines — party and government. The party is headed by Honecker.

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President: Do you deal with the party or the Government?

Cooper: Initially just the Foreign Minister, but now I am getting invitations from the Party. I am the only one in the West who has ever met with Honecker. They say they are very glad with this relationship with the United States. I tell them about NATO and the Western partnership.

President: What does Honecker say?

Cooper: The same. They say it is the most important thing in the world for the U. S. and Soviet Union to maintain good relations. They talk of arms control and Vladivostok. Then they discuss our agreement — consulate, Jewish problems — and finally get to trade. Honecker says he knows it can’t be normal, but we should do the best we can.

West Germany has a big embassy.

Honecker speaks highly of you and of Secretary Kissinger. They never mention Vietnam or economics, except trade. He said you were the biggest moral influence since Eisenhower. We should make the greatest efforts we can with them. A better trade relationship would help.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, Box 11, Ford, Amb. Cooper (GDR). Secret; Nodis.
  2. President Ford briefly met with Ambassador Cooper to discuss the latter’s impressions of the German Democratic Republic.