MEMORANDUM FROM IVAN TURGINOV, 'ON THE WESTERN POWERS’ POLICY REGARDING THE GERMAN QUESTION'CITATION SHARE DOWNLOAD
get citationIvan Turginov reports on the policies of the Western powers on the German Question. Special emphasis is given to the public opinion in western countries with regard to Western and Soviet policies towards occupied Germany."Memorandum from Ivan Turginov, 'On the Western Powers’ Policy regarding the German Question'," April 18, 1953, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVP RF, f. 082, op. 41, pap. 274, d. 18, ll. 3-29. Translated by Daniel Rozas. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111328
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On The Western Powers' Policy Regarding the German Question
1 . The positions of the governments of the USA, England, France and Bonn on the German question at the time the three Western powers sent diplomatic notes to the Soviet Union on 23 September 1952
The USA government position. The USSR Government proposal on the question of a peaceful settlement of the German problem, set forth in the Soviet diplomatic note of 10 March 1952, created serious difficulties for the realization of the main goal of U.S. policy toward Germany--the swiftest transformation of West Germany into a strike force for the aggressive bloc.
The American newspaper The New York Times on 16 April 1952 evaluated, from the perspective of the U.S. government's plans, the significance of the Soviet proposals in the following manner:
"Adoption of the Kremlin's proposals would mean sacrificing the West German divisions that must become the foundation for the creation of the North Atlantic Alliance, put forward by General Eisenhower."
In view of this, the USA government has, since the very beginning, embarked on a path of preventing quadripartite negotiations on the German question and, according to available information, only agreed under the influence of England and France to begin an exchange of diplomatic notes with the USSR regarding the conditions for convening a quadripartite conference. In discussing the response to each of the Soviet notes (of 10 March, 9 April, 24 May and 23 August 1952), the U.S. government tried to obtain agreement from its English and French partners to set forth preconditions for calling a quadripartite conference that would be clearly unacceptable to the Soviet Union and, consequently, would make the organization of negotiations impossible. In particular, the Americans insisted that it be proposed that the Soviet Union agree on the following:
- assigning the illegally established U.N. commission or another “impartial” commission to carry out a review of the existence of conditions for free all-German elections in both sections of Germany;
- providing the future all-German government, even prior to the conclusion of a peace treaty, unlimited freedom of participation in military alliances and coalitions;
- recognizing the Potsdam resolutions with regard to the eastern border of Germany only as preliminary and subject to reexamination under the final peace settlement;
- resuming negotiations on the Austrian treaty until the start of negotiations on the German question.
At the same time, the USA government exerted strong pressure on the English, French and Bonn governments, trying to achieve the swiftest conclusion of negotiations on the Bonn separate agreement and the Paris agreement concerning the “European Defense Community,” in order to expedite creation of the aggressive West German armed forces. Following the signing of the Bonn and Paris agreements on 26 and 27 May, the USA government continued to put pressure on its partners in the aggressive bloc, insisting on the rapid ratification of these agreements.
The position of the Bonn government. The Bonn government, headed by [Konrad] Adenauer, completely supported the line of the USA government on the German question.
The Bonn government is the most irreconcilable enemy of all negotiations between the Western powers and the Soviet Union on the German question.
The French High Commissioner for West Germany, François-Poncet, in his report to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, dated 1 July 1952, emphasized that:
The current tense situation satisfies Adenauer, while the relaxation of this situation, on the contrary, would hinder his plans.
Adenauer, who, at American insistence, was brought in by the governments of the USA, England and France to discuss drafts of the diplomatic replies of the Western powers, insisted on including articles in these drafts intended to break down the talks. Thus, for example, in the answer to the Soviet note of 9 April, Adenauer insisted on the inclusion of demands for not recognizing the Oder-Neisse border. Within the narrow circle of the Christian-Democratic Union leadership, he announced in April 1952 that:
[Anthony] Eden and [Robert] Schuman tried to introduce a tone of reconciliation into the text of the reply note of the Western powers. . . .The U.S. representative and I were able to maintain our perspective.
At the same time, Adenauer forced negotiations on the Bonn and Paris agreements, and, after these were signed, began to strive for their swiftest ratification by the West German Bundestag. Already in July 1952, he pushed through the Bundestag draft legislation for the ratification of both agreements in their original text.
Adenauer's political line met with full support from the Bonn government coalition parties (Christian-Democratic Union, Free Democratic Party, and the German Party). It is true that openly nationalistic, revanchist circles within the Free Democratic Party, as well as various military alliances and neo-fascist groups criticized Adenauer's policy and demanded that, in the negotiations with the Western powers, he strive more decisively for concessions to West Germany, in particular the liberation of German war criminals, the return of the Saar region to West Germany, and the provision of large American loans. Moreover, not one of these parties and groups came out in support of the Soviet proposals.
However, certain other political parties and groups, though for different reasons, came out against Adenauer's policy, which was directed toward avoiding quadripartite negotiations and the swiftest enactment of the Bonn and Paris treaties. The so-called “neutral” circles of the West German bourgeoisie and intelligentsia, having united at the time around the “Extraordinary Commonwealth for Peace in Europe,” spoke out for serious examination of the Soviet proposals and against the ratification of the Bonn and Paris agreements. Two small political parties--the Center Party and the Bavarian Party--also believed it necessary to first determine the possibility of reestablishing German unity, and then resolve the question of West German participation in military alliances with the Western powers.
The camp consisting of opponents of military-political agreements with the Western powers and supporters of adopting, or at least seriously studying, the Soviet proposals for peaceful settlement of the German problem were politically heterogeneous and divided. This was to a significant extent aided by the traitorous line of the West German Social Democratic Party leadership, which, purely for tactical reasons, came out in favor of “serious” examination of the Soviet proposals and against the Bonn and Paris treaties.
According to unofficial reports, the leadership of the Social Democratic party actually opposed the Soviet proposals and supported examining them only because it had no doubt that they would be rejected by the Western powers. Thus, for example, a member of the Social Democratic party leadership, Hensler, speaking during a meeting of the Social Democratic faction in the Bundestag on 1 April 1952, declared that:
We can support with complete calm any more decisive proposal[s] pertaining to quadripartite negotiations, since negotiations with the Western powers have gone so far that the bargain [sdelka] struck by Adenauer would not be ruined by it.
The position of the English government. During the period of diplomatic correspondence between the Western powers and the USSR regarding the German question, the English government maintained a somewhat different position than the American and Bonn governments. The English spoke out against the unconditional rejection of the Soviet proposals and against the inclusion of certain clearly provocative “preconditions” in the replies of the Western powers. As the American newspaper The New York Times emphasized on 13 April 1952,
"within senior American diplomatic circles it is believed that . . . London and Paris, are probably not inclined to reject outright the Russian [diplomatic] note, as was evidently shown from the start by diplomats in Washington."
According to unofficial reports, it was precisely the English government, with support from the French government, that opposed the American proposal regarding the resumption of negotiations on the Austrian agreement as a precondition for organizing negotiations on the German question. The Americans were forced to remove this proposal.
In actuality, the English government was not interested in holding quadripartite negotiations on the German question. Even on 22 April 1952, Eden stated in his speech:
We shall not permit [others] to distract us from constructive activity on the unification of Europe, which we have been occupied with in recent years. We shall not permit [others] to engage us in useless negotiations such as those that were held earlier on Germany or, for that matter, on the Austrian agreement, which is an example of still more pointless negotiations.
On 1 August 1952, the Churchill administration pushed through the English parliament the ratification of the Bonn agreement. For tactical reasons, the Labor party voted against ratification and demagogically spoke out for “studying” the Soviet proposals.
The position of the French government. The French government of Piné-Schuman, like the English government, did not strive to convene quadripartite negotiations on the German question or, moreover, toward a peaceful settlement of the German problem on the basis of an agreement with the USSR. The basis of Schuman's foreign policy was the principle of maintaining the division of Germany and including West Germany in the “European Defense Community.” However, the French government was forced to take into account that not only the working masses of France, but also influential circles in the French bourgeoisie, fearing a rebirth of German revanchism, do not support this policy.
At the time, prominent figures in all the French bourgeois parties supported convening quadripartite negotiations on the German question. Thus, for example, one of the leaders of the party of “Independent Republicans,” Jacques Bardou, who was at the time the chairman of the Commission on Foreign Affairs within the National Assembly, publicly stated on 26 August:
With respect to the proposal for convening the conference of four, I have always maintained that an attempt at negotiations by the four, with the aim of insuring free elections, establishing German unity, signing a peace treaty, and limiting European and German armament, is necessary for eliminating the threat of war.
Similar statements were also made by a number of prominent activists of the Radical Party, the MRP, and the “Peasant” Party.
The head of the Department of the Press and Information of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, De Less, declared during a press conference to a narrow circle of journalists that:
"... in France, there are people who wish to reject the idea of the establishment of a European army and the inclusion of West Germany in the North Atlantic Alliance."
The English newspaper The Scotsman pointed out in March 1952 that there are “broad sections of society” in France for whom “the traditional French-Russian alliance with the aim of holding down Germany is a more reasonable foundation for French policy.” The newspaper emphasized further that
these people are prepared to hold negotiations which could relax international tensions and free France from its burdensome contribution to the rearmament of the West and from its demeaning dependence on the United States.
It should be noted, however, that these circles of the French bourgeoisie, including the so-called “neutralists,” who are speaking out in favor of organizing quadripartite negotiations, considered the Soviet proposal to allow a united Germany to possess national armed forces to be unacceptable. Thus, the newspaper Le Monde, which reflects the position of French “neutralist” circles, wrote on 20 March 1952:
France believes that the rearmament of a united Germany is, at the present time, a step that carries with it more danger than advantages.
Influential circles in the French bourgeoisie, who in one form or another supported negotiations with the USSR on the German question, came out even more decisively against the ratification of the Paris and Bonn agreements. By summer 1952, after the conventions of the main bourgeois parties in France, it became obvious that the distribution of forces in the National Assembly had become clearly unfavorable for the ratification of these agreements.
In this situation, the Piné-Schuman administration was forced to maneuver. It could not support the American line for unconditional rejection of the Soviet proposals on the German question, while at the same time it could not fail to take into account that to convene quadripartite negotiations on the basis of the broad agenda proposed by the Soviet Union would lead to a significant delay or even the downfall of plans for the establishment of a “European army.”
In connection with this, the French government set forth a proposal to the Americans on the expediency of holding negotiations with the USSR on the basis of a “limited” agenda, which would include only one question--the composition, functions and manner of activity of an “impartial” commission for investigating the existence of conditions in both parts of Germany for carrying out free all-German elections. According to available reports, the French government was calculating that a conference with such an agenda would meet with failure, for which they could then attempt to shift the responsibility to the Soviet Union.
Thus, at the conference of representatives of the three Western powers to prepare a draft reply to the Soviet Union in June 1952, the French ambassador in Washington, [Henri] Bonnet, openly admitted that the French proposal for convening a quadripartite conference with a “limited” agenda is a forward-looking, calculated maneuver designed to guarantee the ratification of the Paris and Bonn agreements by the French parliament. The French bourgeois newspaper Le Figaro wrote on 13 June 1952 that:
"The Conference of Four . . . could ease parliamentary ratification of both agreements to the degree that it would demonstrate to the public that everything had been done to keep the door open for an agreement with Moscow."
This thought was expressed by a number of other French bourgeois newspapers.
The French proposal for holding quadripartite negotiations with a “limited” agenda was supported by the English government, as a result of which the government of the USA was forced to accept it, backing down from its own demand that the USSR agree to establish an “impartial” investigation commission as a precondition for organizing quadripartite negotiations.
The position of the three Western powers on the question of negotiations with the USSR with regard to the German problem, laid out in the diplomatic note of 23 September 1952, consisted of the following:
1. A conference of representatives of the four powers must be convened in order to discuss the question of the composition, functions and authorities of the “impartial” investigation commission, with the aim of creating the conditions necessary for carrying out free elections.
2. Following the completion of the work of the commission, the representatives of the four powers must discuss its report and map out measures necessary for carrying out free all-German elections and establishing an all-German government.
3. Following the completion of all-German elections and the establishment of a government of a united Germany, a four-power conference may take place with the participation of representatives of the all-German government in order to discuss the question of a peace treaty with Germany.
Along with this, the 23 September 1952 note of the four powers, as did their previous notes, emphasized that the all-German government must have the freedom to decide on the question of joining “defense” alliances even prior to the conclusion of a peace treaty, and that the decisions of the Potsdam conference with regard to the eastern border of Germany must not be regarded as conclusive.
The correspondent for the English newspaper, The Scotsman, Richard Loewenthal, describing the essence of the Western powers' plan in one of his articles, noted that:
The West's biggest trump card consists not in responding to the Russian proposal for neutralizing Germany with a dogged insistence on the rights of a united Germany to join alliances, but rather in striving for two-phase negotiations: first, with conferences of the four powers on the question of all-German elections, the establishment of the all-German government and the definition of the powers it would possess in the interim period before the peace treaty; second, with conferences on the peace treaty itself, with the participation of the new German government.
In other words, the West must be prepared to discuss at any time the question of German unity, but it must refuse to discuss such conditions for a peace treaty as, for example, neutrality or the eastern border, before a united Germany is established.
This tactic, as pointed out by Loewenthal, will not create any dangers for the Western powers and promises substantial benefit for them.
Thus, the position of the Western powers had the goal of obstructing a peaceful settlement of the German problem, shifting the responsibility for this on the USSR, and at the same time preserving the division of Germany and expediting the inclusion of West Germany in the aggressive bloc.
2. Disagreements in the imperialist camp on the German question at the end of 1952 and the beginning of 1953
The increase in American pressure on Western European countries in the matter of ratifying military agreements. Following the dispatch of notes by the three powers to the Soviet Union on 23 September 1952, the government of the USA increased its pressure on the countries of Western Europe, seeking from them the swiftest ratification of the Bonn and Paris agreements.
During the last months of its term, the Truman administration on numerous occasions came out with statements regarding the great significance which it attaches to the swiftest implementation of the Bonn and Paris agreements. During these months, the American press completely stopped writing about the possibility of negotiations with the USSR and even ignored the fact that the Soviet Union was not responding to the three powers' note of 23 September. Moreover, the American reactionary newspapers persistently repeated that it was necessary to insure as soon as possible the ratification of the Bonn and Paris agreements. Thus, on 20 October 1952, the American newspapers printed a report from the United Press Agency, which emphasized that the creation of the “European Defense Community” is “the chief goal of United States' foreign policy in Europe and the cornerstone of the Atlantic Alliance.”
With the arrival of the Eisenhower administration, the USA's precept for transforming West Germany into the primary base for its aggressive policy in Europe assumed an even more open character. As noted by the American newspaper Chicago Sun-Times,
"people who know Eisenhower's perspective well agree that he considers West Germany to be a more important military asset than France. The newly elected president is regarded as the initiator of German rearmament in the post-war period."
This position of the Eisenhower administration on the German question is related, in particular, to the fact that one of the most important elements in Eisenhower's election to the presidency was the support of the so-called German group of monopolies in Wall Street, which has large investments in West German industry.
The demand to accelerate the ratification of the Bonn and Paris agreements was put forth both in Eisenhower's “State of the Union” address to Congress on 2 February of this year, as well as, in an even more acute form, during the [John Foster] Dulles and [Harold E.] Stassen talks with the governments of the Western European countries between 31 January-9 February of this year. Prior to his departure to Europe, on 27 January of this year, Dulles stated during his radio address:
If it so happens that there is no chance for ensuring an effective unity and especially if France, Germany and England go their separate ways, then, undoubtedly, it will be necessary to rethink America's foreign policy toward Western Europe.
In contrast to the Truman administration, which, in order to camouflage its positions, continuously emphasized that the implementation of the Bonn and Paris agreements “would not hinder” the establishment of German unity, the Eisenhower administration, during talks with the Western European countries, put forth the thesis that the implementation of these agreements is “a necessary precondition” for German unification. According to a report in the newspaper The New York Times, Dulles, during his visit to Europe, formulated this thesis in the following manner:
"West Germany and Europe must, without paying attention to the Soviet Union, insist on the creation of the European Defense Community if they want to achieve German unification. . . The Kremlin must not have the opportunity to exert influence on the policy of West Germany or control it by playing on proposals for unification. . . It is dangerous and possibly even catastrophic to place hopes on German unification through four-power negotiations."
Thus, the Eisenhower administration openly stated that it would only allow a German unification that would be based not on agreements with the Soviet Union, but on the forced incorporation of the German Democratic Republic into a rearmed West Germany.
During meetings with the heads of the governments of France, West Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries, Dulles and Stassen demanded, as an ultimatum, guarantees that by the regular session of the North Atlantic Alliance council, scheduled for 23 April, these countries would have assured the necessary conditions for the ratification of the Bonn and Paris agreements. From the English government, Dulles and Stassen demanded concessions to France on the question of guarantees against a rearmed West Germany, the provision of which would ease the ratification of the Paris agreement by the French National Assembly.
The ratification of the Bonn and Paris agreements by the West German Bundestag. During the last months of 1952 and the beginning of 1953, the Adenauer administration, in complete accordance with American precepts and [the Adenauer administration's] own political plans, relentlessly strove for the ratification of the Bonn and Paris agreements by the Bundestag.
Trying to weaken the dissatisfaction of the popular masses and segments of the West German bourgeoisie with the policy of strengthening the division of Germany and including West Germany in the system of the North Atlantic Alliance, the Bonn government and its supporting political parties significantly increased revanchist propaganda and scared the West German population with the “threat from the East.” In his speech in the Bundestag on 2 December 1952, Adenauer blatantly declared that:
"Sacrificing Germany to Soviet Russia--such an alternative would arise as a result of refusing to ratify the agreements."
The fact that the Social Democratic Party of West Germany continued to speak demagogically against the Bonn and Paris agreements only made it easier for Adenauer to accomplish his plans, since, with their propaganda, the Social Democrats distracted a significant number of West German workers from actively struggling against Adenauer's military policy.
In addition to this, hesitations and disagreements arose among the bourgeois circles in West Germany, who had been speaking out in mid-1952 against the Bonn and Paris agreements. The Bavarian Party, under the influence of its right wing, refused to oppose the agreements. The “All-German People's Party,” established in November 1952 by [Gustav] Heinemann and [Helene] Wessel, although it came out against the ratification of the agreements and in favor of German unification, refused to cooperate with the KPD and the “German Unification Movement for Unity, Peace and Freedom,” headed by the former Reich Chancellor [Joseph] Wirth.
In this situation, Adenauer was able on 3 December 1952 and 19 March 1953 to push through the Bundestag the second and third versions of the draft legislation for the ratification of the Bonn and Paris agreements.
The increase of disagreements in France. At the National Assembly, where the newly formed government of [René] Mayer introduced on 28 January of this year draft legislation for the ratification of the Bonn and Paris agreements, there arose a situation clearly unfavorable for ratification. The majority of deputies at the National Assembly opposed ratification, including many deputies from the governing parties, among them such prominent officials as [Eduard] Herriot, as well as members of RPF , the Gaullist party.
Trying to achieve a regrouping of forces at the National Assembly in favor of ratifying the agreements, the Mayer administration undertook a number of foreign policy steps designed to receive from France's partners in the aggressive bloc “security guarantees” for France against German revanchism. With these goals in mind, the Mayer administration in February of this year put forth the so-called “supplemental protocols” to the Paris agreement, which provided for changes in various articles of this agreement that would benefit France and, thus, grant France a privileged position in the “European Defense Community.” In particular, the Mayer administration insisted on France's right to withdraw, according to its judgment, its contingents from the “European army” for use in the colonies, to maintain portions of the French military industry under the control of the French government, as well as to continue payments by the Bonn government for the expense of maintaining French forces in the “European army on West German territory.”
However, under pressure from the USA, which supported the negative position of the Bonn government concerning the French supplemental protocols, the Mayer administration was forced in March of this year to renounce the majority of these and agree to a fundamental reexamination of the protocols, which resulted in the dilution of their essential content.
Other foreign policy measures of the Mayer administration include a proposal to the English government to establish close cooperation between England and the “European Defense Community” as a guarantee in the instance of a revanchist action by a rearmed West Germany against France. This matter was discussed during English-French negotiations in London on 12 and 13 February of this year. The Churchill government rejected the French proposal, refused to accept concrete obligations, and limited itself only to vague promises.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Bidault was forced to accept the unsatisfactory nature of the English response. On 6 March of this year he announced at the National Assembly that:
"We did not present proposals to England, which would be unacceptable. And we refuse to believe that the English government has spoken its final word."
Finally, the Mayer administration was unable to receive support from the USA in the dispute between France and West Germany on the Saar question, the resolution of which in France's favor could have prompted certain French bourgeois circles to reexamine their negative attitude toward the Bonn and Paris agreements.
In connection with the failure of the foreign policy measures of the Mayer administration, the conditions in France for the ratification of the Paris and Bonn agreements were, in the opinion of the foreign press, even more unfavorable by mid-March of this year than in the middle of 1952. Many newspapers expressed the opinion that the government will be entirely unable to achieve a ratification of these agreements and that the plan for creating the “European army” is doomed to complete failure.
Under these conditions, in December 1952 the bourgeois press in France had already begun to publish statements in favor of convening negotiations between the Western powers and the Soviet Union on the German question. Thus, on 27 December 1952, the Catholic newspaper Croix emphasized that:
“The only possible path to the actual reduction of international tension is a four-power conference.”
In January-February 1953, this idea was expressed by several other French newspapers.
Discussion among the ruling circles of the USA of the possibility of direct inclusion of West Germany in the organization of the North Atlantic Alliance. In January-February of this year, a number of statements appeared in the American press in favor of direct inclusion of West Germany in the North Atlantic Alliance in the event of a final collapse in the plan for a “European army.” According to evidence available, these statements represent not only blackmail directed at France, but also reflect the actual opinions of American ruling circles.
According to unofficial reports from circles of the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Eisenhower had come to the conclusion that in the event the Bonn and Paris agreements fail to be ratified, a bilateral military agreement should be concluded between the USA and West Germany.
According to other unofficial reports, in late January of this year, that is, even prior to Dulles' trip to Western Europe, the Assistant American High Commissioner, [Samuel] Reber, had brought this plan to Adenauer's attention. According to these same reports, Adenauer and Reber came to the conclusion that if the plan for creating the “European army” falls through, then “independent” West German armed forces must be organized, which would be directly included in the “Atlantic army.” During the course of these discussions, it was noted that a number of prominent Hitlerite generals, in particular [Heinz] Guderian and [Franz] Halder, prefer this plan over the project for establishing the “European army.”
It is not impossible that the ruling circles in England could support a proposal for direct inclusion of West Germany in the North Atlantic Alliance. In connection with this, it is characteristic that the English conservative newspaper The Daily Telegraph and Morning Post emphasized in its editorial on 23 February of this year that:
"... whatever success may be achieved toward the establishment of the European army, with each passing day it is becoming increasingly clear that a more effective manner of protecting Europe and involving the German army in its defense would be to operate through the organization of the North Atlantic Alliance."
In February of this year, the foreign press published reports that the USA government had already begun preliminary exchanges of opinions with the English government regarding the creation of “independent” West German armed forces within the parameters of the North Atlantic Alliance.
It is certain, however, that if the Americans raised the question of the direct inclusion of West Germany in the North Atlantic Alliance it would bring serious objections from the French government and cause a further deterioration in Franco-American relations.
Thus, by the time of the speeches of comrades G. M. Malenkov, L. P. Beria, and V. M. Molotov on 9 March of this year, as well as G. M. Malenkov's speech at the session of the USSR Supreme Soviet on 15 March of this year, there had been serious disagreements on the German question within the imperialist camp.
3. The positions of the governments of the Western powers toward negotiations with the Soviet Union on the German question at the present time
Following the speeches of Comrades G. M. Malenkov, L. P. Beria, and V. M. Molotov on 9 March and Comrade G. M. Malenkov's speech on 15 March, and following the announcements by the governments of the PRC, KPDR, and the USSR on the Korean question, there was a widespread assumption in the USA and Western European countries that, in the near future, the Soviet government would come out with a proposal for convening a quadripartite conference to discuss the German problem.
Thus, for example, the famous American commentators, the ALSOP brothers, wrote on 9 April in the newspaper The New York Herald Tribune:
“The next goal for a peace offensive by the Soviets is undoubtedly Germany.”
The newspaper of French business circles Information expressed the following conjecture on 11 April:
Korea is not the center of the conflict between the East and the West. . . . An agreement may be reached only via settlement of the German problem. . . . The Soviet Union is of course holding several trumps in reserve, which it may put on the table in the near future. Among these trumps, apparently, will be a proposal for convening a quadripartite conference for the reestablishment of German unity.
Rumors of an apparently impending proposal from the Soviet Union for convening a quadripartite conference for the discussion of the German question caused serious confusion among the ruling circles in the USA. The ALSOP brothers, describing the attitude of the U.S. State Department toward such a possibility, wrote in the article cited above:
The prospect of reinstating negotiations with the Russians on the German question is causing near panic among certain officials... The panic is understandable. Even seemingly serious Soviet proposals for starting negotiations on the conclusion of an acceptable peace treaty with Germany could cause turmoil in the Western alliance. . . This could convince the Germans that only the Americans are hindering the establishment of a united Germany.
The famous American journalist [Walter] Lippmann, writing in The New York Herald Tribune on 16 April, characterized the situation, in which the USA government was finding itself, in even more open terms:
"There is nothing . . . that could be adopted as a reliable policy. . . if the Soviet Union goes farther and makes serious proposals for a peace treaty with Germany."
The main reason for the alarm among the ruling circles of the USA with regard to the allegedly impending announcement by the Soviet Union of new proposals on the German question clearly lies in the fact that such an announcement could result in the failure of American plans to turn West Germany into the strike force of the aggressive bloc. Revealing these apprehensions of the Eisenhower administration, the ALSOP brothers noted on 25 March that “any proposals for Soviet-American negotiations at this time would bury the European army and the new status of Germany.”
The English newspaper The Times published on 16 April an article by its special correspondent, which stated:
"Some are venturing to predict that the National Assembly of France will ratify the Paris agreement with a small majority and with numerous conditions, without really believing in it. However, new Russian proposals could refute even this prophecy."
The position of the English government. The reports of an alleged Soviet government intention to propose the convening of a quadripartite conference on the German question brought more restrained responses in England than in the USA. Some English newspapers raised the question of whether the government should define its position in the instance of such a proposal. Thus, for example, the newspaper The Manchester Guardian wrote on 3 April:
"What would our position be if Russia agrees right now to hold free elections, without raising as a precondition the annulment of the European Defense Community? This is one of the problems that might lie ahead of us in connection with an increased peace offensive."
The Labor press, in particular the newspaper The Daily Herald, issued a demand that the Churchill government demonstrate initiative and come up with a proposal to convene a quadripartite conference on the German question.
On 15 April, the government was asked questions at the House of Commons (apparently, inspired by the administration itself) regarding its position toward negotiations with the USSR on Germany. In response, Minister of State Selwyn Lloyd formulated the official position of the government in the following manner:
The opinion of her Majesty's government with regard to convening a four-power conference for the purpose of discussing the question of carrying out free elections throughout all of Germany was brought to the Soviet government's attention in the diplomatic note of 23 September 1952 . . . No reply has been received from the Soviet government; however, these proposals remain in force.
Therefore, the English government apparently intends to take a wait-and-see attitude in the near future and not set forth any new conditions for the organization of quadripartite negotiations.
Statements in France in favor of organizing quadripartite negotiations. The French bourgeois circles showed increased interest in reports on the possibility of organizing quadripartite negotiations on the German question. As in 1952, those who spoke out in favor of negotiations with the USSR were, first of all, opponents of the plan to establish the “European Defense Community.” The well-known supporter of the “neutralist policy,” chief editor of the newspaper Le Monde, Beuve-Cheri, published in this newspaper an article on 9 April, in which he noted:
"Could it be a real goal of the new German policy to form a united Germany, from which, perhaps, foreign forces would be withdrawn, but which would remain tied with such a system of guarantees that would, in the form in which they are being proposed, signify legal or actual neutralization[?]"
A prominent figure in the “Independent Republican” party, Jacque Bardout, on 21 March declared his intention
to introduce in the Commission on Foreign Affairs a proposal that the French government take upon itself the initiative for holding a four-power conference on the German question.
Certain bourgeois circles, which had held a restrained position on this question last year, are also speaking out in favor of negotiations with the USSR. Thus, the newspaper of business circles Information on 9 April expressed the hope that the USA “will not undermine the chances for an actual relaxation of tensions in relations between West and East . . . with the creation of the European army, a necessary condition of which is preservation of the division of Germany.” This same newspaper emphasized on 11 April that if the Soviet Union puts forth a proposal on quadripartite negotiations on the German question, this proposal must not be rejected. The reactionary newspaper Le Figaro, which had always supported the creation of the “European Defense Community,” came out on 4 April with the following statement:
"To a demonstration of aspirations for peace, the West must respond at least with the same demonstration of aspirations for peace . . . There is no need to renounce any negotiations."
In the French bourgeois camp, the widening of the circle of those who support negotiations with the Soviet Union on the German question is obviously related to the fact that the plan for creating the “European army” is presently at a clear standstill, and that the intention of the Americans to raise the matter of the direct inclusion of West Germany in the North Atlantic Alliance seriously worried even the more reactionary circles of the French bourgeoisie.
It is possible that this could also reflect on the French government position on the question of quadripartite negotiations concerning Germany. The question of organizing negotiations with the USSR was raised by French ministers during their visit to the USA in late March of this year. On 25 March, Prime Minister Mayer made the following statement at a press conference in New York:
"I would be happy to find out something about the negotiations with the USSR. France is, of course, counting on being represented at any high-level conference of powers."
The American newspaper New York World Telegram and Sun wrote during the talks between Mayer and Bidault and members of the Eisenhower administration that:
"Bidault is carefully preparing the ground for convening a conference of the four great powers, which would postpone, and perhaps even completely bury, plans for the European army, which are designed to arm Germany."
However, the USA government apparently did not give the French ministers any specific assurances of their readiness to agree to convene a four-power conference. In any case, in the communiqué on the results of the Franco-American talks there is no indication of the desirability or the possibility of talks with the USSR; [instead, it] contains rude attacks on the Soviet Union and its foreign policy.
In a number of statements following their return from the USA, Mayer and Bidault demonstrated extreme caution on the question of quadripartite negotiations and clearly sought not to reveal their position in the event that the question of such negotiations becomes realistic.
The Eisenhower administration's collusion with Adenauer. Among the ruling circles of the Bonn government, the reports of the Soviet Union's alleged preparation of a proposal for quadripartite negotiations raised serious concern. As the American newspaper The New York Herald Tribune reported on 7 April:
"people who are well acquainted with Adenauer and who had heard him in the German Bundestag believe that he is worried by only one thing, and that is precisely the possibility of disturbing West Germany's recently improved status by way of the conclusion of some kind of new agreement at the expense of Germany by West and East--50 percent along the lines of Potsdam. . . For Adenauer, this thought is a real nightmare. His fear of the possibility of such an event probably increased in connection with the current attempts by the Russians at reconciliation with the West."
The central issue in Adenauer's talks with Eisenhower and members of his administration, which took place in Washington on 7-9 April of this year, was the development of a common line of action for the Bonn government and the government of the USA in the event that the Soviet Union puts forth new proposals for a peaceful settlement of the German problem. The communiqué published at the end of the talks states that, as proof of its “good will” toward “the establishment of peace and cooperation between all countries,” the Soviet government must allow “actual free elections” in Germany and free “the hundreds of thousands” of German prisoners of war and relocated civilians, all of whom are allegedly still in the USSR. The foreign press regards these demands as the U.S.'s preconditions for organizing negotiations between the Western powers and the USSR on the German question.
It is significant that this time the government of the USA went beyond those demands, which were put forth in the diplomatic notes of the three Western powers on 10 July and 23 September 1952. The clearly provocative demands for the release of “hundreds of thousands” of prisoners of war, allegedly still detained in the USSR, did not appear in these notes of the Western powers and were obviously introduced at this time by the United States with the direct intention of cutting off avenues toward the organization of quadripartite negotiations on the German question.
Aside from this, during the course of talks between Eisenhower and members of his administration on the one side, and Adenauer on the other, specific steps were mentioned, that were directed at expediting the establishment of West German armed forces, independent of the implementation of the agreement on the “European Defense Community.”
In this regard, attention should be paid, above all, to Adenauer's statement during a press conference in Washington that, during the time of the talks, there were discussions of such secret questions, of which “even members of the American cabinet” were not informed. The communiqué on the results of the talks states that the government of the USA expressed its readiness to supply arms and equipment to the future armed forces of West Germany, as well as to begin allocating American military requisitions to West Germany. It is true that in both cases the stipulation was made that these measures would be carried out only following the implementation of the Bonn and Paris agreements. However, this stipulation is clearly intended only to legalize the United States' preparations already underway for equipping the West German forces with American arms and the resumption of military production in West German factories.
Finally, the communiqué's establishment of the U.S. government's obligations to expedite the review of cases by German war criminals sentenced in American courts, and to allocate special status for the “assistance” of so-called “refugees,” whom the Bonn government regards as the most important source of human resources for the future West Germany army, also testify to the U.S. government's intention to accelerate the establishment of this army.
It is characteristic that the reaction in France and England to the results of the Washington talks with Adenauer was highly negative. Paris radio reported on 9 April that:
"The French press is severely condemning Chancellor Adenauer's statements and position (regarding the undesirability of quadripartite negotiations prior to the implementation of the Bonn and Paris agreements--note of the KI) . . . Such a position is equivalent to playing dangerously with fire."
The famous Labour [Party] activist [Richard] Crossman wrote an article on 17 April in the daily New Statesman and Nation, which declared that:
"It is significant that Adenauer believes himself to be sufficiently strong to act in this manner--hindering a relaxation of tensions, even if England and France desire it . . . The Germans are completely in favor of a cold war . . . They are convinced that once the Federal Republic rearms they will be able, with help from Dulles, to compel the weak-nerved French and English to accept a real liberation policy."
The German question in Eisenhower's speech on 16 April. Eisenhower's speech at the American Society of Newspaper Editors on 16 April once more confirmed that the USA government does not want and will try not to allow negotiations with the Soviet Union on the German question. In this aggressive speech, Eisenhower counted the German question among those “serious and specific disputed questions between the free world and the Soviet Union,” the possibility of settling which can only be examined after “the conclusion of an honored armistice in Korea;” he defined [this] as not only a cessation of military actions in Korea, but also as “a cessation of direct and indirect infringements on the security of Indo-China and Malaya.” Even this one definition of the question already demonstrates that the Eisenhower administration intends to reject all proposals for convening a quadripartite conference on the German question.
Further, Eisenhower emphasized that “a free and united Germany, with a government established on the basis of free elections with secret balloting,” must be included in the “European Community.” In another portion of his speech, he repeated Dulles' previously formulated thesis that West German participation in the “European Defense Community” “is the only safe path toward complete and irrevocable unity” for Germany. At the same time, Eisenhower let it be known that the U.S. government will agree to such unification of Germany which would provide for united Germany's participation in the military-political bloc of the Western powers.
Finally, a characteristic peculiarity of Eisenhower's presentation of the German question was the complete absence of even a mention in his speech of a peace treaty with Germany.
Thus, the current position of the government of the USA toward quadripartite negotiations on the German question differs significantly from the position put forth in the note of the three powers on 23 September 1952. By surrounding the organization of such negotiations with clearly provocative “preconditions,” the Eisenhower administration is obviously trying to block the organization of quadripartite negotiations on the German question.
As demonstrated by the above reports, this position of the USA government will inevitably lead to a further escalation of disagreements between the USA and Western European countries.
18 April 1953 Witness: [signature]
Attachment to #732/m