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Three Telegrams from U.S. High Commissioner John McCloy to Secretary of State Dean Acheson regarding the "Stalin Note" (1952)

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5. Being serious in our desire to establish German unity as the indispensable first step toward peace, being interested in practical progress toward this goal and seeing no useful end being served by encouraging Soviet exercises in sophistry such as have been witnessed at the Palais Rose and through Austrian peace treaty negotiations, we do not propose to engage now in a discussion of the inadequacies of Soviet proposals for a German peace treaty.

To give reply positive tone first two points should be heavily emphasized and fifth played down.

Finally, we would recommend against officially going into any details regarding peace treaty terms proposed by Soviet Government. However, we do not feel that this should preclude active background guidance to press and radio.

We consider reply to Soviet note should be issued as soon as possible to avoid appearance to Germans of lack of allied resolutions.

II. Telegram by U.S. High Commissioner John McCloy to Secretary of State Dean Acheson on German reactions to the “Stalin Note” (March 29, 1952)

I. Not (repeat not) without good reason Germans are strongly inclined to view Soviet note of March 10 as addressed to them rather than to the Allies. They therefore tend to examine it as a serious offer of unity rather than as a propaganda move.

It is particularly difficult to judge German public opinion as soon after exchange of notes but we tend to believe that Germans’ experiences of Russia as occupiers, prisoners of war and occupied make them skeptical of any Soviet offer and that are therefore not (repeat not) as yet greatly impressed by it. This negative reaction is, however, not (repeat not) static and may be reversed by the politicians particularly if West Powers appear to oppose unification.

Among those politicians who have carefully studied implications of note and our reply there are basically two schools of thought. Adenauer whose entire political creed is based on Western integration considers note chiefly an effort to disrupt his policy. Some of his advisors intimately familiar with Russia hold to view that Kremlin is in dead earnest in its intention not (repeat not) only of disrupting integration but of reorienting Germany to the East with initial status perhaps more like Finland or even Sweden than Czechoslovakia but eventually as a junior partner in Soviet drive for world domination. They see a parallel between situation today and in 1939 when Westerners were futilely negotiating with Russians to prevent a German-Russia alliance which was so rudely shattered by Stalin’s dramatic offer to Hitler resulting in Molotov Ribbentrop Act. Aware of challenge of such an offer Adenauer firmly believes it is up to Germany to prove her loyalty to West by rejecting it flatly and expediting conclusion of Defence Treaty and contractuals.

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