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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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Adenauer however is constrained by fact that flat rejection gives appearance of forsaking Germany’s own national interests in interests of Western Europe or as one Cabinet member put it of being more American than the Americans.

Coalition elements less wedded to European integration as an end in itself, more sensitive to charges of Quislingism [i.e. treason and collaboration] and more susceptible to nationalist slogans oppose flat rejection and urge further exploration of Soviet offer before final commitment to West. This group recommends a slowing down rather than speeding up of current negotiations. Thus far it is not (repeat not) very strong comprising chiefly a few soft-headed nationalists like Bleucher, and some left-wing CDU including Kaiser and Brentano. However, as connection between integration and unification be, is clearer especially after Allied notes stressed connection and as time for ratification draws closer, we can envisage strengthening of this school and growing reluctance to take final step that might be construed by public as slamming door on unification unless in meantime it is made absolutely clear to Germans that Soviet offer of unification is unacceptable to them. With Soviet offer opening apparently new vista, however bogus, some deputies may also be tempted to be more critical in their scrutiny of the terms of integration as contained in the contractual agreement.

Basically the SPD is through the long experience less sensitive to Soviet blandishments than possibly less experienced elements in coalition. However, because of its stubborn policy of opposition to Adenauer and especially to his policy of integration it may very well be tempted to side with the temporizers in coalition. Here[to]fore it has been possible to maintain at least semblance of unity between opposition and Government on East-West problems, but with evidence of difference of opinion within coalition itself it may prove difficult to hold SPD in line on this major issue.

II. German reactions to specific points of Soviet proposal are difficult to define but some general observation may be pertinent.

(A) Oder-Neisse Line is, of course, least palatable of Soviet proposals. Initially Germans were inclined to view that no (repeat no) German Government could accept settlement which did not (repeat not) involve return of east provinces. However, some Germans are now (repeat now) veering to view that they should take what they can get today and wait for rest till a more favorable opportunity arises.

(B) National Army. To many Germans, Soviet offer of national army has attraction of forbidden fruit as Allies had only offered participation in strange new concept of European Defence Force. In view of widespread fear of a return of the old militarism, this may appear irrational but there is no (repeat no) doubt that in many quarters Soviet offer has had a real appeal based on nationalism and the traditions and emotions connected with a German national army.

(C) Freedom of alliances. [Helene] Wessel’s and Heinemann’s neutrality doctrines have attracted far more attention than support in Germany. Nevertheless, if unification on acceptable terms appeared genuinely purchasable at price of provisional neutralization, many Germans might be tempted to consider deal in belief that once reunited Germany would be strong enough to regain her freedom to choose her allies.

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