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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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(D) Freedom of trade. This Soviet proposal would seem to be particularly attractive to German industry. As yet we have no (repeat no) concrete evidence of the Ruhr’s reaction to Soviet note or our reply. However there are just enough straws in wind indicating Adenauer’s industrial supporters are urging him to go slow on the contractual negotiations, to prompt us to investigate this interesting phase more carefully. We believe for example that Bluecher’s adherence to the Kaiser school may be prompted by Dusseldorf’s covetousness of Eastern markets particularly in event of business recession.

III. Thus far practical political result of exchange of notes has been a tendency in some circles to take another look at Western integration, particularly its possible incompatibility with unification, and there is a small but growing group who are urging Adenauer to go slow. Vigorously opposing them, Adenauer remains insistent on a speedy conclusion of agreements. Thus far he has behind him a majority of the cabinet and the tacit support of the majority of the coalition and probably also a large proportion of the electorate.

Nevertheless we cannot (repeat not) afford to disregard potentialities of those who would delay agreements pending clarification of Soviet intentions, particularly if there is evidence of a similar trend in either France or UK. They have cheap but powerful nationalistic slogans and can make popular charge that Adenauer is dividing Germany’s loyalties between her eastern provinces and the West. Furthermore they have in the Saar issue an instrument of considerable tactical force to bring pressure on Adenauer to go slowly by demanding that the Saar problem be solved before any further commitments are made to West.

III. Telegram by U.S. High Commander John McCloy to Secretary of State Dean Acheson about a Conversation with Chancellor Konrad Adenauer on the “Stalin Note” (May 3, 1952)

Chancellor told me today that after serious consideration yesterday and “Through half the night,” he had definitely concluded US proposal for meeting in Berlin (paragraph 9 Department’s telegram 2850) would be a mistake at this time. If meeting is now (repeat now) suggested, Chancellor doubts that Cabinet would authorize him to sign contractual agreements until meeting had demonstrated whether Soviets sincere in their offer of free elections. He would expect opposition to insist that meetings take place before signature, but now (repeat now) fears even members of Government would take same line. He also believes it would be unwise to limit any quadripartite meeting to discussion of free election issue as Soviets might be prepared to make sufficient concessions to justify lengthy negotiations. During course of these, public attention would be concentrated on the concession and tend to overlook other objectionable phases of Soviet proposal. In these circumstances it would be impossible to conclude defence negotiations.

His view of the tactics to pursue are as follows:

(1) HICOMers [High Commissioners] should immediately write [W.I.] Chuikov asking for answer to their earlier communications on free elections which remain unanswered.

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