215. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Kennedy1


Kissinger believes that the Germans really do not want—though they expect—negotiations and I am inclined to think he is right. That [Page 589] makes it more important than ever to persuade them of our determination on this point and the reasons for it, as follows:

We believe that without negotiations a whole series of bad things will happen:
A separate peace treaty with substantial sympathy for it among neutrals and sectors of our own opinion.
Salami tactics, which may be fast or slow, on the access routes.
Further decline in morale and hope of West Berlin.
Evident division among allies over countermeasures.
Increasing nationalism and militarism in Germany and the United States.
Higher tensions throughout Europe.
Possible war, conventional or nuclear—and in all of these eventualities a wide-spread belief that we never tested the possibility of a peaceful settlement.
Moreover, we believe that these negotiations must be so framed that our position has the strongest possible support both internationally and among our own people. Therefore, we cannot agree to a simple restatement of earlier positions and have urged somewhat different policies on which we hope for discussion Tuesday morning.
It is folly for the allies to approach negotiations in divided disarray and therefore we think it of a high importance to have
The support of the Chancellor;
His help in persuading de Gaulle.
We should leave the Chancellor in no doubt that the decision to move toward negotiations has been taken by you and is firm. Kissinger shares the widespread view of the German experts I have seen that your own definite and affirmative leadership is the key to winning and holding the Chancellor’s confidence. For this reason Kissinger does not think we should show too much curiosity about the Kroll visit. It is on the whole advantageous to us, insofar as it is not some sort of special separate ploy, and we do not want the Chancellor to think we are worried about his little games. (Bohlen agrees on this.)

McG. B.
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Germany, Adenauer Visit. Secret. The source text bears no drafting information.