87. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State1

340. Paris for Kohler. In preparation for Western consultations on Berlin problem and possible eventual negotiations with Soviets, may be useful review Soviet aims as well as our own in order ascertain area open to negotiation. Following enumeration of Soviet aims omits more general and distant objectives such as spread of Communism, break-up NATO Alliance, absorption West Berlin by East German regime, etc., although Soviets will so far as possible endeavor that any settlement either advance these aims or at least not make their achievement more difficult.

Some change in present situation in West Berlin. Khrushchev personally so far out on limb on this issue now that he could abandon it only at price of concessions in other areas which we clearly could not make. Minimum changes necessary are probably something along lines of what we offered at Geneva. Soviets will make strong effort however end occupation status as well as to stop refugee flow, reduce subversive espionage and propaganda activities based on West Berlin, obtain commitments to reduce or at least freeze numbers of Western troops, limit types of weapons stationed West Berlin, attempt to introduce symbolic Soviet forces, obtain confirmation that West Berlin not part of West [Page 242] Germany, and if possible reduce present legal and financial ties between them.
Signature by Soviet Union of peace treaty with East German regime. Khrushchev also personally deeply committed to conclusion treaty which Soviets desire not only as important step toward eventual recognition of East German regime but also to establish better legal basis for recognition present German frontiers. Drafting of separate treaty will probably present difficulties since hard to see how Soviets can impose desired restrictions in military field on GDR alone. Soviet position that signature of treaty must necessarily end Western access rights somewhat inconsistent with their acknowledgment they do not intend molest Allied troops remaining in Berlin although they will of course state they are there illegally. Soviets could of course make provision in treaty for continuance present situation West Berlin pending reunification, and only argument K has advanced against this is that it would hurt Soviet prestige to do so.
Stabilization of regime in East Germany through de facto recognition and removal at least some of harmful effects on regime of present Berlin situation, particularly flow of refugees.
Measures to increase Soviet security in Eastern Europe. These might include schemes along lines Rapacki Plan,2 limitation on German armaments, etc. Soviets profess not to be concerned over any direct military threat to them from West Germans but genuinely fear that West Germany may embroil them in war with US.
Steps to improve legal basis of Germany’s frontiers. In this question Soviets have much in mind their own acquisition German and Polish territory.

Our own objectives are well-known but for purposes of agreement appears to me that most important considerations are that we must maintain our commitment to people of West Berlin and that any settlement must not violate our major general principles including right of self-determination. This does not mean of course that we could not accept proposal which made no provision for self-determination within any given period of time. In following telegram3 I propose to submit suggestions for possible approaches to settlement taking account of foregoing considerations.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/7-3161. Secret; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Paris, London, Bonn, and Berlin.
  2. For text of Polish Foreign Minister Rapacki’s address to the U.N. General Assembly, October 2, 1957, proposing a nuclear free zone in Central Europe (U.N. doc. A/PV.697), see Documents on Disarmament, 1945-1959, vol. II, pp. 889-892.
  3. Document 88.