Volume #26 - 145.|
RELATIONS AVEC LE COMMONWEALTH
RELATIONS AVEC DES PAYS PARTICULIERS
VISITE DU PREMIER MINISTRE MACMILLAN À OTTAWA, 18-19 MARS 1959
Note des conversations du premier ministre|
avec le premier ministre du Royaume-Uni et le Foreign Secretary du Royaume-Uni
TOP SECRET. CANADIAN EYES ONLY.||
le 18 mars 1959|
DISCUSSIONS ON GERMANY, BERLIN AND EUROPEAN SECURITY|
The Prime Minister's conversations with Prime Minister Macmillan and Mr. Selwyn Lloyd took place from 10:00 a.m. to noon and from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on March 18. The Prime Minister was accompanied by the Minister of Public Works, Mr. Green. In addition to these private conversations, Mr. Macmillan and Mr. Lloyd met with the members of the Cabinet for approximately one hour.
This memorandum summarizes those parts of the private discussions which dealt with European questions.
In welcoming Mr. Macmillan and Mr. Lloyd, the Prime Minister said that he looked forward to hearing their views, not only because of the Canadian Government's interest in the problems confronting the NATO alliance, but also because the United Kingdom Ministers would be going to Washington at a time when there had arisen in the United States a considerable intensification of "nationalistic" feeling. Judging from recent pronouncements of United States leaders, Mr. Macmillan and Mr. Lloyd might encounter a tough mood in Washington.
Mr. Macmillan said that there was a dilemma. On the one hand, it was necessary to conduct the affairs of the alliance "firmly and fairly, but with a view to negotiation with the Soviet Union." On the other hand, the life of Europe depended on maintaining close United States friendship and interest. It was as important not to drive the United States back into isolationism as it was to prevent the United States from adopting foolish courses of action. He had had these thoughts in mind in his visit to the Soviet Union. He was hopeful that any differences which might exist or arise would turn out to be differences of method rather than purpose.
At Mr. Macmillan's suggestion, Mr. Lloyd spoke at some length on their visit to the Soviet Union. He followed generally the lines of reports which we have already received from United Kingdom sources.
Disengagement and Related Problems
On the conclusion of Mr. Lloyd's remarks, Mr. Diefenbaker said that disengagement was the one aspect of Mr. Macmillan's visit to the Soviet Union which had caused some public concern in North America. He was afraid that unless public doubts as to the implications of disengagement could be cleared up, a trend toward isolationism might emerge in North America, manifested in public pressure for the return of American and Canadian forces stationed in Europe.
This question led to an exposition, mostly by Mr. Macmillan, of the distinction made by the United Kingdom between disengagement (physical drawing apart of forces and weapons) and thinning out or limitation. The former term had never been mentioned by the United Kingdom side in Moscow and, he pointed out, the word "disengagement" had not been used in the communiqué. The United Kingdom Government was fully aware of the dangers and disadvantages involved in the creation of a demilitarized zone. (Here Mr. Diefenbaker signified assent.) On the other hand, they saw possible advantages in a system of limitation or thinning out, by which he meant that forces and types of weapons in an agreed area would be fixed and inspected and that no addition could be made without agreement. Mr. Khrushchev, Mr. Macmillan said, had shown considerable interest in this idea, and more than once senior Soviet officials had attempted to probe for further detail. The United Kingdom Ministers had, however, been careful, in deference to the known susceptibilities of the French, the Germans, and the Americans, not to go too far in defining this idea.
Arguing the merits of some such arrangement, Mr. Macmillan said that apart from its value as a potential basis for negotiation with the Soviet Government, it would enable an experiment to be made in inspection and control, at first in a limited area which could later be expanded. Moreover, the United Kingdom Government was convinced that it was necessary to counter the pressure for a Rapacki-type of solution by producing a constructive alternative; a flat negative was not sufficient.
The French and the Germans, Mr. Macmillan said, had accepted his assurance that, in his talks with Mr. Khrushchev, he had not indulged in discussion of disengagement proper. Mr. Diefenbaker said that he thought the United Kingdom Government might have quite a difficult time in explaining their position in Washington. Mr. Macmillan did not demur but professed mild confidence in the outcome of his talks with the President.
At the afternoon meeting the United Kingdom Ministers enlarged on (a) the dangers inherent in the pursuit of disengagement (in the sense of a drawing back of forces) and (b) what they had in mind to implement a plan of limitation. Disengagement led naturally to a neutralized zone from which Western and Soviet forces would be withdrawn and this, in turn, might lead to the departure of United States and Canadian troops from Europe, which was the last thing the United Kingdom and other Western European governments wanted. The concepts of disengagement and neutralization were thus both unacceptable to the United Kingdom.
Mr. Diefenbaker pressed for a precise indication of the size and location of the area of limitation which the United Kingdom had in mind. Mr. Lloyd said that the important thing was to get the principle accepted. The area could be small (100 kilometres on either side of the zone boundary in Germany), or large (Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia), or again it might eventually become of even wider extent. To Mr. Diefenbaker's remark that the United Kingdom Government must surely have a concrete area in mind, Mr. Macmillan, emphasizing the danger of putting forward any definite plan at the present stage, indicated that the United Kingdom are considering the feasibility of an area including all of East Germany and at least a large part of West Germany. Earlier in the conversation Mr. Macmillan had said that if a zone of limitation were connected with a new arrangement for Berlin it must, to be of value as a bargaining counter with the Russians, include at least the whole of Germany. Mr. Lloyd thought it possible to envisage a smaller zone for limitation and a larger one for inspection. Again, zones for air inspection need not coincide with those used on the ground.
In reply to the question whether the United Kingdom Government had given up thought of finding a form of "discriminating demilitarization," Mr. Lloyd recalled that Gromyko had revealed some interest in the idea of distinguishing between tactical and strategic nuclear weapons in a given area.
Speaking of the Soviet position on a German settlement, Mr. Lloyd referred to two points which he thought indicated that some plan along the lines now being considered by the United Kingdom might have appeal for the Soviet Government:
(a) The Russians had never mentioned neutralization or demilitarization of Germany, but seemed ready to accept a continuation of the existing division and also of the existing relationships of East and West Germany with the Warsaw Pact and NATO for some years to come;
(b) Towards the end of the visit Mr. Khrushchev had said that he did not expect the West to recognize East Germany de jure or West Germany to recognize East Germany's frontiers de jure. Even de facto, East Germany's frontiers might be "recognized" (guaranteed) through a third party. Mr. Lloyd did not know whether by "third party" Khrushchev had meant the United Nations or the Soviet Union or "some agency." This was a point worth following up, perhaps at the Foreign Ministers' or summit meeting.
Steps to the Summit
Turning to what he referred to as the immediate problem of Berlin and Germany, Mr. Macmillan said that he believed that the largest single achievement of his visit to Moscow had been the disappearance of the Soviet ultimatum (as indicated by the Soviet Note of March 2) and the opportunity and time thus gained for negotiation. It was essential to take advantage of this gain by fixing with as little delay as possible the date of a summit meeting, possibly in early August. Khrushchev was the boss and no one but he could be expected to agree to significant compromises at a conference. Unless a date were soon set, the Russians would use the Foreign Ministers' meeting to force the West into hurried acceptance of a summit conference, whereas if it was established promptly that a summit meeting was definitely to take place, a Foreign Ministers' meeting might turn out to be quite useful by way of preparation. Finally, Mr. Macmillan said, there was the danger that if a Foreign Ministers' meeting broke up in complete failure, the Russians might be tempted to hand over to the East Germans in Berlin, thereby sharpening the crisis. He did not "propose to commit the United Kingdom to this kind of situation without having had a summit meeting." Mr. Diefenbaker signified his agreement with this position.
With regard to the procedure leading to a summit meeting, Mr. Macmillan said with some hesitation that he thought that "in their hearts" the French agreed with the United Kingdom; the Germans certainly did. In addition, Chancellor Adenauer had said that if a summit meeting were to some extent successful on Berlin and Germany, the participants should agree to resume their meeting in perhaps four months' time to tackle other outstanding questions. Mr. Macmillan evidently favoured this idea.
Speaking of the United States position, Mr. Macmillan indicated that he hoped to be able to persuade the President of the wisdom of agreeing at once to fixing the date of the summit meeting. The United Kingdom Government had withheld their agreement from the draft reply to the Soviet Note of March 2, inter alia because of the importance they attached to Western unanimity on this point. Mr. Macmillan did not think that the United States authorities had really considered the military situation which might have to be accepted if the present opportunity for negotiation were to be foregone.
Mr. Macmillan referred approvingly to a remark which Mr. Spaak had made to him on his visit to Paris, that the important thing for the Western governments was to agree among themselves what they were determined to hold on to in respect of Berlin. It was no use talking big now on issues for which the West was not prepared to take a stand later. The difficulty about the American position was that they were so far refusing to accept a distinction between a blockade and an East German stamp mark. Mr. Lloyd remarked that the position might be different if the legal case of the Western powers were stronger. Unfortunately it was beginning to lose its conviction 14 years after the war, especially in view of the agreements reached with West Germany in the Bonn Conventions. Mr. Macmillan said that he was convinced that the "sub-contracting" of Soviet to East German control of access to Berlin would not be a justifiable casus belli. Hostile military action by the Russians would be a different thing, and so might a blockade, but the aim must be to prevent such a situation from arising.
Both in the morning and afternoon meetings Mr. Diefenbaker emphasized the importance of guarding against any ill-considered move, such as the placing of the Strategic Air Command on an increased state of readiness at a time of tension, which might lead the Soviet Government to conclude that the West was contemplating large-scale military action. At the afternoon meeting Mr. Diefenbaker asked the United Kingdom Ministers to ensure that the Canadian Government's misgivings on this score were understood in Washington.
Mr. Macmillan described the United Kingdom position on the substance of the Berlin problem in the following terms. The United Kingdom would hope for an agreed system whereby a "small and symbolic" presence of British, American, and French troops, or possibly neutral forces, would be maintained, and whereby some form of United Nations presence would be introduced. He thought that a new title of this kind, guaranteed by the Great Powers and registered with the United Nations, could be a satisfactory means of assuring right of access to Berlin and would provide a firmer base from which to defend the Western position in Berlin before world opinion. Mr. Macmillan seemed to think that the Russians might be prepared to negotiate an arrangement of this kind. (He made no mention of recognition of East Germany as an element in such an arrangement.)
In reply to a question from Mr. Green as to the probable West German reaction, Mr. Lloyd said that he was not sure. Referring, however, to conversations with Brentano and senior German officials, he added that the Germans were realists and appreciated the importance of finding a negotiated settlement. He was sure that "all Europeans know that they aren't going to fight over the ticket." President de Gaulle had made it clear to him that what he meant by "blockade" (i.e., as a possible justification for military action by the West) was "physical obstruction," not a change of nationality at the control posts. European governments would have to satisfy public opinion that there was a cause worth fighting for. Mr. Macmillan associated himself emphatically with this view.
Mr. Diefenbaker asked whether there had been a change in United Kingdom thinking on the reunification of Germany. He had had indications that the United Kingdom Government was now prepared to contemplate Germany's continued division, allegedly because of apprehensions that a reunified Germany would become too strong.
Before replying directly, Mr. Macmillan said that the French held the view outlined by Mr. Diefenbaker; that the Russians, to his surprise, had indicated that they desired the status quo in Germany; and that Chancellor Adenauer had last week indicated quite clearly his opinion that Germany could not be reunited without war. The United Kingdom, Mr. Macmillan said, recognized that the Western position of 1955 on reunification was now unrealistic. On the other hand, the West could not publicly admit the impossibility of reunifying Germany on satisfactory terms, and some hope of reunification, perhaps through the encouragement of more contacts between East and West Germany or even by some form of confederation, must be held out. In the United Kingdom view the worst possible solution was a reunited and neutral Germany. Such a solution would be very dangerous as it would enable the Russians to draw Germany into the Soviet orbit, e.g., by selling out Poland and restoring the Eastern provinces to Germany.
Mr. Diefenbaker said that as recently as last November, Chancellor Adenauer had indicated to him that he was not prepared to give up the aim of reunification. Mr. Dulles' statement at a press conference that free elections were not the only avenue to reunification must have had an impact on the Chancellor. Mr. Macmillan replied that Adenauer was aware that a reunified Germany would not be a Germany dominated by "civilized elements." Control would pass to the Prussians and the Socialists and Germany would be dragged more and more to the left. Nevertheless, Mr. Macmillan concluded, it was important for public purposes to feed the latent German longing for reunification.
345Voir/See G. Barraclough, Survey of International Affairs 1959-1960 (London: Royal Institute of International Affairs/Oxford University Press, 1964), pp. 17-22.
346 Voir/See Volume 24, Document 304.
347Voir/See G. Barraclough, Survey of International Affairs 1959-1960 (London: Royal Institute of International Affairs/Oxford University Press, 1964), p. 20.