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Documents on Germany, 1944-1959 : background documents on Germany, 1944-1959, and a chronology of political developments affecting Berlin, 1945-1956

Letter from President Eisenhower to Premier Bulganin, on Germany, European security, and disarmament, January 12, 1958,   pp. 228-236 PDF (3.9 MB)

Page 228

Q. If I might follow up just one point, sir, is it the position of this
Government officially that Russia has repudiated, as you indicated a
moment ago, the Geneva Summit Conference in terms of an agree-
ment on Germany? I ask that for the specific reason that there seems
to have been a great deal of lack of unanimity of interpretation as to
whether indeed the Four Powers did agree at Geneva to a workable
reunification of Germany.
A. Well, the Four Powers agreed to what I said-I think I quoted
it almost verbatim-agreed that "the reunification of Germany by free
elections shall be carried out in conformity with the national interests
of the German people and the interests of European security." That
is a quote of the agreement. Now, following that, and indeed includ-
ing recent times, not only at the Foreign Ministers meeting, which
shortly followed the Summit Conference, but in a more recent press
conference that Mr. Gromyko held in Moscow just before he came to
the United Nations, the Soviet Union asserted that it had no respon-
sibility for the reunification of Germany and they earlier had said
that reunification by means of free elections was an artificial, mech-
anistic, way which would not preserve the "social gains" that had
been attained in East Germany and therefore was unacceptable.
*        *       *        *       *        *       *
Q. Mr. Secretary, on the German question, a while back you were
asked about the proposal to neutralize Germany and your answer, if
I understood you, was that this was a topic currently under discussion
at the NATO conference. Would you expand on that? Are you re-
ferring to the so-called Polish plan for a nuclear-free zone or to some
other measure or do you consider the Polish Plan itself to be
A. I assume the question related, as indeed my reply related, pri-
marily to the Polish proposal which was repeated more or less in the
Bulganin letter. As you point out, that was not a proposal for total
neutralization, but partial neutralization, you might say, in the terms
of the elimination from the area of nuclear weapons, missiles, and the
I might add, however, that it seems to be the opinion of some, at
least, of our allies that such a step would in practice be indistinguish-
able from an almost total neutralization of the area because, if it is
not possible to have in the area modern weapons then it might be im-
prudent to maintain any forces in the area at all because they would be
in a very exposed position.
*        *       *        *       *        *       *
Letter from President Eisenhower to Premier Bulganin, on Ger-
many, European Security, and Disarmament, January 12,19581
When on December 10 I received your communication, I promptly
acknowledged it with the promise that I would in due course give
you a considered reply. I now do so.
Your communication seems to fall into three parts: the need for
peace; your contention that peace is endangered by the collective self-
1 Department of State Bulletin, January 27, 1958, pp. 122-127.

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