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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

Remarks at news conference by Secretary of State Dulles, on German reunification and Berlin, November 7, 1958 [extracts],   pp. 307-308 PDF (878.2 KB)

Page 307

DOCUMENTS ON GERMANY, 1944-59              307
sets of agenda proposals. The further Western communications of
July 1 and August 22 have so far also remained unanswered. Since
the Soviet Government has indicated in its note that it, too, attaches
importance to the solution of the German problem, the United States
Government hopes that the Soviet Government will now reply to the
Western proposal so that the preparatory talks may continue.
In the interests of 'making progress on this subject, the, Govern-
ment of the.United, States is, however, prepared 'to discuss the Gean
problem -in a 'separate Four Power giroup to; be; set up in accordarnce
with the desire of the Federal Government expressed in its Aide
Memoire of September 9. The purpose of the group would be to dis-
cuss proposals connected with the German problem and to carry out
the preparatory work necessary for final negotiations to be held at a
later date either at a conference of Heads of Government, if one call
be arranged, or otherwise.
The Government of the United States hopes that, in view of the
importance of settling the German problem, not only for the German
people but also as a contribution towards the relaxation of tension in
Europe, the Soviet Government will agree to the procedure set out
A copy of the United States Government's reply to the Federal Gov-
ernment's Aide Memoire of September 9 is attached. The United
States Government is also informing the Federal Government of the
terms of this note.
Remarks at News Conference by Secretary of State Dulles, on
German Reunification and Berlin, November 7, 1958
*        *       *        *        *       *        *
Q. Mr. Secretary, in recent days you have been criticized in some
West German newspapers for allegedly adopting too rigid a position
regarding possible talks with Russia on the German problem. Could
you sort of review, your position on this at this time, sir?
A. The position of the United States so far remains as it has been
historically for the last few years, and particularly as it was expressed
in the joint communique which was issued as a result of the Geneva
Summit Conference of 1955. We take the position that the Four
Powers, former occupying powers, have the responsibility to bring
about the reunification of Germany. That was agreed to then by the
Soviet Union. It was also agreed that Germany should be reunified
in freedom by free elections. We hold to that. Now as to the timing
and the precise character of steps that are taken, we naturally take
into account very much the views of the Federal Republic as to just
how these matters should be, handled. Even though it be the fact
that from a juridical standpoint the Four Powers have the primary
responsibility for the reunification of Germany, it is a fact that the
Federal Republic is deeply involved, that we have very close and
friendly ties with it, and we would naturally be very much influenced
by its views as to the timing and form of any steps taken to bring
about this reunification.
*        *        *       *        *       *        *
1Department of State press release 67S, November 7, 1958&

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