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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

Note from the American Embassy to the Soviet Foreign Ministry, on Germany, February 16, 1959,   p. 382 PDF (448.7 KB)

Page 382

382           DOCUMENTS ON GERMANY, 1944-59
Note from the American Embassy to the Soviet Foreign Ministry,
on Germany, February 16, 19591
The Government of the United States refers to the note of the
Government of the USSR dated January 10,1959.
The United States Government has repeatedly expressed its con-
viction that the continued division of Germany constitutes a danger
to European security and to world peace. This danger is heightened
by the persistent and flagrant denial to the East Germans of human
rights and fundamental freedoms. The United States Government
has sought to deal with this problem as urgently as possible through
negotiations among the Four; Powers responsible for Germany. In
pursuing this objective, it has been willing to negotiate seriously on
all aspects of the problem. This attitude long held was most recently
put forward by the United States in' its notes of September 30 and
iDecember 31, 1958.
"The' Soviet Government has announced its intention unilaterally
to abdicate certain of its internationally' agreed responsibilities and
obl''gations in regard to Berlin. That would encourage, and could
result in, an attempt to assert control over the rights of the Western
Powers t o be 'in Berlin and'to have unhampered access thereto. The
danger to world peace inherent in this Soviet initiative is evident.
The position of the Western Powers in this matter has been made
clear in their note of December 31. They have no choice but to de-
clare again that they reserve the right to uphold by all appropriate
means their communications with their sectors of Berlin.
Apart from the question of Berlin, the Soviet note of January 10
contains a number of statements and proposals with which the United
States Government does not'agree. The United States Government
does not, however, propose to discuss these things in the present com--
munication. This is partly because its views on the points at issue
have been made plain in- the note of December 31, 1958, and'on pre-
Vious occasions; and partly because in its view neither polemics nor
insistence on the prior acceptance of any limitations on the means of'
reaching mutually satisfactory solutions-can be helpful.
The United States Government is prepared to participate in a
conference of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the USSR, France,
the United Kingdom, and the United States, and is ready to consider
any suggestions as to a date and place, which would'be fixed by mu-
tual agreement. The place and date should be settled through diplo-
matic channels.
The conference should deal with the problem of Germany in all its
.aspects and implications as raised in the recent exchange of notes
between the Governments of the United States of America, France,
the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Germany on the
one hand and the Government of the USSR on the other hand.
;--It is suggested that German advisers should be invited to the
conference and should be consulted.
1Department of State press release 115, February 16, 1959. The Soviet Union
on March 2, 1959! (infra).

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