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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 the question of a summit meeting, March 25, 1958 [extracts],   pp. 263-265 PDF (1.3 MB)

Page 263

DOCUMENTS ON GERMANY, 1944-59              263
A discussion of the substance of the questions advanced., in the opin-
ion of the Soviet Government, should be left to the summit meeting
with the participation of the heads of government. It can hardly be
doubted that a meeting of the heads of government invested with
the broadest powers and much less hindered by the instructions usual
in such cases, has better chances of success, particularly when its aim
is to change the general trend in international relations and to turn
them toward liquidation of existing tensions.
On the other hand, if the foreign ministers conference is entrusted
with examination of the substance of the issues there is every reason
to fear that this, far from facilitating, may on the contrary retard
the convocation of a summit meeting and complicate the achievement
of an agreement on the questions discussed. It is contrary to logic
to recognize the need and usefulness of a summit conference and at
the same time do everything to retard. such a conference further and
further or to make its very convocation doubtful on the pretext that
at the preliminary stage the conference of foreign ministers came up
against contradictions which can hardly be overcome.
The Soviet Government hopes that the U.S. Government will study
with due attention the considerations set forth above concerning the
need to start without further procrastination a concrete discussion of
questions of preparing and convening both a ministers conference
and a. summit conference.
Remarks at News Conference by Secretary of State Dulles, on
the Question of a Summit Meeting, March 25, 1958
*        *       *        *       *        *       *
Q. Mr. Secretary, when you read the exchange of notes on the
subject of a Summit Conference over the last week or so, it's difficult
to find anything particularly new in this whole situation. How do
you estimate where we now stand on the problem of a Summit
A. It has not yet been possible for me to study thoroughly and in
detail the Soviet note, which I only received last night.  But it
does seem as though the Soviets were seeking to exact a terribly high
political price as a condition to having a Summit Meeting. Now,
as you know, President Eisenhower has made perfectly clear that
he wants to have a Summit Meeting if there is any reasonable chance
of reaching substantial agreements which will ease the international
situation and make peace more likely. But it's more and more ap-
parent, and has been revealed I think by this exchange of corre-
spondence, that the Soviets are. demanding a very high political price
as a condition to having such a meeting, and the question is whether
there is enough hope out of such a meeting to justify paying the
political price which the Soviets seem to be exacting.
I have jotted down here, quite hurriedly, some of the price tags
that they seem to be putting on it, and I would like to read those to
you, if I may, to illustrate my points:
1 Department of State press release 150, March 25, 1958.

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