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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

Report by Secretary of State Dulles on the Geneva foreign ministers meeting, November 18, 1955,   pp. 178-185 PDF (3.4 MB)

Page 179

They made their peace with Tito, who for seven years had been the
object of their most bitter attacks because he had taken Yugoslavia
out of the Soviet bloc.
They moderated their propaganda and their manners.
They made it clear that they would like to sit down and talk with
the Western nations.
The United States responded, as it always will respond, to any pros-
pect, however slight, of making peace more just and durable. That
response was backed up with virtual unanimity and on a bipartisan
basis. So, the United States joined with Britain and France to in-
vite the Soviet leaders to the "Summit" Conference at Geneva. There
President Eisenhower met for six days with the Heads of the other
three Governments, in an effort to create a better atmosphere and a
new impulse toward the solution of the problems that divide us.
That meeting indicated a desire on all sides to end the bitterness
and harshness which could generate war. War, all recognized, would
be a common disaster.
In addition, the Heads of Government agreed that their Foreign
Ministers should get together in October to negotiate about European
security and the problem of Germany, about the limitation of arma-
ment and about the reduction of barriers between the Soviet bloc and
the free world.
The three Western leaders recognized that the value of the "Sum-
mit" Conference would be largely determined by subsequent results.
Thus, President Eisenhower, in the closing speech of the Conference,
said, "Only history will tell the true worth and real values of our
sion together. The follow-through from this beginning by our respec-
tive Governments will be decisive in the measure of this Conference."
Following the Summit Conference the United States, in cooperation
with Britain, France and the Federal Republic of Germany, prepared
thoroughly for this Foreign Ministers Conference that was to come.
We were fully aware of the complexity of the problems which wAe
faced. The Summit Conference had shown deep differences on the
issues of German unity and European security, disarmament and freer
contacts. To be acceptable, solutions of these problems must take ac-
count of legitimate interests on both sides-especially as to security.
Our preparations for the meeting recognized this basic fact. The
Western proposals provided the basis for real negotiations with the
Soviet Union.
In my initial statement to the Conference, I expressed the point
of view I have just outlined. "The United States", I said, came
this meeting dedicated to exploring patiently and sincerely all possible
approaches to realistic solutions of these problems".
Despite the effort, no specific agreements were reached.
The explanation, as I see it, is this: the Soviet Union appears to
want certain results in terms of European security, disarmament and
contacts of a sort. But it is not yet willing to pay the price needed
to get these results. And when I say pay the price, I do not refer
to bargaining terms. I mean the price in terms of doing what is
inherently necessary to reach the results which we all say we want.
Let me illustrate what I mean by telling you what happened at
the Conference.

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