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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 233

is lamentably lacking. That is conspicuously so in regard to two
areas where the situation is a cause of grave international concern.
I refer first of all to Germany. This was the principal topic of our
meeting of July 1955 and the only substantive agreement which was
recorded in our agreed Directive was this:
The Heads of Government, recognizing their common respon-
sibility for the settlement of the German question and the re-
unification of Germany, have agreed the settlement of the German
question and the re-unification of Germany by means of free
elections shall be carried out in conformity with the national
interests of the German people and the interests of European
In spite of our urging, your government has, for now two and
one half years, taken no steps to carry out that agreement or to dis-
charge that recognized responsibility. Germany remains forcibly
This constitutes a great error, incompatible with European security.
It also undermines confidence in the sanctity of our international
I therefore urge that we now proceed vigorously to bring about
the reunification of Germany by free elections, as we agreed,- and as
the situation urgently demands.
I assure you that this act of simple justice and of good faith need
not lead to any increased jeopardy of your nation. The consequences
would be just the opposite and would surely lead to greater security.
In connection with the reunification of Germany, the United States
is prepared, along with others, to negotiate specific arrangements
regarding force levels and deployments, and broad treaty undertak-
ings, not merely against aggression but assuring positive reaction
should aggression occur in Europe.
The second situation to which I refer is that of the countries of
Eastern Europe. The Heads of our two Governments, together with
the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, agreed in 1945 that the
peoples of these countries should have the right to choose the form
of government under which they would live, and that our three coun-
tries had a responsibility in this respect. The three of us agreed to
foster the conditions under which these peoples could exercise their
right of free choice.
That agreement has not as yet been fulfilled.
I know that your government is reluctant to discuss these matters
or to treat them as a matter of international concern. But the Heads
of Governments did agree at Yalta in 1945 that these matters were
of international concern and we specifically agreed that there could
appropriately be international consultation with reference to them.
This was another matter taken up at our meeting in Geneva in
1955. You then took the position that there were no grounds for dis-
cussing this question at our conference and that it would involve inter-
ference in the internal affairs of the Eastern European states.
But have not subsequent developments shown that I was justified
in my appeal to you for consideration of these matters? Surely the
Hungarian developments and the virtually unanimous action of the
United Nations General Assembly in relation thereto show that con-
ditions in Eastern Europe are regarded throughout the world as much
more than a matter of purely domestic scope.

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