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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 Berlin, November 26, 1958 [extracts],   pp. 312-317 PDF (2.7 MB)

Page 314

public of Germany and the rest of us have, in certain practical matters,
for many months been dealing with minor functionaries of the GDR
with respect to what might be called perfunctory, routine matters.
Q. Mr. Secretary, you say we might deal with the East Germans as
agents of the Soviet Union. Is that a matter of agreed policy between
the three Western Powers and the Federal Republic, or only something
_that is~possible?
A. I think that it is agreed between us that we might. But, as I
say, the question of whether we would or would not, would have to
depend upon the precise circumstances which surround the action,
and that can't be anticipated in advance of knowing what, if anything,
the Soviet Union is going to do.
Q. Mr. Secretary, supposedly authoritative dispatches from Bonn
in the last few days have reflected a concern on the part of Chancel-
lor Adenauer's Government that the Western Big Three would not
"hang on tough" so to speak in Berlin. On the other hand, it has
widely speculated in dispatches that many Western officials want more
de facto recognition of the East German Regime and as an evidence
of this has been cited the renewal of the trade agreement that has
just been signed this week. Can you clarify that situation a little bit?
A. I doubt if I can clarify it very much. There have been, as you
point out, dealings on a de facto basis, particularly on an economic
basis, and in terms of transit back and forth between the Western
Sectors of Berlin and the Federal Republic of Germany. There has
been an appreciable degree of de facto dealing with the GDR, and
there is this trade agreement, whereby the Federal Republic gets
particularly brown coal and things of that sort from the eastern part
of Germany in exchange for certain manufactured goods. As to any
differences within the Federal Republic about that, I am not in a posi-
tion to throw light upon it. I am not aware of any differences which
are of sufficient magnitude so that they have come to my attention.
Q. Mr. Secretary, can you give us your view of why the Berlin
crisis was reactivated at this time? I mean the Berlin situation be-
tween the east and the west. Do you have any idea of what the Com-
munists had in mind?
A. I was not surprised by it at all. I think that the Soviet Union
and the Chinese Communists,-what Khrushchev calls "the Interna-
tional Communist Movement"-is disposed periodically to try to probe
in different areas of the world to develop, if possible, weak spots; to
develop, if possible, differences. I think that the probing that took
place in the Taiwan area was one such effort. Now it is going on in
Berlin, and could go on at other places. The effort is, I think, period-
ically to try to find out whether they are up against firmness and
strength and unity. If they find that, then I think the probing will
cease. But we have got to expect these probes coming from time to
As I say, I was not surprised that this Berlin probe took place.
Indeed, I thought it probably would take place.
Q. Mr. Secretary, you seem to draw a limit beyond which we would
not go in dealing with the East Germans even as agents of the Soviet
Union. Could I ask whether we would refuse, for example, to accept
an East German demand that special credentials would be required

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