. Message From Chairman Khrushchev to President-elect Kennedy

 

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HistoryCentral.com > JFK >Correspondence

 

Message From Chairman Khrushchev to President Kennedy
Moscow, undated.(received in the White House on July 5, 1962)

We are following with great attention the development of the Soviet-American exchange of opinions on German peace treaty and normalization on its basis of the situation in West Berlin and we are carefully weighing considerations being expressed by the President, the Secretary of State or on behalf of the President through unofficial channels.
On the other hand, we, naturally, cannot but take notice of the facts which indicate sharpening of the situation in West Berlin caused by activities of certain circles not interested in a German peace settlement. Other facts of recent past also support repeatedly voiced apprehensions that the absence of a final peace settlement in Germany not only keeps up the existing tension in Europe but can also cause unforeseen, undesirable consequences for European and world peace.
All this prompts the conclusion that further delay in solving the questions connected with a German peace settlement would involve such a threat to peace which must be averted already now when it is not too late.
Unfortunately in the course of the Soviet-American exchange of opinions there has not been achieved any noticeable progress since the meetings in Geneva. The whole matter has come to a standstill because of the differences in the main outstanding question--that of withdrawal of the occupation troops of the U.S., Great Britain and France from West Berlin and of abolition there of the occupation states. Motives were more than once given in detail on our side why we by no means can accept continuation of the present unsatisfactory and dangerous situation in West Berlin, the reason for which lies in the presence there of occupation troops and occupation regime covering in effect the existence of a NATO military base in the centre of the GDR territory.
We have set forth a number of concrete proposals which took into account the official position and motives of prestige of the U.S. on this main subject of disagreement. The President's considerations on the necessity to search for drawing nearer our points of view have thus been meeting with a favorable response in Moscow. Unfortunately, however, no proposal has been put forward by the American side which would enhance the possibility for solving the question of drawing a line through World War II by abolishing the occupation regime in West Berlin and by giving it the status of a free city. The expressed considerations about some temporary settlement of the question, so far as they do not provide for abolition of the occupation regime and withdrawal of the occupation troops of the three powers from West Berlin, cannot, naturally, make an agreement easier. Since the whole matter is that of eliminating the vestiges of the war it is absolutely impossible to accept mere formal changes in West Berlin without really changing the existing abnormal situation there which is fraught with possibility of a sudden explosion.
Both we and you had enough time for thinking this over. And if both of us are ready to really search for a solution then there are no reasons not to find it in the nearest future, without further procrastination. There is absolutely no sense in postponing until fall, and from fall until spring what should and can be done already now.
It can be seen from the last talk of Mr. Salinger with our Ambassador/1/ that the President shares the view that it is not expedient to postpone solution of the German problem and that he takes interest in finding a mutually acceptable solution on the main unresolved question--that of the foreign troops in West Berlin. Those proposals which we set forth before in our conviction fully correspond to the interests of both sides. But in order to speed up the solution and make a choice out of the alternatives that we face we are ready to make another effort that in the greatest possible degree takes into account the wishes of the United States on the question of the presence of its troops in West Berlin so far as those wishes are compatible with the task of completing a German peace settlement.
This conversation has not been further identified.1
Our proposal is as follows.
The occupation regime in West Berlin will be abolished and during the first years the troops of the United Nations will be stationed there which will act as guarantors of independence and security of West Berlin.
Those UN troops must not, naturally, either taken as a whole or in any of their part, represent this or that military group opposing each other and their status as guarantors acting in the name of the UN should be defined on the basis of a special agreement. They would symbolize the determination of the parties to the agreement not to permit outside interference into the affairs and life of the population of West Berlin. Those troops by their nature would be police formation and not combatant troops, that should be agreed upon.
The UN police military formations, the initial strength of which should not exceed the combined strength of the troops of the three powers stationed there as of July 1, 1962, would be composed of police military formations of the U.S., Great Britain and France which combined will make one half of such U.S. formations in West Berlin; the other half of UN police military formations will consist in an equal proportion of contingents of troops of one or two neutral states, one or two states of the Warsaw treaty (for example, Poland, Czechoslovakia), one or two small NATO states.
Subsequently the numerical strength of UN police military formations in West Berlin will gradually diminish, namely: during the first year after the abolition of the occupation status those UN formations will be cut by 25 per cent of their initial strength, during the second year--by another 25 per cent and during the third year by next 25 per cent of that number. The above mentioned gradual reduction of the numerical strength of the UN formations will be carried on in the same proportion both with regard to the police military formations of the three powers and the formations that will be provided by other states.
Since the sides agree that the presence of foreign troops in West Berlin should be of temporary nature they make an arrangement that by the end of the fourth year the remaining 25 per cent of the UN police formations will be withdrawn from West Berlin, and West Berlin will be free of the presence of foreign troops. We proceed from an assumption that after the withdrawal of those formations the guarantees by the UN in respect to independence of West Berlin that would guard that city from outside interference into its domestic affairs should remain fully in force.
With the abolition of occupation status West Berlin will be considered as an independent political entity, that is, as a free city. Subversive activities must not be carried on from West Berlin against the GDR or other socialist countries.
Naturally, any claims by the FRG on West Berlin must be declined for they constitute a manifestation of the policy of aggression and revanche in practice. We are generally satisfied that our positions regarding groundlessness of any claims by the FRG on West Berlin are in effect the same. An appropriate agreement will also be achieved on free access to and from West Berlin with due respect for the sovereignty of the GDR on the basis of generally established international practice. The German Democratic Republic, as it has already stated, will assume appropriate commitments on this question. We on our part again reaffirm that we have stood and continue to stand for an unimpeded access provided the requirement to respect the lawful sovereign rights of the German Democratic Republic is observed.
If differences or frictions arise on practical questions of access they will be considered by a special temporary international body--an arbitrator about which the Soviet side put forward corresponding proposals.
Simultaneously with the normalization of the situation in West Berlin and abolition there of the occupation regime other questions of a German peace settlement should be finally solved, such as: fixation and juridical formalization of the existing borders of the German states, the border between the GDR and FRG included, nonarming of the GDR and FRG with nuclear weapons (either directly, or through third countries, or through military-political groups in which they are participants), due respect for the sovereignty of the GDR, conclusion in one form or another of a nonaggression pact between the NATO and the Warsaw treaty organization. An understanding on all those questions should, naturally, be formalized in appropriate agreements.
The agreement achieved by the sides on appropriate questions will find its reflection in a peace treaty which the Soviet Union and other interested states will conclude with the German Democratic Republic.
Setting forth the new proposal on the question of foreign troops in West Berlin which we believe is paving the way to a mutually acceptable agreement and which we hope the President will duly appreciate we proceed from an assumption that as the American side has repeatedly emphasized a solution of all other questions of a German peace settlement which were discussed will not run into obstacles.
We would like the American side to correctly understand the motives and aims of this new proposal. We deem it necessary before taking steps with regard to conclusion of a peace treaty with the German Democratic Republic with all ensuing consequences which were earlier mentioned more than once to exhaust the possibilities to achieve a mutual agreement. We believe that in a question so important as that of a German peace settlement not a single unused opportunity should be left aside if, of course, all the interested sides are guided by good intentions, if they strive not for an increase of tension in Europe and in the whole world, not for encouragement of forces of revanche and aggression, not for war, but for a relaxation of tension, for peace.
The success of peaceful settlement in Laos gives all of us an encouraging example. The President once expressed an idea that if a mutually acceptable solution of the Laotian problem could be reached it would make easier for the United States to find ways to peaceful settlement of the German problem. We also believe that now it is the turn of the German problem.
In Laos we moved step by step and now it seems that we are close to a final settlement. Our proposals that were set forth above also provide for settlement of the problem of foreign troops in West Berlin during a certain transitional period, by several stages up to the complete withdrawal of those troops.
We want to draw the attention of the President that we are putting forward our proposals on problems of a German peace settlement with due regard for the considerations and position of the American side and we seriously count on the possibility of an agreement. If the President reacts positively to our new proposal, the Foreign Minister of the USSR could at a meeting with the Secretary of State in Geneva come to a final agreement. Thus a meeting between the President of the US and the Chairman of Council of Ministers of the USSR would be prepared, during which it would be possible to fix an achieved understanding and, provided there is an agreement between the parties, to sign appropriate documents.
The achievement of an agreement on the problems of a German peace settlement, including the normalization of the situation in West Berlin would have a profound impact on all the peoples as an example of effective cooperation between the powers in the field of peace in accord-ance with the principles of the United Nations. This would be a major victory for the policy both of the Soviet Union and the United States and, we are sure, of all those who stand for peace and condemn war. This would create a basis for a fruitful cooperation of the two powers also in the solution of other more cardinal problems relating to the main international problem of our time--that of general and complete disarmament and developing on its basis peaceful cooperation among all states and peoples.
Naturally, this would open a new chapter in the history of Soviet-American relations in which undoubtedly are vitally interested not only the peoples of our countries but also the peoples of the whole world. And the first steps of our countries along a new road could be consolidated by a state visit of the President of the United States to the Soviet Union who would be a welcome guest of the peoples and the government of our country.

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