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Mr. Khrushchev replied he did not understand how the signing of a peace treaty could worsen the world situation. Peace is always regarded as something beneficial while the state of war is regarded as something evil.

The President said that the signing of a peace treaty is not a belligerent act. He had not indicated this at all. However, a peace treaty denying us our contractual rights is a belligerent act. The matter of a peace treaty with East Germany is a matter for Mr. Khrushchev's judgment and is not a belligerent act. What is a belligerent act is transfer of our rights to East Germany. West Berlin is not important as a springboard. However, the US is committed to that area and it is so regarded by all the world. If we accepted Mr. Khrushchev's suggestion the world would lose confidence in the US and would not regard it as a serious country. It is an important strategic matter that the world believe the US is a serious country.

Mr. Khrushchev wondered what he should do in these circumstances. He said he believed that US intentions led to nothing good. The USSR would never, under any conditions, accept US rights in West Berlin after a peace treaty had been signed. He said he was absolutely convinced that the peoples of the world would understand such a position. Moreover, the US had deprived the USSR unilaterally of its rights and interests in West Germany, it had deprived the USSR of reparations in West Germany, and it had signed a unilateral peace treaty with Japan. As a result of this latter action the Soviet Union still has no peace treaty with Japan.

The President interjected that Mr. Khrushchev had said to President Eisenhower that he would have signed the treaty. Mr. Khrushchev confirmed this, while Mr. Gromyko said that the fact remained that the US had signed the Japanese peace treaty without the Soviet Union.

Mr. Khrushchev went on to say that the US regarded all this as appropriate, but now it says what the USSR wants to do is immoral. The USSR would like to do it together with the US but if the US refuses to sign a peace treaty the USSR will do it alone. East Germany will obtain complete sovereignty and all obligations resulting from German surrender will be annulled. The factor of the USSR's prestige should be taken into account. What the US wants is to retain the rights gained after World War II even after a peace treaty has been signed. This is a policy of "I do what I want". The USSR regards East Germany as a completely sovereign state and it will sign a peace treaty with it. Responsibility for violation of that sovereignty will be heavy.

The President said that there is every evidence that our position in Berlin is strongly supported by the people there, and we are committed to that area. Mr. Khrushchev says that we are for a state of war. This is incorrect. It would be well if relations between East Germany and West Germany improved and if the development of US-USSR relations were such as to permit solution of the whole German problem. During his stay in office, Mr. Khrushchev has seen many changes, and changes will go on. But now he wants a peace treaty in six months, an action which would drive us out of Berlin. If we accepted such a proposition we would lose our ties in West Europe and would lose all our friends there. We do not wish to act in a way that would deprive the Soviet Union of its ties in Eastern Europe. Mr. Khrushchev had said that the President was a young man, but, the President continued, he had not assumed office to accept arrangements totally inimical to US interests. The President said he was prepared to discuss any problem but Mr. Khrushchev should take into account our interests just as he says we should take into account his views.

Mr. Khrushchev said that then an interim agreement should be concluded. However, no matter how long a time limit such an agreement were to provide for, the Germans would not agree because no one wishes reunification. An interim agreement would be a formal factor, it would give the semblance of the responsibility for the problem having been turned over to the Germans themselves. If the US does not wish such an arrangement there is no other way but to sign a peace treaty unilaterally. No one can force the US to sign a peace treaty but neither can the US make the Soviet Union accept its claims. Mr. Khrushchev then said that an aide-memoire on the Berlin question/10/ had been prepared so that the US could study the Soviet position and perhaps return to this question at a later date, if it wished to do so.

FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES - 1961-1963 - Volume V - Soviet Union P50