10. September 1953: Security and Peace for All

By Federal Chancellor Dr. Konrad Adenauer

The world is looking for outer and inner peace. Since 1914 the life of every one of us has stood under the impact of war or within its shadow. A succession of terrible wars has brought death and disaster to millions of people. Mothers and wives have suffered untold sorrow.

Works of art and science as well as homes and personal possessions have been destroyed again and again. The endeavours of the individual and of communities towards completion have remained unfulfilled.

The means utilised by mankind to arm, to destroy, to built up again, and to arm again, could have transformed the whole earth, could have rendered it better, more fertile and happier.

After half a century of strife the nations of the world are filled with a deep longing for peace. Remembering the horrors of war, they ask for security. That is also true, and not least, for our German people.

The German Federal Government, whose task it has been to free Germany of the fatal heritage of the second world war, has therefore felt the obligation to put all its endeavours at the service of peace and to give security to Germany. This problem is connected closely with the solution of the conflict which today girdles the world and splits up mankind.

Prompted by this obligation I have supported the calling of a four-power conference with the Soviet Union on the German problem I a letter which I addressed on July 8, 1953, to Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in his capacity as chairman of the Washington conference of the foreign ministers of the U.S.A., Great Britain and France. In the same letter I proposed that the European Defence Community be made the point of departure for a security system taking into consideration the security requirements of all European nations including the Russians. This system should be adapted to a system of general disarmament and security within the scope of the United Nations.

The idea of building up a comprehensive security system with the inclusion of Soviet Russia has been discussed in the free world and by responsible politicians since the spring of this year after it had been put up for discussion both by President Eisenhower and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

There should be a consensus of opinion that such a security system, which pre-supposes an effective control of armaments, could guarantee peace in our time by all human expectations. The question - to which no answer can be given yet - is whether the plan for a comprehensive security system can be realised in view of the attitude of the Soviet Union. Personally I am of the opinion that a general security agreement and a general control of armaments lie within the realm of feasibility.

Already now there exist in the world a series of regional alliances which make impossible conflicts of the contracting powers within a specified geographical area and which are designed to safeguard these powers in addition against attacks from outside. These alliances are based on the idea that social and international conditions have to be adapted to a technological development which tends strongly towards a concentration in larger groups. This idea has won recognition not only in the sphere of defence, it has become valid also in the political and especially in the economic realm. In Europe it has become evident in the movement towards the integration of Europe, a movement supported by the people themselves.

A comprehensive security system could be established formally, fairly, easily by the various regional alliances, which would have to act as unities, concluding agreements with each other, which would make military conflicts impossible between these regional groups. In addition it could be agreed that difficulties possibly arising between groups of states or member-states of different communities should be settled by arbitration.

Soviet Russia strongly opposes the constitution of a European Community and its connection with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on the alleged grounds that it represents a threat to Soviet Russia. The latter is therefore trying with all means at its disposal to prevent the integration of Europe. It has started a so-called "peace campaign" which is to create the impression among the European nations that a union is unnecessary as there is no longer any threat by the Soviet Union owing to the "new course" of the Soviet government.

In reply to this it must be stated that the integration of Europe - as the Washington foreign ministers conference has also put on record - has a meaning and sense of its own and that it will take place quite independent of the fact whether or not Europe is threatened by the Soviet Union. Neither does the European Community contain any elements threatening the Soviet Union; it rather contains elements which provide security for Soviet Union. In the European Defence Community, for instance, the strength of the national contingents and the armament of the member-states are limited and internationally controlled. This limitation alone constitutes an essential security factor for the eastern neighbour of the European Defence Community. The whole inner and outer construction of the Defence Community, as the name already signifies, is patterned for defence and makes any aggression against a third power impossible.

In addition it is quite out of the question on the basis of tradition and interests of this member-states that the European Community should carry out an attack against the Soviet Union or that it should by any chance mobilise French, Italian, Belgian, Netherlands and Luxembourg troops together with German soldiers for an attack against East Europe.

Summing up, one can say the following. The Soviet Russian government itself quotes fear of an attack on the Soviet Union and anxiety for the conservation of peace as motive force for its actions. It is not plausible that the Soviet Union really feels threatened by the constitution of a European Defence Community with the inclusion of 12 German divisions. Possibly it fears the United States and the worldwide influence exerted by them. If there really exists, however, on this account a subjective Soviet security requirement, the West - without prejudice to the necessity of safeguarding its own security - is willing to satisfy it. President Eisenhower has expressed this in his statement of April 16 of general disarmament and security within the scope of the United Nations.

The extent to which Soviet policy is bound by its security requirements will also determine the extent of understanding and relaxation which can be accomplished by an offer of the free world in the sphere of security. This question can only be answered in negotiations with the Soviets.

What therefore, are the inferences we must draw?

1) In order to meet a possibly existing Soviet security requirement the regional alliance of the European Community, after being joined to the NATO, can be brought into a contractual relationship to the regional alliances of the East Bloc within the scope of an all-embracing structure to be developed within the United Nations. A suitable form, also as regards the military side of the system, could be established by negotiations.

2) As economic cooperation and political security are interdependent, the funds becoming available by a general control of armaments can be utilised to increase the international exchange of goods and raise the standard of living of all nations. Particularly, a comprehensive exchange could be inaugurated between the European Common Market and the economic area of the Soviet Union.

I believe that there is a task here for the politicians and diplomats of the free world, for the solution of which every effort should be made. The German federal Government will do everything in its power to cooperate in solving this problem, for here lies also the key to the re-unification of Germany. Our aim is:

Freedom and security for Germany. Security and peace for all.

Quelle: The Bulletin. A weekly survey of German affairs issued by the Press and Information Office of the German Federal Government. Jg. 1. 1953, Nr. 18 vom 10. September, S. 1f. Zugleich in: Sudeten Bulletin. Jg. 1. 1953, Nr. 4/5, Oktober.