INT: You talked about the importance of maintaining cohesion within the western alliance, how important to Eisenhower and to the administration generally was the need to re-arm West Germany and to bring it into NATO.
RB: Eisenhower I think saw, and so did Dulles, saw this issue in a much broader framework than just re-arming Germany and bringing it into NATO. Eisenhower had become convinced well before he became president two or three years at least, and I think Dulles even earlier than that. European unity was important, quite aside from the Cold War, that it was important to try and overcome the rivalries in Western Europe which had produced two World Wars and to try to reconcile France and Germany and decide to create an entity in Europe which would be able to be more prosperous and to be have more influence. So they were in favour of Western European unity including Germany, for the reason I said quite aside from Cold War, quite aside from the arm in Germany and they had backed the Schumann plan, both of them had strongly favoured the Schumann plan in 1950, before really the re-arming started under Truman, on any major way, and long well before the effort to, months before the effort to re-arm Germany was put on the table. They felt in other words that reconciliation of France and Germany was in the long term interests of the West just for it's own sake. Second they were deeply troubled by the idea of a neutralised Germany which was simply gonna be able to move between the sides for as long as the Cold War, they thought this would be de-stabilising in Europe and would not be good for the Germans or for anybody else, and so they were, one of the key points of their policy was to integrate Germany, not just militarily but integrate Germany into the West so that it would be anchored there and so that it would see it's possible future in terms of progress of the West and identification of the West and all the rest. Unfortunately in (unintelligible) at somebody who saw the German interests in precisely these terms. Well and then the third thing was that when Korea came and then it became the Europeans became deeply concerned about the real possibility of an attack by the Soviets because they use the analogy of Korea, split Korea, split Germany etc. Then it was obviously impossible to have any effective defence of Europe without the participation of Germany, so at that point, participation of Germany became an important thing in, in the defence. And their first choice was the European defence community which was a forewarn of European unity because it was really an effort integrating the French and German and other forces in to a unified army, which would strengthen the movement toward Europe, unified Europe. So they were strongly for that and stuck with that, opposing the efforts of the pentagon to go ahead with just bringing the Germans in with the German National Army. That was also not something that Eisenhower wanted because he to thought it would be not in the best interests of the Germans. So the European Defence Community, was really a, when the necessity of having Germany re-armed if it was gonna be defended, came to the fore because of Korea, the EDC was an instrument which was intended to accomplish two purposes one was to bring Germany in but to do so on terms which would be no threat to its neighbours because it would be an integrated force along with the others and it would also advance the general cause of the European community.
INT: Did Eisenhower and administration see Soviet overtures to the Germans on the question of a United Germany but United but neutral Germany, as a particular danger in this period.
RB: Yes, they saw it as a danger if it had come true, if it had come about and obviously one of the problems was to make sure that this, didn't have undo appeal to German opinion. Eisenhower himself was clear, he thought that the integration of Germany into the West was, should take priority over German unity and so I don't think he was in the slightest degree tempted by any idea of a neutralised Germany separated out from the West and even though it was maybe united I think he also thought that it would be very vulnerable to Soviet penetration and the like but nevertheless the problem was to adopt a position which made clear the dangers of this and if possibly the hypocrisy of the Soviets in putting forward these proposals and the principle means for doing that was to insist that there be free elections as the basis for creating a unified Germany and not afterwards. But at the very start you will have elections so that you would have representatives who could in fact speak for the Germans. Well this was something that the Soviets simply couldn't buy, because it was immediately meant the liquidation of East Germany and, to, for them to accept that was just putting question their domination of other parts of the satellite empire, and so they were not in a position to do that, I think also they never did really contemplate a really neutralised independent Germany, but it was a wonderful ploy to come forward this idea because it might appeal, after all there were millions and millions of refugees from the East, there were many millions of course of relatives in the East who had families or family connections in the West Germany and so there was thought to be a real danger that this would have undo appeal to the German population and might sort of push things, push Adnah in to doing something that he thought was, he himself thought was , but the, was handled I think with great skill, myself, because it really did put forth the perfectly legitimate claim, if you're serious about it let's have a election, let's have representatives who are in Germany, at the same time it was a good bfor them actually going ahead.
INT: How useful was the fact of the East German uprising in June 1953 for that process of consolidation of West Germany with the West.
RB: Well I don't think it was of terribly important, obviously the uprising caused terrible distress that nothing could be done about it and that it was so quickly suppressed by the Soviet forces and so it accentuated the fact that the Soviet regime in East Germany was utterly different than the actual regime in West Germany which was indeed democratic, so I think it, it, you know, cleared peoples minds a bit of any illusions they might of had that there wasn't all that much difference or that it was possible to make moves and so on. And it was important in another sense because this happened in June of 53 and that was three or four months after the death of Stalin and half the new leaders had taken over, and so of course there was question, well what, what'll be the policies of these new leaders will they be different, and their early, immediate liquidation of the uprising very brutally pretty well showed that they were determined to hold on to the empire as far as they were concerned and they were not about to have any more flexibility with respect to that point than the Stalin had had.
INT: I'll go back to Stalin's death later and the impact it had on US policy making, I want to just wrap, in the sense of German issue, by discussing Austrian neutrality and the way that was agreed to, what allowed Eisenhower and Dulles to agree to the idea of Austria signing peace treaty and then becoming a neutral power.
RB: Well I think there's a certain amount of misunderstanding what their attitude was, in the early stage when the, right after Stalin's death, the Austrians began to warrant and put forward proposals for some sort of neutrality and so on at that point the whole question of Germany and that the EDC and all that range of, where, where Germany was going to fit, was very much in the forefront of Western policy and obviously this idea of a neutralised Germany was one which the Soviets were trying to utilise as the way to achieve unification and we've talked about the fact that this was seen as a real threat and damaging both the interests of the Germans in the long run and also the West. If you entertained at that stage neutrality as a solution to these disputed or divided countries, it might put in play much more the question of neutralising Germany particularly if the Soviets had been smart enough to have then gone ahead and said yes we'll accept a neutralised Austria which they could well afford to do cause it didn't make any difference in the certain sense. Where as in the case of East Germany it would meant liquidation of a satellite area and, they, they were not about to do that but, and in fact when the Austrians inquired in the 53-4 period whether, for Molotov whether if they declared their resonance to have neutrality that would be enough and Molotov gave a dusty answer and said, no, no, that's not enough that would be fine but a step in the right direction but that's not enough. My opinion, well, the Austrian solution came back, came about in 55, that was after the German, re-arming had been settled in the direction, in, with respect to, yes they would be brought in to NATO. At that point the situation, in my opinion presented itself quite different to the Soviets as far as Austria was concerned. There's no order of terribly important as an example of a neutral, neutralisation, for Germany because that was more or less settled, but it was important now from a military point of view because by having a neutralised Austria right adjacent to Switzerland, you put a road block in between the northern and the southern parts of the NATO front and so it had a certain value to the Soviets in creating a certain advantage from the point of view of security. The Soviets I think thought, I mean the Austrians apparently thought that the Soviets had simply been attracted by their eyes or something else and that they had succeeded just by sheer persuasive, in getting the Soviets to go along, I don't think that was true at all I think it was fundamental geopolitical reasons that they at this point changed and said, yes, yes we'll go ahead. At that point neither Dulles or Eisenhower had any objections to Austria becoming a neutral they had no idea of bringing them in to NATO and what, the only point that Dulles in particular made was look, we're not going to have an imposed neutrality by the outside powers because then that would give a pretext for the Soviet Unions to come in to, claim the right to come in to Austria if the Austrians did things that they didn't think, they, they claimed were incompatible with or neutrality. But they said if the Austrians choose to declare themselves neutral, as for example Switzerland does, we have no objection, that's their determination of their status and that gives the, no licence whatever to the Soviets to come in and say, we're gonna enforce this, there's nothing for them to enforce, this is a cleared basis for the sole pur... so we told the Austrians no objection if you choose to say you want to remain neutral.