'C.H.' Correspondent WHAT is really going on at the Geneva Conference of Foreign Ministers? To tell the truth, there is no conference in any real sense of the word.
On one side, there are three Foreign Ministers saying the same things in different languages while politely pretending to listen to what the other side has to say. The other side makes no such pretence.
They do not pay the slightest attention to what the others say, dismissing it as "well known and outworn restatements of cold war policy". They go on repeating over and over again their just as well known propaganda stuff as if it alone contained "realistic solutions".
They present to the astounded public three Soviet citizens, old Moscow party hacks of German origins. as the "real representatives of German democracy" and flood the Maison de la Presse with costly Red propaganda in German.
They use their correspondents for spreading all sorts of rumours, trying to disrupt the Western alliance by alleging, for example, British "disloyalty" or American "dreams of a super-Yalta at the expense of Europe".
But sometimes they really embarrass the West by insisting on the lack of logic of an attitude which denies recognition to the East German rulers as "puppets" but recognises as lawful other satellite Governments equally imposed by force of arms against the will of the people.
There is, of course, no possibility of any serious discussion of rival proposals, both of which exclude each other and contain inseparable details. In spite of this, all want to go "to the summit" to continue there this hopeless exchange of opposing views.
It is quite clear that any Western attempt to reunite Germany is a waste of time, with or without disengagement or neutralisation. The "Gaitskell plan" is just as inacceptible to the East as the "Rapacki plan" is to the West. That the "other side" makes crystal clear by announcing: "We will neither give up Communist coon tries nor renounce the aim of propagating our faith elsewhere."
Is there then no hope at all? Yes, there is a chance that Khrushchev will eventually agree to an acceptable agreement on the suspension of nuclear tests. But he may demand a non-aggression pact between East and West, hinting at more "tolerance" inside the Communist bloc if it be accepted.