Joseph Stalin Drafts The 'Stalin Note'

In a 1952 exchange of notes between the Soviet Union and the Western occupation powers, Stalin proposed new negotiations for a peace treaty in which German unification would be coupled with German neutrality and the withdrawal of all foreign troops from German territory. Adenauer declined to pursue this offer. There has been a heated debate among German historians on the sincerity of Stalin's offer and the question of whether the offer was a missed chance for German reunification.

In March 1952, two months before the signing of the European Defense Community, the Soviet Union tried to block this development. Stalin proposed that the four victorious powers meet with a newly formed all-German government to negotiate the peace treaty called for in the Potsdam Agreement of 1945. The price for the prospect of German unity and admission into the United Nations was the country’s political and military neutrality. This was reflected in the demand that all foreign troops be withdrawn and that Germany forgo joining the military alliance.