31. Memorandum From the Director of the United States Information Agency (Murrow) to President Kennedy1

SUBJECT

  • Visit to Berlin

If the conversations in Vienna2 are “sticky”, I suggest you pay a brief visit to West Berlin following your stop-over in London.3 Your visit to Berlin would lift the spirits and strengthen the determination of free Germans and free people everywhere. I would suppose that the reaction in this country would be highly favorable.

Both Chancellor Adenauer and Mayor Brandt have visited you in this country.4 It would be logical and not bellicose in the slightest for [Page 96]you to return those visits in West Berlin. Khrushchev has visited East Berlin several times including a stop-over there following last year’s abortive Summit conference.5 Obviously it would be necessary for both Chancellor Adenauer and Mayor Brandt to receive you in Berlin since you would not want it to appear that you were endorsing either candidate in the forthcoming German elections.6

Edward R. Murrow
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, President’s Office Files, Departments and Agencies Series, Box 91, USIA, 1960–5/61. Top Secret.
  2. Reference is to the President’s discussions with Khrushchev, scheduled to take place in Vienna June 3–4. For the memoranda of conversation, see Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. V, Soviet Union, Documents 8385, 8789 and Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. XIV, Berlin Crisis, 1961–1962, Documents 32 and 33. Prior to arriving in Vienna, the President met with De Gaulle in Paris. For the memoranda of conversation, see ibid., Documents 30 and 31 and Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. XIII, Western Europe and Canada, Document 230.
  3. Following his meetings with Khrushchev, Kennedy departed Vienna for London on June 4 and, on June 5, briefed Macmillan concerning the substance of the meetings. For the record of conversation, see Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. XIV, Berlin Crisis, 1961–1962, Document 34.
  4. Brandt met with the President at the White House on March 13. For a memorandum of conversation, see ibid., Document 10. Adenauer met with the President on April 12 and April 13. For the memoranda of conversation, see ibid., Document 17 and Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. XIII, Western Europe and Canada, Documents 4 and 98.
  5. See footnote 3, Document 2.
  6. September 17.