740.00119 Control (Germany)/3–3148: Telegram

The United States Political Adviser for Germany ( Murphy ) to the Secretary of State

top secret   us urgent

731. Personal for Saltzman and Hickerson Eyes Only. Reference Dept’s 561.1 Re informal conversation between French Foreign Office and US representatives in Paris and concern felt by French re Berlin working party paper on provisional western govt, this entire matter was discussed in detail in letter airmailed Beam on March 29.2 For your strictly confidential information this paper was presented to French and British by Litchfield without my concurrence and in fact paper itself had not been seen by General Clay according to his subsequent advice to me altho he had outlined ideas contained in the paper to Litchfield. Latter’s inexperience in negotiation and his over-eagerness proceed with great speed are largely responsible for this development. I informed him and General Clay of my objections to the procedure and fact I had not concurred in the paper. Prior to presentation this particular paper Political Affairs had also non-concurred in suggestion by Litchfield re proclamation to be made by Military Governors at Frankfurt on May 18, 1948 incident to ceremonies connected with revolution of 1848. I also made it clear to my French colleague that Dept had not been consulted so that French here understand it is not a governmental position’.

Quite apart from merits of paper in question I wish you would understand and explain to the Acting Secretary in strictest confidence that the psychology governing General Clay in this matter is concentrated on developing tension in our relations with Soviet Union. In his mind this factor overshadows everything else and he views progress of events as exceedingly grave. In other words the military considerations outweigh reluctance of French to progress rapidly with the reorganization of western Germany. He is convinced that their thinking suffers from a time lag and is not synchronized with the developing pattern of Soviet policy in Germany. For example, today we are faced by Soviet demand for a control of our train service into Berlin by Soviet military authorities to which General Clay is refusing to accede. For your top secret information he is having telecon this afternoon with Army. Subject to latter’s approval armed guards on our military trains to and from Berlin will be given orders to shoot if Soviet military insist on entering our trains. He proposes to concert [Page 156] on this action with British and French and Robertson has signified his tentative agreement but desires to play for a little more time. It is needless to emphasize grave possibilities inherent in such procedure. Please bring this urgently to personal attention of Acting Secretary.3

I inject foregoing into this discussion of paper on provisional govt for western Germany to illustrate background of local US approach to the subject. I might say also that Clay’s idea is not to tie hands of our delegation in London in forthcoming talks but merely to try out these proposals at working group level without in any way committing our delegation in London apriori. This is why Litchfield’s action in presenting a rather formal paper was so ill-advised and that method was not contemplated by General Clay. He had in mind an informal suggestion for purposes of discussion with an idea of making as much progress as possible in light of what he considers the advanced Soviet timetable.

My airmail to Beam incloses copy of the OMGUS paper on Western German Govt.

  1. Supra.
  2. The letter under reference here is not printed; regarding the American paper under reference, see footnote 2 to telegram 1628, March 27, from Paris, p. 151.
  3. Regarding the events discussed in this paragraph, see telegram 748, April 1, from Berlin, et seq., pp. 158 ff.