740.00119 Control (Germany)/6–2548: Telegram

The United States Military Governor for Germany (Clay) to the Department of the Army

top secret

CC 4875. From CINCEUR Berlin signed Clay to Dept of Army Personal and eyes only for Secretary Roy all and State Dept for Mr. Beam of Central European Division for his information.

I am discussing with Robertson today the feasibility of requesting a conference with Sokolovsky in which we would point out the seriousness of the present situation and suggest some practicable ways in which it might be resolved by way of trade agreements. Such a conference might develop more fully extent of Soviet intransigence and Soviet intent. I believe Robertson will accept such a proposal. I have no real hope of reaching a solution by a conference with Sokolovsky. However, no harm can come from the conference and our effort to meet with him will at least indicate a desire on our part to reach a solution which will prevent suffering by a helpless German population caught between us. In general, the solution which I would propose to Sokolovsky would involve a general trade agreement between Berlin and the western sectors in which payment would be made for western imports into Berlin in deutsche mark to extent deutsche mark are secured from Berlin exports to the west, but with the deficit to be paid with Soviet currency on a controlled exchange basis. Western currencies could be used at the central bank to purchase Soviet currency on an agreed exchange basis, but would not be used in general [Page 918] circulation. Issues already made would of course be used by the individual to purchase Soviet currency. If this agreement could be effected, it would permit an exchange of goods which would help the economy of the Soviet sector as well as the Soviet zone. It will also maintain the principle that western currency is being used in Berlin but would obviate the difficulties of two currencies in circulation. Obviously such an agreement would have to be accompanied by fresh Soviet guarantees with respect to keeping the Berlin corridors open.

This was our original approach to the problem which was precluded from consideration by our instructions. However, we have now maintained our right to issue a separate currency and can probably afford to compromise to prevent the severe punishment of Berlin without serious loss of prestige. I am not yet certain as to the timing of this move, although I think it too soon today. In any event, I would discuss proposal in advance with German leaders.

I do wish to make it clear, however, that I have little hope of this compromise proposal being accepted.

If our government is to protest Soviet action, it should insist in event of Soviet inability to reopen communications that it has the clear right to move in our troops to restore communications.

As matters now stand, the German population will begin to suffer in a few days and this suffering will become serious in two or three weeks.

I am still convinced that a determined movement of convoys with troop protection would reach Berlin and that such a showing might well prevent rather than build up Soviet pressures which could lead to war. Nevertheless I realize fully the inherent dangers in this proposal since once committed we could not withdraw.

[ Clay ]