740.00119 Control (Germany)/6–2848

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Central European Affairs (Beam)

top secret

Memorandum for the Record

Mr. Lovett asked me to transcribe the following account he gave of the meeting on June 25 with the President in which he participated with Secretary Forrestal and Secretary Royall concerning the Berlin situation as of that date.1

The meeting discussed fully the record of the lengthy telecon of same date between General Clay and Mr. Royall (copy in CE2).

It was agreed that General Clay should be advised not to make statements referring to the possibility of war over Berlin. Mr. Royall emphasized that if war were inevitable it should not take place over the question of the two separate currencies in Berlin.

There was a discussion of General Clay’s proposals regarding (1) outside retaliation; and (2) the dispatch of a US note of protest to Moscow. It was agreed that neither would be fully effective. Outside retaliation, such as closing of US ports and the Panama Canal would not substantially damage the Soviet Union, which was self-sufficient. Furthermore, such measures could lead to general economic warfare which would result in stoppage of Soviet supplies of Manganese to the United States. A unilateral US note might lead to a “typewriter war” and would be futile unless the approach had the full support of the British and French.

The meeting discussed at length US responsibility to the German civilian population. The situation should have to be evaluated in terms of the suffering caused the Berlin people and also from the standpoint of what would happen to our anti-communist supporters were the US to leave. Determined steps should be taken by the US to stay in Berlin.

It was agreed that an early meeting should be held with General Bradley to review the whole situation.

Reference was made to the fact that some material help to the US [Page 929] position might be found in the 1945 telegraphic exchanges between the President and Stalin.3

Note was taken of the informal and unofficial Soviet suggestion that a deal might be made exchanging Berlin for territory in Thuringia or Saxony (reference Ambassador Murphy’s telegram No. 1451 from Berlin).4

[ Jacob D. Beam ]
  1. For an excerpt from Forrestal’s record of the meeting under reference, see Forrestal Diaries, pp. 451–452. The meeting apparently followed the Cabinet meeting mentioned in Truman, Years of Trial and Hope, p. 123.
  2. Record not found in the files of the Department of State.
  3. The exchanges under reference here are included in Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. iii, pp. 135137.
  4. June 23, p. 915.