740.00119 Control (Germany)/6–3048: Telegram

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

us urgent

1555. Sokolovsky’s reply to Robertson (text in mytel 1543, June 301) can obviously be considered as preparation for Soviet reversal of Berlin blockade. It is, however, typical Soviet example of vague and implied promises and is well equipped with escape clauses. It is clear that if German interzonal travel is restored, the arguments for restrictions on Autobahn based upon currency reform are untenable. Furthermore, third paragraph by no means indicates conditions under which rail traffic would be reopened and what conditions would be attached to movement of military personnel and freight. Thus letter cannot be considered to give satisfactory guarantees in its present form.

UK officials in Berlin are adopting a reserved and cautious attitude toward this reply, as is indeed the sentiment in OMGUS.2 The letter is probably being discussed today between Generals Clay and Robertson, both of whom are in Frankfurt. OMGUS position this afternoon is that until it is demonstrated that rail traffic will be resumed in such manner to enable shipment of all supplies that are needed, OMGUS will continue its present airlift schedule.

Sent Department as 1555; repeated to London as 298, to Paris as 297, to Moscow as 263.

  1. Not printed; it transmitted the text of an apparently conciliatory letter of June 29 from Marshal Sokolovsky to General Robertson. For the text of Sokolovsky’s letter, see the New York Times, June 30, 1948. For a summary of the letter, see Cmd. 7534, p. 19.
  2. Telegram 2884, June 30, from London, not printed, reported that General Robertson’s comments on the Sokolovsky letter of June 29 had been received in London. While Robertson accepted the letter as undoubted preparation for a Soviet withdrawal from their current position in the Berlin crisis, he strongly recommended that the Soviet move be received with the utmost reserve and that preparations for the air supply of Berlin and staging of a show of force be strongly pressed until full communications to Berlin for Allied and German personnel had been restored and the quadripartite control administration of the city resumed. (740.00119 Control (Germany)/6–3048)

    Telegram 2882, June 30, from London, reported on Foreign Secretary Bevin’s views on the Sokolovsky letter as follows:

    Bevin feels very strongly that this apparent softening of the Soviet position in regard to lines of communication between the west and Berlin should not abate our vigorous efforts to build up air lift to Berlin as rapidly as possible and in a volume as great as possible. Bevin feels that Sokolovsky’s letter is ‘on all fours’ with the report on the barges and is characteristic of the sort of Soviet tactics which we may expect for the purpose of giving us a sense of false assurance as to the future, thus inducing us to relax our efforts.” (740.00119 Control (Germany)/6–3048)