740.00119 Control (Germany)/7–348: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom 1

top secret   us urgent

2555. The joint report of the three military governors on their visit to Marshal Sokolovsky2 just received now requires that the three governments approach the Soviet Union without delay. We strongly urge therefore that the text of the note be agreed and presented simultaneously to the Soviet representatives in London, Paris and Washington not later than 12 noon Washington time, July 5. Any further delay will only benefit Soviets.

[Page 947]

With the exception of the reference to the CFM, we can agree to the changes suggested in your 2929, July 23 and 2963, July 3.4 It is not clear from your last telegram under reference whether Massigli’s agreement to this language supersedes or is modified by the text of the note received from Paris in Caffery’s 3523, July 3, repeated to London as 608,4 which eliminates proposals two and three. In order to avoid any misunderstanding we are sending you by separate telegram5 the text upon which we understand agreement has been reached, down to numbered paragraph three, still in disagreement.6

It is clear from Sokolovsky’s reply that the Soviet Govt, intends to utilize the Berlin situation to reopen entire German question and any proposal on our part which suggests meeting of CFM would only invite a Soviet reply bypassing the military governors, accepting the CFM and then at meeting agreeing to lift blockade on condition we suspend operation of the London recommendations. This, of course, is out of the question. Furthermore, any suggestion on our part looking to a meeting of the CFM could be utilized by the Soviets for propaganda purposes which might easily affect German response to our program in western Germany. We had earlier agreed with Bevin to eliminate the CFM for the reasons set forth in your 2907 and with the French who had expressed grave doubts as to meeting and whose latest proposal omits all reference to it. Sokolovsky’s statements seem to us to make it clearly inadvisable to mention CFM in note. Please urge strongly upon British and French that we avoid what seems to us to be a serious tactical mistake.

It is important that we reach an early meeting of minds on this subject so that note can be promptly delivered. If reference to CFM is omitted, is text of paragraph three as contained in our 2514 acceptable?7

Although we recognize that Sokolovsky’s attitude apparently precludes any hope of agreement except on basis of reopening entire German question and probably forecasts nature of Soviet Government’s reply, we do not believe this should change present character of note. We must, however, face this situation when reply received.

[Page 948]

We should welcome expression of Brit and French views regarding publicity to be given the note as it is delivered. One possibility is that in order to avoid appearance joint notes constitute ultimatum, notes should not be published until a reasonable time is granted Soviets to formulate reply. When they are delivered, it could be explained to Soviet representatives that because of gravity of question at issue, the three governments do not intend to publish their communications until Soviet Govt, has had reasonable opportunity to reply. As a precautionary measure we should hold the text available for instantaneous release in event the Soviets were tempted to publish distorted version either in connection or prior to their reply. It would, of course, be necessary to inform the press that the notes had been delivered and that reasonable time would be allowed to elapse before publication. Please reply soonest.

  1. This telegram was repeated to Paris as 2467, Berlin as 1180, and Moscow as 761.
  2. See telegram 309, July 4, from Berlin, infra.
  3. Not printed; differences between the draft text under reference here and the final note delivered to Ambassador Panyushkin on July 6 are indicated in annotations to the latter, p. 950.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Telegram 2556, July 3, to London, not printed (740.00119 Control (Germany)/7–348).
  7. Ante, p. 936.
  8. Telegram 2514, not printed. Telegram 2972 from London, undated, not printed, reported that both Massigli and Strang opposed the inclusion of any reference to the CFM in the draft note (740.00119 Control (Germany)/7–448); telegram 1606 from Berlin, July 4, not printed, stated that Clay and Murphy also concurred in Douglas’ preference for the omission of reference to the CFM as well as reference to the United Nations. (740.00119 Control (Germany)/7–448)