740.00119 Control (Germany)/7–448: Telegram

The United States Political Adviser for Germany ( Murphy ) to the Embassy in France

top secret

309. Personal for Caffery. Your 395, July 3, second paragraph.1 Chauvel seems to be laboring under some misapprehension regarding meeting of four commanders-in-chief. Meeting was arranged in complete agreement among the three west representatives who also agreed on the joint report of the meeting, the text of which follows for your personal information:

“Generals Robertson, Noiret and Clay visited Marshal Sokolovsky at his headquarters at 1700 hours by appointment. We were met with courtesy. General Clay opened the conversation by stating that the three west military governors were concerned over the transport situation into Berlin. We have been flying all of our supplies in for some days, and this is indeed a serious situation. We therefore determined to meet with Marshal Sokolovsky to frankly discuss the transport situation. General Clay pointed out further that we wished to be advised as to what we could expect with respect to the resumption of traffic.

General Robertson then stated that he wished to speak in connection with his exchange of notes with Marshal Sokolovsky in which the [Page 949] latter had stated the traffic was held up due to technical difficulties.2 This had continued for ten days and it should now be possible for Marshal Sokolovsky to know what the technical difficulties were and he should be able now to assure us that traffic could be resumed at an early date, and when General Robertson pointed out further the seriousness of the present situation to the German population Berlin, and also the increased effect of the blockade on public opinion. He further drew attention to the fact that no alternative routes had been made available.

Marshal Sokolovsky in his opening remarks stated that General Robertson had raised the question which was important to us and wanted it treated alone, whereas there were other questions which were important to him. Marshal Sokolovsky then made a significant remark to the effect that he had never said that traffic on the railway was held up for other than technical reasons, and that these technical reasons still applied although he could not foretell what further developments might be. Marshal Sokolovsky then went into a fairly lengthy explanation of how the Western Allies had created economic disorders in the Soviet zone which made it impossible to provide alternative routes. Marshal Sokolovsky then stated that these economic disorders had been created by the London Conference at which he was not a party and therefore he could not be blamed for the results which should have been foreseen by those engaged in the London Conference. This is of considerable significance because Marshal Sokolovsky made no special reference to the currency situation in speaking of the conditions at Berlin which made it difficult for him to answer our questions, and thus for the first time related the Berlin situation to the London Conference as a whole. He made it quite clear that he was not prepared to answer any question on the resumption of traffic unless the results of the London Conference were also to be discussed. General Robertson specifically attempted to pin him down on this question. In reply, Marshal Sokolovsky again referred to the technical difficulties the railway but without specifically answering General Robertson’s question, accepted the latter’s interpretation that the question of transport was related to the total German problem. In view of these statements, General Robertson stated that Marshal Sokolovsky had raised very broad questions indeed and therefore he has nothing more to say.

General Noiret then stated that he had proposed to discuss the question of resumption of the movement of military freight but that in view of Marshal Sokolovsky’s answer to General Robertson’s [Page 950] query, he had nothing further to say. Marshal Sokolovsky then stated once again that he had never said that traffic would be stopped bringing in food for the Berlin population, and that the present stoppage was for technical reasons although he could not guarantee that when these technical difficulties had been cleared, others might not occur elsewhere. When Marshal Sokolovsky made this statement, General Clay stated that no further discussion appeared useful and thanked Marshal Sokolovsky for the meeting. Generals Robertson and Noiret did likewise and at 1730 hours the three west military governors left his office.

The three west governors are agreed that Marshal Sokolovsky is under instructions which permit him no latitude in negotiating the transport question alone or even in connection with other subjects unless there is a complete discussion of the German problem. He deliberately related the Berlin situation to the London Conference. From this, the three west military governors are of the opinion that the Soviet Government at this moment has no intent [intention] to settle the Berlin problem except as a part of the settlement of the German problem. It is clear that further action here by the three west military governors would serve no useful purpose.

In order to prevent Soviet breaking of news we have each advised our press that the three of us met with Sokolovsky at 1700 hours to ask for assurance with respect to the reopening of traffic; that we received no assurance; and that the situation thus remained unchanged. The press was advised that the meeting was called as a result of spontaneous desire of all three military governors to attempt to find a solution here.”

Sent Paris as 309; repeated Department as 1601.

  1. Not printed; in it Caffery reported a statement by Chauvel that Robertson had sent his letter to Sokolovsky without indicating that he was supported by French and Americans and that the three Western Powers had not agreed on the time of the meeting with Sokolovsky. (740.00119 Control (Germany)/7–348)
  2. Regarding Marshal Sokolovsky’s letter of June 29 to General Robertson under reference here, see telegram 1555, June 30, from Berlin, p. 932, and footnote 1 thereto.