740.00119 Control (Germany)/8–1148: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the United States Political Adviser for Germany (Murphy)1

top secret   us urgent

1427. Personal for Murphy. We are moved by further apprehensions about question of principle discussed in opening paragraphs of Deptel 14212 to seek advice of yourself and Clay. In most of their recent actions in Berlin Soviets have been proceeding on theory that quadripartite control of the city has lapsed. This is doubtless their underlying objection to four-power supervision of use of Sov Zone currency. Assuming, however, agreement is reached in Moscow lifting blockade and providing for four-power supervision of currency, are there any other forms of quadripartite control over Berlin affairs the absence of which Sovs could exploit to render our position untenable? In other words, is revival of Kommandatura necessary from practical standpoint? One view here is that with lifting of blockade and establishment of currency supervision the Western Nations could successfully make a go of it in Berlin, particularly since they would control three-fourths of city and popular sentiment would be on their side. On the other hand, this could lead to split of city. In event of a CFM deadlock on Germany Soviets could harass Western Nations by manipulation of currency issue and latters’ counter-measures would doubtless produce an imposition of blockade on grounds of abrogation of Moscow (agreement which Soviets would probably claim was sole basis of Western Allies presence in Berlin. In Moscow discussions we have asserted principle of quadripartite rights and as you note will continue to do so, but we have been considering whether from practical standpoint of operating city and from standpoint of safeguarding our legal and moral position for the future we can afford not to insist at Moscow on a commitment to which the Soviets would be a party regarding the maintenance of quadripartite control of Berlin including revival of the Kommandatura.

Would appreciate as soon as possible considered opinion of yourself and Clay since this is a question we may wish to take up when we go to Stalin.3

  1. Repeated to London as 3176, Paris as 3072, and Moscow as 930.
  2. Same as telegram 925, August 10, to Moscow, p. 1028.
  3. In telegram 2015, August 12, from Berlin, not printed, Murphy replied that both he and Clay felt the western powers could handle the operation of the western sectors of Berlin with the blockade removed and currency under quadripartite control. He distinguished the practical operation and administration of the city, however, from the legal and moral position of the western powers in Berlin, and recommended that at Moscow Smith adhere to the idea that the agreements, which provided the legal basis for the western powers, had not been rescinded. (740.00119 Control (Germany)/8–1248)