740.00119 Control (Germany)/8–1648: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union ( Smith ) to the Secretary of State

top secret   us urgent

1635. Eyes Only for the Secretary, London Eyes Only for Douglas, Paris Eyes Only for Caffery, Berlin Eyes Only for Clay and Murphy. We have just compared latest instructions from Washington, London [Page 1041] and Paris.1 Roberts’ last message from Bevin is based on your 9492 and is to general effect that since US agrees with him, why don’t we get on with it? Chataigneau’s latest from Paris puts him behind again but he is willing to go along generally with what we decide although neither he nor Roberts can accept wording proposed for paragraph four in your 949 without some modification.

None of us believe that Molotov will agree to lift the blockade on a specified date subject to acceptance of Soviet mark for Berlin on basis of proviso that certain agreements are reached there, but should he so agree and announcement is made thereof, we have grave apprehensions of the effect of failure to reach technical agreement in Berlin on specified date. It was for this reason that we proposed second alternative mentioned my 16243 and still believe that this or some other provision for simultaneity is the only solution. However, it does not seem to any of us that further delay will improve our situation here—rather the contrary. Accordingly, we have combined the US and British proposals for the paragraph on currency to meet obligations [objections?] of London and Paris. Roberts and Chataigneau will accept paragraphs one, two and three as given in my 1629.4 Chataigneau and I accept British proposed new paragraph three as you authorized me to do. Although we feel that our instructions leave us with rather impossible sales job, we are likewise convinced that it would be a great mistake to drag these conversations out much longer, and we are seeing Molotov at six this evening.

It is the “provided” phrase on currency change that Molotov will reject, and while Chataigneau and I are authorized to present the shorter formula which would put the technical points in a directive to the military governors, Roberts is not so authorized, and in any event, this would not have much more appeal to Molotov than the longer version of the currency paragraph. I hope events will prove that we are unduly pessimistic but it seems to us that a promising start is being jeopardized by a changed or incorrect approach.

[Page 1042]

Following is agreed text which will be presented to Molotov at our meeting:

[Here follows the text of the draft statement printed in The Berlin Crisis, p. 33 or Cmd. 7534, p. 32.]

Request Caffery pass copy of above English text, minus my comments, to French Government.

Sent Department as 1635, Department pass London as 143, Paris as 254, Berlin as 311.

  1. During August 14, 15, and 16 consultations proceeded in Moscow between the American, British and French heads of mission, acting on the strength of instructions from their respective governments, regarding the text of a draft statement to be handed to Molotov at the next meeting. Correspondence regarding this statement is included in file 740.00119 Control (Germany).
  2. Telegram 949, August 15, to Moscow, not printed, contained the latest Department instructions regarding the draft statement (740.00119 Control (Germany)/8–1448).
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed; it transmitted the first draft text of the proposed joint statement to be presented to Molotov. The three paragraphs under reference here are essentially the same as paragraphs 1, 2, and 4 of the agreed text. (740.00119 Control (Germany)/8–1448)