740.00119 Control (Germany)/8–1748: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union 1

top secret   us urgent

958. For the Ambassador (Eyes Only). We agree with your analysis of yesterday’s conversation with Molotov (your 16482) and feel [Page 1054] strongly that there is nothing to be gained and much to be lost by any further attempt to negotiate with him. We believe the time has come for an interview with Stalin [in] order to deal with the basic issue which has deadlocked the talks with Molotov.

We feel it is of the utmost importance that there should be no lack of clarity concerning the fundamental issues upon which the discussions in Moscow might break down. You should therefore make to Stalin a statement along the following lines, subject to such modifications as to language as you may work out in Moscow with your French and British colleagues.

Begin outline. Since the meeting on August 2 with Stalin, the three western representatives have held four long meetings with Mr. Molotov in an attempt to draw up the text of an agreement covering the points discussed with Mr. Stalin in order to bring to an end the critical situation existing in Berlin. During these conversations, despite the genuine and earnest efforts of the three representatives and Mr. Molotov to agree on an acceptable text, it has become entirely apparent that the issue dividing the three Western Powers and the Soviet Government on the question of Berlin is basic and cannot be adjusted by any change in wording.

The fundamental issue, as we see it, is whether or not the Soviet Government is prepared to accept the fact that the Western Allies are in Berlin by right and are therefore entitled to participate equally in the quadripartite administration of the city. This basic division between the Soviet Government and the three Western Powers has found its expression in the discussions with Mr. Molotov on the point of the quadripartite regulation of the finances and trade of the city of Berlin.

The three Western Powers are prepared to accept the Soviet mark as the sole currency for the city of Berlin but only on the condition that adequate arrangements are worked out for its continued issue and use in Berlin under quadripartite supervision. So far, the Soviet Government in these discussions has been unwilling to accept the principle of quadripartite supervision of the issue and use in Berlin of the Soviet mark. This does not mean authority over the Soviet mark as such but only supervision over the amount issued in Berlin and over its use there.

It is evident that the Soviet unwillingness to accept the principle of quadripartite supervision in this field stems directly from the position of the Soviet Government, which the three Western Powers have refused to accept, that they no longer are in Berlin by right but only on Soviet sufferance. The Governments of the United States, United Kingdom and France would therefore like to know directly from Stalin whether or not the Soviet Government will recognize that the three Western Powers are entitled to equal participation in the exercise of supervision over the currency, credit and trade of the city.

If the Soviet Government is prepared to recognize the right of the three Western Powers to such participation, then there should be no difficulty in agreeing right now upon the wording of the paragraph in the proposed announcement dealing with Berlin currency and its regulation. If, however, the Soviet Government continues to maintain its position that the three Western Powers have no rights in Berlin. [Page 1055] and are therefore not entitled to participate in the regulation of the city’s currency, credit and trade, then these talks have failed since the position of the three Western Powers on this point has been made amply clear throughout all the discussions in Moscow.

(For your guidance, if Stalin is prepared to concede this point, you should then suggest that final agreement on the text of the announcement could be reached at this interview and not accept further reference back to Molotov and the three representatives to work out the details of the text unless you feel this desirable to give effect to agreement reached with Stalin. If Stalin remains adamant in his insistence that we have no juridical rights and hence no right to participate in the regulation of currency, credit and trade in Berlin, you should then make the following statement to him.)

The three Western Powers conscious of their obligation under the Charter of the United Nations had taken the initiative in approaching the Soviet Government for informal discussions in Moscow in order to explore every possibility of preventing the deterioration of an already dangerous situation in Berlin. The three Western Powers had done this despite the fact that the dangerous situation in Berlin had been created solely as a result of the unilateral imposition by the Soviet Government of restrictions amounting to a blockade of communications between the western zones and Berlin.

The Western Powers wished to ascertain in the most direct manner exactly for what purposes the Soviet Government had placed these, restrictions upon the communications between the western zones and Berlin and whether the situation in Berlin could be returned to normal through some arrangement consistent with the rights, duties and obligations of the four occupying powers.

As a result of these discussions in Moscow it has become clear beyond any doubt that the Soviet Government is indeed applying methods of coercion and force in an attempt to achieve certain objectives in respect to Germany and Berlin which that Government was unable to obtain through free negotiations. The objective in respect of Berlin was to place that city under unilateral Soviet control in derogation of the rights acquired by the Western Allies through the defeat and unconditional surrender of Germany and defined by quadripartite agreements.

In short, the Soviet Government is demanding, as a price for lifting the blockade measures, the abandonment of the rights of the three Western Powers in Berlin. This price the three Western Powers cannot and will not pay.

The Governments of the United States, United Kingdom and France wish to draw the attention of the Soviet Government to the fact that through its unilateral action in Berlin and through its unwillingness to accept any arrangement consistent with the rights and obligations of the other occupying powers it has brought about a situation which, if continued, might develop into a threat to international peace and security.

The three Governments, therefore, will find themselves obliged to refer the actions of the Soviet Government in Berlin to the appropriate organ of the United Nations, at the same time reserving to [Page 1056] themselves full rights to take such measures as may be necesary to maintain in these circumstances their position in Berlin. End outline.

In our immediately following telegram3 we are sending you suggestions authorizing certain changes in text of announcement for you to use to meet Soviet views in the event that Stalin is willing to discuss final text of announcement.

For Douglas repeat to Smith: Please ask Bevin and Massigli to send urgently any British and French comments to their representatives in Moscow for coordination with Smith who will furnish them this text.

  1. Repeated to London as 3268, Paris as 3164, and Berlin as 1464.
  2. August 17, p. 1042.
  3. Telegram 962, infra.