740.00119 Control (Germany)/7–1249: Telegram

The United States High Commissioner for Germany (McCloy) to the Secretary of State


1106. First meeting of 4 Berlin Commandants in accordance Paris CFM agreement and decision of Deputy Military Governors (reference our 1065 repeated London 348, Paris 455, Moscow 1051) was held in Allied Control Authority Building this afternoon with French Commandant in the chair. General Kotikov, Soviet Commandant was accompanied by Colonel Yelisarov, political advisor Maximov.

General Ganeval, in his opening statement, emphasized that this meeting was not for the purpose of reviving the Quadripartite Kommandatura but only to implement paragraph 3 (c) of Paris CFM agreement. He expressed hope that good will on all sides would make it possible to solve some of Berlin’s basic problems, but, short of this, attempt would be made to normalize certain aspects of life in Berlin. He emphasized that the Paris and New York agreements2 must be respected and the transport situation reestablished as it existed on March 1, 1948. General Bourne seconded Ganeval’s comments and pointed out specific obligations resulting from paragraph 5 of Paris agreement. He declared that communications between the British zone and Berlin were not normal and outlined recent restrictions placed on road traffic between West zones and Berlin (mytel 1092, July 11.3) General Howley expressed his agreement with the statements of his French and British colleagues and emphasized fact that these transport restrictions could only be considered as a violation of international agreements by the Soviets.

Following close on discussion of other subjects, Howley returned to problem of Soviet restrictions on road transport. He stated his desire to know exact Soviet intentions on following points: (1) Was the Soviet Commandant not familiar with facts outlined by West Commandants? (2) Is the problem outside his competence? (3) If so, would he refer the problem to his superiors? Earlier in meeting, General Kotikov indicated that he was not aware of any restrictions on road traffic but following Howley’s specific proposals, he stated he would be willing to transmit these questions to his superiors if they were furnished in writing by Howley or one of the other Commandants. General Ganeval reiterated that it is not possible to discuss [Page 366] implementation of the Paris agreement if the New York agreement, out of which the Paris agreement grew, was not adhered to Howley closed this discussion with a proposal that the 4 Commandants agree to refer a recommendation in the following sense to the Deputy Military Governors as being outside the competence of the Commandants; Any restrictions imposed upon traffic from East to West or West to East which concern Berlin should be immediately removed unless they were in effect on March 1, 1948, and regardless of who imposed them. Kotikov stated that he had nothing to add to his earlier statement on this subject.

An inconclusive discussion developed on the question of procedure. Ganeval, in emphasizing his point that this meeting did not constitute a renewal of the old Kommandatura, proposed that the individual delegates prepare their own minutes; that if questions not extending beyond Berlin were agreed upon, the Commandants would proceed immediately to implement them; that if such questions extend beyond Berlin they would be referred to the Deputy Military Governors, providing agreement was reached at the Commandants’ level; that if questions were not agreed, they would merely be withdrawn. In his insistence that the Commandants request the Deputy Military Governors to instruct them formally concerning procedure, it seemed apparent that Kotikov was anxious to establish as far as possible a formalized procedure which could in effect be considered as a new Kommandatura procedure. The West Commandants did not accept Kotikov’s proposals and the latter finally agreed to study the French proposal if presented in writing. Ganeval agreed to furnish this.

In attempt to determine Kotikov’s intentions with respect to specific problems in Berlin, the British Commandant brought up the following 3 points: (1) That the legal validity of postage stamps issued in the West sectors be recognized by the Soviet sector postal authorities and that special surcharges on postal stamps imposed by both sides be withdrawn. (2) The routing of mail cars coming into Berlin. (3) Propusks (Soviet zone licenses) for West sector vehicles. In each case, Kotikov requested that these proposals be presented in writing. Bourne handed him 3 memoranda which he agreed to study and to discuss at a subsequent meeting.

When queried by the chairman, Kotikov stated that he had no points to raise. He added, however, that he does have proposals but is not yet prepared to raise them. It was agreed that the next meeting would be held when desired by any one Commandant, and that General Kotikov would be in the chair.

As in the case of the first meeting of the 4 Deputy Military Governors, it was apparent that the Soviet delegate had no intention of [Page 367] advancing proposals until they had an opportunity to observe the West delegates’ ideas and proposals.

Sent Department 1106; repeated London 365, Paris 467, Moscow 109.

  1. Supra.
  2. For the text of the New York four-power agreement lifting the Berlin blockade and convoking the Council of Foreign Ministers, see editorial note, p. 750.
  3. Not printed.