740.00119 Control (Germany)/3–1549

Memorandum of Conversation, by the United States Ambassador at Large (Jessup)

top secret

Participants: Ambassador Malik, USSR Delegation to the UN
Dr. Philip C. Jessup, US Ambassador at Large

I called on Malik by appointment at his office this morning at 12:30. We began by my reading to him the agreed statement.1 Malik then said that he wished to make more precise the question of the removal of restrictions which had been touched upon in Vishinsky’s previous statements. He was now able to make it clear that what Vishinsky had in mind was the mutual lifting of restrictions on transportation, communication and trade between the Western and Eastern Zones, and between Berlin and the Western Zones. These restrictions could be lifted before a meeting of the CFM if we come to an agreement for the date of such a meeting. Vishinsky had in mind all such restrictions introduced after the 30th of March 1948 as had been stated to the US in the Soviet’s note of the 18th of September 1948.2 That, said Malik, is Vishinsky’s understanding of the question.

I said that my memory was not exact as to the precise dates on which various restrictions had been imposed and I did not recall whether there were some of them which had been imposed prior to the 30th of March. I called attention to the fact that we had mentioned the date of the 1st of March.

Malik said that he recalled that some of these restrictions were on the 28th of March and others on the 29th and 30th. He said therefore a correction could be made in the date of March 30 to cover the 28th, 29th and 30th. He understood that these would be included in the measures to be lifted.

I repeated that I did not recall the exact dates but wanted to be sure that the general idea was that Vishinsky wished to lift all of the restrictions which had been imposed and that he does not have in mind that he wishes to keep some of the restrictions.

Malik in turn said that he did not recall precisely the exact dates but according to his instructions there were no restrictions imposed before the 28th of March.

I asked again whether regardless of this detail of dates there was a desire to exclude any of the restrictions from those to be lifted. Was it merely a question of fact to be determined in order to set the date? Malik replied that he thought this was correct.

[Page 733]

Malik then asked for an explanation regarding that point in our statement which referred to the end of the second week of June as the termination of the meetings. He inquired what idea the three Ministers had for the date for the beginning. I said that the Ministers had no exact date to suggest at this moment for the beginning of the CFM. If we were agreed in principle, if no substantial question was still outstanding, then it seemed to me it would be convenient, as I had suggested to him on April 5, to ask Sir Alexander Cadogan and Chauvel to join us in another meeting in order that we might fix the dates, the place of the CFM, the specification of the restrictions to be lifted and other details.

Malik then requested me to read again that part of my statement which referred to the Western German Government and I read over once more paragraphs 4, 5 and 6. Malik then said that if he understood correctly, the following is the situation: The Western German Government does not now exist; if we come to an understanding regarding the calling of the CFM in the reasonably near future that meeting would start in the absence of a “condition of the existence of such a government” but would proceed in the “condition of the continuance of the preparations”. I said this was correct.

Malik then said he had a second point. If he understood correctly, we were agreed on the following: All restrictions on transportation, communication and trade, introduced by the Soviet Union since the 28th of March, between Berlin and the Western Zones, and the restrictions imposed by the three powers between the Eastern and Western Zones were to be removed. I relied that I could not say as to the exact date of the 28th of March, but that the general sense was that all of the restrictions which had been imposed were to be removed. If it were the fact that some restrictions had been imposed before the date of the 28th, we wanted to get rid of that too.

Malik said that he had formulated his observations on this point in such detail because of the fact that I had pointed out that in a previous meeting Vishinsky’s reply did not textually coincide with mine. Therefore, he wanted to go into detail and clarify whether we could state that all restrictions imposed after a specified date between Berlin and the Western Zones, and between the Eastern and Western Zones could be lifted. If there is doubt as to the date, that could be settled later. He did wish to make precise that there is a desire between us to agree in the sense that all the restrictions after a certain date between Berlin and the Western Zones would be lifted on a date to be agreed upon. I said this was correct.

Malik then said he had a third point which he wished to make more precise. He asked if we could state that we have reached agreement [Page 734] in these conversations on holding a CFM for a consideration of the question of Germany including the question of currency, bearing in mind that the lifting of the restrictions will have been effected before that meeting and also bearing in mind that the date of the CFM and the date of the lifting of the restrictions are to be agreed upon. I agreed.

Malik then said therefore he could state there is agreement on the questions we have discussed including the question of the Western German Government. I said I believed this to be true but that I wished to make quite sure on this last point regarding the Western German Government. I therefore recalled his previous statement to the effect that the agreement was that if the CFM was held in the reasonably near future, it would begin before a Western German Government was formed but would continue its sessions while the preparations for the establishment of the Western German Government continue.

Malik said this was correct and asked what was the next step. I said that it seemed to me the next thing would be to have four-party talks reasonably soon to set the dates and the other details. I assumed that there would then be a formal agreement of the four governments after we had agreed on these details. I said that as a personal suggestion I wondered what he would think of the possible desirability of a four-power note addressed to the President of the Security Council telling him that the agreement had been reached. I pointed out that this would be a later stage after the reaching of the agreement in four-party conversations. I said that I had no particular form in mind regarding an agreement. I suggested that the Soviet Government might send us a note containing the details after the four of us had worked it out and that the three governments would then in the usual diplomatic form communicate their agreement in reply. Malik said that personally he hadn’t considered what form an agreement might take but as we were talking he had the idea that perhaps an exchange of notes would be superfluous. He said that perhaps after we reached agreement we could issue a four-power communiqué pointing out that the four governments have agreed on the following points: (1) All restrictions imposed by the Soviet party since such and such a date and those imposed by the other three parties would be lifted on the same date; (2) we would state the date when the CFM would be called to consider the question of Germany and the question of currency in Berlin. As for the suggestion of a letter to the President of the Security Council, it did not seem to him that this would be necessary. I said that this might be a good way to do it, that I had no definite ideas about it and probably this would be a matter we would want to discuss with the others. I then asked him whether he had any thoughts about the interval between the date of the lifting of the blockade and the [Page 735] date for the meeting of the CFM, whether it should be three weeks, two weeks, ten days, one week, or what. Malik said he was not prepared to discuss specific dates. He said today we are merely stating a general agreement and therefore he was not prepared on details but he would think it over. He said that he would communicate the result of our conversation to Vishinsky.

I asked him whether he thought Vishinsky would agree with Malik that we had reached agreement. Malik replied “I consider it possible.” He said he could not speak for his Minister but considering the stage of the exchanges of views, he would state to Vishinsky as his opinion that we had reached agreement and this would be put up to Vishinsky for his decision.

I said if Mr. Vishinsky does agree, probably our next meeting should be with Sir Alexander Cadogan and Ambassador Chauvel to arrange details. Malik agreed but said that he had enjoyed our private conversations. I said I had also enjoyed them but that I was generous and was glad to share that pleasure with the two others, to which Malik replied “I am not an individualist”.

I then called attention to the crowd of reporters assembled outside his building and said obviously the press was aware that we were talking but that in my opinion it would not be desirable to issue to the press any statement regarding the substance of our conversation. Malik agreed.

It was left that he would telephone me after he has had further word from Vishinsky and that if Vishinsky decides that agreement has been reached, our next meeting would be with Cadogan and Chauvel to arrange the details.2

  1. Infra.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. ii, p. 1162.
  3. Jessup reported his conversation to Cadogan and Chauvel April 28, and gave them each a copy of the memorandum of conversation. The three officials then discussed the lifting of the restrictions, the question of a timetable, and the form of the quadripartite announcement. General agreement was reached that the technical details of lifting the restrictions should be left to the military representatives in Berlin. May 23 was set for the beginning of the Council of Foreign Ministers with the blockade to be lifted on May 9. Both Cadogan and Chauvel felt that Malik’s suggestion about the joint communiqué was satisfactory. (Memorandum of Conversation by Jessup, April 28, not printed, 740.00119 Control (Germany)/3–1549)