740.00119 Control (Germany)/5–149: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom

top secret
us urgent

1481. Eyes Only for Ambassador and Holmes. Re Deptel 14761 and Deptel 238 to New York (repeated London as 14772) on subject JessupMalik conversations, you will note in first message referred to above that we are concerned over views of Bevin and Robertson on procedure for lifting blockade. Have just received following message from Clay which strongly substantiates our view.

Begin Clay’s message: “My own concept of the Soviet proposal is that it means a complete change in Soviet tactics to win Germany. If my concept is correct, the Soviet Government (although its representatives will argue bitterly) will accept a solution of the German problem very largely on our terms, to include acceptance of the occupation statute3 and perhaps even the Bonn Constitution.4 Their purpose will be, however, to prevent the new Germany from being oriented toward the West and integrated into an association of Western European nations. Thus, they would create a buffer state which if we tended to lessen our present efforts they could exploit by promises and other means. The creation of the new German Government under these conditions could be to our advantage if, after its creation, we continue the type and kind of effort which has been so disastrous to Communism in Europe during the past two years. The inherent danger is the well-known tendency of Democracies to rest on their laurels and their probable loss of enthusiasm in proceeding with re-armament and similar measures vital to a restoration of balance in Europe.

[Page 747]

However, if my concept is correct, even in part, there is little immediate danger of difficulties in transit to and from Berlin with the blockade lifted and obviously the creation of such difficulties would make the Soviet objective impossible.

I think it utterly foolish if a Council of Foreign Ministers is to be held, which will unquestionably be the most important of the meetings held to date, to create minor issues over details covering our rights of entry and exit into Berlin. In point of fact, I am quite sure that by restoration of the conditions existing on 28 March 1948, we will be better off than in an attempt to more clearly define these rights on paper at this time.

There is one important thing to remember. The blockade was broken by air power, and the air power should be maintained in full until the Council of Foreign Ministers has completed its deliberations. Subject to the continuation of the airlift, I would urge that the lifting of the blockade and counter-blockade be defined as just that and not elaborated into a minutiae of detail. I am sorry that I have been unable to see Robertson, who is spending the weekend at his country estate in Melle. He returns to Berlin tomorrow morning and I will, of course, see him then to find out what he has in the back of his mind. I am inclined to believe that the British would like to delay for other reasons than conditions in Germany perhaps connected with an apprehension on their part that an immediate solution of the Berlin problem might possibly affect appropriations pending in our Congress.

I have discussed these observations with Ambassador Murphy and we are in full agreement.

I would urge, however, that now matters have gotten this far, we insist on a prompt reply from the Soviets with immediate and complete lifting of the blockade, as the worst thing that can possibly happen is a long continuation of the present negotiations. Let’s tell the Russians now the immediate lifting of the blockade is prerequisite evidence of good faith.”

Understand Cadogan has wired Foreign Office for guidance on method of procedure re lifting of blockade and substance of Deptel 1477. Jessup meeting with Cadogan and Chauvel delayed until 1500 Monday to allow Cadogan to receive instructions. Request you approach Foreign Office for acceptance of simple procedure suggested by French and ourselves which is strongly supported by Clay and Bradley.5

As noted in paragraph B of your 16776 it is clear that British agree with us that acceleration of timing is completely to our advantage. [Page 748] Prompt agreement with Malik, and avoidance of any preliminary detailed discussion in Berlin, would make best contribution to this end.

Reference place of preliminary informal discussions, among three Western powers, would remind Bevin that foreign ministers agreed here that this would take place at same location as CFM. We consider it most fortunate that this happens to be Paris as we believe it important that both British and ourselves have close contact with Schuman personally during these talks.

  1. An extract from this telegram is printed supra.
  2. Not printed, but see footnote 5 to telegram 1476, supra.
  3. The text of the Occupation Statute is printed on p. 179.
  4. For documentation relating to the Bonn Constitution, see pp. 187 ff.
  5. On May 2, Douglas reported that Bevin had instructed Cadogan to agree to the general formula for the lifting of the restrictions. (Telegram 1686, not printed, 740.00119 Control (Germany)/5–249). On the same day Chauvel, Jessup, and Cadogan met in New York to iron out the last details of the proposed informal letter to Malik. A telegraphic report on this meeting is in file 740.00119 Control (Germany)/5–249, and a memorandum of a telephone conversation between Rusk and Jessup on the various changes in the draft letter is in file 740.00119 Control (Germany)/3–1549.
  6. Not printed.