740.00119 Control (Germany)/5–2149

Memorandum of Meetings of the Secretary of State With Members of the United States Delegation to the Council of Foreign Ministers1

top secret

Berlin Blockade

It was reported that trade negotiations in Berlin are proceeding satisfactorily. A clearing agreement has been provisionally approved by Soviets at technical level but not yet confirmed by higher Soviet authorities. The principal remaining bone of contention is that Soviets insist we recognize that 1948 trade agreement remains in effect. We are unwilling to do so though [we] are willing in practice to permit implementation of that portion of the agreement in which Soviets are principally interested, that is, full delivery of orders placed before imposition of the blockade.

On transport and movement of goods the situation is not so satisfactory as the Soviets continue to enforce certain restrictions which were not in effect in March 1948 or which, if in effect, were not at that time enforced.

The Secretary outlined the basic United States position as follows:

That the Soviets are free to control shipments into the Western sectors of Berlin from the Eastern sectors or the Eastern Zone.
That they must permit free export from Western Berlin to West Germany, though they may for pro forma purposes require that Soviet stamps be placed on bills of lading for such shipments.
They must permit substantially the same movement of goods into Western Berlin from West Germany as was taking place on March 1, 1948.

The Secretary felt we should stand firmly on this position and should refuse to accept any restrictions which remain counter to the above principles. If it should appear on Monday that such restrictions were being enforced in, substantial volume, we may wish to refuse to proceed with the CFM until they had been removed.

[Here follows a review of the tripartite preliminary conversations which took place in Paris May 14–20. For documentation relating to these talks, see pages 856 ff.]

  1. The memorandum was prepared by Charles W. Yost, the Special Assistant to the Ambassador at Large, Jessup, and a member of the United States Delegation to the Council. For documentation relating to the United States participation in the Sixth Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, May 23–June 20, see pp. 913 ff.