740.00119 Council/6–1349: Telegram

The United States Delegation at the Council of Foreign Ministers to the Department of the Army


CFM 60. Action to SAOUS for Voorhees from USDel sixth CFM from Magruder. (Please pass copy to State.) In order to keep you informed on present negotiations going on in Berlin and Paris there [Page 811] follows extracts from a teleconference and two radios sent yesterday and today. They have been revised and combined for clarity:

“To OMGUS for Dorr and Wilkinson from DelSec signed Magruder.

The procedure proposed in today’s telecon has been agreed by British and French. It reads as follows:

‘Since signed agreement with Soviets clearly impossible at this stage, we envisage procedure would be somewhat as follows: at appropriate stage in discussions, statement agreed toy the Western powers, preferably along lines of attached draft, would toe handed ‘Soviet representative as factual record of statements and positions resulting from discussions on implementation of New York agreement.1 Paper in such form would not require signatures of Western commanders. Soviet representative would be asked to examine paper perhaps in a brief recess and let Western representatives know whether portions recording Soviet statements were accurate. If Soviet representative considers statements inaccurate amendments could be discussed. Paper would in any case be transmitted in its final form to their ministers by three Western commanders. Soviet commander, of course, free to send whatever report he desires’.

Agreed draft follows:

Effective on the 12th May, the authorities of France, the United Kingdom and the United States issued instructions to lift restrictions imposed since March 1, 1948, and referred to in the New York agreement. The authorities of the USSR issued instructions which we understand were designed to give effect to that agreement.
Since that time there have been discussions as to details of practice as to communications, transport and trade, as well as about a new method of clearing payments on trade designed to mitigate problems arising because of the different currencies now prevailing in the Eastern and Western zones.
It has not proved practicable to formulate the terms of agreement on these matters and there have been some differences of opinion as to what restrictions have, or have not, in fact, been imposed since 1 March, 1948, but all concerned have expressed the determination to live up to the New York agreement and to facilitate communications, transport and trade.
All restrictions imposed since 1 March, 1948, by France, the United Kingdom and the United States on communications, transport and trade between the Western zones and the Eastern zone and Berlin have been lifted.
It is understood, on the basis of oral statements made by the Soviet representatives in Berlin, that the USSR will maintain in effect its general instructions as to restrictions imposed since March 1, 1948, on communications, transport and trade, referred to in the New York agreement, and secure compliance thereof. It appears from recent discussions in Berlin that as to the following matters the USSR will pursue the following course:

(Here take in our understanding as to what the USSR have said they are doing, or are willing to do, in respect of certain communication and transport matters.)

[Page 812]

There are, however, other points falling within the purview of the New York agreement as to which no satisfactory oral assurances have been received, e.g.

(Here list matters of which the Soviet have not given oral assurances or those assurances have been inadequate, for example, water transport, removal of road traffic restrictions imposed since 12 May 1949, train paths and routes, and locomotives.)


In order further to facilitate trade in the new circumstances which have arisen since 1 March, 1948, discussions have also been held on trade and payment arrangements. In the absence of a general agreement covering these matters at which it has not so far been possible to arrive, France, the United Kingdom and the United States believe that it may be helpful to outline what they expect to do as to trade and clearing arrangements. Their action in the field of trade and clearing will depend on the future course of action by the USSR in the field of communications and transport matters.

(Here take in our position on trade and clearing in a form which given commitments during recent negotiations is most nearly palatable to the Western allies, for example, purely token references to the 1948 agreement. No commitments on contracts or pre-currency reform prices; no provision for part payment at old rate; no reference to instructions re execution of trade agreements.)

The action of France, the United Kingdom and the United States in setting up a clearing arrangement is a positive measure for facilitating communications, transport and trade and is not in the nature of lifting a restriction imposed after March 1, 1948 but goes beyond lifting a restriction. France, the United Kingdom and the United States believe that a lifting of documentation requirement of the USSR on exports from the Western sectors of Berlin to the Western zones is one of a number of comparable actions which should be taken.”

[ Magruder ]
  1. For the text of the Four-Power communiqué which lifted the restrictions on trade and communication with Berlin and convoked the Sixth Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, see editorial note, p. 750.