CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 143: Berlin—Access to

The Acting United States Military Governor for Germany (Hays) to the Military Attaché in France (O’Hare)


FMPC 1146. To USMA Paris for Magruder Info Army Dept for Voorhees. From OMGUS signed Hays. This is MFC–20.

Quadripartite meetings concluded 13 June 1700 hours after 5 hour session. British and Soviet representatives discussed at length British proposal for common procedure, to regulate export from West Sectors of goods in short supply in SovZone (See MFC 191). Soviets showed real interest in finding out how these procedures would actually work. They admitted 1 March 48 controls not ideal, and were willing consider [Page 813] any alternatives which promised protection of economic interests of SovZone, but emphasized this was pure good will on their part, and in no way required by New York Agreement.2

Soviets complained about Voice of America description of our meetings as being designed “to lift blockade.” They cited facts and statistics at length to prove they had restored conditions which were permitting greater shipments to Berlin than before blockade, and said they considered they had gone much farther than we to live up to letter and spirit of New York Agreement.

Soviets again asked exactly how we would work common controls of Berlin exports. We admitted it would take experts some time to develop details, but asked their agreement to following statement of principle, to be added to our record point on documentation

“However, in respect of goods and products which the Soviet authorities determine are in short supply in their zone, a common licensing procedure will be developed by the SMA and the Western occupation authorities to prevent the unauthorized export of such products to the Western Zones and abroad through the Western Sectors of Berlin.”

Soviets asked why we emphasized this new proposal at this late date, since old procedures had caused no practical difficulties, and new proposal had nothing to do with New York Agreement. US representative cited numerous difficulties both in practice and principle resulting from SMA control of West Sector exports and said we felt that if they could meet US on this very important issue we could agree to clearing arrangement, and we would have achieved concrete-results in our present talks. Soviets said we had no right to try to bargain clearing arrangement which was necessary under New York Agreement, for change in Berlin export procedures which were not affected by NY Agreements.

We replied they no more entitled to clearing than we to new export controls neither derived automatically from NY Agreement. Soviets then said perhaps they weren’t entitled to new clearing, but in that case they could demand restoration of currency clearing arrangements in effect 1 March 48, which had been integral part of interzonal trade procedures. We rejected this as irrelevant since it was simply a bank clearing arrangement which couldn’t be used with two currencies.

British Chairman then urged we not dispute longer over minor points but decide whether we wished to agree on clearing and export control, or whether we should admit defeat and put in unilateral statements stating our disagreements. During lunch US representative tried to persuade Soviet to see that our proposed language on [Page 814] Berlin export controls protected his position and afforded basis for agreement. He was sympathetic but obviously too far beyond his instructions to take a chance, and reiterated that when we had a definite scheme he would look at it.

After lunch Soviets asked for detailed discussion of existing disagreements on their trade points, with specific reference to our unwillingness to reaffirm officially validity of old contracts. During this discussion we received telephone message that USDel did not want limited agreement and wished US to put forward unilateral statement summarizing failure to agree. We stopped agreement by saying it was obvious Soviets were unwilling to try to come to broad agreement we had suggested, and we might as well discuss what we were going to say to describe the present position. US representative said he had prepared report to be sent to Sec of State3 on which he would like comments of his colleagues. As had been foreseen, Soviet properly replied he had no interest in what we might report, since it was our business and he would make up report of his own. British delegate tried second time to persuade Soviets to listen to our statement and they politely refused, but said if we were so anxious to have them know what our report said they would be glad to have a copy. This maneuver resulted in our appearing rather silly and giving them an opportunity to improve and sharpen their report by reference to ours.

Soviets wound up on most conciliatory note, stating that if we hadn’t been unreasonable in our demands on documentation we would certainly have been able to reach agreement, since only a few small points were between us on the trade arrangements. Even so, Soviets were still prepared to talk when we had specific proposals, about improvement of Berlin export controls, even though this had nothing to do with NY Agreement.

After meeting, US representative remarked to Soviet Chief Delegate that it was too bad the talks had ended without agreement. Soviet replied amiably that it wasn’t so tragic, that he felt we had made a great deal of progress and that we could hope for better results later. This was astounding until we received tonight USDel cable, outlining proposals made to Vishinsky,4 and we then realized Soviets here obviously had known of these and therefore know this wasn’t the end of the ninth inning as we had thought, but only the end of the first.

Our unilateral report was worked out on your instructions with slight modifications, after consultation with Gen Robertson and Dorr. It has been sent to Paris by telecon, and copy forwarded to Soviets [Page 815] with explanation it is tripartitely agreed but to be remitted individually to respective Foreign Ministers.

[ Hays ]
  1. Not found in Department of State files.
  2. See editorial note, p. 750.
  3. Infra.
  4. Regarding Secretary Acheson’s proposals to Vyshinsky at the 19th Session of Council of Foreign Ministers, see pp. 985 ff.