740.00119 Council/5–2249: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of State at Paris 1

top secret
us urgent

Secdel 1610. Personal for the Secretary from Webb. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have considered your alternative number three of [Page 819] Delsec 17842 as a separate problem from overall study you suggested in order to provide you with an early answer. Begin quote of JCS views:

“With reference to alternative number three as contained in Delsec 1784 of 22 May 1949, the Joint Chiefs of Staff believe there would be nothing gained by such a plan. In the first place any reinstitution of the Berlin blockade would now in the view of the Joint Chiefs of Staff be dangerously close to an act of war, and, if the “probing” were then to follow there would be likelihood that the incidence of the war would be laid at the door of the United States. Consequently, they believe that by so-called “probing” much would be risked extending from serious loss of prestige to the distinct possibility of involvement in hostilities even though they assume that the plan is not intended to include the use of force. The Joint Chiefs of Staff are considering the whole problem of possible U.S. courses of action in the event the USSR reimposes the Berlin blockade and their views will be available for forwarding to you at an early date.”3

The Dept supports the above views of the JCS on the isolated issue of probing tactics. Our general feeling is that half-way measures in a matter of this type with the Soviets are likely to be unsuccessful and are, in some respects, even more dangerous than more deliberate courses of action.

  1. Mr. Acheson was attending a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers, at Paris. For documentation, see pp. 913 ff.
  2. Supra.
  3. For the text of the Joint Chiefs of Staff study on the courses of action in the event of the reimposition of the Berlin blockade by the Soviet Union, see NSC 24/2, June 1, Appendix A, p. 821.