740.00119 Control (Germany)/6–1649: Telegram

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

top secret

CC 8885. For Magruder info EUCOM CINCEUR for Huebner USAFE for Cannon Dept of Army for Voorhees Dept of Air for Norstad. Reur CFM 62.1 Agree that it is extremely desirable to build a stockpile of 1,100,000 metric tons by October 31, Practical considerations of storage make stockpiling of additional amounts difficult. Wish to point out that a stockpile of this size would not be adequate for 4 or 5 months as Mr. Bevin has estimated unless present summer curtailed consumption of 6,000 tons per day were maintained. Uncurtailed consumption during winter months would amount to over 12,000 tons per day which would mean that if consumption were not curtailed this would be a reserve for less than 3 months.

Agree that approximately 1,550,000 tons could be brought in by normal surface transport if blockade were completely lifted and strike were ended. This would amount to 13,000 tons per day made up of 10,000 tons by rail, 2,000 by road and 1,000 by barge.

Agree with estimate that stockpile will be about 382,000 on 1 July at present rate of stockpiling. As already pointed out present rate of [Page 834] stockpiling is accomplished by curtailing consumption. Demand would call for 8,000 tons daily summer consumption but it is being restricted to 6,000 tons per day for stockpiling purpose.

The figure of 1,068,661 metric tons consumption is based on daily average of 8,685 tons per day which is the estimate daily average consumption over years period on curtailed basis. Actual present consumption during summer months is nearer six thousand tons per day of materials being brought from the West. Thus, if present curtailed rate of consumption is maintained for stockpiling purposes consumption from 1 July to 31 October would be approximately 750,000 tons. Thus on 31 October the supplies accumulated would be about 1,200,000 tons without any airlift if we continued at our present curtailed rate of consumption and if we were getting 10,000 tons per day of rail traffic. Under these conditions any contribution received by a continuation of the airlift would be used to reduce the degree of curtailment of consumption which is presently required to accomplish adequate stockpiling. As this curtailment amounts to about 2,000 tons per day, the airlift could under ideal circumstances be reduced to two thousand tons per day until 31 October.

The actual situation is very different. At the present time Berlin’s receipts from the West are substantially 2,500 tons by road, 1,000 tons by barge and nothing by rail. This means that even at the present curtailed rate of summer consumption it would require 9,500 tons per day by airlift in order to reach the desirable level of reserves on 31 October. The present rate of airlift deliveries is 7,000 tons per day which means that we are presently falling 2,500 tons short of the necessary daily average.

The foregoing makes it necessary to maintain the airlift at maximum while the present restrictions on surface transportation continue. It is our view that, although everything possible should be done to maximize truck traffic, the airlifts capacity to deliver its present maximum should not be jeopardized in reliance on such increased road traffic. This conviction is strengthened by the recent Soviet action in prolonging the strike which action makes it evident Soviets wish to use every possible device to interfere with normal surf ace transport to Berlin. To date they have succeeded in minimizing road traffic to Berlin by insisting on DWK documentation of goods so shipped and in making such documentation difficult to obtain. If we appeared to be getting too successful in increasing truck traffic there is every reason to believe they would start having bridge trouble or would find some other pretext for interfering with the traffic. Huebner states movement of large quantity of supplies by Army truck is not practicable with present personnel and equipment. It will take about 800 5–ton trucks to deliver 1,000 tons of supplies per day.

[Page 835]

The figures used herein are all expressed in metric tons; they include military requirements but exclude requirements for building supplies and other items required for reconstruction and development.

I feel that it is too early to make any decision on planned phase out of Vittles program and urgently recommend that no decision be made until July 15 on this important matter and that contents of CFM–642 be changed accordingly.

[ Hays ]
  1. Not found in Department of State files. Apparently it transmitted the text of Bevin’s letter to Acheson June 13 (p. 832) since at this point in the source text was written in parentheses: “Quote of Bevins ltr to Acheson re airlift.”
  2. Not printed; it reported that the Air Force could supply the United States portion of the reserve stocks based on Bevin’s figures under its current rate of delivery to Berlin; therefore operation Vittles could begin its phase out on July 15. (740.00119 Control (Germany)/6–1649)