Department of Defense Files

The Department of the Army to the United States Military Attaché in France (O’Hare)

top secret

WAR 89370. Personal for Dorr and Magruder from Voorhees. We are naturally much concerned here about Berlin rail tie-up. Have consulted with Clay, who is reluctant to express any views because he does not want to interfere in any way in problems which have been passed on to others. However, at my urgent request he did give me the following comments which I pass on for your information and any appropriate action:

The strike of the West Germans for West marks could not be solved by the Reichsbahn which has no West marks at its disposal. Hence the demand of the strikers could only be met provided Soviet military administration made West marks available. The Three Western Powers took the position that this was a German matter. The East German strike breakers were not allowed in the West sector railway stations. Obviously, this resulted in closing Berlin to rail traffic from the West. Soviet military administration then had only to agree with the position of the Western Powers that this was a German matter to in effect reimpose at least in part the blockade. Now we are accusing Soviet military administration of blocking traffic to Berlin whereas in fact we are really blockading ourselves. It does seem that to call this purely a German affair is to the disadvantage of the Western Powers and the blockade thus created is probably much more expensive to the Western Powers than their own assumption of responsibility for payment of employees in West marks. Judging from press reports, it would seem that the Western Powers are maintaining a principle of doubtful validity at great cost to themselves. In any event, the situation has defeated the important project of building up maximum reserves in Berlin before the adjournment of the Council of Foreign Ministers. In case it should become necessary to revert to air lift alone, any loss in capacity devoted to building up reserves will prove most costly.

Above ends Clay’s suggestion to me. Under arrangements by which our authorities in Berlin can deal directly with you, suggest you discuss matter with them in light of these remarks. Also that you feel free to discuss them with Acheson Delegation.

[Page 846]

State requests that above analysis by Clay be called to attention of the Secretary as they have likewise been concerned with aspects he raises.

[Here follow Clay’s views on attempts to unify Berlin and Soviet participation in the economic affairs of a united Germany.]

[ Voorhees ]