Records of the Secretary’s Meetings: Lot 53D444: Box 418

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State

top secret

Participants: Sir Oliver Franks, British Ambassador
The Secretary of State
Mr. John D. Hickerson, Director for European Affairs

Sir Oliver Franks, the British Ambassador, in the course of a conversation with me at 12 noon today on other subjects, allowed me to read a telegram which he had just received from Mr. Bevin in regard to the Berlin air lift. In this telegram Mr. Bevin pointed out that he feels that the U.S. and U.K. Governments must in no circumstances either completely stop the air lift or allow this magnificent organization to deteriorate. If the blockade is lifted in consequence of the Jessup-Malik conversations, Mr. Bevin said that we must take into account that a Council of Foreign Ministers meeting may be unproductive of results and the Russians may reimpose the blockade. The telegram went on to point out that in Mr. Bevin’s view we should maintain intact the air lift organization until we are positive the blockade will not be reimposed although he feels that it would probably be desirable to reduce somewhat the number of planes flying daily into Berlin.

I told Sir Oliver that we had been thinking along somewhat the same lines as Mr. Bevin but that we had not discussed this matter [Page 863] with the Army or the Air Force and had not reached any decision. I told him that I was glad to have Mr. Bevin’s views which would be fully taken into account in reaching our decision about this matter.