740.00119 Control (Germany)/5–3149

Memorandum of Conversation, by the United States Member at the Council of Foreign Ministers (Acheson)1

top secret

Participants: Secretary of State, Dean Acheson;
Charles E. Bohlen, Department of State;
Mr. Vishinsky
Mr. Pastoyev

[Page 940]

I told Mr. Vishinsky I had a suggestion which I hoped he would think about overnight. It seemed to me that we had perhaps discussed point one on our agenda sufficiently for the first go around, and that we might wisely now go on to consideration of the second point. We could always return to the first item anytime we wished. I said I hoped that we could discuss point two on the agenda in somewhat broader aspects than the actual wording would indicate. We would wish, for example, to discuss the administration of the city and how it might be unified as well as how the city was to be controlled by the Allied powers. There was also of course the question of the currency and the subject of a stable and workable basis for access to Berlin. We could perhaps under the same heading also discuss some more far-reaching subjects such as the questions of trade between the zones in Germany.

(Mr. Vishinsky asked Mr. Bohlen what we meant by the word “access”. Mr. Bohlen explained to him that we meant communications between Berlin and the Western zones.)

Mr. Vishinsky said that the question of communications with Berlin had already been settled by the agreement in New York.2

I said that while this was true in part there was nevertheless a necessity for fuller discussion and understanding on that point. I said I hoped that early in the discussions on point two that it might be possible to deal with some of these questions in a closed session in order to avoid the complications of publicity. I added that not only were the subjects themselves complicated but there was also the question of procedure and that I had thought the Ministers might agree on a few fundamental directives and refer some of these questions to deputies or committees. I said I thought it might be wise to start off the discussion of point two tomorrow with a closed session.

Mr. Vishinsky said that he was entirely agreeable to the idea of closed sessions as well as open ones as he felt that publicity sometimes complicated their work.

I told him that I did not wish to raise these points at the open meeting tomorrow until I had had a chance to talk to him. Mr. Vishinsky expressed his gratitude for my having talked to him first.

He then inquired whether I thought it would be possible in connection with the Berlin currency to discuss the currency question as affecting all Germany.

I replied that I thought we could of course discuss it, but that I personally found it hard to see how we could reach any conclusion in the absence of some understanding for the unification of Germany [Page 941] as a whole. In regard to trade, however, there were subjects such as clearing arrangements which we could consider.

Mr. Vishinsky said he would have to think over the points under item two which I had raised and would probably have to consult his Government. He hoped, however, to have an answer tomorrow. As to a closed session, he could agree on that now, but he repeated he hoped to let me know tomorrow.

I told Mr. Vishinsky that if he had any information for me tomorrow it would be very helpful, of course, to have it, but if he was not ready to answer I might merely suggest at tomorrow’s meeting that we pass on to point two and that it be in a closed session. I added that I hoped that in one of the closed sessions we might deal with the question of Austria.

Mr. Vishinsky said that would be possible and it certainly was not excluded.

Dean Acheson
  1. The memorandum was prepared by Bohlen. Another copy of this memorandum in file 762.00/5–3149 bears the handwritten interpolation “Held at Palais de Marbre Rose 6:45 p. m.”
  2. For the text of the communiqué issued at New York on May 5, 1949, see editorial note, p. 750.