740.00119 Council/6–249: Telegram

The United States Delegation at the Council of Foreign Ministers to President Truman and the Acting Secretary of State


Delsec 1839. For President and Acting Secretary. At opening of tenth meeting CFM, Bevin in chair, Acheson circulated memo on Berlin question1 proposing that Ministers adjourn briefly and reconvene in closed session to consider paper paragraph by paragraph. Memo proposed that:

Four allied commandants Berlin will arrange free city-wide elections under four-power control on basis of electoral procedure employed in October 1946.
City government to be constituted as result these new elections will be provisional government. It will have full and adequate powers of government and will function under organizational structure provided for in temporary constitution for greater Berlin of August 1946, [Page 944] appropriate reservations to be agreed upon being substituted for Article 36.2
Newly elected Berlin city assembly will be authorized draft permanent constitution for greater Berlin employing either draft •of permanent constitution submitted to Allied Kommandatura in 1948, amending it, or submitting such new proposals as city assembly deems necessary.
Simultaneously with establishment provisional city government, four-power Allied Kommandatura will be reconstituted and function in accordance with principles to be agreed upon by four Ministers at this session of CFM.
Occupation costs will be reduced to minimum and will be determined by methods to be agreed on quadripartite basis.

In submitting paper Acheson explained he interpreted it as being broad enough cover for discussion purposes proposals on Berlin previously made by Vishinsky.3

Vishinsky stated that while waiting for translation so he could consider paper he would like continue discussion of previous meeting. He then made following points reference Acheson’s statement at ninth meeting:

While agreements establishing Kommandatura called for “joint” administration of Berlin, this had been interpreted in all implementing agreements as meaning unanimity.
Facts do not support assertion that administration impossible on basis unanimity citing in particular Austrian control agreement and fact that previous Kommandatura accomplished much effective work.
Unanimity not arbitrary principle but guarantee that majority cannot enforce will on minority.
Rudeness of US Commandant, not unanimity principle, was reason for failure Kommandatura. Vishinsky added that unanimity was only possible method to be applied.

Bevin then reverted to Acheson proposal but Vishinsky wanted more time study proposal and reference documents suggesting instead CFM meet Friday afternoon in closed session. After some by-play on whether to meet twice on Friday and appropriate hours for such meetings, ministers agreed meet only once Friday at 3 p. m. in closed session.

Sent Department Delsec 1839, repeated London 359, Berlin 212, Heidelberg 10, Moscow 113.

  1. The memorandum was circulated as CFM/P/49/10.
  2. Article 36 of the Temporary Constitution for Greater Berlin stated that the Magistrat was subordinate to the Allied Kommandatura and that all legal enactments, ordinances, instructions, resignations, and appointments of the Magistrat had to be sanctioned by the Allied Kommandatura. For the complete text of Article 36, see Plischke, Berlin, p. 229.
  3. At the Ninth Session of the Council, June 1.