740.00119 Council/6–849: Telegram

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


Delsec 1863. For President and Acting Secretary. Vishinsky as chairman opened twelfth meeting CFM1 with restatement his earlier arguments in support of Soviet proposals on Berlin2 followed by brief replies from Western Ministers and long discussion of Soviet proposal on Kommandatura veto. Acheson concluded meeting by raising for consideration and possible action at next meeting in accordance with reservation Schuman made at first meeting, fact that negotiations in Berlin not making progress and that four military commanders might be instructed complete negotiations not later than June 13.3

Vishinsky reiterated Soviet position on: (1) One to one parity formula for electoral commission; (2) authorizing social organizations to nominate candidates; (3) retaining Article 36 constitution; (4) unanimity principle; (5) Kommandatura review over appointment German administrative officials; (6) one man veto over acts of municipal authorities. He affirmed Soviet position is to maintain Kommandatura right to review acts of German authorities and not as in US proposals to reduce this right. Proper function of Kommandatura to regulate all affairs which are common concern of allies with respect to care and protection of Berlin. He said Soviet position in effect re-establishment of Kommandatura on basis 1946 statute restoration all Berlin magistrat, and holding new elections on basis 1946 electoral law with only such minor changes in old agreements as facilitated progress toward reconstruction of Germany.

Acheson and Vishinsky engaged in long discussion on extent and character of veto arrangement in Soviet proposal of June 6. Acheson [Page 966] noted that Vishinsky in two and half hour speech had not answered question as to whether or not one man could stop any act of municipal authorities. Answer obviously affirmative. Soviet position boiled down to statement you can do what you like in Berlin so long as it is what USSR wants. Vishinsky subsequently asserted that answer to question was “no” as shown in Paragraph 8 of Soviet proposal, and said same unilateral veto could be founded [found in] Western occupation statute for Berlin.4 Acheson said that Vishinsky wrong on both points. Answer to his question not in Paragraph 8 but in Paragraph 6 and 10 of Soviet proposal clearly reserving to one commandant power to suspend any municipal act. Further, Soviets had amended their proposal to make this stronger.5 On other hand resumption of power in Western occupation statute could not be accomplished by single commandant. Substantially same provision included in US proposal of June 6,6 Vyshinsky in reply said that Article 6 was principal provision of Soviet proposal and Article 10 only conditional.

Schuman also quoted from Western occupation statute for Berlin to deny Vishinsky claim that it reserved same powers as Soviet proposal. He said that control mechanism which could not operate even in period of tension had no value. Western powers would not accept Soviet concept of permanent allied trusteeship for Berlin. Henderson (substituting for Bevin) reiterated objection to one man veto of Article 10 of Soviet proposal for arbitrary power it gave Kommandatura over all aspects of city life, including even cultural affairs and education. Acheson in one statement reminded Vishinsky of action of Soviet representative on Kommandatura in vetoing election of several German officials by city assembly after 1946 election.

Sent Department Delsec 1863, repeated London 378, Berlin 229, Heidelberg 17, Moscow 120.

  1. The twelfth plenary meeting of the Council.
  2. The reference here is to CFM/P/49/20, p. 1048, read by Vyshinsky at the third restricted meeting of the Council, June 6.
  3. For documentation relating to the negotiations among the four Military Governors in Berlin for the regulation of trade and communications to the city, see pp. 751 ff.
  4. For the text of the Western Occupation Statute for Berlin (Statement of Principles Governing the Relationship Between the Allied Kommandatura and Greater Berlin), May 14, 1949, see Germany 1947–1949, pp. 324–326.
  5. Under reference here is CFM/P/49/24 which provided a new text for paragraph 10 of CFM/P/49/20 (revised), not printed. For the text of the new paragraph, see footnote 3 to CFM/P/20, p. 1048. The text of CFM/P/49/20 (revised) is indicated by the footnotes to CFM/P/49/20, p. 1048.
  6. CFM/P/49/18, p. 1044.