740.00119 Council/6–949: Telegram

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


Delsec 1869. For President and Acting Secretary. Sixteenth meeting CFM at end of long discussion on Berlin currency reached agreement on proposal for each Minister instruct his military commander in Berlin complete current discussions by June 13.1 Vishinsky proposal for solution currency problem largely on basis August 30 directive2 rejected by Western powers. Acheson suggestion that CFM might next move to discussion Austrian question not accepted, though possible willingness move to item 33 at Friday meeting indicated.

Acheson as chairman opened meeting by urging that without raising technical aspects of question for discussion, four commanders in Berlin be directed complete negotiations by June 13. Schuman and Henderson supported proposal but Vishinsky said he did not consider there was any delay in Berlin and therefore no need for special directive. He would be glad consider sending such message but first needed specific information on why present discussions unsatisfactory and to consider formulating in CFM specific directives on points at issue in Berlin. At end of meeting Vishinsky reopened question with statement he then had information from Berlin he needed and would be glad concur in proposal send messages.

Vishinsky outlined Soviet proposal on Berlin currency question stating that it was based entirely on August 30 Moscow agreement and [Page 971] on December 23 report of UN committee of experts.4 He proposed: (1) introduction of single currency for whole of Berlin, (2) use of German mark circulating in Soviet zone as this currency, (3) establishment of quadripartite commission to supervise currency according to recommendations in committee of experts report. He argued that division of Berlin not obstacle to introduction of single currency and that report of committee of experts provided useful basis for discussion of currency question by CFM.

In reply Acheson noted that position western powers on August 30 directive had been fully explained before in Security Council5 and that Vishinsky himself had vetoed Security Council resolution which would have lifted blockade and established East mark as sole Berlin currency. He stated that: (1) West not bound by August 30 agreement since condition precedent to agreement never fulfilled. (2) It is impossible devise workable system for single currency in divided city and would be difficult even in unified Berlin. Neutral experts did not solve this problem and their proposals as unacceptable today as when submitted. (3) Since CFM unable agree on administrative unification of Berlin there was no prospect Ministers could agree on single currency.

Schuman stated that August 30 directive presupposed measure of administrative unity then existing in Berlin. There has since been complete split in city which cannot be ignored. Administrative unity is essential in order meet various problems involved in establishing single currency and adequate guarantees for two sections of city and for Soviet zone currency itself. Henderson and later in meeting Bevin supported arguments of Acheson and Schuman.

Vishinsky reiterated argument that August 30 directive still valid noting that US in voting for October Security Council resolution and twice in Marshall letters6 accepted validity of agreement. Regardless of this point, however, USSR still offered it as basis for discussion. He said Western powers were refusing consider currency question at all [Page 972] and if that their attitude toward agenda CFM might as well go home. Acheson replied that US found Soviet proposal unacceptable and would not agree to it simply because at earlier time, under different conditions, we had tried to make August 30 directive work. He pointed out powers were discussing currency question, but that instead of endless and pointless discussion of past 2½ weeks on questions where agreement seemed unlikely it might well be profitable turn to Austrian question. Vishinsky insisted that order of agenda must be followed and that next meeting should start by ascertaining whether any Minister still wished discuss item 2.

Explanatory note: CFM Secretariat has now decided to number open meetings in sequence of all meetings held though retaining separate internal numbering for restricted meetings. Meeting reported Delsec 18597 should therefore be corrected to fourteenth and meeting reported Delsec 18638 to fifteenth. All records and USDel minutes will follow this numbering system.

Sent Department; repeated London 384, Heidelberg 19, Moscow 123, Berlin 234.

  1. For documentation relating to the discussions of the Military Governors in Berlin on trade and communications, see pp. 751 ff.
  2. The text of the August 30 Directive to the Military Governors in Berlin is printed in Telegram 1776, August 27, Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. ii, p. 1085.
  3. Preparation of the Peace Treaty with Germany.
  4. Not printed; for the text of the preliminary recommendations of the Technical Committee on Berlin Currency and Trade, December 23, 1948, see Germany 1947–1949, pp. 245–256 or the Department of State Documents and State Papers, May 1949, pp. 763–771.
  5. Documentation regarding the Berlin Question before the Security Council at the Third (Paris) Session of the United Nations is in Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. ii, pp. 1197 ff.
  6. The references here are unclear. The minutes of the sixteenth meeting indicate that Vyshinsky was referring to the statement by the three Western powers after the Security Council Resolution was vetoed that they would continue to negotiate and try to implement the resolution. Vyshinsky stated further that Secretary Marshall had said the United States would be guided by the principle of the August 30 Directive. The minutes also show that Secretary Acheson noted the willingness of the United States to proceed on the basis of the Security Council Resolution. This willingness had been expressed twice after the vetoing of the resolution, but had not been accepted by the Soviet Union. The minutes for this meeting of the Council are in CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 142: United States Delegation Minutes.
  7. Ante, p. 962.
  8. Ante, p. 965.