896.1 LO/5–350: Telegram

The United States Delegation at the Tripartite Preparatory Meetings to the Secretary of State

Secto 93. From Jessup. Re Secto 71, May 1, repeated Paris 700, Frankfort 190.1

Working Group b of Subcommittee B (German problems) met morning May 2nd2 to discuss (a) Berlin and (b) proposed protest to Soviet Government on militarized East Zone police. US represented by Bohlen, Laukhuff, Trimble, Gerhardt, Forest; French by De La Tournelle, Seydoux, Sauvagnargues, Lebel; UK by Mallet, Steel, Allen, Ashe.3
Laukhuff opened by stating US feeling that in addition to problem of economic aid to Berlin to be discussed in Working Group (a), there was problem of strengthening Berlin politically.4 Desirable to re-examine question of making Berlin Twelfth Land. US had always felt this proposal had certain merits. It would raise morale of Berliners, give them some permanent assurance of tie-in with West, possibly induce Federal Republic to take greater interest in Berlin. There were admitted disadvantages such as possible retaliatory reaction from Soviets. However, decision last autumn not to change Berlin’s status was based on desire to see whether GDE incorporated Berlin formally. Laukhuff thought that although de jure action had been avoided by East German regime, it had in fact treated East [Page 916] Berlin as part of East Zone republic. He nevertheless recognized that in view of recent proposal for all Berlin elections, present moment was not right for changing Berlin’s status.
De La Tournelle stated French views had not changed. We were in Berlin by quadripartite agreement. Although quadripartite government was temporarily suspended, we should take no action which would prejudice return to quadripartite status of city. Recognition of Berlin as Twelfth Land would finalize division and might provoke Soviets to reprisals. He felt we had given ample evidence of intention to remain Berlin and no one could doubt it. Until new fact entered situation or Soviets formally incorporated Berlin in GDE, French felt status should remain as at present, and this was matter of principle with them.
Mallet thought British view closer to American than to French. He reviewed advantages and disadvantages. In addition to US arguments, he thought Twelfth Land status would show Russians we not prepared abandon Berlin and would clarify present anomalous relationship in many respects. On other hand, there is less demand for new status from Berliners and no demand at present from federal government, while danger of increased difficulties from Soviet side existed. He agreed there should be no change at present. Steel referred to October 27 agreement5 as still representing “highest common denominator.”
Laukhuff pointed out federal government was committed by Article 23 of Constitution and by Bundestag resolution. Whatever the theory, quadripartite government was gone and no action would change that fact. We had set up Federal Republic in spite of theoretical existence of AOC. If Soviets have stopped short of formal action it is because they can achieve aims without. He admitted ebb and flow of factor influencing this political decision and suggested HICOM be authorized to re-examine question at any time new facts arose, perhaps after Soviets reaction to all-Berlin election proposal.
De La Tournelle pointed out HICOM needed no authorization for such step. He again stressed French unwillingness to make any move unless Soviets formally changed situation.
Mallet suggested HICOM might suitably review position just prior to October 15 Soviet Zone elections;6 uniform elections in Soviet Zone and Soviet sector would be substantial indication of treatment of Berlin as part of GDR. After further discussion, it was agreed that “the examination made of this problem has shown that there is no need to consider modification of present position re status of Berlin. [Page 917] If any of the High Commissioners feels that new facts or situations warranted new study of question, they should raise it again.”
Short general discussion of Berlin ensued including desirability of some general affirmation by four Ministers of Western solidarity on Berlin. It was agreed that it is of vital importance to maintain position in Berlin, to demonstrate this intention to Berliners and Western Germans, and to do all possible to continue to strengthen and improve situation there. Delegations generally approved commandants recent plea for increased cultural assistance to Berlin. It was agreed that affirmative statement of support for Berlin should be drafted for inclusion in communiqué at end of conference.
On protest re militarized police in Soviet Zone,7 Laukhuff said US had waited until evidence was thought to be clear. Recent trial in Berlin8 had added further clear evidence. There is now no doubt of Soviet violation of at least five quadri- or tripartite agreements and this violation should be pinned on Soviets. US does not expect remilitarization will thereupon cease, but record should be clear. Such protest would not alarm Germans as rumors had already exaggerated size of Soviet Zone force. Propaganda value of protest was believed considerable. Bohlen stressed this point not only for Germans, but in general cold war context. He thought it important to tag these Soviet activities in light of Soviet pretensions to be advocates of peace.
De La Tournelle indicated French delegation agreed with US. French had held back, not from opposition, but because they thought protest at end of conference would have added weight in terms of general attitude toward Soviets emerging from conference.
Mallet stated UK still opposed to idea of protest. In support this position, he outlined series of weak objections: Germans would be alarmed, protest would be ineffective, protest should be held as card up sleeve to play if situation worsened, it might interfere with our consideration of Adenauer’s request for federal police,9 it might lead to incidents on border, it might strengthen German case for security guarantee, etc.
Bohlen indicated our feeling that these arguments could easily be met and stressed usefulness of protest, which would tend to make Soviets more cautious for present. Since agreement could not be had, he thought proposal must go to Ministers. British then thought matter [Page 918] should be thought over as perhaps agreement could be reached without too much difficulty. They would not oppose some declaration, they only wished to avoid protest. It was agreed matter would be discussed again.
Mallet raised question of Adenauer’s request for federal police. French and US were uninformed of this April 28 action and requested time to obtain information.
French circulated memo on termination of state of war (see separate telegram) to be discussed later in week.10

Sent Department Secto 93, repeated Paris 719, Frankfort 195.

  1. Not printed; it reported on the first meeting of Subcommittee B at which it had been agreed to divide the work of the subcommittee into two working groups to consider German economic and political questions. (396.1 LO/5–150)
  2. The first meeting of Working Group b (German economic problems) was held in the India Office at 10:30 a. m.
  3. Charles E. Bohlen, Minister at Paris; Perry Laukhuff, Director of the Office of German Political Affairs; William C. Trimble, First Secretary of Embassy at London; Lt. Col. Harrison Gerhardt, Special Assistant to the United States High Commissioner for Germany; Alexander R. Forest of the Office of the United States High Commissioner for Germany; Guy le Roy de la Tournelle, Director General of Political and Economic Affairs; François Seydoux de Clausonne, Director for European Affairs; Jean Sauvagnargues, Secretary for Foreign Affairs; Claude Lebel, Counselor of the French Embassy in the United Kingdom; William I. Mallet, Assistant Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; Christopher E. Steel, British Minister at Washington; William D, Allen, Head of the German Political Department; and Derick R. Ashe, Private Secretary to the Permanent Under Secretary of State for the German Section.
  4. Further documentation on the status of Berlin is scheduled for publication in volume iv.
  5. The agreement under reference here cannot be identified further.
  6. Documentation on the October 13 elections in the Soviet Zone of Germany is scheduled for publication in volume iv.
  7. Documentation on the remilitarization of the Soviet Zone is scheduled for publication in volume iv.
  8. Under reference here is the trial of members of the East Zone security forces, who had been arrested in the Western sectors of Berlin for carrying arms. During the course of the trial extensive testimony had been given on the composition and size of East Zone military forces.
  9. Documentation on this subject is scheduled for publication in volume iv.
  10. In Secto 82, May 2, not printed, the United States Delegation reported that it was sending copies of the French memorandum by courier (CFM Files: Lot M–88: Box 151: Secto cables). No copy of this memorandum has been found in Department of State files.