169. Memorandum of Discussion at the 265th Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, November 10, 19551

[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and items 1 and 2. For item 2, “Significant Developments Affecting U.S. Security,” see volume V, pages 747749. The Vice President presided at the meeting.]

3. U.S. Policy on Berlin (NSC 5404/1; Progress Report, dated September 14, 1955, by OCB on NSC 5404/12)

After Mr. Anderson had briefed the Council on the contents of the reference Progress Report, Admiral Radford asked to be heard on the subject.

Admiral Radford said it was his strong personal opinion, and he believed that the Joint Chiefs of Staff would probably agree with him, that Berlin was one area in the world where we can expect real trouble in the near future. Accordingly, Admiral Radford believed that the State Department should make every effort to find out the attitude of our allies, the British and the French, if the Soviets stirred up new difficulties in Berlin. They have been dragging their feet on this point and the Soviets probably know it and are taking advantage of their knowledge.

Mr. Allen Dulles expressed agreement with Admiral Radford’s anxiety, and noted that tension was again rising in the Soviet Zone of Germany. Certainly further harassment and restriction were likely to be imposed on West Berlin.

Secretary Hoover said that although, as the Progress Report pointed out, Secretary Dulles had proposed to the British and French [Page 400] Governments that the Allied Military Commanders in Berlin should jointly plan what to do in the event of a new blockade, there had been no response as yet from these two Governments. On the other hand, Secretary Hoover did not feel that we could press these Governments for a response until after the conclusion of the Geneva Conference.

Mr. Allen Dulles suggested that in view of the urgency perhaps this issue could be discussed directly with the British and French Foreign Ministers at Geneva by Secretary Dulles. Secretary Hoover replied that he believed that this problem was on Secretary Dulles’ Geneva agenda. He noted also that the problem had now been complicated by the restoration of sovereignty to the Federal Republic. Admiral Radford said that in that case the U.S. policy statement on Berlin3 had best be reviewed by the National Security Council. Secretary Hoover said that such an undertaking would be difficult until after the Geneva Conference terminated.

Secretary Humphrey then asked Admiral Radford if he actually feared another Berlin blockade. Admiral Radford replied in the affirmative, and reminded the Council of the President’s firm views with respect to demonstrating to the Soviets that the United States would not tolerate the reimposition of a blockade of Berlin. Both Admiral Radford and Dr. Flemming also noted the President’s view that if the Soviets started another blockade of Berlin the United States would proceed to full mobilization.

Secretary Wilson commented that this last feature was a rather tough policy.

The National Security Council:

Noted and discussed the reference Progress Report on the subject by the Operations Coordinating Board.
Noted that the Acting Secretary of State would transmit to the Secretary of State at Geneva the view of the National Security Council as to the urgent desirability of discussing with the British and French Foreign Ministers the necessity of combined military planning for the maintenance of the allied position in Berlin.

Note: The action in b above subsequently transmitted to the Acting Secretary of State.

[Here follows item 4.]

S. Everett Gleason
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Prepared by Gleason on November 11.
  2. Regarding the Progress Report, see footnote 1, Document 167. Regarding NSC 5404/1, January 25, 1954, see Foreign Relations,, 1952–1954, vol. VII, Part 2, p. 1390.
  3. Reference is to NSC 5404/1.