221. Telegram From the Mission in Berlin to the Embassy in France 1

31. For Secretary Dulles.2 From Conant in Berlin. Yesterday in Bonn I discussed with Brentano on a personal basis latest Soviet note3 and have sounded opinion here today in Berlin. Based on Brentano’s report on Berlin and my own observations, it is clear that the situation is calm here now, but unless a strong answer to this [Page 543] note is forthcoming, there would be uneasiness in Berlin. Indeed the Berlin climate of opinion will be greatly influenced by the strength of the Western Powers’ answer to this note.

I venture to recommend that in this answer, which I assume will be made before the Geneva Conference, the inconsistency will be pointed out between the two sentences “Parties proceeded from premise that German Democratic Republic exercises its jurisdiction on territory under its sovereignty, which, of course, also applies to communications on that territory”, and the sentence “It is self-understood that, in concluding above-mentioned treaty Governments Soviet Union and German Democratic Republic took into consideration obligations which both have under existing international agreements relating to Germany as whole.” I further recommend that there be a clear warning to the effect that the three Western Powers will hold the Soviet Union responsible for any interference with normal traffic to Berlin and a categoric rejection of the limitations contained in the Soviet statement regarding control over “movement between German FedRep and West Berlin of military personnel and freight of garrisons of USA, Great Britain, and France quartered in West Berlin.” As we have previously stated in our notes, Allied rights of access have not and cannot be limited to military personnel and freight of West Berlin garrisons and it seems of importance that this be strongly repeated at this time. In addition, I would recommend that the Government of the West German Federal Republic be committed to making definite plans in conjunction with other interested governments for a complete embargo on shipment to the Soviet Zone in case of any interference with traffic to Berlin. Furthermore, that arrangements be made so that these plans after formulation would become known unofficially to Soviet and GDR officials. I have reason to believe that Brentano personally would not be adverse to this general line of procedure.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 661.62A/10–2255. Secret. Repeated to Bonn, London, and Washington. The source text is the Department of State copy.
  2. Secretary Dulles was in Paris for consultation with the British and French before proceeding to Geneva for the Four-Power Foreign Ministers meeting.
  3. This October 18 note affirmed German Democratic Republic jurisdiction over its territory pursuant to the September treaty, but that Soviet forces would “temporarily” monitor traffic of the Western garrisons to and from Berlin. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, November 7, 1955, pp. 734–735. A translation was transmitted from Moscow in telegram 918, October 18. (Department of State, Central Files, 661.62B/10–1855)
  4. Following further quadripartite discussions at Bonn, and with the text personally approved by Secretary Dulles, identic notes were delivered to the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs on October 27 reiterating that the Soviet-GDR agreements could not release the Soviet Government from its four-power obligations and in particular its responsibility for ensuring normal communications with Berlin. For text of this note, see Department of State Bulletin, November 27, 1955, p. 734. A copy is also in Department of State, Central Files, 661.62B/10–2755.