191. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Germany0

1953. Paris pass USCINCEUR. Bonn pass USAREUR. Following is summary discussion today in which British and French Ambassadors presented their Governments’ views on our February 18 Berlin contingency planning memorandum. (Department’s G–397 to Bonn).1

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After discussion Alphand proposal that coordination should take place Washington of preparatory military measures contemplated para 1 (b) G–397 following language suggested as substitute for last sentence para 1 (b): “Recommendations for preparatory measures, regardless of origin, will be referred to national Chiefs-of-Staff and thereafter be coordinated tripartitely or NATO-wide as may be agreed, bearing in mind the availability of military advisers in Washington.”

Caccia said he could accept this and Alphand agreed refer to Paris. Consensus appeared be that measures affecting forces in Germany should be coordinated in first instance in Germany.

Caccia questioned whether direction of initial probe discussed para 2 G–397 should be from Berlin to Helmstedt or vice versa. Murphy agreed question of direction could be left open although on balance probe from Helmstedt to Berlin might be preferable.
Alphand questioned practicality of substitution Allied for Soviet personnel discussed para 3 G–397. Murphy explained background this suggestion is legal concept Four Powers have joint tenancy of Autobahn and Three Powers would succeed to Soviet rights if latter withdraw. Caccia suggested we might raise this idea at some earlier point in discussions with Soviets, pointing out to latter we would have right to take over if they withdraw and seeing how they react. Was agreed words “at this juncture” should be omitted.
Alphand expressed reservations about recourse to UN suggested para 4 (a) G–397, fearing that attempt use UN as means of mobilizing world opinion against Soviets might result in getting UN involved in substance of German problem, which would be very undesirable. Caccia took position UN representatives of Three Powers should urgently study feasibility using UN in manner proposed. Murphy pointed out recourse to UN to mobilize opinion suggested only as possibility, that tactics would have to be worked out, but that we considered it possible get favorable vote in Security Council. Was agreed feasibility and advisability of recourse to UN to mobilize opinion should be studied by three UN representatives on urgent basis. Was also agreed “or other” should be inserted after “diplomatic” para 4 (a) G–397.

Alphand inquired whether military preparations discussed para 4 (b) G–397 excluded garrison airlift and stated garrison airlift should be instituted at this point even if land operation contemplated. Murphy replied we did not exclude such airlift as eventuality but did not believe it necessary make concrete preparations now and fear the psychological effect of leaks of information we are preparing for airlift. Caccia referred to problem of maintaining civil air traffic to Berlin and said air traffic problem may develop into passenger airlift problem.

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Caccia added para E December 11 aide-mémoire2 should now be made mandatory. Was agreed additional paragraph should be included in memorandum (text to be worked out later) instructing Embassies at Bonn to proceed with various aspects of air access contingency planning.

Alphand suggested economic countermeasures might be used as pressures in addition to military pressures discussed para 5 G–397. Was agreed omit redundant words “by use of additional force” para 5 and add sentence “Supplementing military pressures, consideration might be given to possible economic measures.”
Re agency question discussed penultimate para G–397 Caccia suggested we might adopt active rather than passive role and put matter to Soviets in following terms: “If you wish to divest yourselves of your rights and obligations, this must be done in the appropriate form. The rights are your affair, but in handing over to the DDR you also hand over the obligations towards ourselves. We are willing to accept a formal assignment to the DDR on condition that (a) we do not recognize the DDR as a Government but as the authority designated by you for this purpose, and (b) you yourselves, and the DDR as the authority designated by you, guarantee to us that the obligations which you have incurred will continue to be carried out.”
Re identification procedures discussed last para G–397 Caccia said British might be prepared accept time-stamp, perhaps on separate piece of paper, as appropriate means of identifying Allied movements. Murphy reiterated US objection to any stamping of papers by GDR. Caccia added British acceptance language para 2 G–397 re initial probe was understanding words “stamping of papers or” omitted. Assume British will take this position when Three Embassies study identification procedures.
Alphand inquired whether and when it was contemplated warning to Soviets per para A US December 11 aide-mémoire would be sent. Caccia said British did not want further communication to Soviets until latter reply to February 16 notes. Murphy indicated we had no firm opinion on what “appropriate time” for such communication would be and pointed out we had made our case to Soviets in part in our protest against recent delay in clearance of convoy at Helmstedt.
It was our understanding British and French Governments accepted memorandum subject to comments above.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/2–2859. Secret; Limited Distribution. Drafted by McKiernan, cleared by Hillenbrand, and approved by Murphy. Repeated to Berlin, Paris, London, and Moscow. Paragraph 4 was transmitted to Lodge in New York on March 2 in telegram 722. (Ibid., 762.00/3–259)
  2. Document 181.
  3. See footnote 5, Document 98.