207. Memorandum of Conversation Between Acting Secretary of State Herter and the Representative to the United Nations (Lodge)0

Cabot Lodge came to see me this afternoon with a message from the President. He had just talked to the President about the possible role of the United Nations in the Berlin crisis, and had suggested that, if a Summit meeting was desirable or perhaps inevitable in that connection, the Security Council of the United Nations, with the heads of governments present, should be the forum for such a meeting.1

The President liked the idea and suggested that perhaps some reference to this idea might be incorporated in our draft reply to the Soviet note of March 2nd.

I told Cabot I was somewhat doubtful as to the wisdom of this since it seemed to me it would merely complicate the simple suggestion which our draft reply contained. I also told him it was my own view that the United Nations should be held in reserve for two contingencies:

If, by an exchange of notes with the Soviet Government it appeared clear that no negotiations could be agreed upon before May 27th, then it would be desirable to have a United Nations Resolution urging the maintenance of the status quo and the initiation of negotiations.
If negotiations should begin, and during the course of them the Soviet Government concluded a peace treaty with the East German Government and turned over to the latter all responsibility for the right of access to East Berlin, then a Security Council meeting with the heads of government present might head off precipitate action.

He told me he agreed in general with these two thoughts and that he would proceed at once to consulting with his British and French colleagues in accordance with the decision reached at the tripartite talks on Saturday last. Apparently Lodge felt he had had no specific instructions on this matter, and so the conversations had not been begun.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Herter Papers. Secret.
  2. Lodge met with the President from 12:15 to 12:30 p.m. (Ibid., President’s Daily Appointments Book)