227. Telegram From the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (Norstad) to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Twining)0

ALO 284. Exclusive for JCS. References: A. Dept–Bonn 1865, dated 18 Feb 59 (Notal); B. Dept–Paris 3249 dated 6 Mar 59 (Notal); C. Dept–Bonn G–397 dated 19 Feb 59 (Notal); D. EC 9–10438 dated 15 Mar 59; E. EC 9–10240 dated 23 Feb 59; F. Paris–Sec State 3200 dated 4 Mar 59 (Notal); G. Paris–Sec State 3295 dated 11 Mar 59 (Notal).1

Although over 3 months have passed since the Russian ultimatum, the Governments of the United States, United Kingdom and France have not yet made provisions for tripartite military planning to cover possible developments of the Berlin crisis nor provided for a tripartite military command should such an establishment be required. Dept–Bonn 1865 dtd 18 Feb 59 (ref A) proposed with Defense concurrence that [Page 496] three unspecified military headquarters in Germany should “plan and coordinate quiet preparatory and precautionary military measure” since each of the three countries have two co-equal HQs in Germany, Army and Air Force, each vitally interested in this subject. The proposed planning group would consist of representatives of at least six commands, and to this I would feel that Navy representation would also have to be added.
Dept-Paris 3249 dated 6 Mar 59 (ref B), again with Defense concurrence, makes what appears to be a new proposal, and adds to this proposed planning group the three embassies at Bonn. As far as is known to me, there has been no coordination with the British and the French, and certainly no agreement. In spite of these proposals, I assume there is no question in the minds of the JCS, as there is none in mine, that if trouble starts the whole military problem, whether on a NATO or national basis, falls squarely into my lap.
As stated in the course of my meeting with the JCS in early Feb,2 I consider it essential to set up without further delay a tripartite military staff, operating under Deputy CINCEUR acting for me, to deal with the planning for tripartite military questions arising out of the Berlin situation, including those envisaged in par 1 of ref A, and the military aspects of Dept–Bonn G–397, dated 19 Feb 59 (ref C), except the last paragraph, in which case my ER 9–10438, dated 15 Mar 59 (ref D) applies. In due time also, a tripartite commander should be designated to take over the responsibility for the direction of the staff and for such subsequent operational activities as the situation may require. As reported in EC 9–10240, dtd 23 Feb 59 (ref E), I have established a U.S. nucleus for a tripartite staff on 18 Feb, and on 19 Feb I approached Sir Frank Roberts on the subject of British participation. As reported in Paris–SecState 3200, dtd 4 Mar 59 (ref F), Roberts informed me on 3 Mar that Selwyn Lloyd, after discussion with Macmillan, had given the informal and personal response that the British thought it was a good idea and would be pleased to participate. This was confirmed by Lloyd when I talked to him on Monday, 9 Mar. As reported in Paris–SecState 3295 dtd 11 Mar 59 (ref G), I opened the subject with Gen Ely on that date. Ely was personally favorable and thought it important to initiate tripartite planning quickly. This morning he advised me that the French Govt should now be approached formally since they were in broad agreement with the proposal.
Having gone so far informally, this activity should now be formalized. The question was asked in Paris-SecState 3200 (ref F) whether this activity should be formalized by authorizing me to deal with the [Page 497] U.K. and French Permanent Reps, or if other channels should be used. This question has not been answered.
I visualize a very small tripartite staff of perhaps 20 officers and the same number of clerks, etc. It would function strictly as a staff of the military commander. It would be essential to have qualified technical experts on liaison duty from the several air and ground headquarters in Germany, and liaison agents from the MOD’s of the U.K. and France would be necessary. It would also be essential that the staff maintain the very closest possible liaison with Amb Bruce and with whatever political authorities may be designated by the British and the French respectively, since the staff would have to depend upon them for direct political guidance and advice. We also contemplate some German participation, at least for coordination purposes.
It is proposed to keep this tripartite staff concealed initially under a cover that it is “planning the common use of military facilities.” The code name for this activity is “Live Oak,” which will be used in all messages bearing on this subject. Space and other facilities have been prepared at Camp des Loges.
Although I can make direct official representations to the French and U.K. Govts thru their Perm Reps, MOD’s or Chiefs of Staff, it is my judgment that the way to establish this agency on the soundest and best basis is by official U.S. Govt representation thru the respective embassies. I would, however, sacrifice what may appear theoretically to be the best approach in the interest of immediate action, should that be necessary.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/3–1759. Top Secret; Operational Immediate; Noforn. Repeated to the Department of State, which is the source text.
  2. Airgram G–397 is printed as Document 181. None of the other references is printed: A. (Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/2–1859); B. (Ibid., 762.00/2–2559); D. (U.S. Army Military History Institute, Department of the Army Communication Center Files, DA IN 198085); E. (Ibid., DA IN 762.00/3–459); F. (Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/3–459); and G. (Ibid., 762.00/3–1159)
  3. No record of this meeting has been found.