255. Paper Prepared in the Department of State0


[Here follow an introductory paragraph and a table of contents.]

1. Preparatory Military Measures

In view of the possibility that the USSR may withdraw from its functions with respect to Berlin and in order to provide evidence of the [Page 585] Three Powers’ determination to maintain their free access, the military authorities of the Three Powers will plan quiet preparatory and precautionary military measures of a kind which will not create public alarm but which will be detectable by Soviet intelligence. These measures are to be implemented as soon as they have been agreed.
The military authorities of the Three Powers will also plan more elaborate military measures in Europe, which would be generally observable, including (1) measures to be implemented after the Soviet Government has turned its functions over to the GDR and (2) measures to be implemented after Allied traffic has been forcibly obstructed.
The planning of the measures described in paragraphs 1a and 1b above will be carried out on a tripartite basis under the general supervision of General Norstad in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief, United States Forces, Europe. The exact arrangements for the planning will be further concerted between the military authorities of the three countries. These military authorities will also plan measures on a purely national basis in support of the measures referred to above.

2. Notice to Soviet Government

The Three Ambassadors in Moscow should inform the Soviet Government at an appropriate time (1) that the Three Powers continue to hold the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics fully responsible under quadripartite agreements and arrangements concerning Berlin; (2) that the Three Powers have noted Soviet statements to the effect that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics will withdraw from its remaining occupation functions with respect to Berlin: that they assume this means the Soviets intend to withdraw Soviet personnel from the Interzonal autobahn and railway checkpoints and from the Berlin Air Safety Center; (3) that the right of the Three Powers to unrestricted access to Berlin would remain unaffected by such Soviet withdrawal; (4) that the Three Powers will not tolerate any attempt on the part of the “German Democratic Republic” to assert any control over or to interfere with their traffic to and from Berlin via quadripartitely established routes, and that they would take all measures necessary to protect their rights in this connection; (5) that, if the Soviets withdraw, the Western Powers will act on the assumption (a) that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has decided to abolish unnecessary administrative procedures at interzonal borders, and (b) the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics can and will, without benefit of exchange of flight information in the Berlin Air Safety Center, maintain absolute separation of Soviet aircraft and all other aircraft flying in the Soviet Zone from aircraft of the Three Powers flying in the Berlin corridors and the Berlin Control Zone; (6) that the Three Powers will expect their traffic to move freely to and from Berlin and will [Page 586] assume the Soviets have given blanket assurance of safety of all Three Power aircraft in the Berlin corridors and the Berlin Control Zone.1

3. Public Statement

There will be drawn up without delay a tripartitely agreed draft of a public statement to be made if and when the Soviet Government announces the imminent turning over of the checkpoints to the GDR. This statement would explain the legal construction which the Allied Governments place upon the Soviet announcement and the procedures they will follow.

4. The “Agency Principle”

The Three Powers cannot deal with GDR personnel as Soviet agents if the USSR denies that such an agency relationship exists. If, however, the USSR should ultimately propose a compromise under which the USSR, as principal, would expressly authorize GDR personnel to function as Soviet agents in performing Soviet functions with relation to the access of the Three Powers to Berlin, the Three Powers should consider the possibility of accepting such a compromise solution, with appropriate safeguards for their own rights.

5. Identification of Allied Vehicles

If Soviet personnel are withdrawn from the checkpoints, there would be no objection to providing mere identification of the vehicles of the Three Powers for the information of GDR personnel at the checkpoints.

6. Continuation of Allied Traffic after Soviet Withdrawal

If and when the Soviet personnel are withdrawn from the checkpoints, the Three Powers will make every effort to continue normal traffic by Autobahn and railroad, except that they will substitute for the procedures followed at present with the Soviet personnel those procedures which the Three Powers themselves have determined to be necessary to identify their trains, convoys, or vehicles as Allied movements [Page 587] entitled to unrestricted access and whatever procedures may be tripartitely agreed to be reasonable to enable the GDR personnel to ensure the orderly progress of traffic on the Autobahn or railroad.

7. Detailed Procedures at Checkpoints

The Three Embassies at Bonn, in consultation with the appropriate military headquarters, should complete the drafting of instructions to the commanders of military trains and convoys and to the drivers of individual vehicles regarding the procedures to be followed at the railroad and Autobahn checkpoints in the event of the withdrawal of Soviet checkpoint personnel. In drafting those instructions, provision will be made for a situation in which the Soviet Government has acknowledged the GDR personnel to be its agents and for a situation in which the Soviet Government has not done so. The Embassies, in consultation with the same military headquarters mentioned above, will also develop appropriate procedures for the identification of Allied movements and draft the above-mentioned instructions to conform with these procedures.

8. Possible Substitution of Allied for Soviet Personnel

The Three Powers should consider the possibility of substituting their own personnel for the Soviet personnel withdrawn from the Nowawes and Marienborn checkpoints.

9. Initial Probe of Soviet Intentions

If Allied surface access is interrupted as a result of an attempt by GDR personnel to enforce formalities or controls going beyond those which the Three Powers have determined to be acceptable (cf. paragraph 6 above), the Three Powers will then make a probe or probes to determine whether the Soviets are prepared to use force or to permit the use of force to prevent the passage of an Allied movement. The vehicles will be identified to the GDR personnel in accordance with the procedures which the Three Powers have agreed on, but no further inspection or control will be allowed. The movement will proceed until its passage is physically obstructed. It will not fire unless fired upon, but if fired upon will take whatever defensive action seems necessary.

10. Efforts to Increase Pressure on USSR and GDR

If the initial probe or probes as described in paragraph 9 above are physically obstructed, the Three Powers will make parallel efforts along the following lines to increase pressure on the USSR and the GDR:

The Three Powers will seek to mobilize world opinion against the USSR as a violator of agreements, as a user of force, and as a threat to the peace. A possibility is that the situation could be taken to the United Nations Security Council and, perhaps in the event of a Soviet veto, to a special session of the General Assembly. Consideration would be given [Page 588] to further forms of diplomatic or other pressure, including the withdrawal of the Ambassadors of the Three rowers from Moscow.
The Three Powers will intensify their military preparations. At this point the preparations could include measures which would be readily observable.

11. Use of Military Force

The Three Governments will make jointly the appropriate decisions for restoring freedom of passage. The measures required for their implementation should be the object of a study by the tripartite staff in Paris.2
Supplementing military decisions, consideration might be given to possible economic measures.

12. Air Access to Berlin

As a concomitant to the above courses of action regarding surface access to Berlin, the Three Powers should, from the start, take steps to maintain their unrestricted air access to Berlin, which would be essential to maintaining the status and security of the city.
The Three Embassies at Bonn, in consultation with the tripartite staff in Paris or with other military headquarters as appropriate, should review or complete contingency planning to deal with the following aspects of the Berlin air access question:
Possible Soviet withdrawal from the Berlin Air Safety Center;
Possible Soviet or East German threats against the safety of flights in the Berlin corridors and control zones;
Measures which might be taken to continue civil air services as long as possible in the event of any change in the present situation;
Possible establishment of a “garrison airlift to transport Allied personnel and material as necessary in the event of an interruption of Allied surface traffic;
The possible substitution of military for civil aircraft to maintain air services to Berlin if civil aircraft cease operations;
Possible direct interference by the Soviets or East Germans with flights in the Berlin corridors or control zone; and
Flights in the Berlin corridors above 10,000 feet. (This issue might be resolved by a simple tripartite agreement to fly at an altitude appropriate to efficient operations of individual aircraft.)
Planning regarding b (4) and b (5) above should be conducted on the understanding that no policy decision has been taken on a “garrison airlift” or on the substitution of military for civil aircraft.
[Page 589]

13. Planning Responsibilities and Coordination

The Tripartite Ambassadorial Group meeting in Washington is responsible for the over-all coordination of Berlin contingency planning and for the drafting of the statement mentioned in paragraph 3 above.
The Three Embassies at Bonn are primarily responsible for the development of recommendations regarding identification of Allied movements (paragraph 7 above), instructions regarding detailed procedures at the checkpoints (paragraph 7 above), and air access planning (paragraph 12 above).
The Tripartite Staff in Paris, under the supervision of General Norstad, is responsible for coordinating the preparatory military measures and the planning described in paragraph 1 above, for studying measures which might be taken to restore freedom of access (paragraph 11 above), and for assisting the Three Embassies at Bonn in carrying out their responsibilities as described in paragraph 13 b above.
The Ambassadors of the Three Powers to the United Nations are charged with making recommendations to their Governments regarding the basis and timing of a possible approach to the United Nations (cf paragraph 10 a above).
The Headquarters of the Three Powers in Berlin will give the Three Embassies at Bonn whatever assistance the latter may require in carrying out their responsibilities as described in paragraph 13 b above.
The military authorities in each of the Three Countries are responsible for the planning of measures on a purely national basis, as mentioned in paragraph 1 above, in support of tripartite by planned measures.
  1. Source: Department of State, EUR/SOV Files: Lot 64 D 291, Germany. Secret. A note on the first page indicates that this paper was an agreed tripartite plan evolving from the U.S. aide-mémoire of December 11, 1958 (see Document 98), and subsequent tripartite discussions culminating in the meeting on March 31. Copies of this paper were transmitted to Bonn, London, Paris, Moscow, and Berlin on April 6 (Circular airgram CA–8581; Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/4–659) and to the White House on April 7.
  2. The notice to the Soviets contemplated in this paragraph has already been given in part by the Three Powers’ notes of December 31, 1958, which read in part as follows:

    “As the Soviet Government knows, the French, British, and United States Governments have the right to maintain garrisons in their sectors of Berlin and to have free access thereto. Certain administrative procedures have been agreed with the Soviet authorities accordingly and are in operation at the present time. The Government (of the United States) will not accept a unilateral repudiation on the part of the Soviet Government of its obligations with respect of that freedom of access. Nor will it accept the substitution of the regime which the Soviet Government refers to as the German Democratic Republic for the Soviet Government in this respect.” [Footnote in the source text. Regarding the Western notes of December 31, 1958, see Document 118.]

  3. See Document 227,