266. Telegram From the Embassy in Germany to the Department of State 0

2348. Deptel 2454.1 Original objectives of C–130 flights as proposed last year were to assert right to fly above 10,000 feet, test Soviet reactions [Page 622] and open up higher altitudes for regular USAFE flights and if possible eventually for commercial flights. At that time we had British and French support for such a program.

The timing of recent C–130 flights brought new elements into picture, namely relationship between flights and FonMins conference. As result, Soviets took formal governmental notice of flights and played up political aspects of operation in relation to that conference. [1 paragraph (2 1/2 lines of source text) not declassified]

I therefore feel strongly that flights over 10,000 feet should not be repeated at least before April 29 FonMins meeting, where the matter should be tripartitely discussed. We should first come to understanding with British and French, and demonstrate a united front at Geneva by taking initiative in raising corridor issue with Soviets. We forced the issue with Soviets in first place and we should not let them put us on defensive. Our case is good.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762B.5411/4–1959. Secret. Drafted by Bruce and Tyler.
  2. Telegram 2454, April 17, asked for Bruce’s views on continuing high altitude flights to Berlin. (Ibid., 762B.5411/4–1759)