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

2626. Paris pass USCINCEUR Thurston and West. Berlin Contingency Planning. In meeting with British and French Ambassadors (Caccia and Alphand) May 1 Murphy called attention to difficulties Embassies at Bonn have encountered in developing recommendations for identification and checkpoint procedures (cf Bonn’s 2349 and Department’s [Page 674] G–474 to Bonn),1 informed Ambassadors US is studying possibility of countermeasures outside Germany, and summarized progress in establishment General Norstad’s tripartite staff.

Caccia explained view of British Ambassador Steel Bonn as being that, since we do not now submit to control by the Soviets but merely identify Allied movements to them, procedure which would involve least disadvantage in event Soviet withdrawal is continuation of present practices unchanged, particularly since we are conceding need for some form identification our traffic to GDR in any event. On other hand, Steel believes procedures such as use of identifying plaques would imply GDR has right to identification going beyond that presently made. Expressing his own views, Caccia said continuation of present procedures would be one way of identifying our movements to GDR personnel even if Soviets had not acknowledged agency relationship but probably not best way politically. Caccia agreed Embassies should recommend some new procedure for non-agency situation and indicated British willing to consider other suggestions. Alphand made no comments of interest. It was agreed Embassies at Bonn should be instructed take more flexible positions in developing recommendations re procedures.2

Re countermeasures outside Germany, Murphy cited as possible examples action against Soviet airlines and merchant vessels, termination of non-diplomatic contracts, and condemnatory resolution in UN. Said we should be thinking about these matters now, with view exercising leverage on Soviets in forthcoming negotiations. Soviets’ awareness of this serious planning could be effective. US study at this stage is concentrating on examination of U.S. and Allied capabilities. Caccia appeared receptive to idea of such study, but will check Foreign Office. Alphand noncommittal but obviously wary of any action involving UN.

Re tripartite staff, Murphy gave Ambassadors orally gist of General Norstad’s April 14 memo.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/5–159. Secret. Drafted by McKiernan, cleared by Murphy and Vigderman, and approved by Kohler. Repeated to Berlin, Paris, and London and pouched to Moscow.
  2. Telegram 2349, April 19, reported that the three Western Ambassadors at Bonn had been unable to reach agreement on a common position on surface access to Berlin and that each would report back to his government. (Ibid., 762.00/4–1959) Airgram G–474, April 25, reported that the Department of State was disturbed that no progress had been made at Bonn on contingency planning. (Ibid., 762.00/4–2259)
  3. On May 4 Bruce reported that he met with the British and French Ambassadors that day, and since the French Ambassador had no instructions, he and Steel agreed to draw up contingency plans to cover East German officials acting as agents of the Soviet Union and to cover a refusal by the Soviet Union to recognize such a relationship. (Telegram 2461 from Bonn; ibid., 762.00/5–459) On May 6 Bruce reported that agreement had been reached on a contingency plan assuming an agency relationship existed and transmitted the instructions covering it. (Telegram 2498 from Bonn, May 6, ibid., 762.00/5–659)
  4. Not found. Presumably this memorandum outlined the steps that Norstad had taken to set up the tripartite staff (Live Oak) at Paris.