36. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State 0

1794. Re Deptel 1743; Embtel 1787.1

As indicated Embtel 1787 Daridan has told us Fr prepared issue strong joint statement on Berlin situation, subject to Ger acquiescence. Working level at FonOff, however (Laloy, Jurgensen), continues feel that, from tactical point of view, public tripartite statement would probably be inadvisable at present juncture. They note all three capitals have already taken firm public position on Khrushchev’s threats and they are inclined believe that tripartite statement would appear repetitious as well as needlessly provocative at moment when crisis atmosphere appears have receded somewhat. Jurgensen expressed to us yesterday view that, if joint action to be taken vis-à-vis Sovs, it would be preferable do so through confidential, concerted approaches by Ambs in Moscow. He also thought idea of public tripartite statement could be held in abeyance for possible use at later time.
With regard to possible statement by Secy or President concerning Berlin, Jurgensen felt this would be excellent, but stated emphatically Fr would appreciate being consulted in advance re such statement. Jurgensen pointed out that de Gaulle’s interest in tripartite consultation obviously made such action advisable.2
Re possibility of Berlin airlift, Jurgensen said Fr recently received revised plans for Allied airlift, which at first glance seemed satisfactory to FonOff. He noted “pressure now on” to obtain official Fr Govt approval these plans. Jurgensen said that, although would be difficult for Fr to find very many transport planes for Berlin (bulk of Fr aircraft being tied up in Algeria), Fr would wish participate in greater measure than in 1948 if new airlift becomes necessary.
FonOff has shown us instruction to Fr PermRep NAC for discussion in NAC Nov 17 on Berlin. Instructions not yet approved by Couve but are expected be cleared without difficulty. Instructions recapitulate Fr views outlined in FonOff background statement (Embtel 1750)3 re basis of Fr presence in Berlin, and stress desirability of strongest [Page 68] possible unity on Berlin, not only among three powers directly concerned but on part all NATO members. Fr expect that Gers and US will take lead in NAC discussion, but Fr Rep is instructed give them strong support.
Working level officials have expressed view, also reflected in instructions to Fr NAC Rep, that there is “division of labor” between Sovs and GDR re Berlin and Ger situation. Sovs, according this theory, are to concentrate on Berlin and quadripartite status, etc., while GDR reps will concentrate on overall question, peace treaty, and so on.

Fr believe this may be explanation of alleged “discrepancy” between Khrushchev’s tough line on Berlin and failure of Grotewohl to press Berlin question.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.0221/11–1558, Confidential. Repeated to Berlin, London, Moscow, and Bonn.
  2. Telegram 1743 is the same as telegram 987 to Bonn, see footnote 1, Document 34. In telegram 1787, November 14, Lyon reported French views on Berlin along the lines indicated in the following paragraphs. (Department of State, Central Files, 762A.00/11–1458)
  3. Documentation on de Gaulle’s interest in tripartite (U.S.-U.K.-France) consultations on world problems is in volume VII, Part 1.
  4. Telegram 1750, November 12, described a French background statement on Berlin, issued November 11, which noted that Khrushchev’s threats, if implemented, would cause a very serious crisis, and that the Soviet Premier did not seem correctly informed on the Berlin question. (Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/11–1258)