421. Telegram From the Mission at Berlin to the Department of State0

1179. Ref: ourtel 915 to Bonn, 1028 to Dept.1 In telegrams to CINCUSAREUR (rptd CINCEUR) Gen Hamlett evaluates military consequences any reduction strength Berlin garrison. Pertinent extracts follow:

“Size of garrison has little bearing on over-all picture in military sense under all out war conditions. Under lesser conditions of [Page 954] hostility or various stages of civil disorders, size of Berlin garrison important and vital. Under conditions limited hostilities or civil emergency, garrison must be capable of providing for security US personnel, property, units and agencies in Berlin.”
“Requirements for military forces in event civil disturbances probably single most important military factor in strength of garrison. Soviets and East Germans have capability creating and directing civil disturbances which would be serious threat to security West Berlin even if present combined capability of Allied military and West Berlin police brought to bear. Even threat such action would require employment large part military force initially to protect property such as airport (for evacuation personnel), depots, barracks, sensitive installations, dependents quarters and accesses thereto. Present carefully considered and agreed Berlin Allied plans, under plausible conditions civil disorder, require employment entire West Berlin police force and military garrisons. This concept recently proven in comprehensive joint CPX in which Allied military and West Berlin police actively participated.”
“Furthermore there danger if size of Allied garrisons curtailed to level where aggressiveness on part of Soviets and/or East Germans is encouraged or to extent where quick coup could wipe out or subdue entire garrison and face Allies with ‘fait accompli’ in Berlin.”

Reftel describes predictable Sov effort to audit our troop strength by control measures if garrison levels fixed by agreement.

From political and psychological point of view, reduction in garrison levels at this time—even voluntary—would have deleterious effect on Berlin morale. Fact of reduction itself would be judged by many Berliners as evidence Allied weakness foreshadowing eventual phase-out Allied physical presence in city.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.0221/6–2959. Secret. Also sent to Bonn and repeated to London, Paris, and Moscow.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 351.