427. Memorandum for the Record0

Mr. Murphy, Mr. Merchant and I met with the Secretary today to review questions connected with Berlin contingency planning. The following are the principal points discussed and decided: [Page 969]

The Secretary reviewed his conversation with British Foreign Minister Selwyn Lloyd in Geneva last month1 which had led the British to believe that there was some change in the U.S. position on the question of access identification and checkpoint procedures as worked out by the Embassies in Bonn. Specifically, that we might be prepared to reconsider the acceptability of East German stamping. The Secretary made it clear that he had been talking with Selwyn Lloyd not within the framework of the contingency planning at all but within the context of a possible arrangement with the Soviets which would retain responsibility and amount to an agency relationship between the Soviets and the East Germans. The Secretary authorized us to take the necessary action to clear up the British misunderstanding on this point.
We discussed the question of the planning with respect to possible recourse to the UN in the event of the breakdown of negotiations and unilateral action on the part of the Soviets. The Secretary confirmed his agreement with the procedures contemplated in the contingency planning paper on this subject.
We discussed with the Secretary preparatory and precautionary military measures which had been taken under the President’s authorization to undertake such measures “of a kind which will not create public alarm but which will be detectable by Soviet intelligence.” We said that we feared that the measures taken so far had been relatively innocuous and had not made a measurable impression on the Soviets. We accordingly raised the question as to whether the President’s authorization should not be sought to move into a more advanced phase of preparatory measures of a kind which might cause a certain amount of public uneasiness, short however of creating an atmosphere of crisis. We were not ready to suggest specific measures but if the President approved in principle, we would work these out together with the Pentagon and in consultation with the British and French. The Secretary agreed with this proposal and asked that a paper be prepared for him for the purpose of discussing the question with the President on the following day after the NSC meeting.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.0221/7–859. Secret. Drafted by Kohler.
  2. See Document 411.