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

49. Paris for Embassy, USRO, CINCEUR Thurston & West. In informal meeting with Commandants this afternoon, Mayor Brandt made following points re Geneva:

He thought there possibility Sovs might accept Western paper of June 161 as basis for discussion and would then offer “improvements” interpreting Western proposals in Sov sense. Brandt thought in that case it necessary for Western powers be prepared immediately counteract Sov proposals by tabling interpretations of their own.

Brandt’s thoughts on Western plan being sent to Bonn on Von Brentano’s request. Brandt most concerned with points relating to access and curbing of activities against public order mentioned in Western paper. Re access, he not satisfied with words “wie bisher” used in formulating demand for continued free and unrestricted access in German version of Western paper. Brandt said “wie bisher” might conceivably also include blockade period.

Re curbing of certain activities, Brandt said that phrase “measures should be taken consistent with fundamental rights and liberties” likely lead to interminable wrangling between East and West since Communist interpretation of what constituted fundamental human rights quite different from Western. West Berlin newspaper article criticizing USSR might be considered by Sovs as violation of Berlin agreement. Senator Lipschitz had suggested language specifying that activities which violate recognized penal codes in both parts of Germany be curbed, but Brandt not entirely satisfied with this definition either.

Brandt felt perhaps most dangerous point of Western proposal related to limiting Western troop strength but he refraining from commenting formally on this point since not within his competence. Expressing his personal opinion he certain any commitment which would give Sovs an opportunity introduce controls over Allied troop strength would be dangerous. Should West Berlin be exposed to concerted infiltration attempt by Communists, Allied troop levels would make a real difference because West Berlin police morale would be affected if Allied garrisons reduced to a point where police recognize Allied troops could no longer be effective in supporting police action.

[Page 975]

Brandt expressed personal belief that minor Allied troop reduction would not be considered by Sovs as meaningful concession and would gain us nothing. Serious reduction would call into question concept “trip wire mechanism.” Handful of Allied troops might simply be “arrested” without being able offer meaningful resistence in which case it could not be clearly established that act of aggression had been committed.

In reply to question from British Commandant whether troop reduction would affect morale of West Berlin population as a whole, Brandt said there was danger it would be regarded as first step toward Allied evacuation and could therefore have strongly negative effect on Berlin morale.

In reply to another question from British Commandant as to whether Allied force reduction of 2 to 3,000 could be compensated for by increase in West Berlin police, Brandt said two issues not directly related. If people were afraid that Allied policy over long run was to evacuate Berlin, police reinforcements would do nothing to dispel such fears; in addition, decline in police morale occasioned by troop reductions might offset increasing police numbers. Reinforcing police should be considered in any event.

Brandt repeated to Commandants his dissatisfaction with FedRep’s failure to keep him informed of Geneva developments, either through von Mettenheim at Geneva or through FonOff Bonn. He had discussed this matter last Monday with Chancellor and Von Brentano and they had agreed to rectify situation. Brandt told Commandants he hoped they would support with other governments the inclusion of Berlin’s representative at Geneva as a technical adviser to any working group which might be concerned with formulation of proposals directly affecting Berlin. (Presumably FedRep has indicated to Brandt it willing to make such proposal.) Brandt felt such technical advice would be of great benefit.

Brandt said he or Senator Klein prepared to go to Geneva at any time if their views or advice on technical points might be deemed helpful. Added that commencing July 21 he would be vacationing near Munich and could get to Geneva on a few hours notice.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–GE/7–959. Confidential; Priority. Also sent to Bonn and repeated to Moscow, London, Paris, and Heidelberg.
  2. See footnote 1, Document 411.