446. Memorandum of Discussion at the 413th Meeting of the National Security Council0
[Here follow a paragraph listing the participants at the meeting and agenda item 1.]
Mr. Gray indicated that Secretary Dillon would report to the Council on the progress, or lack of progress, in Tripartite Berlin Contingency Planning.
Secretary Dillon comments that with respect to such planning a great deal of work has been done. On these plans there has been a wide area of agreement at the working level but very few final agreements. The most serious problem was planning with respect to surface access to Berlin. On this subject the British have had second thoughts based on a conversation that Foreign Minister Lloyd thought he had had with Secretary Herter. In any event, the British had not approved the basic paper on this subject at the governmental level. There had likewise been no approval on the surface access plan by the French but we believe this was simply that President de Gaulle had been away from Paris for some time.
Secretary Dillon also indicated that we had undertaken negotiations with Pan American Airlines to provide war risk insurance which could come into effect if the Soviets withdrew their personnel from the Berlin Air Safety Center. Similar negotiations are being undertaken by the U.K. authorities with the British European Airways and by the French with Air France. In this connection Secretary Dillon briefly explained the various proposals for communicating flight information to the East Germans without becoming involved in direct communication with them. In this context he noted that there had been no recommendations as yet from General Norstad’s “Live Oak” with respect to this problem.
Turning to the so-called Quiet Precautionary Measures, Secretary Dillon said that a number of such measures had been initiated but so far without much effect on the Soviets. The U.S. has accordingly proposed [Page 1001] additional measures, but there has been no response from the U.K. and France on these additional measures. The British did not seem to want to plan for further eventualities until after the obvious failure of the initial probe of Soviet intentions in blocking Allied access to Berlin. On the other hand, the Three Powers had reached an agreement as to action in the United Nations.
With respect to the so-called Economic Counter-Measures or Counter-Harassments, a Tripartite study had reached the conclusion that none of these proposed measures was likely to be effective.
In sum, Secretary Dillon found the situation somewhat unsatisfactory. The British were apparently convinced that there was going to be a summit conference and were therefore much inclined to drag their feet with respect to contingency planning.
Expressing surprise, the President inquired whether a summit meeting was supposed to guarantee a satisfactory solution of the Berlin problem. He stated that he could not understand why the possibility of a summit conference should be permitted to stop contingency planning on Berlin.
In reply Secretary Dillon said that the British apparently felt that the Soviets would not take any unilateral action with respect to Berlin prior to a summit meeting and the British also seemed to feel that a summit conference will manage to accomplish something which will prevent such unilateral Soviet action.
Mr. Allen Dulles stated that this discussion reminded him that he had intended to comment briefly on the state of Premier Khrushchev’s health. The intelligence community has concluded that Khrushchev is very tired but that he comes back quickly. There was doubt, therefore, if anything dramatic was likely to happen to the Soviet leader.
The National Security Council:
Noted and discussed an oral report on the subject by the Acting Secretary of State.
- Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Drafted by Boggs.↩