63. Editorial Note

Following Acting Secretary of State Herter’s telephone conversation with the President (see Document 62), the Department of State transmitted to Bonn and repeated to London, Paris, Moscow, and Berlin the text of a six-paragraph note to the Soviet Government stating that the Western powers would continue to hold the Soviet Union responsible for its obligations in Berlin and that it was “impossible to reconcile the Soviet Government’s protestations of a desire to relax international tensions with a threat of unilateral actions which cannot fail to increase tension in a highly sensitive area.” (Telegram 1067, November 22 at 8:52 p.m.; Department of State, Central Files, 762.0221/11–2258)

The following day, the Embassy in London reported Foreign Office support for the démarche (telegram 2843; ibid., 762.00/11–2358), but the Embassy in Paris reported that the Foreign Ministry believed the note was premature until definite Soviet proposals had been received. (Telegram 1921; ibid.) Further representations by the United States in Washington and by the British and U.S. Ambassadors in Paris failed to change the French position, and on November 24 the Department of State proposed to Ambassador Alphand that the note be delivered to the Federal Republic of Germany in order to get the Western position formally on the record. (Telegram 1072 to Bonn, November 24; ibid., 762.0221/11–2458) This proposal was also rejected by the French. (Telegram 1956 from Paris, November 25; ibid., 762.00/11–2558)

Lacking tripartite agreement on the proposed note, the U.S. Government dropped the idea.