67. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Germany 0

1084. Deliver Ambassador by 9:00 a.m. Nov 25. Following reply from Secretary should be delivered to Chancellor Tuesday morning.

[Page 120]

Begin text.

“My Dear Friend:

On my returning this morning to Washington, I find your letter of November 20.1 It deals with problems of the utmost gravity which, as you know, have been receiving the consideration of the President and myself as well as of the officers of the government. The presence here of Ambassador Bruce a few days ago gave us the opportunity to talk over the Berlin problem.

Of course, the situation that we face is still hypothetical. The Soviets have given some indications as to their intentions but have not yet made these intentions precise or operative.

I am sure that our two Governments start from a common premise, often reiterated, that the abandonment of the free part of the city of Berlin is totally unacceptable, and this includes the rights of transit to and from the Federal Republic to Western Berlin. Our rights were won in the war, they are reflected in the Protocol of September 12, 19442 and were reexpressed by the Soviet Union and the three Western Powers at the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers held in Paris in June 1949. It was there agreed that ‘as regards the movement of persons and goods and communications between the Eastern and the Western Zones and between the Zones in Berlin and also in regard to transit, the occupation authorities, each in his own zone, will have an obligation to take the measures necessary’3 etc. Surely such an obligation, jointly agreed to, cannot be terminated by unilateral action.

I also recall that the directive agreed to at the Geneva Summit meeting of 19554 stipulated that ‘the Heads of Government, recognizing their common responsibility for the settlement of the German question’ etc. Surely the question of Berlin is part of this ‘German question’, for which there is an agreed ‘common responsibility’ on the part of the four powers. This again is something from which the Soviet Union cannot unilaterally disengage itself.

I would myself have thought that it might be possible to hold the Soviet Union to its obligations and at the same time deal on a de facto basis with minor functionaries of the GDR, so long as they merely carried out perfunctorily the present arrangements. That, in our opinion, would not and should not involve any diplomatic recognition of the GDR or any waiver of our rights vis-à-vis the Soviet Union. I believe that [Page 121] the Federal Republic, itself, without this implying diplomatic recognition, deals in a number of respects with minor functionaries of the GDR.

On the other hand, we recognize that there are psychological as well as purely juridical factors to be taken into account. Certainly we should not allow anyone to get the impression that there is any lack of firmness and dependability in the policies of the Western allies. Your views as to how best to display that firmness will carry great weight with us. The President and I have full confidence in your steadfastness and your judgment and your dedication to the cause of freedom.

So far, as we both recognize, the Soviet has not made known precisely what measures it will take. You consider it necessary that without delay there be a meeting of the four Governments when the Soviet Union makes its measures known. The United States would be glad to participate in such a meeting, although I cannot say in advance of knowing the date, at what level we could participate with the necessary promptness. But whoever speaks for us will have the full confidence and authority of the President and myself, if indeed I do not personally participate, which would be my preference if the timing permits.

With best regards, I am

Faithfully yours,

Foster Dulles

End text.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.0221/11–2458. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Dulles on November 24.
  2. Document 60.
  3. Foreign Relations, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945, p. 118.
  4. For text of the communiqué of the Paris Council of Foreign Ministers Meeting, see ibid., 1949, vol. III, pp. 10621065.
  5. Ibid., 1955–1957, vol. V, pp. 527528.