9. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • Berlin


  • The Secretary of Defense
  • Willy Brandt, Governing Mayor of Berlin
  • Senator Gunter Klein, Berlin
  • Mr. Albrecht von Kessel, German Chargé d’Affaires
  • General von Schleinitz, German Military Attaché
  • General Maxwell D. Taylor, Chief of Staff, United States Army
  • General L.L. Lemnitzer, Vice Chief of Staff, United States Army
  • Mr. Raymond E. Lisle, Department of State, Office of German Affairs

During a luncheon given by the Secretary of Defense,1 which was attended, in addition to those named above, by the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Service Secretaries, and senior officers of the Armed Services, discussion was of a general character. However, in responding to a toast, Mayor Brandt explained his views as to one phase of the commemorative ceremonies for the Tenth Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift to be held in Berlin this fall. He said he was going to ask the people of Berlin to contribute to a fund which would be used: (a) to bring to Berlin for the ceremonies the widows and children of pilots killed in the airlift; and (b) to provide scholarships for the children of such pilots at the Free University of Berlin.

After the luncheon, General Taylor asked the German visitors, with the exception of the Chargé, together with General Lemnitzer and Mr. Lisle, to meet briefly with him in his office. In response to questions, Mayor Brandt stated there were no present difficulties with regard to German travel and commercial traffic between Berlin and the Federal [Page 22] Republic; that he understood there had been some minor difficulties with the military trains; that he believed the Soviet Zone authorities would like to make difficulties for West Berlin but were kept in control by the Soviets who desire to avoid creating any serious issue with the Three Western Powers; that the morale of the people of Berlin remained high; that the spirit of opposition continued strong in the Soviet Zone; that he had been troubled by the flight to the West of several East German clergymen a few weeks ago because he believed it essential that the clergymen remain with their East German flocks (General Taylor commented at this point that he had read of the flight of these clergymen in the Berlin Tagesspiegel, which he receives daily); that he had no problem which he wished to bring to General Taylor’s attention. General Taylor recalled his service in Berlin. General Lemnitzer spoke of the impression made on him by Berlin when he visited the city in the company of the Secretary of Defense earlier this winter.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/2–2158. Confidential. Drafted by Lisle.
  2. In a memorandum, dated February 12, Irwin briefed Secretary of Defense McElroy on the Berlin situation and made the following recommendations:

    “In order to dispel any doubts which may be held by Mayor Brandt regarding the U.S. position on this matter, it is suggested that you emphasize the readiness of our garrison in Berlin to take whatever action is necessary for the protection of the city against attacks of any kind from any quarter.

    “It is also suggested that you assure the Mayor that the U.S. intends to maintain a hard line against Soviet interference with travel to and from Berlin, i.e., that despite recent harassment of U.S. rail traffic, we adhere strongly to the position that U.S. authorities have the right to determine who travels to and from Berlin and that our rights to an access to the city are clear and inviolable.” (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 62 A 1698, Germany)