19. Memorandum of Conversation Between President Eisenhower and the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Gray)0

[Here follows discussion of unrelated matters.]

4. I then indicated to the President that I had been giving some thought to possible usefulness of the Council and its machinery with respect to issues which may have arisen out of his talks with Mr. Khrushchev. I said that it seemed to me that the only one which at the moment was pertinent was the issue of Berlin and German unification. I reminded him of paragraph 44 of NSC 5803,1 together with NSC Action 1858.2

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I said to the President that at least some new ideas might come out of Planning Board discussions and that should this prove to be the case we could prepare a discussion paper which I would clear with him before taking it to the Council.

The President then said that I should discuss this with Secretary Herter and should indicate to him that there were possibly some alternatives. Under present circumstances and as a result of the talks with Mr. Khrushchev we were no longer in a situation with respect to the Russians in which they were saying “take our solution or war.” He said we must remember that Berlin is an abnormal situation; that we had found it necessary to live with it; and that it had come about through some mistakes of our leaders—Churchill and Roosevelt. However, he felt that there must be some way to develop some kind of a free city which might be somehow a part of West Germany, which might require that the U.N. would become a party to guaranteeing the freedom, safety, and security of the city which would have an unarmed status except for police forces. He reiterated that the time was coming and perhaps soon when we would simply have to get our forces out. In any event, he thought well of seeking alternatives and authorized me to proceed.

[Here follows discussion of unrelated matters.]

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Project Clean Up. Top Secret.
  2. Document 243.
  3. NSC Action No. 1858 was taken at the 354th Meeting of the National Security Council; see Document 242.