283. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Germany0

1683. Deliver action officers Bonn, Berlin and Heidelberg eight a.m. Feb. 6. Paris for USCINCEUR Thurston, Finn and USRO. Ref: Deptel 1657 to Bonn, rptd Berlin 372, London 5881, Moscow 1655, Paris 3266; Bonn’s 1463; Berlin’s 614; Berlin’s 616, rptd London 160, Bonn 538, Moscow 179, Paris 173, POLAD USAREUR 71.1 Joint State-Defense message.

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[3 lines of source text not declassified] A projection of this trend together with recent developments, and obvious Soviet intent to force us to acquiesce in political conditions to continue Mission leads to inescapable conclusion that political price is unacceptable.

Defense and State have decided issuance new passes to Western Military Liaison Missions constitutes tactical error on part of Soviets which has presented us with clear issue not involving threat of armed conflict on which we must take firm stand.2 No doubt here that acceptance new passes (which acknowledged are still Soviet documents) would put us on slippery slope leading to increased “GDR” interference with function of Missions and concomitant Soviet negation of responsibility for Missions. Agreed present situation, wherein we have not yet accepted new passes, is best in which to take stand. No later opportunity envisaged draw public attention to clear cut distinction between acceptable and unacceptable arrangements.

Department informed British and French today its decision to reject new passes issued January 29-30 and demand revalidation of old passes. We sought British and French support for US position.3

Draft letter being prepared for signature of General Eddleman along foregoing lines being forwarded in next numbered telegram.4

For Bonn: Convene tripartite meeting Saturday to outline US position and proposed action.

For Berlin: Inform McQuail, FMLM and BRIXMIS.

For London and Paris: Inform Foreign Office and seek support for US position.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.0221/2–560. Secret; Priority. Drafted by McFarland; cleared with Kohler, Merchant, Hillenbrand, Calhoun, BNA, SOV, WE, the Department of Defense, and the JCS; and approved by Merchant. Also sent priority to Berlin and USAREUR Heidelberg and repeated priority to London, Paris, and Moscow.
  2. Telegram 614 from Berlin is Document 282. Telegram 1657, February 3, informed the Embassy in Bonn that instructions would soon be forthcoming on the question of passes. (Department of State, Central Files, 762.0221/2–160) Telegram 1463 from Bonn, February 5, transmitted the text of MLM-015-60, February 4 and reported that Soviet officials had stated that the old passes were invalid as of January 30 rather than February 15. (Ibid., 762.0221/2–560) Telegram 616 from Berlin, February 4, reported the same information and added that an attempt to use the old passes had failed. (Ibid., 762.0221/2–460)
  3. A record of the conversation at which this decision was reached is ibid., 762.0221/2–560.
  4. A memorandum of Kohler’s conversation with Hood and Winckler is ibid.
  5. Transmitted in telegram 1684 to Bonn, February 5, the letter protested the violation of the spirit and letter of the Huebner-Malinin agreement and the interjection of political elements into a strictly military matter, and called for the withdrawal of the new passes and revalidation of the old ones. (Ibid.)