January-May 1961: Consideration of the Question of Germany and Berlin


1. Telegram From the Mission at Berlin to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 662A.62B41/1-961. Confidential. Repeated to Paris, London, Moscow, and POLADUSAREUR.


2. Letter From Secretary of State Rusk to President Kennedy

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/1-2861. Confidential. Drafted by Rusk.


3. Memorandum of Conversation

Source: Department of State, Secretary's Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330. Confidential. Drafted by Hillenbrand and approved in U on February 16. A memorandum of Grewe's conversation with Bowles on the Atlantic Community, also on February 2, is ibid. On the previous day Grewe had paid an initial call on Secretary of State Rusk. Memoranda of their brief conversations on East-West relations, Atlantik Bruecke, and Berlin and the interzonal trade agreement are ibid. A memorandum of their conversation on NATO is printed in vol. XIII, Document 93.


4. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/2-461. Secret; Limit Distribution. Repeated to London, Bonn, and Paris. Also published in Declassified Documents, 1977, 74B.


5. Memorandum of Conversation

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.62A/2-1761. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Kohler and Lejins and approved in S on March 5 and in the White House on March 7. Brentano was in the United States to attend the German-American Conference February 16-19. For the briefing paper outlining the German and U.S. positions for this conversation, see Catudal, Kennedy and the Berlin Wall Crisis, pp. 302 ff. Memoranda of Rusk's conversations with Brentano on the afternoon of February 16 concerning French-German relations and Berlin are in Department of State, Central Files, 651.62A/2-1661, and Secretary's Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330. For Grewe's account of Brentano's visit, see Rückblenden, pp. 458-460.


6. Memorandum of Conversation

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.61/2-2361. Confidential. Drafted by McBride and approved in S on March 7. Memoranda of the parts of the conversation on the European Economic Community and French-U.S. relations are ibid., Secretary's Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330.


7. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/2-2861. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Bohlen and Hillenbrand; cleared by Kohler, Davis, Stoessel, and the White House; and approved and signed by Rusk. Attached to the source text was a draft by Bohlen, dated February 21, which begins and ends along similar lines but includes as a possible solution a reunified Berlin with a special status as a free city and with access guaranteed in all directions. For Hillenbrand's draft, dated February 20, see Declassified Documents, 1977, 46E.


8. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/3-1061. Confidential; Priority; Limit Distribution.


9. Memorandum of Conversation

Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Germany. Confidential. Drafted by Kohler and approved by the White House on March 20. Grewe mentions this meeting briefly in Rückblenden, p. 461.


10. Memorandum of Conversation

Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Germany. Confidential. Drafted by Kohler and approved by the White House on March 23. The meeting was held at the White House. A briefing paper for this meeting, transmitted by Rusk to the President on March 10, is in Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/3-1061. A memorandum of Brandt's conversation with Rusk on March 14 covering similar topics is ibid., 762.0221/3-1461. For Brandt's account of his conversation with the President and visit to Washington, see Begegnungen und Einsichten, pp. 17-18 and 80-83.


11. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/3-1661. Secret. Also published in Declassified Documents, 1977, 46D, and printed in part in Catudal, Kennedy and the Berlin Wall Crisis, p. 304.


12. Paper Prepared in the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/3-3161. Secret. Drafted by Hillenbrand on March 30. At the end of February Bundy had tasked the Department of State with preparing a report for the President on the problem of Berlin. (Memorandum from McGhee to Kohler, February 27; ibid., 762.00/2-2761) An initial draft of March 13, containing four annexes on the development of the crisis, possible all-German context for a Berlin solution, discussion of Berlin in isolation, and contingency planning, was revised and transmitted to Bundy on March 24. (Ibid., 762.00/3-1361) The text printed here is a “streamlined version” of the March 24 draft as requested by Bundy; only the summary is printed.


13. Memorandum From Henry A. Kissinger of the National Security Council Staff to President Kennedy

Source: Kennedy Library, President's Office Files, Germany. Secret. Also published in Declassified Documents, 1985, 2794.


14. Memorandum of Conversation

Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 65 D 366, CF 1833. Top Secret. Drafted by Burdett. The meeting was held at the White House. The source text bears the typewritten notation: “Uncleared."


15. Memorandum of Conversation

Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 65 D 366, CF 1833. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Burdett. The meeting was held aboard the Honey-Fitz.


17. Memorandum of Conversation

Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Germany, Adenauer Visit. Secret. Drafted by Lejins and approved in S on April 22 and in the White House on May 11. The meeting was held at the White House. For the Scope Paper prepared for the meeting, see Declassified Documents, 1978, 403B.


18. Memorandum of Conversation

Source: Department of State, Secretary's Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330. Secret. Drafted by Hillenbrand. The meeting was held in Secretary Rusk's office. For Grewe's account of this conversation, see Rückblenden, pp. 464-468.


20. National Intelligence Estimate

Source: Department of State, INR-NIE Files. Secret. Also published in Declassified Documents, 1978, 5B.


21. Memorandum From the Director of the Office of German Affairs (Hillenbrand) to the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Kohler)

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/4-2561. Secret. Drafted and initialed by Hillenbrand.


22. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense McNamara to President Kennedy

Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Germany, Berlin. Top Secret. Published in part in Declassified Documents, 1985, 2382.


23. Telegram From Secretary of State Rusk to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 65 D 366, CF 1860. Secret. Drafted by Hillenbrand on May 8 and authorized by Kohler. Repeated to Bonn, Paris, London, and Moscow. Rusk was attending the North Atlantic Council Ministerial Meeting in Oslo.


24. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.61/5-2461. Confidential; Niact; Limit Distribution. Repeated to London, Paris, and Bonn.


25. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/5-2461. Secret; Limit Distribution.


26. Position Paper Prepared in the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 66 D 110, CF 1905. Secret. Drafted by Armitage (SOV) and Cash and cleared by Kohler, Hillenbrand, and Guthrie (SOV). Prepared as one of the many position papers for the President's meeting with Khrushchev in Vienna June 3-4.


27. Telegram From the Mission at Berlin to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/5-2561. Secret; Priority. Also sent to Bonn and repeated to Paris, London, and Moscow. Also published in Declassified Documents, 1976, 257E.


28. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/5-2761. Secret; Priority. Repeated to Paris, London, Berlin, and Bonn.


29. Talking Points Paper

Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 66 D 110, CF 1894. Secret. The source text bears no drafting information, but it was prepared for President Kennedy's meeting with de Gaulle May 31-June 2 in Paris.


30. Memorandum of Conversation

Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 66 D 110, CF 1891. Secret. Drafted by Glenn. The meeting was held at the Elysee Palace. A summary was transmitted in telegram 5266 from Paris, May 31. (Ibid., CF 1893) For de Gaulle's account of the President's visit, see Memoires d'Espoir, pp. 267-271. Additional documentation on the President's visit to Paris is in Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, volume XIII.