128. Telegram From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Commander in Chief, Europe (Norstad)1
Washington, August 25, 1961, 10 p.m.
JCS 1265. From CJCS. Exclusive for General Norstad and General Clarke signed Lemnitzer. Do not deliver prior to 0800 local time.
- The objective of insisting on our access to East Berlin by the US Command, Berlin, is to demonstrate our determination to maintain our legal right of entry to East Berlin. Concurrently we desire to give political and psychological evidence of US attitude in regard to developments in the Berlin situation. A clear distinction must be made, however, between US right of access to East Berlin and West Berlin. While we consider the US right of access to East Berlin to be important, we do not consider it so vital that it must be maintained by the use of force which entails combat, except that required for self-defense if our forces are fired upon in the implementation of measures indicated below. U.S. forces so fired upon in East Berlin should defend themselves and withdraw to West Berlin, forces fired upon in West Berlin should return fire only so long as they are under fire. No line of action should be initiated to maintain the U.S. right of access to East Berlin, therefore, which would result in serious loss of U.S. prestige if U.S. forces involved should have to withdraw. However, U.S. right of access to West Berlin from FRG is of such importance as to require, if necessary, the use of force entailing combat.
- While we do not recognize the authority of the GDR/USSR to restrict our access it is considered that the U.S. right of access to East Berlin is satisfied, for practical purposes, as long as one entry point is available for the unimpeded movement of allied personnel.
- Four types of resistance can be encountered at the access point(s)
to East Berlin:
- Passive obstacles which can be removed by personnel.
- Heavier obstacles which require bulldozer and/or tanks or demolition to remove.
- Mobs or crowds of civilians or formations of GDR troops or police which refuse to move out of the way of vehicles.
- Should administrative resistance, such as abnormal requests for identification, or long delays be encountered a request should be made [Page 371] for a Soviet officer. If the Soviet officer does not appear and clear passage within a reasonable time, the vehicle should move forward shaking off any restraint if this can be done without actually knocking down or running over the persons blocking access. If this cannot be done, the vehicle should withdraw.
- In the event passive obstacles which can be moved by personnel are encountered, the obstacles should be removed and the vehicles proceed.
- If heavier obstacles which require bulldozer and/or tanks or demolition to remove are encountered, the vehicles should withdraw and instructions should be requested from higher authority.
- If mobs or crowds or formations of GDR troops or police block passageway, the procedures in paragraph 4 above refer. If it becomes clear that entry cannot be secured without running over or combat with East German personnel, United States vehicles should withdraw, and instructions should be requested from higher authority.
- In any of the above situations where the vehicle is fired upon, or where it is obvious that vehicles cannot proceed or the lives of personnel are immediately endangered, the vehicle will withdraw.
- Your recommendation for additional courses of action within the parameters outlined in paragraph 1 above are invited.
- Source: Kennedy Library, President’s Office Files, Germany. Top Secret; Immediate. Repeated to USAREUR for Clarke. A draft of this cable showing Bundy’s revisions is ibid., National Security Files, Germany, Berlin, Cables.↩