175. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and European Regional Organizations1

Topol 531. For Finletter from the Secretary. Secretary McNamara and I are deeply concerned at slow progress in NAC consideration of instructions to NATO military authorities on Berlin contingency planning. Although we gather several meetings have been held, the reports we have on proceedings to date indicate a lack of any real sense of urgency. We consider it imperative that the Council be given a sense of real urgency in this vital matter and that the discussions be conducted with greater purposefulness. Council’s ability to handle this subject, which is so central to our entire Berlin program, is a real test of its effectiveness.

As a first step, I request that above be discussed with Stikker to enlist his help. We are also giving serious consideration to sending Ros Gilpatric over to meet with the Council next week. It may also be necessary [Page 493] to undertake bilateral approaches in capitals if Council discussions continue to drag on.

I would also appreciate full telegraphic reporting on Council’s discussions of this subject. We understand there have been some meetings since October 3 on which we have not received reports.

I would appreciate any further thoughts you may have on this matter.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.0221/10-1261. Top Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Fessenden on October 11; cleared by Nitze, S, and S/S; and approved by Kohler.
  2. On October 13 Finletter replied that he thought the Department of State was doing the North Atlantic Council an injustice with regard to the time it took to deal with the Berlin problem. Finletter added that the personal discussions that often helped shape a favorable governmental position took time, and stressed that since the four Western Allies took a long time to arrive at their position, several NAC members felt they should have equal time. Finletter concluded that both he and Stikker believed sending Gilpatric at the present time would be a mistake. (Polto 482 from Paris; ibid., 762.0221/10-1361)