180. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission at Berlin1

553. Paris pass USRO, Stoessel, McGuire. Ref: Berlin’s 674.2 White House has approved new instructions, taking into consideration General Clay’s recommendations, in connection with possible Communist action to close Friedrichstrasse entry point into East Berlin to Allied traffic. We intend raise matter today in Ambassadorial Group to seek British and French concurrence and would like USCOB discuss proposal with British and French Commandants to assure speedy tripartite approval.3

As approved by White House following course of action by USCOB authorized, in event Friedrichstrasse entry point closed either by unacceptable demands for documentation or erection physical barriers by GDR.

Two or three tanks would be used to force barrier and demolish any obstacle barring entry;
Tanks used for purpose would be withdrawn immediately after accomplishing mission and stationed nearby inside West Sector.
Commandant in Chair for month or, alternatively, USCOB would then call Karlshorst immediately to protest GDR action and demand urgent meeting with Soviet Commandant, as well as assurance safe conduct through sector boundary for purposes this meeting.
Press statement would be issued soonest in Berlin, explaining Allied forces had destroyed barrier illegally erected by East Germans; matter was being protested Soviet Commandant; Allies continued to hold Soviets responsible for assuring unrestricted Allied circulation in East Berlin.

In our view, among advantages this course of action:

Would demonstrate our insistence on continued right of access to and circulation in East Berlin;
Cause Soviet to pause before taking further encroaching action in Berlin and affect nature subsequent actions;
By withdrawing tanks into West Sector, immediately after completion demolition action, we not only forestall problem of disengaging forces; we would also limit possibility of unduly raising hopes Berliners and consequently reduce possibility of uncontrolled popular demonstrations.

Berlin, Bonn and Paris will be advised as soon as British/French concurrences obtained. To expedite matter however suggest USCOB inform British and French Commandants Berlin soonest our intentions.

JCS will issue necessary instructions through military channels as soon as tripartite agreement reached.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/10-561. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Klein (SOV); cleared by the Department of Defense, the White House, Hillenbrand, and S/S; and approved by Kohler. Also sent to Bonn and repeated to Paris, London, Moscow, and USAREUR for POLAD.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 178.
  3. The following five paragraphs are a close summary of NSAM No. 107, October 18. (Department of State, NSAMs: Lot 72 D 316)