220. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Kennedy1


I attach a State Department memorandum2 on this subject which shows where we now are on this one. It is a complicated paper, but it boils down to this:

The present U.S. position is that uniformed military personnel should refuse to show identification, and should deny themselves access rather than do so. There would be protests in Berlin and Moscow, and then the commandants should be authorized to prevent the entry of all Soviet personnel and vehicles to West Berlin, excepting only those connected with the air control center and the Spandau four-power prison for Nazi criminals. In addition (subject to a final review) we would expect to advocate countermeasures outside Berlin, of a minor sort, as listed on the last page (Annex B) of the State Department paper. The Germans have agreed to all of this. The French and British have agreed to self-denial of access but are still reviewing countermeasures. Our mission in Berlin is now authorized to enforce self-denial for our own military personnel, but retaliation against the Soviets, either inside or outside Berlin, would be a matter for final decision when the occasion arises. Kohler believes we would get agreement on measures inside Berlin, but that British might balk at measures outside Berlin.
There is no intention to destroy any barrier by tanks or bulldozers, and Norstad’s request for this authority is being refused.3
Given the wide spectrum of opinion among the allies, I do not think we can expect complete agreement ahead of time on this. My suggestion is that the State Department be instructed to press strongly, at all levels, its own current preferred course. This seems as sensible as any, and there are advantages in having a clear view ahead of time, and standing by it.

McG. B.
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Germany, Berlin. Secret. The source text bears no drafting information.
  2. Neither the paper, “Allied Access to East Berlin,” nor its annexes is printed.
  3. Next to this paragraph in the source text is the handwritten notation: “JCS are in favor of urging to get Allied agreement to this. State disagrees.”