285. Message From the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (Norstad) to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Lemnitzer)1

The following message is being dispatched by normal means to several addressees, including the USJCS; however, I am sending this by special means so that you will have this as early as possible.

[Page 801]

“From General Norstad.

  • “1. In spite of statements of the Soviet Controller in the Berlin Air Safety Center on the evening of 7 Feb concerning Soviet use of the southern corridor, a.m. 8 Feb, normal civil air schedules were maintained on that date and in that corridor, with 20 flights into Berlin and 19 out. US military transports flew 8 flights in and 9 out. The operations were uneventful, neither civil nor military aircraft meeting with any interference.
  • “2. Today, 9 Feb, a total of 19 civil flights in and 20 out are scheduled in the northern and central corridors during the critical period 0750Z to 1150Z and, in addition, the US and UK are each flying a total of 3 military flights in and 3 out over these same corridors.
  • “3. Up to the time this message is dispatched the Soviet action has not stopped nor inconvenienced movement of either civil or military transports. It is possible, however, that the Soviet action over the last two days is only preliminary to more positive measures on their part which would actually interfere with our rights of air access, particularly the movement of civil air transport. If this should happen it is essential that our plans permit us to counteract promptly and effectively.
  • “4. Should the Soviets declare intentions which would lead to interference or significant inconvenience to normal Allied civil air schedules (for example, if by declarations similar to those made on the 7th and 8th of Feb, they should attempt to restrict the entire air space below 10,000 feet or to limit operations to such a narrow band that it would become impracticable for civil air to carry out their normal functions in a normal manner), I propose to take the following action:
    To direct military air transports to fly in the corridors concerned at the critical altitudes and the critical times in accordance with the general practice of the 8th and 9th of Feb.
    To arrange for the execution of that part of the Jack Pine plan which calls for civil air transport with military crews (military-sponsored air service) also to fly in the corridors concerned at the critical altitudes and at the critical times, but initially without passengers.
    To encourage normal civil air schedules to fly at altitudes between 10,000 ft and 25,000 ft. If this is unacceptable to any civil airline, to arrange for military crews to fly civil aircraft at these altitudes, initially without passengers.
    To direct a limited number of military transports to fly in the corridors concerned at altitudes above 10,000 feet.
  • “5. Action taken under par 4 above would be carried out strictly in accordance with established procedures except that flight plans covering the initial flights in each category will be submitted to BASC a minimum of two hours before each flight in order to insure complete awareness on the part of the Soviets of our intentions. To the extent practicable other flight plans will also be filed two hours in advance.
  • “6. Under the circumstances considered in this message, I would maintain an increased number of fighters on ground alert. In the event that these fighters must be employed as contemplated in Jack Pine plan, they would be under the control of the Jack Pine Command Post and the recently revised Jack Pine air-to-air rules of engagement would apply.”2
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Norstad Papers, Policy File, Berlin-Live Oak, 1962. Secret. A notation on the source text indicates that Stoessel and Generals Baker and Moore “assisted in drafting.”
  2. On February 10 the Washington Ambassadorial Group considered Norstad’s recommendations and approved a and b as within authority already delegated to him. While the U.S. and German representatives supported c and d, as did the French if the Soviets precluded flights below 10,000 feet, the British were unwilling to delegate authority for flights over 10,000 feet merely on the basis of a Soviet declaration of flights in the corridors. (Telegram 4328 to Paris; Department of State, Central Files, 962.72/2-962)