290. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Rusk and the President’s Special Representative in Berlin (Clay)1


  • Air Access to Berlin

General Clay opened by reporting to the Secretary the Soviet notice in Basc reserving the south corridor from 0900 to 1315 up to 7500 feet on February 15.

After pointing out to General Clay that contingency plans existed which were the basis on which General Norstad had to act, the Secretary asked General Clay for his specific recommendations. General Clay replied that he thought tomorrow there should be four military transport flights laid on instead of two and that at least two of these should be escorted by fighters.2

Referring again to the tripartitely approved contingency planning, the Secretary asked General Clay whether he had checked his suggestion with General Norstad. The Secretary received no clear reply to this point but then went on to point out that since this was a tripartite matter he could not as he did the other day give an immediate response to General Clay.3

General Clay then expressed his serious concern that this series of actions on the part of the Soviets threatened to erode access, making the [Page 812] point that while the civil airlines were still flying above the reserved altitudes, passengers were becoming increasingly apprehensive about taking them. The Secretary told General Clay that we appreciated and shared his worries on this and informed him of the tripartite démarche being made direct to Moscow.

In conclusion the Secretary assured General Clay that we would consider urgently how we could bring an end to these Soviet moves or alternatively how we could demonstrate to them that this was not a useful procedure.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/2-1462. Confidential. Drafted and initialed by Kohler and approved in S. Secretary Rusk was in Washington; General Clay was in Berlin. Attached to the source text was a 2-page transcript of the conversation.
  2. Clay also made this recommendation in telegram 1513 from Berlin, February 14, received at 5:49 a.m. (Ibid., 962.72/2-1462) Ambassador Dowling seconded his proposal. (Telegram 1895 from Bonn, February 14, received at 2:11 p.m.; ibid., 762.00/2-1462)
  3. See Document 281.