303. Telegram From the Embassy in Germany to the Department of State1

1962. Paris for Stoessel, info copies for Embassy, USRO and McGuire. Paris’ 3901 to Dept.2 At request British Ambassador (who had left Bonn for brief holiday) we met Feb 19 with British and French, to consider British Embassy recommendation that before Norstad institutes new measures in response to Soviet action re air corridors Allied Missions in Bonn and Berlin if possible be given opportunity to comment. British proposed tripartite recommendation to Live Oak, referring specifically to introduction last week of civilian aircraft, flying at prohibited altitudes and carrying no passengers, and expressed opinion that this Live Oak action of questionable wisdom, in view likely adverse effect on morale of both Berlin population and air travelers.

I informed British Embassy this morning that I could not agree to transmission of tripartite recommendations, on grounds that Norstad’s ability to take action in accordance with existing Live Oak plans, particularly at this time when quick responses are so important, should not be undermined by requesting him to submit proposed action to Allied Missions in Germany for comment. I informed British that, while they are of course free to take this up at governmental level, presumably in Ambassadorial Group Washington, I would not be party to such recommendation from here, since I believed it would make effective Allied operations re air corridor even more difficult than they already are.

Our views also conveyed to French Embassy who, at yesterday’s meeting, did not appear to have strong views either way re making above recommendation to Norstad.

Against background of what we already know of Ambassador Steel’s opposition to introduction of Cloud Caper, together with other divergencies between US and British thinking on current air corridor problems, I cannot help suspecting that this gambit by Steel is aimed at providing additional British veto over Live Oak operations.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 962.72/2-2062. Secret; Limit Distribution. Received at 2:44 p.m. Also sent to Paris and repeated to London and Berlin.
  2. See footnote 1, Document 297.