307. Telegram From the Mission at Berlin to the Department of State1

1625. Bonn for Ambassador. From Clay for Rusk. Ref Deptel 1099 Berlin, 2340 Bonn.2 I had not intended to make any further comment on the air corridors as I have already placed my views on record. However, we did not refuse to give further information to Soviet controller until the Secretary of State personally approved a policy not to give information which had not been required in the past. To yield now after refusing to do so is just another step in the long series of concessions which have placed us in our present position. For years, we have done this in the [Page 844] interest of Allied unity, never obtainable except at the lowest common denominator. Perhaps I am influenced because these are the air corridors which have carried as many as 1200 flights in a day for us. These are the air corridors where for years we flew armed aircraft at will, something we have not done in so long that we even think ourselves that to do so now is provocative; a corridor in which again because of Allied unity we have accepted in fact if not in principle a 10,000 foot ceiling. Of course this is a minor concession. However, is there anyone who really believes that the Soviets will not move further in attempting to control the corridors and that even a minor concession now will not lead to further demands? They will claim to have established their right to know when we enter GDR territory if we give our flight time over the last beacon prior to entering this territory, and we may be sure it will be so publicized. Moreover it is a concession which we would make without anything in return. Allied unity is desirable, but not always at the lowest common denominator.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 962.72/2-2862. Secret; Priority. Received at 4:09 p.m. Repeated to Bonn.
  2. Telegram 1099 to Berlin, February 23, reported that the British had declined a U.S. request to bring certain air corridor practices into line with U.S. practices, and had in turn asked the United States to change its practices. (Ibid., 862.72/2-2862)