83. Editorial Note

On July 27, 1961, the President’s Military Representative, General Taylor, sent a memorandum on Berlin to President Kennedy and Secretary of Defense McNamara. Entitled “Considerations of the Desirability of New Berlin Airlift” and dated July 27, the memorandum examined the pros and cons of both civilian and military airlifts to Berlin, and concluded that the latter could not be mounted quickly enough for increased [Page 231] support for the Berlin garrison and, for this reason, could be dropped from further discussion. Taylor believed that a civilian airlift should be undertaken only “with the utmost reluctance, and only for compelling reasons at the time of decision. An airlift is something like artificial respiration for West Berlin and should not be applied to the patient unless he is in extremis and no better method of treatment is available.” For text of the memorandum, see Declassified Documents, 1978, 68A.