195. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Austria0
Washington, June 22, 1963, 1:48 p.m.
3228. Paris also pass USRO. Reference: Bonn 3540 and 3545.1 Subject: Air Access to Berlin.
- Although picture is still somewhat murky, it appears to us that potentially serious threat to Allied air access may be on horizon.
- As we understand situation, following are basic facts:
- Regular GDR air service to Vienna from Schoenefeld has been initiated, with support of Austrian government.
- There has also been some discussion of establishing direct Austrian air service between Vienna and Tempelhof, with aircraft overflying GDR outside Allied air corridors. (Although it is still not entirely clear who said what to whom on this subject, it would appear that West Berlin authorities, as well as Austrians and Soviets, have expressed interest in this. We apparently do not know attitude of GDR authorities.)
- In this situation, our primary objective is to avoid any dilution of Allied rights of air access to Berlin. We believe that a process of dilution could be begun, if aircraft are allowed to land at West Berlin airfields which do not use air corridors. Furthermore, to allow Austrian airlines to land at Tempelhof under agreement with GDR would begin process [Page 528] of intermingling Allied and GDR aviation arrangements, which would advance Soviet/GDR objective of obscuring our rights of air access.
- With regard to Schoenefeld-Vienna air service, we are prepared to support FRG effort to get Austrians to withdraw from agreement. We are in principle opposed to any step which builds up Schoenefeld as a rival to Tempelhof and lends support to GDR campaign to convince public that Tempelhof unsafe and Schoenefeld offers superior facilities. Furthermore, if Austrian arrangement (which is first time GDR has obtained traffic rights in non-bloc country on regular basis) allowed to stand, other Western airlines will be encouraged to follow suit, thus enhancing status GDR. (On other hand, in order to be consistent with paragraph 3 above, we have regretfully concluded that we would rather see any Western flights outside air corridors land at Schoenefeld than Tempelhof, if we are unable to discourage their taking place.)
- In any discussion with Berlin authorities of use of Tempelhof by aircraft not using corridors or flying under arrangements with GDR, it should be made clear that we could not accept this. US has undertaken extensive commitments to maintain air access to Berlin and cannot permit its rights to be obscured in order to make travel more convenient for a relatively small number of air travelers. Allied air access is so important to viability Berlin that neither we nor Berliners can afford to expose it to unnecessary risks because of differences regarding air fares.
- Vienna is authorized to work out with French, British and German Embassies best way to support German effort get Austrians end flights.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 38–9. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Ausland on June 21; cleared by Creel, Davis, Thompson, AV, Department of Defense (ISA), and JCS; and approved and initialed by Rusk. Also sent to Bonn and repeated to Berlin, Paris, London, Moscow, SHAPE, U.S. Element Live Oak, CINCEUR, USAREUR, and USAFE.↩
- Telegrams 3540 and 3545, both dated June 20, discussed various aspects of East German air service to Vienna from Schoenefeld Airport and the opening of a new crossing point in Berlin at the Waltersdorfer Chausee to enable passengers to get to Schoenefeld. (Ibid., POL 38–6 and AV 9 AUS–E GER) In a June 20 memorandum to Bundy, Klein pointed out that the Allies might find themselves in the anomalous position of wanting to close a hole in the wall that the East Germans had opened because it was not open to all Germans and because it threatened Allied access rights. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Germany, Berlin)↩