222. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union 0

1160. Eyes only for Kohler from Secretary. I am puzzled by the timing and motivation of Soviet action in convoy holdup on autobahn. Following possibilities occur to me:

That we are heading for a major crisis and that Soviet efforts in recent months were part of a huge deception effort.
That there has been a split in the regime in Moscow.
That Khrushchev, beset with other difficulties, has felt it necessary to demonstrate a forceful policy in a manner which he did not consider too dangerous, and
That Soviet military in Germany are trying to precipitate difficulties for one reason or another, such as preventing possible cutback in Soviet military.

Suggest you be alert to report promptly any signs that may develop in Moscow which would throw light on this problem and let me have any thoughts you have on the subject.

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Germany, Berlin Convoy Incidents. Top Secret; Immediate. Drafted by Thompson and approved by Rusk. Repeated electronically to the White House.