230. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Kennedy 0


  • Agenda for Meeting on Berlin (Military Convoys) at 5 PM Today
Soviet intentions in autobahn incidents of last week. (John McCone is prepared to lead off.)
Notifying the Soviets of our procedures. (Secretary Ball will lead off.) [Page 614]
There is a consensus that the Soviets ought to be notified. Only General Lemnitzer disagrees.
The proposal is that notification should take the form of a letter from General Freeman, USAREUR, to his Soviet counterpart. A copy of such a letter is attached as Tab A.1
There is agreement that this step should be supplemented by a meeting between theSecretary of State (or Ambassador Thompson) and Dobrynin informing the Soviet Ambassadorof the Freeman letter and stressing the seriousness with which we view the autobahn incidents of last week. My own view is that this one should be done first, to give the Soviet political leadership control of the matter from the start. You may not want to decide this until Thompson returns from Turkey. (He’ll be back later tonight.)
Scheduling future convoys. (Bob McNamara or General Taylor will lead.)
There is State-DOD agreement that a non-dismount convoy should be run lest the option for such convoy be lost by disuse.
The next non-dismount convoy is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 25. This probably will not run on schedule. The consensus is that this convoy should go after the Soviets are notified. A proposed timetable for notifying the Soviets and running the next convoy is attached as Tab B.

Note: At this juncture, the British are prepared to go along with our notification procedure. The French do not agree but will not obstruct notification.

McG. B.
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Germany, Berlin, Convoy Procedures. Secret.
  2. Neither Tab A nor Tab B was attached to the source text, but copies of the letter and the timetable (scenario) are attached to a memorandum from Tyler to Rusk, October 21, which outlines the questions to be covered during the meeting with the President, and concludes that the United States should be under no illusion that harmonizing procedures and explaining them to the Soviet Union would avoid future incidents. It would, however, maximize Allied unity on access and put the West in the best public relations posture. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 38–10)