123. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Johnson1


  • East German Helicopter Flights—A Report
We have reviewed this problem further and are now seeking Allied and German agreement to the following guidelines:
By a series of graduated steps to bring about cessation of East German helicopter flights over West Berlin.
So long as East German helicopters do not overfly West Berlin and do not constitute safety hazard to Allied air access to Berlin, we will not take direct action to prevent such flights.
We shall continue to protest in all cases East German helicopter flights as violations of quadripartite agreements, and to seek practical means short of use of force to discourage them.
We retain right to fly US helicopters over East Berlin when we so desire.
We do not believe US helicopter flights should be equated with East German helicopter flights.
We distinguish flights over West Berlin from those over East Berlin on the same practical ground that has governed our Berlin policy for many years: namely, that we have power in West Berlin but none in East Berlin. We lodge regular protests over what the Soviets and the East Germans do in East Berlin when it violates quadripartite agreements, but we do not use force on the far side of the wall.
We are asking our people in Bonn and Berlin, and Lemnitzer’s people, for recommendations on the ways and means of stopping any further helicopter flights over West Berlin. We will then try to get British and French agreement on these specific measures.
This matter is politically urgent because of the German election and the sensitivities of Brandt and Erhard. But there have not been new violations of West Berlin air space in recent days, so that its military urgency is not so high for the moment.
McG. B.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, vol. 11. Secret. The source text is annotated with an “L,” indicating that the President saw the memorandum.