260. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State1

3651. Subj: GDR interference with Berlin access. Ref: Bonn 11202.2 While I am quite prepared to wade in with the Soviets here on GDR interference with Berlin access, it seems to me this should be last step and not [Page 661] the first, since this involves serious confrontation of two great powers and directly engages Soviet prestige. It seems to me it is typical of Federal Republic always to expect us to take action while such matters as interzonal trade are kept sacrosanct. If we are to be successful in facing down East Germans on this issue, we must find some means of retaliation which really hurts them. While restriction on TTDs is useful, I doubt that this is enough unless we stop issuing any until this issue is resolved. As minimum I should think that before any action taken here, we should have firm agreement on what our next step should be if Soviets ignore our protest. We have a certain amount of capital here but constant tendency to run to Soviets on every issue diminishes effectiveness of each subsequent démarche. I would therefore urge that Federal Republic be made to face up to this issue. I strongly suspect that Soviets tend to ride with punch under pressure from East Germans unless or until Federal Republic and Allies show that East German action is not in interest of Eastern powers.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files,POL 28 GER B. Confidential. Repeated to Bonn, London, Paris, USNATO, Berlin, USAREUR, EUCOM, and USELMLO.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 259.
  3. In telegram 153417, April 26, the Department of State indicated its preference for avoiding further public statements on the issues and for a “quiet approach” to Moscow. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 28 GER B) In telegram 156717, May 2, the Department of State outlined plans for calling in Ambassador Dobrynin for a discussion of Berlin-related issues with Secretary Rusk. (Ibid.)