112. Memorandum From Colonel Lawrence J. Legere to the President’s Military Representative (Taylor)1


  • Meeting of Interdepartmental Coordinating Group on Berlin and Germany, 15 August 19612

1. Mr. Kohler ran down five tasks he felt were now imposed on the Group. In order, with the action taken at the meeting, they were:

a. Revision of Live Oak Directive.

The first point made was that the Nitze-Gray paper on military measures was a “non-committed U.S. paper”, not a firm U.S. position. JCS have used it, however, in drafting a new proposed directive for the Live Oak planners.3 General Gray had a few copies of a preliminary draft at the meeting, but I was unable to latch onto one. Toward the end of the week, the Ambassadorial Group will consider the question of furnishing the directive to General Norstad, for passing on to the Live Oak staff. General Gray told me that the airlift-before-everything feature of the original paper no longer appears, you will be happy to learn.

Comment. Seems on the track. Probably no objection to the Ambassadorial Group acting on the directive, since (a) it will have been written by U.S. military, (b) it will have to be referred to governments anyway, and (c) it is only a directive to engage in planning, so governments should approve if they have any courage at all on the Berlin question.

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b. Revision of Contingency Procedures.

Rather sketchily covered, since Kohler only mentioned a revised proposed note to the Soviets and a revised proposed public announcement, for use when our access is blocked. No down-to-earth substance on “Modalities of access”.

c. Answer to Soviet Aide-Mémoire.

Agreed it was too early to devote much time to this requirement within the Interdepartmental Group (I suppose they meant that State was or would be working on it first).

d. NATO Action.

(1) Military Build-up

Defense agreed to prepare a “quickie” paper in general terms setting forth what extra effort by individual NATO countries the U.S. considered appropriate at this time. Ambassador Finletter has asked for such a paper for his use, and it was agreed to furnish copies for use wherever U.S. officials get asked questions by officials of NATO countries on the build-up.

(2) Economic Countermeasures

The U.S. is in good shape to lay some on when the occasion requires it (according to Undersecretary of the Treasury Fowler)—i.e., the legal angles are under control. Agreed that Treasury would prepare a paper, which could be furnished to our NATO friends (and maybe to some outraged neutrals), outlining some ways to pick one’s path through legal-fiscal jungles in matters of this sort.

e. Travel Restrictions in Berlin.

The following ideas were advanced and handled as indicated, the point being Berliners’ morale:

(1) Stop shipment of military dependents to Europe.

Shot down as completely counterproductive in the matter of the Berliners’ morale.

(2) Increase the strength of the Berlin garrisons.

Deployment of large numbers of VOPO’s and other uniformed East Germans could furnish reasonable military foundation for this move. No decision, but the Group rather liked this.

(3) Increase Allied “patrols” in East Berlin.

These “patrols” are composed of two or three official cars with officers and enlisted men, which cruise around East Berlin. U.S. has been doing it for several years, but no one knew if U.K. and French had. The Group really liked this one, which they thought would help underline the legal freedom of passage within the whole city, but I am not sure it would significantly raise the Berliners’ morale.

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(4) Have a prominent, national-level figure visit Berlin right away.

The Vice-President was prominently mentioned. I felt an urge to nominate you, but was able to suppress it, since the matter had not been raised with you even remotely. The Group liked the idea, and liked the V.P. for the candidate.

  1. Source: National Defense University, Taylor Papers, Box 34, Interdepartmental Steering Group. No classification marking.
  2. A summary of the discussion at this meeting was transmitted to Bonn in telegram 354, August 15, which stated that the consideration of countermeasures revealed that most of them were small and relatively ineffective. But the Coordinating Group agreed that something more than protest needed to be done both to bolster West Berlin morale and to prevent the Soviet Union and East Germany from drawing the conclusion that the West was weak. (Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/8-1561)
  3. Neither the paper nor the draft directive has been further identified, but Legere later commented that the proposed directive was “an affront to any reader with the slightest respect for plain logic,” and that it was completely revised by ISA on August 17. (Notes attached to a memorandum to Taylor, June 30, 1969; National Defense University, Taylor Papers, Box 34, Middle of 1961/Legere) The revised paper was formalized on August 17 as JCSM 558-61, “Draft Instructions to the Military Authorities of France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.” (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, JCS Records)