113. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Germany1

356. Paris pass USRO. Following based on uncleared memorandum:2

Quadripartite meeting this afternoon considered subject of counter-measures.

Ambassador Grewe said he had instructions press for suspension of issuance TTD. He argued that this would keep retaliation in the same general domain and would only hurt favorites of East German regime. French representative said that to take no counter-measures might create wrong impression but added we should not go too far since there was danger of escalation. For example, economic measures at this step might lead to Berlin blockade, thus not advisable. French government in principle favored cutting off issuance TTD completely then perhaps making exceptions later on. French were interested in idea of closing down ATO. We must avoid creating impression that we are closing last loop hole for East Germany. (Grewe pointed out TTD’s needed only for persons going outside Germany.) French representative stated his government might consider dragging out current bilateral negotiations with Warsaw Pact countries. In general, they did not believe there [Page 338] should be major retaliatory measures on basis these East German measures. They liked British propaganda paper3 and would make use of it.

British representative spoke against adopting TTD approach as retaliatory measure. Situation not analogous to last September since there has been no interference with Western access and since TTD action cannot this time lead to successful result. Thus ban would be permanent. There is danger that it would lead to countermeasures of same nature as last fall, that East Berlin would be sealed off completely and that IZT would be denounced. After all, British representative argued, major objective is to arrive at arrangements to insure freedom of West Berlin. What can we do in political field to achieve this objective? British had thought of taking advantage delivery protest note to Moscow to include proposals for opening negotiations.4 Time too short now for this, but perhaps idea should be pursued in connection with proposed reply to latest Soviet note on Berlin. Perhaps we should make a definite proposal for a plebiscite based on principle of self-determination.

Kohler referred to U.S. cabinet level consultations today5 and outlined U.S. thinking on inadequacy of TTD measure and need for more effective steps as already reported in separate cable covering meeting of Inter-Departmental Coordinating Group on Germany and Berlin (ICG) today.6 He specifically mentioned possibility of increasing Allied military patrol activity in Soviet sector; possibility of increasing size of Allied military garrisons in West Berlin; and drastic speed up of planned NATO military build up and announcements connected therewith. He also suggested that Chancellor Adenauer might now wish to announce some German military plans before September 17 and take steps to call the Bundestag in session with a view to extending term of conscription in German army. Further, would it be possible for the French to announce the return from Algeria of a second division? He said that U.S., which was well along in carrying out military buildup, might make some supplementary announcements.

British representative said he would ask for instructions. Ambassador Grewe said that speaking personally this line of U.S. thinking appealed to him and that he would report it to Bonn. He indicated that action on TTD’s could be viewed as minimum measure and that he [Page 339] thought that suspension of issuance TTD’s would not be as ineffective as we think. He also alluded to recommendations of Berlin Senat as to local countermeasures. Kohler said that as reported to us these measures would probably give U.S. no great trouble, and U.K. representative said his government had already given green light to their representative in Berlin. French representative had no instructions.

Kohler concluded meeting with statement making clear that strengthening of Berlin garrison was not yet a U.S. government decision but only a proposal for consideration. It obviously served no military purpose as such. If we are to do this, however, parallel action by British and French obviously desirable and would therefore appreciate their views as well as those of Federal Republic.

Next quadripartite meeting scheduled take place morning August 16th.7

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 862.181/8-1561. Secret; Priority; Limited Distribution. Drafted by Thurston (S/O) and cleared by Cash. Also sent to London, Paris, and Berlin.
  2. Not found. Presumably this is the meeting described in Cates, The Ides of August, pp. 376-377, although Rusk’s Appointment Book does not record the meeting with Grewe referred to by Cates. (Johnson Library)
  3. Presumably the paper noted in numbered paragraph 5 of Document 107.
  4. In addition to countermeasures the Ambassadorial Group also discussed and agreed on the text of a protest note to the Soviet Government, which would be delivered in Moscow on August 17. (Telegram 438 to Moscow, August 15; Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/8-1561) For text of this note as delivered, see Documents on Germany, 1944-1985, pp. 777-778.
  5. See Document 111.
  6. See footnote 1, Document 112.
  7. At this meeting the Ambassadorial Group discussed the timing of negotiations with the Soviet Union, the drafting of instructions for General Norstad, economic countermeasures, and the importance of information and propaganda activities. The Department of State summarized the discussion in telegram 452 to Moscow, August 16. (Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/8-1661)