124. Record of Meeting of Secretary of State Rusk, Secretary of Defense McNamara, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff1

Sec State

Does not expect USSR to change schedule.
Ger considering moving elections from 17 to 10 Sept.
Expects USSR action prior to Party Congress—prob about 1 Oct.

K proposals for (a) peace treaty with Germany (b) free city of Berlin, etc.

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Not acceptable to US

US Counter proposal—unified Berlin—Germany on basis of self determination

K will probably not accept. He says E Berlin is capital of E Germany.

Prob several days of discussion.
We must look at what vital issues are: Rights in Berlin—access also. Rights of Berliners. These are the vital issues (legal also). Sec State considers it crucial this time. Not like previously—this is it. Sino-Soviet Bloc has improved its position. Is ready to make major efforts in LA, ME & Asia & Africa. Is ready to challenge US & NATO, SEATO & CENTO.
Oslo meeting—disappointing NATO response re African & other probs.
If we get kicked out of Berlin—enormous emphasis [prestige?] to Commie bloc—our allies will seek adjustment with USSR.
Berlin could result in: a. Status quo—Sec State believes it unlikely to improve status quo. Soviets have [are?] not in habit of giving.
Can USSR improve their status quo—we cannot stop peace treaty. If West Germans could improve their rel with E Germany—more likely E & W could work out a reunification.
Hope other countries will not recognize E Ger—in case of a peace treaty.
What happens after treaty remains to be seen—K could reserve tripartite rights in Berlin. K could agree to permit E & W Germany to live side-by-side.
We would not be prepared to renegotiate our rights with E Germans. A clear title on our rights cannot be transferred by K to E Germans.
The may become crisis—E Ger could bar our access to Berlin.
Sec State rec. ascending intensity of actions. If battle group was stopped, we could have started airlift. We would propose UN action, economic actions, blockade, etc. while we built up mil. preparations.
We would need time to justify mil moves. Most difficult to decide is whether initiation of conventional action can be maintained for any period.
We must let K know we are ready to move into nuc. war.
Mil actions best—pressures in Germany itself. Sec State recognizes it could move rapidly into nuclear war.
We cannot accept loss of Berlin or surrender.
Br & Fr agree to our def of vital interests. UK may be willing to renegotiate rights. de Gaulle—we are there—rights are non-neg. Germans—might be willing to add.
West has not encouraged refugees. West does not want to de-Germanize E Germany. Our interests would be with refugees not leaving E Ger.
Not much help from neutrals (Nehru) at least until shooting starts. They know USSR committed to world rev & they may be next. Their ability to be neutral depends on E-W struggle.

My Questions

UK—merely building to where they should be now. Fr—if necessary they might consider evac of Algeria. West Europe more for political rather than mil action. Germans want to wait until after election. UK ready to re-call Parliament in order to call up more forces—more ready reserves on continent.
1st neg. with Russians could take place in early Oct.
Discussed UN going to Berlin.
Govts of West Europe will not be ready to go from small mobile probe to nuc war. Only as last resort.
Govts have got to be able to assure that everything has been done—only resort is nuc. war. Nitze’s point—re Germans.
Sec State wants to give more thought to channeling instructions to commdrs.
  1. Source: National Defense University, Lemnitzer Papers, Box 29, L-216-71. Top Secret. The source text is Lemnitzer’s handwritten notes.