166. Editorial Note

General Lauris Norstad returned to Washington October 2-3, 1961, for consultations on Berlin and NATO. In a meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff the morning of October 2 Norstad stressed the need for a statement of policy on Berlin which would show the Allies exactly where the United States stood. In an afternoon session, which included Secretary of Defense McNamara, Norstad suggested that the Oder-Neisse line, Berlin as a capital for West Germany, access procedures, and control and inspection areas were all points that might be negotiable regarding Berlin. (Draft Memorandum for the Record, October 6; Eisenhower Library, Norstad Papers, Subject File)

On October 3 McGeorge Bundy, in a memorandum to the President, outlined the points which he should raise with Norstad including what military actions should be taken if access were blocked and how to get the Allies to share political risks and responsibilities for Berlin. (Memorandum for the President, October 3; Kennedy Library, President’s Office Files, Norstad Meetings)

At 4:30 p.m. on October 3 the President, the Secretaries of State and Defense, Taylor, Bundy, Lemnitzer, Dulles, Nitze, and Kohler met with Norstad for an hour for a wide-ranging discussion of NATO and Berlin. The President asked Norstad several questions about the escalation of military responses to the closing of access to Berlin, the need for additional conventional forces in Europe, and the state of contingency planning. Norstad responded that no one response fit every situation, that he wanted three divisions ready in 10-14 days, and admitted that there were no contingency plans that had been agreed with the Allies. Bundy’s memorandum of this meeting is ibid.; a shorter record by Taylor with the discussion arranged by topic is in the National Defense University, Taylor Papers, Box 37, 109 Norstad. Lemnitzer’s handwritten notes on the meeting are ibid., Lemnitzer Papers, Box 29.

At 6:20 p.m. on October 4 Rusk, McNamara, Nitze, Bundy, Kohler, and Taylor met at the Department of State to assess the meetings with Norstad. In Taylor’s summary of the discussion, he stressed the need for the Departments of State and Defense to submit a paper to the President stating what the best courses of action would be “in response to broad contingencies of harassment within Berlin, interference with ground access, interference with air access, and any other broad contingencies which could arise” from the derogation of vital U.S. interests in Berlin. (Talking Paper, October 4; ibid., Taylor Papers, Box 34, Berlin Planning)