167. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission at Berlin 1

460. Bonn for Ambassador. For Clay from Rusk. Ref: Berlin’s 601.2 I have carefully considered points you make in your message. With regard non-vital interests, I agree that we should take whatever measures are feasible, short of use of force, to check encroachments on them. I agree too that we cannot in such cases operate on the premise that any Allied reaction will necessarily escalate to the point where war is possible. This is an area in which no single operating principle can be used for all cases. Each encroachment must be dealt with in manner that puts pressure on Soviets/GDR to maximum degree possible without, in circumstances, involving real danger unacceptable escalation.

We are alive to problems presented by GDR harassment at crossing point and on autobahn. Latter particularly disturbing since touches Allied vital interest, and manner dealing with possible pattern such encroachments being considered in Quadripartite contingency planning. We shall look to you and our Mission in Berlin to detect any such pattern as it begins to emerge. We shall also welcome any suggestions for particular measures to forestall or retaliate for harassment.

With respect transfer Soviet rights to East German Government, (I assume you refer specifically to transfer by Soviets to GDR personnel of checkpoint operations involving Allied access) I entirely agree our willingness ultimately accept such transfer under specified conditions should not govern our actions now. Indeed, we should make every effort mask what is in effect our fall-back position on this point, and should not acquiesce in increase East German police authority beyond that already exercised until transfer actually occurs.

I shall keep in mind, in any further talks with Gromyko, your suggestion for raising with him the maintenance of normal access conditions.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/9-2661. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted on October 2 by Day, cleared by Kohler and Hillenbrand, and approved by Rusk. Repeated to Bonn.
  2. Document 159.