37. Memorandum From Henry Owen of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1

I agree that taking a philosophic view of the peace treaty will trouble the West Germans.
On the other hand: The West Germans will be even more troubled if we keep on building up the peace treaty as a big issue, and then it happens—as it will—despite our protests.
Which is worse—
Bothering the Germans now by putting main emphasis on access, rather than the peace treaty?
Bothering them a lot more in six months, by huffing and puffing about the treaty until it occurs—and then laughing it off (which is all we’ll be able to do)?
I would suggest placing increasing stress on these points (which are not new), in our public posture:
A peace treaty would have no validity; it would change nothing as far as Western rights are concerned.
Access is a critical issue. The U.S. must stand firm on this issue if it is to fulfill its obligations to the people of Berlin.
An additional consideration: World opinion will understand the issue of keeping the traffic moving to Berlin; the Soviets lost propaganda-wise from the last blockade. World opinion will not get excited about the treaty issue.
Henry Owen2
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Staff Memoranda, Henry Owen. Secret.
  2. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.