37. Memorandum From Henry Owen of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1
Washington, June 9, 1961.
- 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.