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Documents on Germany, 1944-1959: background documents on Germany, 1944-1959, and a chronology of political developments affecting Berlin, 1945-1956

Note from the Soviet Foreign Ministry to the American Ambassador at Moscow (Thompson), regarding Berlin, November 27, 1958,   pp. 317-331 PDF (7.1 MB)

Page 317

tion at the present time would be not la purpose to drive us out of
Berlin or to obstruct access to Berlin but to try to compel an increased
recognition and the according of increased stature to the GDR.
Q. Mr. Secretary, the last time this issue was up, without giving
up any of our rights, we did restrain ourselves from going forward on
the ground even though General Clay at that time favored such a
policy. And am I right in understanding you are now saying that
we would go forward on the ground if we were blocked?
A. I'd rather put it this way, that nothing that has been said or
intimated indicates that that issue will arise. We do not intend to
waive, either in fact or in law, any of the rights which we have. But
I prefer not to speak in terms of a military threat, you might say,
in relation to a situation which we have no reason to believe will occur.
Q. Mr. Secretary, supposing that the question of a blockade did
not come up but the East Germans insisted upon being dealt with
as an independent nation rather than as agents of the Soviet Union,
would we still insist upon using the three routes?
A. I really think that I have clarified our position on these matters
as far as it is useful for me to try to do it at this time, bearing in mind
this is a tripartite or quadripartite matter. While I can state and
have stated the common principles that are held and upon which we
stand, I don't think it's wise for me to try, just on behalf of one of
the four countries involved, to be more particular.
Q. Can I ask the question, Mr. Secretary, have we ruled out the
possibility of using force to back up our rights to unimpeded access
to Berlin should the East Germans seek to stop us?
A. We have not ruled out any of our rights at all. All I have
said is that nothing that was said, which Khruschchev or anybody
else in recent weeks has said, suggests that there is now any purpose
on the part of either the Soviet Union or the GDR to impede or
obstruct our access by the various media that are available to us to
and from Berlin. Therefore, it seems to me that the question as to
whether if they did it we would use force is an academic proposition
because, as I say, nothing has happened to indicate that there is any
present intention on their part to do that.
*        *         *        *        *        *        *
Note From the Soviet Foreign Ministry to the American Ambas-
sador at Moscow (Thompson), Regarding Berlin, November 27,
[Official translation]
The Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ad-
dresses the Government of the United States of America as one of
the signatory powers of the Potsdam Agreement on the urgent ques-
tion of the status of Berlin.
The problem of Berlin, which is situated in the center of the
German Democratic Republic but the western part of which is cut
off from the GDR as a result of foreign occupation, deeply affects
1 Department of State Bulletin, January 19, 1959, pp. 81-89. Similar notes
were deliv-
ered to the Ambassadors of the United Kingdom, France, and the Federal Republic
Germany. The United States replied on December 31 (infra).

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