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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

Remarks at news conference by Secretary of State Dulles, on Berlin, November 26, 1958 [extracts],   pp. 312-317 PDF (2.7 MB)

Page 315

-from the East German Foreign Office in order to allow the traffic to
A. I think it would be unwise for me to try to give categorical
answers to very particular illustrations, because, obviously, this is
a situation to be dealt with upon a tripartite or quadripartite basis.
I think I had better just stand on the proposition that in my opinion
it is the combined judgment of all four of us that nothing should be
done which would seem to give the GDR an authority and responsibil-
ity to deal with the matters as-to which the Soviet Union has explicitly
assumed an obligation to us and a responsibility to us.
Q. Mr. Secretary, the Mayor of West -Berlin said today that this
crisis might provide an opportunity for a new discussion with the
Soviets on German and European security questions. Sir, do you
see any possibility of renewing that discussion in view of the past
,deadlock, and are there any new thoughts here on tying the Russian
idea of negotiating a peace treaty with German unification?
A. I would Ihardly think that the present mood of the Soviet Union
makes this a propitious time for such a negotiation. Actually, of
,course, we would in these matters be largely guided by the views of the
Federal Republic of Germany, which is primarily concerned, and
which has a government with which we have the closest relations,
and in which we have the greatest confidence. Their views in these
matters would carry weight with us. I have had no intimation of
this kind from the Government of the Federal Republic.
*       *        *       *       *        *       *
Q. Mr. Secretary, last week late there was considerable evidence
that on Saturday the Soviet Government would make its promised
proposals about the status in Berlin and perhaps East Germany. The
Soviet Government did not do so. Do you have any intimation as to
how quickly it may act in this matter or why it did not act on
A. Well, somebody suggested to me that perhaps Mr. Khrushchev
had submitted his ideas to his legal advisers and that they had raised
some questions which had caused a pause. Because the fact of the
matter is that it seemed as though Mr. Khrushchev had spoken initially
without the benefit of legal advice which is, of course, a very bad
-thing to do [laughter] that he had based his case upon alleged breaches
of the Potsdam Agreement.
Now, the rights and status of the allies in Berlin and the responsi-
bilities and obligations of the Soviet Union do not in any way what-
soever derive from the Potsdam Agreements. Indeed that subject is,
I am told by my own legal adviser, not even mentioned in the Potsdam
Agreements. Therefore to say that because the Potsdam Agreements
have been violated the Soviet Union is relieved of obligations which
it assumed explicitly some four years later seems to be a non sequitur,
-to put it mildly. Perhaps in order to present a better case, indeed
to see whether they had any case at all, the matter is being reviewed.
**      .    *       *        *       *        *
Q. Mr. Secretary, to return to the Berlin question for a moment,
there have been a number of reports while you were away that the
'United States and the allies rather than accept dealing with the East
'Germans might resort to another airlift to supply the city. Is this

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