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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 316

316           DOCUMENTS ON GERMANY     1944-59
being considered or is our policy essentially one of keeping the ground
communications open, come what may?
A. Well, we have at the present time flights and facilities which
we are using which involve various media. There is the air which
is used, there is the autobahn which is used, there is a railroad which
is used, to some extent canals which are used. We do not intend to
abandon any of our rights as regards any of these particular ways.
Now in just what proportions they would be used, that I can't say.
Indeed, I don't know today in just what proportions the four different
ways are being used. But I would think you can say that we would
not de facto abandon any of the rights which were explicitly reaffirmed
in the agreement of June 1949.
Q. Mr. Secretary, in the beginning Poland identified herself with
the Soviet Union's position on this Berlin matter. However, Poland
wants more aid from us and she has a vested interest in her western
frontiers. Do you figure there is any possibility that Warsaw has
given this position a second look and, if so, is it remotely possible
that this may be a partial explanation for Moscow's delay in executing
A. Yes, that is possible, because if the Soviet Union takes the po-
sition that the Potsdam Agreement is non-existent, the consequences
of that would be not to destroy our rights in Berlin, because they
don't rest upon the Potsdam Agreement at all, but it might greatly
compromise the territorial claims of Poland which do rest upon the
Potsdam Agreement primarily.
*        *        *       *        *        *        *
Q. Mr. Secretary, is it right to infer from what you said to Mr.
Roberts about not abandoning any of these means of attempts to get
into Berlin that we would use these means, all of them, even if the
East Germans or the Russians might try to block us?
A. Yes, I think we would use all of them. Let me say, however,
that nothing that has been said recently indicates that there is any
intention or desire on the part of either of the Soviet Union itself
or the puppet regime, the GDR, to stop access to and from Berlin.
The only issue that seems to have been raised is whether or not the
Soviet Union can itself dispose of its responsibilities in the matter
and turn them over to the GDR. But there has not been any inti-
mation of any kind that the result of that would be a stoppage. It
,would be a shift of responsibility and authority.
Now, you will recall that at the time when we recognized the Fed-
eral Republic we reserved, in order to be able to carry out our obliga-
tions vis-a-vis the Soviet Union, as regards access to and fro, we
reserved out of the sovereignty which was restored to the Federal Re-
public the rights which we had as regards Germany as a whole, and
as regards Berlin, so that we did not disenable ourselves from carrying
out the undertaking which had been expressed in the June 1949 agree-
inent. And when the Soviet Union recognized the GDR, it made a
somewhat comparable reservation so as to keep itself in the position
to carry out its obligations under the June 1949 agreement.
And, really, the issue now is whether the Soviet Union can, by
restoring all of these rights to what it recognizes as the Government
of East Germany, disenable itself from carrying out its obligations
to us. And I think that, at least so far as it is exposed, the motiva-

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