University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The History Collection

Page View

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 313

it is fair to say that there is basic agreement, and I do not anticipate
any event that could arise which would give rise to disagreement.
Q. Mr. Secretary, what is the position of the United States and the
other powers on the question of dealing with any East German official
who might be in a position previously held by a Soviet official?
A. The position of the United States, and I think I can fairly say
of the United Kingdom and of France, is that there is an obligation,
an explicit obligation, on the part of the Soviet Union to assure to the
United States, and to the other Allied powers, and, indeed, to the
world generally, normal access to and egress from Berlin. And that
is the responsibility of the Soviet Union. It was expressed explicitly
at the time of the Council of Foreign Ministers Meeting held in Paris
in June of 1949, following, you will recall, the end of the Berlin block-
ade and the consequent airlift. At that time the Four Powers ex-
changed what were formally called "obligations" to assure these
We do not accept the view that the Soviet Union can disengage itself
from that responsibility. And, indeed that responsibility was in
essence reaffirmed at the time of the Summit Meeting of July, 1955,
when the Four Powers recognized their "responsibility" for the
man question. That phrase "the German question" has always been
held to include the question of Berlin. And so, again, you had a re-
affirmation by the Soviet Union of its responsibility in the matter. We
do not accept any substitute responsibility, in that situation, for that
of the Soviet Union.
Q. Mr. Secretary, what if, despite this responsibility, the Soviets
go ahead and turn over to the East German authorities the check points
on the Autobahn and control to the land, sea, and air routes? Now
the question would arise: would we deal with the East German officials
who would man the check points, for example, even as-
A. Well, we would certainly not deal with them in any way which
involved our acceptance of the East German Regime as a substitute
for the Soviet Union in discharging the obligation of the Soviet Union
and the responsibility of the Soviet Union.
Q. Does that mean that we might deal with them as agents of the
Soviet Union?
A. We might, yes. There are certain respects now in which minor
functionaries of the so-called GDR are being dealt with by both the
Western Powers, the three allied powers, and also by the Federal
Republic of Germany. It all depends upon the details of just how
they act and how they function. You can't exclude that to a minor
degree because it is going on at the present time and has been. On the
other hand, if the character of the activity is such as to indicate that
to accept this would involve acceptance of a substitution of the GDR
for the present obligation and responsibility of the Soviet Union,
then that, I take it, we would not do.
Q. Mr. Secretary, can you deal with them in such a way as to make
a distinction between dealing with them as agents of the Soviet Union
and dealing with them in such a way as to imply a kind of de facto
recognition of their existence?
A. I think that that certainly could be done. We often deal with
people that we do not recognize diplomatically, deal with them on a
practical basis. Of course, we do that with the Chinese Communists
in a number of respects. And, as I pointed out, both the Federal Re-

Go up to Top of Page