Full Citation

  • Title Soviets Hint End to Food Blockade
  • Author Higgins, Marguerite From the Herald Tribune Bureau
  • Publication Title New York Herald Tribune (European Edition)
  • Collection New York Herald Tribune (European Edition)
  • Date Wednesday,  June 30, 1948
  • Issue Number 20348
  • Page Number [1]
  • Place of Publication Paris, France
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library The New York Times Company
SovietsHint EndtoFood Blockade Berlin Rail Link May Open Soon Half-Promise Is Timed To Avert UN Inquiry Asked by City Council By Marguerite Higgins From the Herald Tribune Bureau BERLIN, June 29.—The Russians issued a half-promise tonight that the food blockade of Berlin would be lifted in a few weeks. The con¬ ciliatory Soviet note was timed directly after the city assembly re¬ quested a United Nations investiga¬ tion of the Berlin crisis. [United Nations Secretary- Gen¬ eral' Trygve Lie abandoned last night any idea of putting the Ber¬ lin crisis before the Security Coun¬ cil at this time, the Associated Press reported from Lake Success, New York. He decided not to act shortly after the United States in¬ formally suggested in effect ' that the United Nations should not yet intervene. France also shared this view.] Marshal Vassily Sokolovsky. So¬ viet Zone Commander, in replying to a protest delivered by the Brit¬ ish, declared: “Food supplies in Berlin will last for some more weeks and the Soviet military ad¬ ministration hopes, by that time, to have done away with chose technical troubles on the railway.” (Technical difficulties were given as the excuse for the absolute shut¬ down of all incoming rail traffic to the city.) If the Russians fulfill this “hope” —and there is certainly thr pos¬ sibility that it is just stalling—it means at the best the postpone¬ ment of the Berlin crisis. The Rus¬ sians, according to observers here, are still bent on getting the West¬ ern Allies out of the city and they may merely be waiting for winter as an ally. Answer Bad Publicity Simultaneously, the Russians an¬ swered today the bad publicity they have .been getting with what will probably be the most popular an¬ nouncement since their occupation —that of a sharp 'reduction in reparations and occupation costs. Reparations that have variously been estimated at from 40 to 80 per cent of the Soviet Zone produc¬ tion will from now on constitute only 10 per cent of gross production and 12 per cent of net production. The occupation army will take 8 per cent of net production. Marshal Sokolovsky’s letter, which is a complete reversal of previous statements that the rail¬ way halt was indefinite, promised that “the Soviet military adminis¬ tration will take all steps possible to do away with the restrictions” on the vital rail link between the Western Zones .and Berlin. He regretted that the introduction of the west mark in Berlin made ne¬ cessary the “continued restriction” of motor traffic on the Helmstedt- Berlin autobahn. The Russian leader made defi¬ nite overtures for the resumption of inter-zonal trade. All important Ruhr coal deliveries- in the Soviet Zone, as well as other trade, were cut off ' by the British in retalia¬ tion to the Soviet blockade of Berlin. Ask UN Intervention The announcement of th'e Soviet marshal’s letter followed a day in' which the Russian occupiers re¬ ceived a thorough-going lambasting from the city assembly. An overwhelming majority of the assembly voted to ,ask the United Nations to intervene in the East- West crisis here on the grounds that the situation “endangers world peace and security.” Subsequently, Dr. Ferdinand Frie- densburg, Berlin’s Deputy Mayor, said that he received assurances that Denmark would sponsor the petitions in the United Nations. The petition said that, unless the United Nations can give speedy (Continued on Page 2, Col. 6) Soviets Hint (Continued from Page 1) help, “the 2,250,000 Germans of the Western sectors are condemned to destruction.” As the resolution, to which only the Communists objected, was de¬ bated, assemblymen could hear the roar overhead of a vast American and British air supply armada. Working twenty-four hours a day, this air fleet is Berlin’s only source of food ant* coal supply. In the last forty-eight hours, the number of American planes alone has neared the 300 mark. The conciliatory tone of Marshal Sokolovsky’s note and the fact that the Soviets probably now have to go into a huddle for new tactics can be attributed to: 1—The strong stand on Berlin taken by the Western Allies, par¬ ticularly General Lucius D. Clay, American Military Governor. 2—The fact that the weapon of starvation was indefinitely post¬ poned by the astonishing air supply job begun by the United States. The city assembly was not aware of the extent of this supply when they stated in the appeal to the United Nations that physical destruction faced the population. For the first time in history the United States air supply is demonstrating that temporarily at least, the minimum food needs of more than 2,250,000 people can be assured by air power alone. 3—The failure of the German people and the German city govern¬ ment to panic despite the most intensive Soviet propaganda, sup¬ ported by rowdy Communist demon¬ strations that included physical attacks on anti-Communist city officials.