Publication: The Daily Telegraph

Full Citation

  • Title U.S. White Paper Indicts Soviet Policy on Berlin
  • Author From Our Own Correspondent
  • Publication Title The Daily Telegraph
  • Collection The Daily Telegraph
  • Date Tuesday,  Sept. 28, 1948
  • Issue Number 29098
  • Page Number 3
  • Place of Publication London, England
  • Language English
  • Document Type Sports news
  • Publication Section Arts and Sports
  • Source Library The Telegraph Media Group
  • Copyright Statement © Telegraph Media Group Limited.
US. WHITE PAPER INDICTS SOVIET POLICY ON BERLIN 44 All 99 25,000-Word Chronicle of Events : Rules Violated : Miserable Failure FROM OUR OlFN CORRESPONDENT WASHINGTON, Monday. The State Department issued last night in the form of a White Paper a 25,000-word account of the protracted negotiations with Russia in an attempt to secure the removal of the economic blockade of Berlin. The document is a sweeping indictment of the Soviet Union. It demonstrates clearly that during the discussions with M. Molotov and Marshal Stalin in Moscow agreement in principle was reached which, if implemented, iht hld th pp might have resolved the problems affecting Berlin. A directive concerning the agreement which was then sent to the Military Governors in Berlin was repudiated by Marshal Sokolovsky, the Soviet representative. He not only declined to honour the understandings reached in Moscow but attempted to impose further restrictions. By publishing the White Paper the United States Government charges Russia with violating literally all the i*ules of honourable international conduct. She apparently seeks to prove that unless Russia's attitude changes, any attempt at formal diplomatic negotiation is foredoomed to miserable and exasperating failure. The chronological order of events proves that many Soviet restrictions were imposed months before the currency reform. The White Paper comments: "They have been the systematic products of deliberate coercive purpose rather than the results of technical dif&culties." HISTORY OF THE BERLIN CRISIS The course of events since the Rrst restrictions were imposed in Berlin were set forth as follows: MARCH 30—Ten days after Soviet delegation had walked out of Allied Control Council, Soviet Deputy Military Governor attempted to impose checks on personnel and equipment through the Soviet zone. MARCH 31—Chief of Staff of United States Military Government condemned new provisions as unacceptable. APRIL 1—Two United States passenger trains stopped on Soviet zone border and turned back for refusing to accept Soviet inspection. Other similar incidents and hindrances were imposed by the Russians. JUNE 13—Announcement of currency reform for ail Western Germany but not Western sectors of Berlin. JUNE 19—Soviet suspended all rail tradic between Western and Eastern zones and all road traffic from Western zones into Soviet zone. JUNE 20—Three Western Allies informed Soviets of their intention to introduce new Deutsche mark into Western sectors of Berlin. Same day Soviets suspended ail rail and road passenger and freight traffic into Berlin, as well as barge traffic, because of alleged " technical difficulties." JULY 3 : Marshal Sokolovsky reiterated to the Allied Governors that the blockade was imposed for "technical reasons" and the Allies conclude that "further endeavours by the Governors to settle the problem locally would serve no useful purpose." JULY 6 : Three-Power Notes demand that the blockade be lifted and declare willingness to negotiate—but not " under duress." JULY 14: M. Molotov rejects the Allied demand, but for the nrst time mentions that the blockade is caused by the Western nations' actions in issuing new currency and establishing a Government in their zones. JULY 30 : The Western Allies agree to approach M. Molotov in Moscow, are told he is out of town, agree to see the Deputy Foreign Minister. M. Zorin, instead and deliver an aidememoire drawing attention to the Soviet creation in Berlin of " an abnormal and dangerous situation, the gravity of which does not need to be emphasised." JULY 31 : M. Molotov similarly unsympathetic to the idea of talks, despite Mr. Bedell Smith's contention that " the formal position of the Governments has been made clear in the Notes, but the formal written word was very rigid and more could be accomplished by informal exploration" y ; . n . s - t . e - n , r - - n o y - - FIRST MEETING WITH STALIN AUG. 2 : First meeting with Stalin m Moscow. Western envoys emphasise their " unquestionable and unquestioned right to remain in Berlin, but urge him to join in effort " to and a way by mutual agreement to bring to an end the extremely dangerous situation that has developed." Stalin maintains that Western Powers no longer have a "juridical right in Berlin but emphatically denies attempting to oust them. He mentions the desirability of discussions on the over-all German situation, gave the currency problem and the plan to set up a West German Government as the main reason for the blockade, and agreed to lift the blockade if the Soviet mark was used as sole currency in Berlin. Stalin said that he would no longer insist that the Western Powers delay their plans for setting up a West German Government, but added that he wished that they would defer these plans, pending a Four-Power meeting to^eonsider the problem of Germany as a whole. The envoys reply that " negotiations on broad German problems would not be possible until duress on Berlin problem is removed," but agreed to convey his proposal to their Governments. Following this meeting, the Western envoys all came to the same opinion— that the immediate Berlin crisis could be settled. To be sure that there was no misunderstanding, however, Washington instructed Mr. Bedell Smith to tell the Kremlin that Soviet currency in Berlin would be subject to FourPower control. This was essential to ensure that the Western Powers were not later driven out of Berlin by a process of economic strangulation. MEETINGS WITH M. MOLOTOV AUG. 6: Envoys present to M. Molotov a draft agreement calling for immediate halting of the blockade and use of Soviet currency in Berlin once quadripartite control established for it. M. Molotov delivers counter-draft proposing lifting of those traCBc re^ strictions which had been imposed since the Western currency reform— many had been Imposed before that— urging the unqualified use of the Council of Foreign Ministers. 'Envoys reject Molotov $^ft- , Mr. Bedell Smith notes that M. Molotov's conversation " seemed exploratory to deterhad reached position/?^ **** an*' bargaining I,? * Envoys modify their draft ^ a deAnite date (Aug blockade and lmpleof currency agreement, and for a Council of meeting in near insists that by NEW . TALKS WITH STALIN (or and get another meeting with Marshal Stalin. He agrees to full reBerll^ on transport into currency"** ^ Four-Power control of meeting Stalin also introduced a draft agreement of his own noted that their drafts were in many resnefts close to one another. ^ espects Stalin expressed concern over safeguarding soviet zone currency from depreciation, and said the Western ffreement should be made more point. Mr. Bedell that currency manage*** Provide for abso^^<?3uality of control and must respect juridical position of Western Governments in Berlin ""^tem Itwas decided that the Western cpyoys should work out details with This decision was reached only after envoys had received certain assurances from Stalin as to language of interpretation A# i* Rese assui-^^ th. M**se assuianc+s, the White Paper quotes from a transcript of the Stalin meeting as follows : " Berlin Blockade: The United States Ambassador then asked if he could Srst query one or two points— for example, the Soviet wording with regard to transport restrictions. M. Molotov remarked, after oertaln amount of discussion, that Soviet Government meant the restrictions imposed since June 18. " We indicated that this was unsatisfactory. Stalin then suggested it might be better to say ' restrictions lately imposed ' and con Armed that if there were any imposed before that date they would also be lifted. " Berlin Currency.—Stalin stated that German Bank of Issue controlled Row of currency throughout whole or Sozlet zone and it was impossible to exclude Berlin from this zone. However, if question was asked whether it did so without being controlled itself, answer was ' No.' " The White Paper continued that it was agreed control of currency in Berlin would be provided by Ananclal commission and four commanders in Berlin, who would work out arrangement connected with exchange of currencies and with control of provision of currency, and who would also supervise activities of German Bank of Issue. " It was on this clear understanding that Mr. Bedell Smith and his colleagues continued discussion and drafting." Stalin had expressed persisted^ interest in having something said about London decision earlier in 1948, by which Western Powers mapped out their plan to set up West German Government despite Soviet opposiyion. He suggested following wording: "The question of the London decision was also discussed, including the formation of a West German Government. Discussion took place in an atmosphere of mutual understanding." Mr. Bedell Smith thought his Government wouid object unless it were made explicit that no agreement had been reached on this subject. State Department later told him he was right. And provision such as Stalin desired would be open to misinterpretation and could not be accepted. Mr. Bedell Smith was Instructed to state : " Any such provision should make it clear that we do not refuse to discuss this point at some subsequent time, but we are not prepared to make any commitments whatsoever for the postponement of London- decision in present negotiations." Throughout the negotiations Mr. Bedell Smith was instructed to insist on following basic requirements: 1. Co-equal right of Western Powers to be in Berlin. 2. No abandonment of our position In regard to Western Germany. 3. Unequivocal lifting of blockade on communications, transport and commerce for goods and persons. 4. Adequate Four-Power control of issue and continued use in Berlin of Western Soviet mark. BACK TO M. MOLOTOV AUG. 37 : Western envoys met M. Molotov and M. Vyshinsky and tried to work out draft of communique announcing broad agreement, and directive to four military commanders in Berlin. No agreement was reached and communique was never published. M. Molotov tried to insert " some provision into communique that would tie hands of Western Governments with respect to London decisions. " Attitude of Soviet representatives was less pleasant than hitherto. Western representatives referred to disturbed situation in Berlin and pointed out desirability of maintaining peaceful atmosphere during deliberations of military governors. M. Molotov declined to pursue matter further, stating that Soviet Military Governor already had his instructions. State Department complained that at this point it was impossible to issue interim communique because M. Molotov refused to agree to any text except his own. The Four Powers had agreed at start to negotiate in secret and that none would make any announcement by themselves. Anally sent in secret to Military Governors in Berlin followStalin asreMnent worked out with 1^ said Four Powers had decided, subject to agreement being reached among four Military Governors, for implementation, that taneousYy should be taken simul1: All restrictions recently imposed on travel, commerce and communications between Berlin and Western zones and to and from Soviet Zone, to be lifted; 2 : Western currency to be withdrawn. Directive to Berlin speciAed methods for protecting Germans, both in Western and Soviet sectors of Berlin, from effects of currency change. It speciAcally stated, " A Anancial commission of representatives of four Military Governors shall be set up to control practical implementation of Anancial arrangements Indicated above involved in introduction and continued circulation of single currency in Berlin." This directive was one on which it might have been possible to work out solution of technical details if Soviet ^ V'sh'd '° y n — d s - o y - o e WEEK OF TALKS IN BERLIN . r e n d ^ d — — e v t - g AUG. 31: Week of technical discussions between Military Governors, on hasis of directive, begins In Berlin, but these turn out to be " even more futile and frustrating than month of negotiations in Moscow. became apparent that Marshal Sokolovsky was not ready to honour understanding reached in Moscow. It became evident that he was seeking to increase rather than decrease restrictions on transport, and to eliminate any measure of FourPower Control over currency. " He began by declaring he would agree only to those restrictions imposed after June 18. the date of currency reform. He even endeavoured to discuss imposition of new restrictions on existing air trafAc. Later he receded from Arst point, but kept trying to put newiimitations on existing air tramc." , .He took position, despite clear understanding conArmed by Stalin in Moscow, that proposed Four-Power Anancial commission should have no authority whatsoever to control operations of German Bank of Issue with respect to Berlin. "This was suiAcient in itself to frustrate any agreement on a genuine Four-Power administration of curr<m^y of Berlin, quite apart from other differences which arose." On h-ade agreements between Berlin and Western-occupied Germany and Third .countries, Sokolovsky asserted Soviet authorities' exciusive right to control such trade. " Marshal Sokolovsky took up position contrary to explicit assurances given by Stalin in Moscow with respect to transport restrictions, currency and trade. He manifested increasing indlAerence to progress or failure of negotiations." SEPT. 14: New aide-memoire from Western envoys to Stalin and Molotov calling on them to re-doAne their directive to Marshal Sokolovsky and noting that neither Moscow discussions nor directive had mentioned new restrictions on air transport. L Soviet Government replied that other Three Powers should havo presented joint Four-Power report (In which Sokolovsky had refused to participate). Western Powers had misinterpreted directive and Sokolovsky was correct in his interpretation. Powers declared unequivocally they could not accept any conditions on air trafAo and demanded that Kremlin state' whether Prepared to lift blockade to create conditions which would permit continuance of discussions. Molotov replies by demandlng full Russian control over all air traffic to Berlin, saying Western Allies should keep talks going bv freeing to Soviet demands. This caused Western Governments ^*^J?fo*T** Russia that they were sub!P'Kt"S Berlin dispute to Mted Nations Security Council.