Chapter II - North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Part 1

Ministerial Meeting, Oslo, May 8-10, 1961

228. DEA/50341-40

Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Council to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 1081 Paris, April 28, 1961

Oslo Meeting: Review of the World Situation

The course of events at ministerial meetings is always hard to anticipate but you would probably want us to suggest how discussion might develop. On this basis, we should be inclined to speculate as follows. As you will recall, it has been recommended that Mr. Rusk should open the discussion on the review of the international situation. The usual background papers have been provided on the USSR, Eastern Europe, the Mid East and Far East and Africa. There is also Section 1 of the Secretary-General’s annual political appraisal which bears on this subject. This year’s appraisal, submitted by the Acting Secretary-General, is more drab than in Mr. Spaak’s days. The background papers, while useful reference documents, are not repeat not of themselves likely to promote much discussion if any.

  1. It seems to us, therefore, that there is a very good chance that the review of the world situation is likely not repeat not to be closely related to the background papers on the annual political appraisal but to concentrate on certain specific subjects such as Laos, Cuba, Angola, disarmament, Berlin, Germany and possibly China. Laos seems particularly likely to come up for discussion because four of the ministers attending the NATO Conference will presumably be going on to Geneva for the Conference on Laos. It would not repeat not be surprising if many of the remaining eleven wanted the four who will be going to expose their views on Laos. This would be particularly so if the four were to meet together while in Oslo. There might even be some tendency to expect the four to possess somewhat similar attitudes or, alternatively or in addition, to take with them an expression of the views of their other NATO colleagues. In other words, there may be some tendency to want a discussion on Laos. This should not repeat not however lead to a reference to Laos in the communiqué. Lord Home, as co-chairman of Geneva Conference, intends to participate in debate according to UK permanent representative.
  2. Cuba is not repeat not mentioned in any experts paper because there is no repeat no expert group on Latin America. We understand that Mr. Rusk will refer to Cuba in his remarks, and there may be a tendency on the part of the majority to give support to Mr. Rusk
  3. Angola is certain to be mentioned by the Portuguese Foreign Minister. His remarks are likely to be bitter. He may concentrate on the Portuguese thesis that when one member of the Alliance deems its vital interests to be involved in a subject being discussed at the UN the other members of the Alliance have an obligation, if they cannot support the member, at least to refrain from strengthening the hands of the ally’s opponents. The Portuguese permanent representative has already attacked USA policy in this respect at length and severely. In his reply the USA representative put forward the suggestion, which we understood was his personal idea rather than something taken from his instructions, to the effect that it would be useful in this context to consider whether USA and UN attitudes on colonial questions are in error. This suggests a possible and useful counterpoise to Portuguese complaints over lack of support on Angola, along the line that what the Portuguese want to discuss is only half the question: it is not repeat not just a question of whether what its allies are doing is bad for Portugal, but also of whether Portuguese colonial policy is bad for the Alliance. This problem has never been tackled in NATO discussions. Oslo might provide an opportunity to divert discussion from recriminations into a more fruitful approach to the liquidation of the problem of colonialism. We must realize however that it is bound to make bad blood between some allies.
  4. A suggestion has already been made that the Permanent Council should review the Western disarmament position as it was left on June 27, 1960. It is possible that this idea will take root in a number of foreign ministries. An early meeting of the newly created committee would in our view be unrewarding. It is also possible that the depressing course of the Geneva talks on nuclear test suspension will have resulted in a reappraisal of the value of those negotiations by the UK and the USA. It would in addition be surprising if there were no repeat no curiosity to know how the private discussions between the USA and the USSR forecast in their statements in the First Committee of UNGA were progressing.
  5. Recent reports speculate about the possibility that Khrushchev has already come to the conclusion that he must not repeat not expect to get much out of the Kennedy administration. It seems possible that some participants might want to link this idea with German and USA ideas which have been current for some time about Soviet intentions to promote another Berlin crisis during 1961. NATO has little part in contingency planning of late and has very little knowledge of what contingency planning has been done by others. There could well be an attempt to try to secure better knowledge of plans already formulated. The Acting Secretary-General’s political appraisal notwithstanding, no repeat no substantial progress has been made on NATO consideration of possible economic countermeasures to communist pressure below the crisis level. We believe that Mr. von Brentano will press hard for firm support from Germany’s allies for the classical German position on Berlin and Germany, and that he will want a strong reference to it in the communiqué. Lord Home is expected to suggest that the USSR will make things difficult for the West over Berlin shortly.
  6. On China in view of closeness of Geneva Conference on Laos there may be a tendency to try to develop a common Western appraisal of the value and modalities of allowing Communist China to take the Chinese seat in the UN. There may even be some desire to try to harmonize Western policies.
  7. It seems to us possible that in addition to concentrating on particular questions such as those we have discussed in paragraphs 2 to 7 there will be a tendency to mention some of them in relation to the principle of political consultation. Political consultation is one of the subjects which should come up for discussion under long-term planning and it is most likely that some Foreign Ministers, such as Mr. Spaak, will speak of the inadequacies of our past political consultation (as they see it) in relation to the review of the world situation. In this context they would probably complain about the inadequacy of consultation in relation to specific questions such as Cuba, Africa, etc. In doing so it is to be expected that several will be prepared to welcome a greater degree of harmonization, or co-ordination or agreement on policy even on problems outside the NATO area as a result of consultation in NATO than has been the case until now. The views expressed by Messrs. Harriman and Acheson in their remarks to the Council are likely to lend strength to this tendency. Secretary Rusk’s views will be important in this regard.
  8. We have heard no repeat no suggestions so far that there will be a post-mortem on the last session of the UN as such. Discussion of questions like Cuba, Angola, and disarmament will probably tend to involve discussion of the UN, but we would suspect that the attitude of most members will show very little change from that which became apparent at the December Ministerial Meeting.
  9. Enquiries suggest that Mr. Rusk is likely to concentrate on Cuba, political consultation and NATO strategy. Lord Home is expected to concentrate on Laos and on NATO strategy, without, as the UK permanent representative puts it, becoming involved in military matters. Mr. Spaak is expected to concentrate on political consultation, Mr. von Brentano on Berlin and the German problem, and the Portuguese Foreign Minister (who may not repeat not be Matthias) on Angola.
  10. I shall check with Mr. Stikker when he returns next week to try to learn how he intends to conduct the meetings in Oslo.

229. PCO

Memorandum from Secretary of State for External Affairs to Cabinet

CABINET DOCUMENT NO. 178-61 [Ottawa], May 1, 1961

Meeting of Nato Foreign Ministers, Oslo, May 8-10 – Canadian Position

This is the meeting of Foreign Ministers of NATO countries which takes place each spring to discuss the main issues of international concern, the problems of the Alliance and to review planning in the non-military fields.

  1. The agenda includes the following main items:
    1. Review of the international situation;
    2. Annual political appraisal;
    3. Long Term Planning;
    4. Special economic problems of Greece and Turkey;
    5. Other business;
    6. Date and place of next meeting;
    7. Communiqué.
  2. Since the agenda is cast in general terms and does not reflect accurately the main substantive issues facing the Alliance, we have prepared for the guidance of the Canadian Delegation the attached paper which sets out proposed guide lines on the main substantive problems which are likely to arise at Oslo.
  3. While in accordance with traditional practice, the meeting will be concerned primarily with non-military items, it is reported that two or three Ministers may make reference to NATO strategy under the third item “Long Term Planning.” It is expected that Ministers will be asked to approve a procedural resolution recommending that the Permanent Council continue its discussions of NATO strategy. With this in mind we have included a section on NATO strategy in the attached paper. This Section (III) has been approved by the Minister of National Defence.
  4. I recommend that the attached paper be authorized as guidance for the Canadian Delegation at the Oslo Ministerial Meeting.





Nato Foreign Ministers Meeting – Oslo Guidelines for Canadian Delegation


Canada wishes to see the Alliance strengthened. To this end it is in favour of the Permanent Council completing its review of Long-Term Planning, particularly on military and strategic questions where the discussion is still at a preliminary stage.

A good deal of progress has been made in defining the scope and objectives of consultation on political and economic questions and it seems likely that Ministers will be able to reach agreement on these aspects of consultation at the Oslo meeting. Canada considers that the exchanges in the Council on the principles and theories of consultation have been most useful. What is now required is that countries should demonstrate by their actions their willingness to consult with their partners on problems which affect the other members of the Alliance.


A major source of weakness and disunity in the Alliance is the divergence of views on (a) colonial questions and (b) international peace-keeping activities.

(a) Colonial Questions

The current international scene is dominated by the fact that subject peoples everywhere are demanding the rights of freedom and self-determination and will not be satisfied with less. Refusal by the colonial powers or their friends to recognize this fact can in the long run lead only to costly defeats. If, on the other hand, the members of NATO, individually and collectively, will as a matter of policy help the progress of such areas towards the orderly development of their own political, social and economic institutions the end result in terms of peace and stability will be to the mutual advantage of all.

Some members, and particularly Portugal and Belgium, hold the view that their NATO partners should support their positions when colonial issues are discussed in other forums and particularly in the United Nations. They argue that at the very least their NATO friends should not join in attacking their policies and should consequently abstain when resolutions criticising their colonial policies are voted on.

The Canadian view, which appears to be shared by the majority of the members of the Council, is that it would be unwise to attempt to develop a NATO bloc for voting purposes at the United Nations. We consider that there should be frank exchange of views on these issues in the NATO Council so that each country can be informed of the concerns and interests of those directly concerned before deciding what position it should adopt at the United Nations or elsewhere.

(b) Peace-Keeping Activities

We consider that international peace-keeping activities are complementary to the efforts of the Alliance to maintain world peace and security. One of the striking features of the world today is that the situations which pose a serious threat to peace often arise in peripheral areas undergoing transition to independence from colonial rule; e.g. the Congo and Laos. In order to deal with such situations experience has shown that we must often rely on the activities of agencies or peace-keeping machinery sponsored by or under the auspices of broadly based organizations such as the United Nations. In our view the long-term aims of the Alliance can be furthered and NATO can gain strength if all members are prepared to recognize the important role of these peace-keeping activities in the preservation of world peace and are willing to lend their full support.

We believe that this view is shared by the majority members of NATO but there are some who disagree. France, for example, has directly criticized the United Nations and has refused to give its support to the U.N. activities in the Congo.

Progress in overcoming the present divergence of views on these issues cannot possibly be achieved unless the members of the Alliance are prepared to discuss their national policies frankly in the Council as much as possible. The NATO Council should be regarded as the clearing house for all the ideas which allies hold about world problems. Canada recognizes the need to make a more determined effort to find common ground among the allies in their international policies. But wherever common ground is found not possible, the policy of each should not be fixed according to the lowest common denominator, nor should a false unity be maintained through “papering over the cracks.”

Consultative Machinery

Canada considers that the existing NATO machinery for consultation is adequate. What is required is a genuine willingness to consult; members should demonstrate by their frequent and timely use of present consultative procedures that they are anxious to avoid a situation in which the Alliance of its members would be seriously affected by the adoption of firm policies or the making of major political announcements without prior consultation.

While we believe the present machinery and procedures for consultation to be satisfactory we would not oppose the suggestion regarding the creation of new committees if and when there seems to be valid reason for their establishment, so long as they report to the appropriate existing agencies of NATO, retain their secret character and are open-ended so that all interested members of the Council may participate if they wish to do so.

We are not in favour of the suggestion for an Atlantic Policy Advisory Group and we would suggest deferring consideration of it until the new Secretary-General and the Permanent Council have had an opportunity to study it carefully since it would clearly have a bearing on his responsibilities on the activities of the Council and on his relations with it.


Although this question will not be under direct discussion at Oslo, the Alliance is faced with the urgent and continuing problem of how it is to share and control its nuclear weapons in pursuit of NATO objectives. In the Canadian view the Permanent Council should continue to explore these problems; in so doing care should be taken:

  1. to ensure that nuclear weapons are only used on the basis of decisions taken at the highest level of political authority;
  2. not to endanger the chances of negotiating a universal and comprehensive disarmament treaty by letting the spread of nuclear weapons get out of hand;
  3. to prevent the unnecessary build-up of autonomous national atomic forces in order not to prejudice stability or disarmament;
  4. not to detract from the main purpose of nuclear weapons as a deterrent to war.

Canada supports the U.S.A. initiative of stressing the importance of fulfilling the obligations to build up conventional forces required for the NATO shield under MC/70 to raise the threshold of response to possible attack by conventional forces.


Canada considers that effective and mutually consistent economic policies are essential to the maintenance of the strength and solidarity of the North Atlantic Alliance and to the development of a genuine sense of community among its peoples. Thus any commercial or economic rivalries or divisions which may arise between member countries or groups of countries are a matter of concern to NATO not simply because of their economic consequences but often because of the far-reaching political implications.

Canada considers that the OECD represents an important step towards translating into practical forms of action the principles of economic cooperation embodied in Article II of the NATO Treaty. It is our hope that it may prove possible through consultations in the OECD to reduce and eventually to overcome existing economic and commercial differences and thereby strengthen the Atlantic community.

On economic questions generally Canada believes that the general line of policies which the Western countries have developed in relation to trade and aid problems are sound. We consider that if they are followed with greater vigour and determination they can be effective in countering the spread of communism through economic penetration. The Alliance can play an important role in developing the political will to pursue such policies and to accept the sacrifices which some of them involve.

The two most important consultative roles for NATO, in our view, relate to the economic consequences of the defence efforts of member countries and the methods, aims and consequences of Sino-Soviet economic policy. The implementation of our national policies in this latter respect must, however, be effected through those agencies specially suited for the tasks involved; e.g. the OECD, IBRD, IMF, etc.

Canada recognizes the special problems of the less developed countries in NATO (Greece and Turkey) and supports the proposal that a group of experts should be appointed to examine these problems in detail. While we believe that the more prosperous European countries have a special responsibility to provide assistance to the less developed members of NATO, Canada will be prepared to examine these problems constructively with its NATO partners in the light of the report of the group of experts when it is available.


Canada attaches importance to convening, after due preparation, a NATO Heads of Government meeting. We consider that the possibility of such a meeting should be kept under continuing review by the Permanent Council in the light of developments.

230. PCO

Extract from Cabinet Conclusions

SECRET [Ottawa], May 4, 1961


  • The Prime Minister (Mr. Diefenbaker) in the Chair,
  • The Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Green),
  • The Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming),
  • The Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Hees),
  • The Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Churchill),
  • The Minister of Justice (Mr. Fulton),
  • The Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Nowlan),
  • The Minister of National Defence (Mr. Harkness),
  • The Minister of Fisheries (Mr. MacLean),
  • The Minister of Labour (Mr. Starr),
  • The Postmaster General (Mr. William Hamilton),
  • The Solicitor General (Mr. Browne),
  • The Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys (Mr. Comtois),
  • The Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Monteith),
  • The Minister of Defence Production (Mr. O=Hurley),
  • The Minister of Public Works (Mr. Walker),
  • The Associate Minister of National Defence (Mr. Sévigny),
  • The Minister of Forestry (Mr. Flemming),
  • The Secretary of State (Mr. Dorion),
  • The Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources (Mr. Dinsdale).
  • The Secretary to the Cabinet (Mr. Bryce),
  • The Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Dr. J.S. Hodgson).
    . . .

N.A.T.O. Foreign Ministers’ Meeting; Canadian Position

  1. The Secretary of State for External Affairs said that a meeting of N.A.T.O. Foreign Ministers would be held in Oslo from May 8th to 10th to discuss the main issues of international concern, the problems of the Alliance and a review of planning in non-military fields. A memorandum had been prepared for the guidance of the Canadian delegation, setting forth proposed guidelines on the main problems. A section had been included on N.A.T.O. strategy, because it had been reported that a resolution would be proposed recommending that the Permanent Council continue its discussions of N.A.T.O. strategy. This section of the memorandum had been concurred in by the Minister of National Defence.
    An explanatory memorandum had been circulated. (Minister’s memorandum, May 1st – Cab. Doc. 178-61.)
  2. Mr. Green went on to say that the German foreign minister had recently indicated that he wished to discuss the Berlin problem at the conference and that the West German government was proposing the inclusion of a strong reference to this subject in the conference communiqué. From the Canadian viewpoint, however, there had been no recent developments to warrant re-examination at this time of the N.A.T.O. position on Berlin, and numerous other questions were more in the forefront. On the other hand, some reference to Germany might be included in the communiqué. He recommended that the Canadian position should be that the communiqué should state that the Alliance supported the reunification of Germany by democratic means and asserted the right to protect the freedom of the people of West Berlin. He believed such a declaration would be acceptable to the United States.
  3. During the discussion the following points were raised:
    1. The Berlin problem should not be a principal feature of the communiqué, but some reference to it should be included because of its importance. The approaching election in West Germany was probably a reason for the desire of that country’s foreign minister to have a strong reference included.
    2. Discussion of economic assistance to Greece and Turkey would probably give rise to proposals for a greater level of assistance to underdeveloped countries. The more prosperous European countries had a special responsibility to the less developed members of N.A.T.O.
  4. The Cabinet approved the recommendations of the Secretary of State for External Affairs.
    1. that the Minister’s explanatory memorandum of May 1st (Cab. Doc. 178-61) be authorized as the statement of the Canadian position on various international subjects, for the guidance of the Canadian Delegation to the meeting of N.A.T.O. Foreign Ministers to be held in Oslo from May 8th to 10th; and
    2. that the Canadian Delegation be authorized to concur in the inclusion in the conference communiqué of a statement that the Alliance supported the reunification of Germany by democratic processes and re-asserted the right of the Alliance to protect the freedom of the people of West Berlin.
      . . .

231. DEA/50102-AC-40

Report by Delegation to Ministerial Meeting

SECRET [Ottawa], May 31, 1961

Nato Ministerial Meeting – Oslo – May 8-10


By common consent, the Oslo Ministerial meeting was a success. A friendly atmosphere prevailed throughout the meeting and the discussions were for the most part frank and businesslike. Credit for the success should be given to the Norwegian authorities for the excellent arrangements which were made, and to the new Secretary-General D.U. Stikker who conducted the proceedings most efficiently and in a general spirit of good humour.

In his first appearance before the Council, the United States Secretary of State impressed the Council with his lucidity of expression and competent grasp of the many problems on which he presented United States views. His performance contributed considerably to the overall success of the meeting and demonstrated that the new United States administration gives high priority to strengthening NATO cooperation and is prepared to give the kind of leadership and support which only the United States can provide.

The United Kingdom Foreign Secretary also played an active and constructive part in the discussions and reflected in a restrained yet forceful manner the renewed interest which the United Kingdom is taking in NATO affairs. The French Foreign Minister, Mr. Couve de Murville, as in the other recent NATO Ministerial meetings, made no substantial contribution to the discussions and with the exception of a fairly long intervention on the problems of Germany and Berlin, confined himself to a few academic comments on the wording employed in French versions of the drafts of the Communiqué and a general resolution on long-term planning.

From a Canadian standpoint one of the most welcome developments arising out of this meeting was the strong support given, especially by the U.S. and the U.K., to the oft-expressed Canadian view that there is no incompatibility between NATO interests and the broad interests and activities of the United Nations. Most speakers also endorsed the Canadian view that NATO should not act as a bloc at the U.N. and recognized the validity of our contention that the voting record of new U.N. members proved that it should by no means be assumed that they were committed or even inclined to support the Soviet position. (Full text of Mr. Green’s statement contained at Annex “A”.)†

The principal items on the agenda were the Review of the International Situation and Long-Term Planning which involved a continuation of the discussions begun at the 1960 December Ministerial Meeting on the problems of long-term planning in the non-military fields.

Item I – Review of the International Situation

Germany and Berlin

All Ministers who spoke stressed the significance of recent evidence that the Soviet Union intends to provoke a crisis over Berlin later this year. A number expressed their belief that the timing of the expected Soviet initiative may be related to the German elections in September and the Soviet Communist Party Congress in October. It was expected that Soviet initiative would begin with an invitation to a peace conference on Germany and, in the event of a Western refusal to participate, the Communist states would get together and agree to sign a separate treaty with East Germany handing over Soviet rights and responsibilities to the East Germans.

The meeting reaffirmed that Western rights in Berlin and the freedom and security of the people in that city must be maintained. The substance of the 1958 NATO Declaration on Berlin was reaffirmed in the CommuniquéFootnote 1 (copy at Annex “B”)† in order to leave the Soviet Union in no doubt regarding the position of NATO members on this important issue. There was also general agreement that the Western position (as set forth at the 1959 Geneva Foreign Ministers’ Conference) should be carefully examined and that this coupled with contingency planning should be a matter for continuing study by the countries most directly concerned and for consultation in the Council.

Although there was virtually no discussion of German reunification it was agreed, at the request of the German Delegation, to include in the communiqué a note of regret regarding the lack of progress on this question and a reaffirmation of the Western position that a peaceful and just solution for the problem of Germany including Berlin is to be found on the basis of self-determination. Mr. Green remarked that the problem of Berlin posed a dilemma for both the West and Mr. Khrushchev; he observed that the latter is heavily committed to change the status quo in Berlin but there is some indication that he would like to avoid a dangerous crisis if he can do so without loss of face. After referring to the likely sequence of events surrounding any Soviet move on Berlin, Mr. Green stressed the need to examine again carefully the Western position in advance of any Soviet initiative.


The Council reaffirmed that disarmament by stages under effective international control remains one of the principal objectives of the Governments of NATO. Hope was expressed that the initiation by the United States of consultations with the USSR for the purpose of arriving at mutual acceptable procedures will permit the resumption of negotiations about the end of July. It was agreed that the position of the negotiating members would be developed in close consultation with the Council.

On nuclear tests, Mr. Rusk painted a bleak picture of recent developments in Geneva and reported that his government was deeply disturbed about the indefinite continuation of an “unrequited moratorium” e.g. “the suspension of tests without inspection and control and the gradual erosion of the position that effective disarmament must involve effective inspection and control.” The meeting noted with approval that the U.S.A. and the U.K. had tabled a comprehensive draft treaty, but expressed concern that the negative attitude of the Soviet Government (their introduction of the idea of a triumvirate in any control arrangements) had raised new difficulties.

After welcoming the decision of the U.S. and the USSR to consult together, which led to the unanimous adoption of the resolution on disarmament at the last session of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Green voiced his concern about the future and particularly the situation which may arise at the next session of the General Assembly if the West does not seize and hold the initiative on disarmament in the coming months. He said it would be necessary to develop as early as possible sound western positions on such difficult questions as the composition of the negotiating forum and the principles which should guide the resumed negotiations. The Canadian proposals for an impartial chairman and for improving the effectiveness of the disarmament commission were relevant to the first question. The principles set forth in the Commonwealth Prime Ministers communiqué should provide a useful basis for approaching the second question.

NATO and the U.N.

Considerable support was expressed for the Canadian position that there is no incompatibility between support for U.N. activities and participation in NATO. After referring to Soviet interest in exploiting or even creating conflicts of interests between the new nations and the Western countries, Mr. Green advocated, as the West’s long-term aim, the bringing of the new states into the community of free nations. The immediate task particularly for the more prosperous and highly developed members of NATO should be to give as much assistance to the new emerging nations without political or other strings attached.

The United States and Norway gave strong backing to Mr. Green’s contention that the voting record of new member states in the United Nations proved that it should by no means be assumed that they were committed to support the Soviet position; on the contrary they had repeatedly rejected extreme Soviet attitudes, and particularly the Soviet attack on the Secretary-General. Both the United Kingdom and the United States stressed that while the new U.N. members are often difficult and sensitive the situation presented a great opportunity for leadership; rather than allowing themselves to become disenchanted with the United Nations, NATO members should explore every opportunity to develop support for Western views.


The situation in Laos was touched on mainly by Mr. Rusk, Lord Home and Mr. Green. The former disclaimed strongly any U.S.A. interest in Laos as a base for military operations and stated that the U.S.A. was thinking only in terms of Laos as a neutral and buffer between those living in the north and those in the rest of South East Asia. At the same time they were becoming increasingly concerned about the possibility of the communization of Laos by an armed minority supported from the north. Not only was Laos covered by the protocol to the SEATO Treaty but the Laotian question could have an important impact on security arrangements in other parts of the world, and on the attitude of other countries in the long-term struggle between the Communist world and the free world. Lord Home observed that the West had a perfectly respectable policy of neutrality for Laos. The important thing was to hold the Russians to their proclaimed acceptance of neutrality and if they did not live up to their obligations in this regard, the West should make it clear to the world who can live with independence and with neutralism and who cannot.

Referring to the forthcoming meeting in Geneva Mr. Green advocated that the conference should seek to re-establish a position based on the 1954 Geneva Accords, i.e. a unified and peaceful Laos with neutral status, no foreign bases, no military formations on Laos territory, and foreign policy based on strict non-alignment. Neutrality should be supported by such agreements or declarations as would ensure recognition throughout the international community. He pointed to the problem of reconciling neutral status with economic and technical aid from outside powers and indicated that the control required in such a situation might be one of the responsibilities given to the International Supervisory Commission.


The main statement on the Congo was delivered by Mr. Spaak who made a relatively moderate plea for greater respect for international law by the United Nations and for not attempting to force a settlement on Katanga. He underlined his government’s willingness to cooperate with the U.N. and urged that there be a thorough discussion of the Congo problem in NATO. He criticized the report of the Africa Committee especially in that it lacked any positive recommendations for action.

In the Canadian view, the main Western aims should be to preserve a neutral Congo in which legitimate Western interest may be maintained. Mr. Green contended that this objective can best be served by continuing to concentrate on action through the United Nations. He stressed the need for sustained and active support from the West; passive endorsement of the U.N. was not enough.

Peace-Keeping Activities

Using the Congo and Laos as illustrations, Mr. Green drew attention to the important contribution made by broadly based international peace-keeping activities to the broad objectives of the Alliance, the preservation of world peace and security. In particular such activities have usually been successful in insulating the major military powers from local conflicts or disturbances. Over the years, he said, Canada has taken it for granted that such activities have the full support of NATO members because they promote the peaceful aims of the Alliance. If members had any doubts about the value of these activities he said Canada would like to know about them. In the Canadian view, support for such activities should not be regarded as inconsistent with support for the Alliance. He emphasized that participation in such activities would not affect our agreed commitments to NATO and that taken together with our NATO commitments constitute what we would regard as Canada’s contribution in global terms to the preservation of world peace and security.


The Portuguese Foreign Minister made a smooth but inflexible statement which was critical of the U.N. and which outlined Portuguese colonial policy in familiar terms; these views were rejected in a moderate manner by a number of representatives, especially Mr. Rusk, Lord Home and Mr. Lange.

The Turkish Foreign Minister was pretty well alone in expressing sympathy for Portuguese point of view. Surprisingly, Mr. Spaak took a rather defensive and fairly cooperative line on colonial issues. The French Foreign Minister did not intervene. The result of the discussion was that the Portuguese could not have been left in any doubt that they lack support for their policies from most members of the Alliance.


As part of a general statement, Mr. Rusk spoke of United States concern about the situation in Cuba and of the need to apprise its partners of the situation. He made it clear that the United States would not intervene militarily with its own forces in Cuba but that the Castro régime had to be isolated politically, economically and, to the greatest extent possible, psychologically from the rest of the Western hemisphere. As the Foreign Minister of a country bordering on the Soviet Union and clearly concerned about the far-reaching implications of U.S. policy on Cuba, Mr. Lange “noted with satisfaction Secretary Rusk’s assurance that there is no intention to intervene by force of arms against the Castro régime in Cuba, so close to the United States, even though that régime seems more and more firmly to align itself with the Sino-Soviet bloc.

Mr. Green said Canada shared the U.S. concern about the evidence of Castro’s increasing orientation towards the Soviet bloc but that we were less certain that the use of “socialist” by Castro in his May Day speech was conclusive proof of complete adherence by Cuba to the Soviet bloc. There would still appear to be a strong nationalist element in the revolutionary movement and many of the social and economic changes could not and perhaps should not be reversed. In the Canadian view there was no practicable alternative to the principle that the Cuban people themselves should choose their own form of government. Outside interference might well do more harm than good. If there is to be international action it should at least carry the judgement of the other Latin American countries. Canada hoped that the possibility of negotiations would not be ruled out even if the prospect of concrete results were slight. Mr. Green added that it would seem desirable to try to make the attempt for the sake of relations with Latin America and for the sake of world opinion.

Item II – Secretary-general’s Annual Political Appraisal

There was no discussion of the Secretary-General’s report but the Danish Foreign Minister seized the opportunity to express concern about the detrimental effects on NATO political and military cooperation and European economic cooperation of a lasting split of Europe into two economic groups. He said Denmark would welcome a United Kingdom decision to negotiate towards its accession to the Treaty of Rome. If such a decision were taken, Denmark, because of its close ties with the U.K. and continental Europe, would wish to initiate similar negotiations. He concluded by suggesting that the final NATO communiqué should contain a reference to European economic integration and to the importance which NATO attaches to an early and equitable solution of the problem.

Mr. Spaak generally endorsed Mr. Krag’s remarks and urged a substantive discussion of the problem in the NATO Council. Lord Home agreed with Mr. Krag on the importance of resolving the split in Europe and on the essentially political aspects of closer U.K. association with the Six. He said that in studying the problem, the United Kingdom would consult closely with her EFTA and Commonwealth partners. With respect to NATO consultation on this question, Lord Home shared the views of other speakers, including Mr. Green, that the OECD was better suited to discuss the problem fully and that it would not be advisable to refer to the question in the final communiqué.

Item III – Long Term Planning

Political Consultation

It was evident during the discussion of the international situation the previous day, that the scope and quality of political consultation had improved significantly. During the discussion of Item III most Ministers expressed general agreement with the report prepared by the Permanent Council which recommended that the objectives and political consultations should be:

  1. to achieve a common policy on subjects of direct concern to the Alliance as a whole,
  2. to coordinate or at least to harmonize policies to the maximum extent possible wherever complete agreement can be reached,
  3. to avoid a situation in which the Alliance or any of its members would be seriously affected by the adoption of firm policies or the making of major political announcements without prior consultation.

Lord Home reflected the consensus when he said that what is really important is that each member of the Alliance should be conscious of the views of its partners on important international problems and that all should make a conscientious effort to harmonize their policies as far as possible. As stated by Mr. Rusk, coherence in NATO can be achieved “through seeking a consensus of our allies on major policy questions and this means consulting frankly about policies which are still in a formative stage and being willing to alter policies in the light of such discussions. At the optimum the consensus should be an agreement on common action in the best interest of the Alliance as a whole but at the minimum there should be an understanding on how to handle a disagreement so as to cause the minimum damage to the coalition.”

In effect, most speakers acknowledged that on certain issues, especially colonial questions, it was difficult to expect agreement and that we should not always attempt to achieve unanimity. Mr. Luns emphasized the need for frankness and said that silence can often be misunderstood especially if it is followed by disagreement in some other forum. Because of the friendly and informal atmosphere of the Council frankness should not lead to embarrassment or to friction; members should be willing to listen to criticism and to accept the fact that allies may have very valid reasons for disagreement.

On problems where the views of members obviously differ, Lord Home emphasized the need to keep our eyes open and to proceed with caution. He stressed that NATO should not lay itself open to accusations of interfering in the internal affairs of countries outside the Alliance, especially in Africa. He reminded the Council that the newly emerging states are very sensitive to any contacts within the military alliance.

On United Nations questions a number of speakers endorsed the Canadian view that members of the Alliance should not give the impression that we are acting as a bloc in the United Nations. Mr. Rusk mentioned that while the Council should be the primary forum for consulting, it is not as well suited to consultations on fast-moving situations which is usually the case at the United Nations or in respect of the pressing situation in Laos. The important thing is to have prior consultation in NATO on general policy objectives so that Governments are in a better position to deal closely with each other when critical moments of decision arise.

There was general agreement with the Canadian view that having completed its report the Council had gone as far as it could usefully go at this time in defining the objectives and principles of consultation. (Text of Mr. Green’s statement at Annex C.)† What was now required was to ensure that these principles are fully and effectively applied. In the light of the attention being paid to issues outside the NATO area Mr. Green underlined the importance of not losing sight of the problems such as Germany and Berlin which were of direct concern to the Alliance as a whole.

New Consultative Machinery

Although there was no support for the United States proposal for an Atlantic Policy Advisory Committee it was agreed to give further study to a United Kingdom suggestion that meetings of planning experts be held once or twice a year. Ministers also approved in principle a United States proposal for special committees to deal with particular problems or areas on an ad hoc basis. As defined by Mr. Rusk, with Canadian support, it was agreed that such committees should be open-ended, secret in character, and should meet when there seems to be a valid reason for convening such discussions. Lord Home suggested that since Mr. Spaak seemed particularly concerned about the need for more intensive consultations on Africa, the Belgian Delegation might propose in the Permanent Council that a special committee be established to discuss African problems and particularly the Congo.

Economic Questions

The meeting had before it a report prepared by the Committee of Economic Advisers outlining the scope and objectives of the Alliance in the economic field. Ministers endorsed the view set out in the report that the OECD should be the principal body for implementing the policies of the member countries in the economic field. They also agreed that while the new organization provides opportunities for translating into concrete forms of cooperation many of the objectives embodied in Article II of the North Atlantic Treaty, NATO should continue to be responsible for assessing (a) the economic implication of the defence efforts of member countries, (b) the economic growth and policies of the Soviet bloc and (c) Soviet bloc activities in world trade and payments and in the field of aid. Most Ministers agreed that NATO is the appropriate forum for exchanges of views on such questions and that it would also be appropriate for NATO to consider any economic problem in cases where political or military considerations warrant such discussion.

Civil Emergency Planning

The meeting took note of a progress report prepared by the NATO Committee concerned with Civil Emergency Planning on which Canada was represented. The Council recognized that effective planning and preparations in this field constitute an important element in the overall NATO defensive effort.

Defence Questions

Contrary to the impression conveyed by some press reports there was no substantive discussion of military questions. Some Ministers did, however, refer to defence questions in general terms in the course of their statements.

In connection with the discussion of long-term planning, however, it was agreed that the Permanent Council should be asked to continue, in close cooperation with the Military Authorities, its studies of all aspects of the military posture of NATO with a view to improving its deterrent and defensive strength. The Permanent Council was requested to have a report ready for the Ministerial meeting in December at which the Ministers of Defence and Finance will also be present.

Resolution on Long-Term Planning

Following the conclusion of the discussion of Item III Ministers adopted a general resolution which records the approval given to the reports prepared on political consultation and economic questions, invites the Permanent Council to put into practice the conclusions contained in the reports; and invites the Council to implement the principles contained in the separate reports on Civil Emergency Planning and Psychological Action (there was however no discussion of this report). The resolution also recorded the Minister’s request to the Permanent Council regarding defence questions as indicated above. (Text of Resolution at Annex “D”.)†

Special Economic Problems of Greece and Turkey

This item was considered by Ministers as a follow-up to the resolution adopted at the 1960 December meeting which recognized that the defensive strength of NATO is dependent upon the economic health and balanced economic growth of all its member countries and which instructed the Permanent Council to examine the ways and means for providing on an adequate basis the economic aid needed by the less-developed member countries. Following statements by the Greek and Turkish ministers on the economic problems of their respective countries most members, including Canada, expressed appreciation of the special problems faced by Turkey and Greece in their efforts to attain satisfactory levels of economic development. In view of the important contribution made by these countries to the common defence, Ministers agreed to the Working Group’s report and to its main recommendation that a mission consisting of three highly qualified experts should be appointed by the Secretary-General, with Greek and Turkish approval, to study in detail the Greek and Turkish problems and to make a broad and realistic appreciation of the basic conditions for the balanced economic developments of the two countries.

Mr. Green expressed agreement with the Working Group’s report and indicated that Canada would be prepared to consider these problems constructively with its NATO partners in the light of the report of the Group of Experts. (Text of Mr. Green’s statement at Annex “E”.)†

NATO Heads of Government Meeting

Although this question was not formally on the Agenda Mr. Averoff and Mr. Green drew attention to the importance of convening, after proper preparation, a meeting of NATO Heads of Government. Mr. Green, after referring to the complaints which had been made by some speakers regarding the inadequacy of the NATO propaganda effort, expressed the view that nothing would attract greater attention to NATO and would inspire greater confidence and strength and validity of the Alliance than to have, after proper preparation, a meeting of the NATO Heads of Government at a fairly early date. He recommended that this proposal should remain under continuing consideration in the Permanent Council and expressed the hope that it would be possible to hold such a meeting before the year is out.

Part 2


232. DEA/50341-40

Ambassador in France to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 18 Paris, January 8, 1961
Repeat for Information: London, Washington, Permis New York, NATO Paris, Bonn, CCOS, Brussels, Hague, DM/DND from CCOS.
By Bag Moscow, Warsaw, Prague, Berlin, Delhi, Oslo, Stockholm, Berne, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Vienna, Tel Aviv from London, Cairo, Ankara, Athens from Paris.

Berlin: French Position

I had an audience late Friday with General de Gaulle who appeared tired and nervous, but he rose on his spurs when I mentioned Berlin.

  1. In his mind the problem is clear and simple: the Soviets are using Berlin as a lever to move West Germany into neutrality “I recommended to Washington and London that the three nations should oppose a unanimous and emphatic no repeat no to Khrushchev’s menace. Negotiations now can only lead either to failure which will put us in a worse position or to dangerous concessions, however cleverly they may be camouflaged that will weaken not repeat not only Western Germany but the rest of Europe and the Western world. When West Germany is neutralized the Scandinavian countries will soon follow, Holland and Belgium will have no repeat no other alternative and finally France will have to come to an agreement with the USSR. Washington and London will then be faced with a stronger and more ambitious Soviet dictatorship. Is that what they want?”
  2. “I am afraid the lesson of Munich has been forgotten. There is nothing to be gained through appeasing a dictatorship. Munich did not repeat not prevent war nor repeat nor the Western reverses. I do not repeat not want France to be associated with a policy that is leading in the same direction and probably to the same results.”
  3. While the General was regaining his breath I asked him whether he was paying any attention to public opinion which was longing for peace. How could governments expect their people to give their maximum effort if they were not repeat not convinced that everything had been done to protect peace. “Nations are great not repeat not because of their wealth or the size of their population but because of their will to survive in case of danger.” I felt he was quoting a phrase from his own memoirs.
  4. I asked the President what counter-measures he would recommend if as a result of his policy the Soviets were to sign a treaty with the DDR leaving her free to block our access to Berlin. He replied that our possibilities of reaction in Berlin itself were rather limited since the city was in the midst of Soviet territory. He dismissed the authority of the DDR as being merely a tool in Moscow’s control. But Western reaction could take place on the maritime or air lines used by the Soviets. The West could become even more a nuisance to Soviet movements in the world than the Kremlin could be to us in Germany.
  5. I suggested that such a reaction might cause a more violent one on the part of the Soviets and thus, by degree, we might be engaged into a world conflagration. The General rejected this idea without hesitation. “The Soviets are not repeat not that stupid. They will stop at the risk of having their territory and more so their régime smashed to pieces.”
  6. I enquired whether Chancellor Adenauer had agreed to the above analysis. If so, how had he concluded in favour of negotiations. “For fifteen years the Chancellor has based his whole policy on American cooperation. Having harvested the advantages it is difficult for him to change at this stage his policy on the ground that USA are proving less helpful with regard to Berlin. But he fully realizes that the votes he lost at the recent elections were as much against America as against himself because of lack of USA reaction when the fence was built in August last between East and West Berlin.”
  7. Finally I wanted to know whether tactics had anything to do with the President’s position in the present crisis. He hesitated for a moment before admitting that in his opinion it was preferable for the Western policy to include at the same time hard elements and more compromising ones. “However this is certainly not repeat not concerted between us.”
  8. It seems to me that General de Gaulle is making the mistake of reasoning more along military than political lines. Above all Berlin is a political problem and not repeat not only an outpost against which a Soviet commando is reconnoitering in strength. The Western objective now should precisely be to prevent this political problem from becoming a military one. This is the time for diplomacy, that is for contacts and negotiation if possible. Negotiation is not repeat not essentially defensive. It can develop as much counter-pressure as needed. It can be offensive also. General de Gaulle could agree on this point. Therefore his position which is a purely personal one boils down to a lack of confidence in the negotiating capabilities and will power of his USA and British partners. It is too easy for him to adopt the role of a Pilate if as he argues Western Europe is at stake. This is not repeat not statesmanlike. President Kennedy could usefully talk to him in that sense.


233. DEA/50342-40

Memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs to Prime Minister

SECRET [Ottawa], May 11, 1961

Conversation of German Ambassador in Moscow with Khrushchev

Messages from London and Bonn† have given us a fairly clear idea of the conversation between Mr. Kroll and Mr. Khrushchev on April 24. The following are the main points of interest:

  1. According to Mr. Kroll, Khrushchev is disillusioned about the prospects of negotiating with President Kennedy on any major issue, including disarmament and Berlin;
  2. Khrushchev has apparently taken a firm decision to sign a peace treaty with the DDR before the end of 1961. He does not expect West Germany or the Western powers to participate in the peace conference although they will be invited. This timetable is slightly later than the one we had anticipated. We had assumed that Khrushchev would want to report some progress on the Berlin question to the Twenty-second Congress of the CPSU in October. He apparently told Kroll however that before precipitating a new Berlin crisis he should perhaps “renew his mandate” at the Congress;
  3. There is a striking absence of any reference by Khrushchev to the desirability of a negotiated solution to the Berlin problem. When the crisis was first precipitated by Khrushchev in November, 1958, the Soviet government insisted that it was prepared to negotiate its proposals.
  4. In the conversation, Khrushchev revealed more than he has before of his thoughts about what will happen after the peace treaty is signed. Western rights in Berlin and on the access routes to Berlin will then have to be negotiated with the East German government. The Soviet government will not interfere. Khrushchev saw no reason why the surface access routes could not be kept open on mutually acceptable terms (except for military traffic) but he said that if he were Ulbricht he would close the air corridors and insist that Western aircraft enter Berlin under normal civil air agreements with the DDR. If the West resisted these arrangements, Khrushchev said he would put a ring of troops around Berlin and leave it to the West to fire the first shot.

Assessment of Conversation

  1. The reports of the conversation should be read with two reservations.
    1. Mr. Kroll does not have a good reputation as a reporter. In the past he has coloured his accounts of conversations with Khrushchev, possibly unconsciously, or possibly because he wishes to influence Chancellor Adenauer in a particular way. We have learned from members of Kroll’s staff that he is arrogant, convinced of his special ability to deal with the Russians, and unwilling to take advice from persons better informed than he.
    2. Khrushchev was aware that what he said to Kroll would play an important part in the formation of Western policy. There is no reason to suppose therefore that everything he said represented his real thoughts.
  2. The most surprising thing about the conversation is the absence of any reference by Khrushchev to a negotiated settlement of the Berlin problem and, apparently, of any interest on his part in negotiation. He may have omitted reference to negotiations for tactical reasons, Kroll may have played down what he said about negotiations for his own tactical reasons, or Khrushchev may genuinely have decided that negotiations were impossible and abandoned efforts to bring them about. The last of these alternatives seems unlikely. What Khrushchev is threatening to do in Berlin is mainly for the benefit of the East German régime. For it, and for the stability of Eastern Europe generally, he is threatening to precipitate a crisis which could lead to nuclear war, but about which he will get no sympathy whatever in the under-developed world, or indeed anywhere except in Eastern Europe. It therefore seems reasonable to conclude that Khrushchev would still like if he could to avoid dangerous unilateral action, and that he therefore has not lost his interest in negotiating on Berlin. His failure to say so to Mr. Kroll was perhaps a tactic, designed to stimulate in the West the kind of thinking which it did in fact stimulate in the U.K. Ambassador in Moscow. Sir Frank Roberts recommended to his government that the West make “a reasonable attempt to offer some prospect of an eventual settlement by negotiation.” We should not accept the Kroll-Khrushchev conversation as conclusive evidence that Khrushchev is no longer willing to look at a reasonable gesture from the West.
    “Izvestia” Article of April 20
  3. Khrushchev made a point of telling Kroll that he had personally directed the writing of the article on Germany and Berlin which appeared in Izvestia on April 20. I am attaching a copy of this article for your information. Most of the article restates familiar Soviet positions, but its main theme is that “all reasonable time limits have elapsed” on the questions of Berlin and a German peace treaty. Questioned by Mr. Kroll, Khrushchev admitted that he was thinking in terms of months rather than days or weeks, and that the end of 1961 was the final date for action.Footnote 2


234. DEA/50341-40

Memorandum from Secretary of State for External Affairs to Prime Minister

CONFIDENTIAL [Ottawa], June 8, 1961

Soviet Aide-mémoire on Germany and Berlin

The aide-mémoire which Mr. Khrushchev gave President Kennedy during their talk in ViennaFootnote 3 does not alter in any substantial way the Soviet proposals for Germany and Berlin which were first put forward in November 1958. It does, however, contain elements which on a first reading appear to be new, and which are designed to make the Soviet proposals look more reasonable. I would like to draw these changes to your attention because it will be important for us to refute any suggestion that the substance of the Soviet position has altered, or that the West is in a less defensible position than before when it rejects the Soviet proposal in its present form. (Mr. Kennedy said in his broadcast that the proposal as it stands is not acceptable.)Footnote 4 The apparently new elements are the following:

(1) Two Treaties

The aide-mémoire proposes that if the Western countries do not wish to sign a peace treaty with the GDR, they may sign one with the FRG only. All countries may sign with whichever Germany they prefer, or with both. However, it is stipulated that although the two treaties “need not be completely identical” … “they must contain the same provisions on the most important points.” The Russians have never before suggested more than a single treaty with both parts of Germany.

Obviously a peace treaty between the Western countries and the FRG alone would be a meaningless document, since the Brussels TreatyFootnote 5 and other measures have ended the state of war between them and settled various other problems arising out of the war. The Russians have made their proposal for a treaty with the FRG parallel to their own treaty with the GDR, partly to give the latter an appearance of greater respectability and legality. They realize that a treaty whose principal provisions were acceptable to them and to the GDR government would not be acceptable to the FRG government. We can conclude therefore that they have added the “two treaty” concept mainly in order to make their proposals look more reasonable in the eyes of the world.

(2) Withdrawal of Germany from NATO

The Soviet draft peace treaty of January, 1959, required both parts of Germany to withdraw from their military alliances, NATO for the FRG and the Warsaw Pact for the GDR. The Vienna aide-mémoire departs from this in stating that the two Germanys could continue in their alliances for a limited time after the treaty was signed. There is little substance in this apparent concession. The original Soviet proposal called for the neutralization and demilitarization of both parts of Germany. Obviously the Russians do not expect to achieve anything like this in the next six months. It is therefore easy for them to offer such a concession (although they are careful to say that they would not sign a treaty which permitted Germany to remain permanently in NATO) in order to make their proposals seem more reasonable.

  1. The sections of the aide-mémoire which deal with the timing of Soviet action on the German problem are ambiguously worded, but do not seem to imply much change from previous Soviet proposals, or to invalidate our conclusion that the Russians intend to take at least the first step by the end of 1961. The aide-mémoire calls upon the United States (and presumably the other two powers) to “take a decision” immediately on summoning a peace conference and, presumably at the same time, to issue an appeal to the two German governments to negotiate with one another on the problem of reunification and other “internal” problems. If the three Western powers are not ready at this time to “take a decision” on summoning a peace conference, the Soviet Union is prepared to agree to an “interim period” of fixed duration. The aide-mémoire seems to mean, although it does not explicitly state, that if, six months from now, the two Germanys have failed to negotiate or to agree, and the “interim period” (which will presumably not be longer than six months) has resulted in no progress, then the Soviet Union will immediately summon a conference at which they will sign a peace treaty with the GDR. Most of this is not explicit in the aide-mémoire, but it does seem reasonably clear that the end of 1961 remains Khrushchev’s deadline for setting these processes in motion.
  2. We must now examine (and prepare to consult with our NATO allies) our attitude to the aide-mémoire, to an invitation to a peace conference (which we can anticipate) and to the Berlin problem as a whole. Dealing with the aide-mémoire and with a possible invitation are essentially propaganda problems; evolving a Canadian policy on the problem of Berlin is a question of substance. We are conscious of the need to have our position carefully prepared before we are called upon to take a public stand.
  3. We are now preparing for your consideration instructions which our NATO Delegation will be able to use when the Soviet aide-mémoire and related problems are discussed in Council. We have tentatively concluded that one important Soviet reason for applying pressure on West Berlin is to obtain from the West recognition of the permanence of existing German frontiers, and of Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe. (The Vienna aide-mémoire suggests that this could be done without formal recognition of the East German régime.) The Russians are probably sincere in their belief that the Germans would not hesitate to attempt to recover their lost territories in the East if they thought they could do so successfully. The Russians think also that German acquisition of nuclear weapons (they already have carriers) is inevitable. An important Soviet objective therefore is to remove the legal basis for German claims, and to obtain some form of commitment from the West that it would not support a German attempt to revise German frontiers. The exposed Western position in Berlin gives the Russians a means of applying pressure on the West to attain this objective. From this it may be possible to deduce the kind of settlement which would meet Soviet requirements. It would then remain to see whether such a settlement would bring serious disadvantage to the West. This is the line which we are taking in our current study of the Berlin problem.


235. DEA/2462-40

Ambassador in Soviet Union to Secretary of State for External Affairs

DESPATCH NO. 584 Moscow, June 14, 1961>

Discussion with Mikoyan

As promised in my telegram No. 295 of May 26,† I am enclosing a memorandum on my conversation of May 8 with Deputy Premier Mikoyan. I apologize for not transmitting this in an earlier bag.

  1. As you will see, most of the conversation dealt with Germany. In the absence of firm instructions about Canadian Government thinking on the German question, I naturally made it clear that I was expressing personal views. I trust, however, that under the circumstances the line I took, subject to this important qualification, was satisfactory to you, in an effort to have the beginning of some Canadian-Soviet conversations here on Soviet thinking about current East-West problems. While there is nothing new in what Mikoyan said, I myself found his remarks of interest as far as they went, as indicating something of the grounds for Soviet concern. Personally I think that the Soviet leaders are also, and perhaps chiefly, concerned about the stability and viability of the East German régime, but Mikoyan did not seem prepared at this stage to speak at all frankly about this.
  2. Since my visit to his office I have had a few brief conversations with Mikoyan at receptions. He has been very friendly, but nothing further of importance has emerged on political questions. On trade I indicated that I had received a reply to his observations and that I thought his legal experts had misinterpreted the situation. I indicated briefly the points made in your telegram No. E-1036 of May 26.† Mr. Mikoyan suggested I discuss this further with the Trade Minister (who is at present away) on his return. I shall do this in due course.



Memorandum by Ambassador in Soviet Union

SECRET [Moscow], June 14, 1961

Discussion with Mikoyan

  1. I had a little over an hour’s talk with Deputy Premier Mikoyan in his office in the Kremlin on May 8th. After preliminary courtesies, including a few questions by him about my time in Kuibishev and in Moscow during the war, the conversation turned to current affairs. I told Mr. Mikoyan that I wanted to keep my government objectively informed about Soviet government thinking on outstanding international problems, and would appreciate an outline of his views on what he considered the most important questions ahead of us in the next year or so.
  2. Mikoyan said that while there were a number of peripheral questions, the two problems of major importance were certainly Germany and disarmament. Mikoyan said that the Soviet government was inevitably concerned about the growing rearmament and revisionist ideas of West Germany. The Soviet Union naturally need not be afraid of Germany, since it was strong enough to take care of its own security, but nevertheless West Germany’s unwillingness to accept the status quo and to recognize the fact that there were now two German states was dangerous. The West Germans might some day find a pretext for using force against East Germany, and this would make it necessary for the Soviet Union to come to the assistance of the East Germans. NATO would then come to the help of West Germany and this could lead to a major war. This danger was real, and it was not good.
  3. I said it was my impression that it was the East Germans and the USSR which seemed unwilling to accept the status quo, of which the freedom of West Berlin and its open communications to the West were a part. Mikoyan said that Berlin was obviously a part of Eastern Germany, and the present situation where East Germany was not recognized was an anomaly. But the freedom of Berlin was not threatened, this was merely Western propaganda: the Soviet Union and the Eastern Germans had said that its status as a free city could be guaranteed. The danger came from West Germany’s rearmament, the support it got from NATO, and its ambitions to upset the post war settlement. I said that I had the impression that it was the Communist countries which were trying to apply pressure to upset the present situation. Though this situation was curious and in origin artificial, history showed a number of situations which had begun artificially but had jelled. I thought the present situation if left alone could continue for a good many years: Eastern pressure to upset it seemed to be the new and dangerous element in the situation. Though the status quo was not particularly satisfactory to either side, it had best be left alone.
  4. Mikoyan indicated that the situation would have to be regularized. The USSR would like to have everyone concerned sign a peace treaty with both Germanies. It seemed clear that the West would reject the Soviet invitation to a conference for this purpose. So the USSR would itself proceed to sign a separate peace with East Germany. This would settle the two major problems of frontiers and of Berlin.
  5. I said that in my personal opinion it would be salutary all around to recognize that the difficulties in the present situation resulted largely from Soviet mistakes. There had been for example a profound lack of frankness to the West, on the part of Stalin in 1944 and 1945. Personally I, who had spent several years of the war here in Russia, could well understand the concern by Russians and by other East Europeans about any revival of German militarism, and their desire to keep Germany divided: though this denial of self-determination to the Germans was contrary to the usual principles advocated by all governments. Emphasizing that I was speaking entirely for myself on this point, I said that in my own view if Stalin had indicated frankly during the latter part of the war and in the months immediately thereafter to his Western allies, that he wanted a divided Germany, the Western great powers would at that time have accepted this. In that case the lines of the occupation zones would no doubt have been drawn in a more logical way, and we would not have the present problem of Berlin being left as an island without immediate access to western zones. However Stalin had stated that he wanted a united Germany, and the Western Governments had gone along with this.
  6. It seemed to me, I added, that another of Stalin’s mistakes was his several years delay in disarming and his continued military pressure on Western and Mediterranean countries. It was this, and then the Communist attack on Korea in 1950, which had brought the West reluctantly to admit Germany to NATO. Since then it was Western fear of the continuing Soviet military pressure all along the periphery of the Communist world which had played the fundamental part in bringing Western countries to encourage and assist West German rearmament. Many people in the West had been reluctant to do this, but had felt that Soviet pressure, and the overwhelming land forces maintained by the USSR in Europe, left them no alternative.
  7. I said that I personally was quite prepared to admit that we in the West had made a number of serious mistakes, in our relations with Russia and other areas, from the time of the Russian Revolution on. I thought it would be salutary if Russian leaders would recognize that they too had made some pretty serious blunders. I would like to do what I could to reduce tensions and dangers, and to improve international understanding. I could assure him that Canada, and the West as a whole, greatly desired just this. But it seemed to me personally that in the situation to which we had now got, further Russian military and diplomatic pressure on the West in general and on Germany and Berlin in particular was unwise: it seemed to me to be precisely a compounding of earlier blunders, and a further extension of the policy which has largely caused the present problems for both of us. To deliberately set out to build up tension and exerting pressure in the present situation could be dangerous. I personally thought that an opposite policy could on the other hand prove effective for both East and West. If steps were taken to develop a suitable international atmosphere of increasing confidence, many things, such as the recognition of present German frontiers, might well in due course be negotiable. But a threat to the freedom of the people of West Berlin seemed in the West like a threat to the freedom of Norway or Greece or other territories guaranteed by NATO. This certainly could be very unwise because it was not a matter on which the West could be expected to retreat. We must both learn to live and let live with the status quo until we could improve mutual confidence and secure agreed adjustments on points of differences.
  8. Mikoyan did not seem to like this very much. I cannot tell how much impression my recital of Soviet strategic blunders made on him. It is always hard to tell whether points have really got home with Communist leaders. But of course sometimes they do, and I think one must persevere in the hope that frank discussions may eventually affect their thinking.
  9. However this may be, Mikoyan said, perhaps in a rather patronizing way, but also I think in an effort to be objective and fair, that he recognized that Canada had shown objectivity, courage and some degree of independence as well as goodwill on various occasions. He cited our policy during the “Suez aggression” by Britain, our refusal to go along with the American boycott of Cuba last year and the recent “American aggression” there and our sale of wheat to China, as examples of this independence. Having ticked off summarily these three points of approbation he said he nevertheless wondered to what extent Canada could really expect to be independent and pursue a truly independent foreign policy in view of its membership in NATO.
  10. I said that there were a certain number of Canadians who thought that Canada could have a more independent and constructive influence in international affairs if we were neutral and outside NATO. Mikoyan answered that he knew some Canadians thought this and had been delighted to find that there were such sensible elements in the Canadian public. I replied that the people who thought in that way were a small minority, and that most Canadians considered that their international influence, and their contribution to the maintenance of peace, was much greater as a member of the North Atlantic Community than it could be outside this natural co-operative grouping. I said that most Canadians were firmly behind NATO and felt that Canadian influence could be most useful in trying to ensure that NATO as a whole pursued realistic, moderate and intelligent policies. This did not by any means imply an automatic acceptance of U.S.A. or U.K. policies. On the contrary, the NATO countries consulted and debated policies together. Our influence in this regard was far greater than Mikoyan might realize since on the occasions when we disagreed with one or other of our larger allies a considerable section of officials and public inside the larger countries, in my experience, tended to share the Canadian assessment of the common interest, and we could thus have a real voice in influencing common policy. Since our geography meant that we would in any case be affected by any major crisis, we felt safer to have a voice in shaping policies which would in any case affect all our futures.
  11. I went on to say that I thought that another profound mistake which the Soviet Union has tended to make in foreign policy was to try to disintegrate NATO. I could understand, personally, the concern of the many Russians and East Europeans about the danger of a possible revival of German militarism. But it seemed to me that West Germany, which was already a very dynamic and strong country, offered much less cause for valid concern by other Europeans, including particularly East Europeans, precisely because Germany was a member of a well integrated North Atlantic Community. If the Soviet Union should ever succeed in its attempts to disintegrate NATO (which I thought they could not do) and if Germany was then able to pursue a more unfettered foreign and military policy of its own, this would I thought not be a contribution to the security of East Europe.
  12. I asked Mikoyan whether he personally really thought that the world would be a safer place if in North America Canada, and reciprocally if in Europe Poland, East Germany and say Hungary, should break away from their present associations with larger groupings, and had governments which pursued independent and neutralist policies of their own. Mikoyan seemed rather startled by this question, and I had the impression that he did not much like it. He said that the Warsaw Pact had been organized merely in response to NATO. I said that the Warsaw Pact seemed to me not of the essence: the essential grouping of Eastern Europe was inherent in the cohesion of the Communist Party regimes. I did not think it desirable to pursue this theme further, and Mikoyan for his part seemed anxious to change the subject. He said he wanted to speak to me about Canadian-Soviet trade, but first he wanted to say something very briefly about disarmament.
  13. On disarmament Mikoyan said that the Soviet Union considered an agreement of fundamental importance to the whole future of humanity. Naturally the Soviet Government thought that its own approach, including the programme which they had proposed for complete disarmament in a few stages, was the best approach. However, if the West did not like that approach the Soviet Government would be quite prepared to consider alternative partial approaches. They were waiting for the United States Government to prepare its position and hoped that Washington would indicate its readiness, very soon now, to begin serious discussions.
  14. I said that the problem of controls and an objective inspection system seemed to me pretty fundamental. Mikoyan said the Soviet Government was prepared to accept inspection, but he immediately indicated that he did not want to go into this question of Troikas and launched into his remarks about Soviet Canadian trade, and his view that Canada had been guilty of a breach of our trade agreement with the USSR, when the latter had tried to sell gasoline to Canada last autumn. I reported Mikoyan’s remarks on this in a separate telegram (my telegram 258 of May 9, 1961).†


236. DEA/50341-40

Ambassador in Federal Republic of Germany to Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs


Dear Norman [Robertson],
I find international developments during the past few months even more than usually puzzling. I would like to know what you think.

Am I right in thinking that the public posture of the West over the Berlin affair is largely irrelevant to the problems which we are in fact likely to confront during the next twelve months or so? My feeling is that unless Khrushchev behaves more stupidly than we have reason to expect he is scarcely likely to confront the West with the issue of fighting for the freedom of West Berlin. The recurrent issue which the West is likely to face in 1962 is surely rather what to do each time Khrushchev cuts another paper thin slice off the Berlin salami. I do not find it credible that the West can make a world-shaking crisis over any one of these thin slices.

To recognize this is the beginning of wisdom.

I do not suggest that the public posture which the West has taken is wrong or that the propaganda line of the West is wrong. But I fear we may be in danger of misleading ourselves by our public posture and propaganda. Smoke screens can be useful provided the smoke does not get into one’s own eyes.

This does not mean that I rule out the possibility of war arising out of the Berlin crisis. But if war comes it will come because mobilization leads to a pre-emptive strike. The West has two cards to play in negotiations over Berlin – de jure recognition of the Oder-Neisse line, de facto recognition of the DDR. The longer we put off playing these cards the less the cards are worth. The time has, I suggest, come to launch a highly complicated and delicate series of prolonged secret diplomatic negotiations among the Western powers and with the Soviet Government to find out whether we can get a really free and independent city of Berlin in return for de jure recognition of the Oder-Neisse line and de facto recognition of the DDR. Later all three Germanies (East, West and Berlin) could be admitted to the United Nations.

Obviously this policy embodies risks and disadvantages. But I think that other possible policies are even riskier and on balance more disadvantageous.

There is one other aspect of the current discussion which has puzzled me. There seems to be a lingering belief in some quarters that the NATO powers can keep this issue out of the United Nations. I find this belief hard to comprehend.

As you know from our work on the Coordination Committee at San Francisco the true meaning of the Charter is not that the Security Council has the right to deal with threats to international peace but that it has the duty to deal with them. The more the NATO and Warsaw powers emphasize the danger of the Berlin crisis to world peace the stronger the argument that the Security Council should deal with it.

The uncommitted countries meet in Belgrade on September 1. Will not they put the Berlin crisis on the agendas of the Security Council and the General Assembly – and in so doing be acting in accordance with their obligations under the United Nations Charter?

I look forward to discussing these and other problems with you when I’m back on home leave. My present plans are to spend the week of August 21 on duty in the Department (commuting from the farm with Patrick [Reid]). I hope you will be in the Department that week. Then I promise I won’t bother the Department until the two or three days before we sail back to Germany.

Ruth and I enjoyed having Jules and Gaby Léger with us last weekend. They have certainly been through purgatory during the last twelve months.
Affectionate regards to Jette [Robertson].Footnote 6

Yours ever,

237. DEA/50341-40

Ambassador in United States to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 2162 Washington, July 6, 1961
Reference: Our Tel 2160 Jul 6.†
Repeat for Information: London, NATO Paris (Priority), Permis New York, Paris, Bonn (Priority), Brussels, Rome, Hague from Ottawa.
By Bag Warsaw, Moscow, Berlin, Prague, Copenhagen, Athens, Lisbon, Ankara, Oslo from London.

Germany and Berlin

Following is text of summary of proposals in your S-268† as transmitted to State Department July 6. Begins: Berlin

As a contribution to the forthcoming NATO discussion on the problems of Berlin, Canadian authorities have it in mind to propose that consideration be given to the concept of a supplementary agreement on Berlin which might, at an appropriate stage, be put forward as a Western counter-proposal to the positions taken by USSR. Ideas as to the elements of such a supplementary agreement are indicated below. It should be understood that these suggestions do not repeat not represent final Canadian views on this problem. The cardinal feature of such an agreement, however, would be that it would maintain unimpaired and unrestricted the present measure of Western rights in Berlin. Once these rights were renounced in a new contractual arrangement, it would be difficult, or impossible, to revert to them. Thus, it would be important that any new agreement on Berlin be recognized, insofar as it concerned West Berlin, as clearly and specifically supplementary and without prejudice to the present status of the Western powers in Berlin.

A supplementary agreement on Berlin with such a reservation of existing Western rights might very well be unacceptable to USSR, but it could nevertheless be put forward at the appropriate time as clear evidence of the Western powers flexibility and willingness to negotiate. Its presentation would have some value in appealing to public opinion and to uncommitted countries. It would be necessary to avoid any commitment to reduce substantially the military forces of the Western powers in West Berlin, or to accept the establishment of Soviet forces there.

The following are suggested points, a number of which might be included in such a supplementary agreement:

  1. The affirmation of the continuation of the present rights of the Four Powers, including their rights of access;
  2. The establishment of an interim régime covering the whole of Berlin, which would not repeat not be a part of either East Germany or West Germany;
  3. The régime would automatically terminate when Germany is reunited with Berlin as its capital;
  4. A Four-Power Commission to discuss, and perhaps negotiate, problems affecting the whole of Berlin to fill the need for a continuing Four-Power forum in place of the now inoperative inter-allied authority for the “Greater Berlin” area. Representatives of governments of both the Federal German Republic and the German Democratic Republic might be associated with this Four-Power body, without according recognition to the GDR. (This idea would, to some extent, meet the suggestion in Soviet aide mémoire delivered at Vienna for direct negotiations between the two Germanys);
  5. A UN presence with clearly defined responsibilities for investigation, and perhaps adjudication of complaints;
  6. Guarantees to all German citizens of freedom of access to Berlin and access to both Germanys for all Berliners.
  7. A “pilot” arrangement for a controlled ban of nuclear weapons in greater Berlin which could provide some experience in control and inspection techniques.

Care would, of course, have to be taken to present any proposals along the foregoing lines at the appropriate time in some sort of formula which would both serve to keep discussions going and, at the same time, would constitute a sound propaganda base if they were rejected and made public by USSR. It is also for consideration whether certain of the provisions mentioned above, such as the first and sixth, might not repeat not be adequately established by a unilateral declaration on the part of the Western powers which would not repeat not require the explicit public agreement of USSR. Ends.

238. DEA/50341-A-40

Memorandum from Assistant Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs to Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs

SECRET Ottawa, July 6, 1961

Berlin: Contingency Planning

Reactions to the Prime Minister’s speech, including references to Berlin, to the Kiwanis International Convention at Toronto on July 3,Footnote 7 and his subsequent statement in the House on July 4 have led to certain reactions which should be brought to your attention.

  1. The German Ambassador in a conversation with me on July 5 expressed enthusiastic satisfaction with the Prime Minister’s statements and told me that he and his Secretary (Prince Bismarck) had carefully translated the Prime Minister’s remarks on both occasions and sent them to Bonn including what he referred to as “the nuances of the Prime Minister’s remarks.”
  2. The Italian Ambassador came to see me on July 6. He likewise expressed satisfaction with the Prime Minister’s statements and said that on the face of it, the Canadian and Italian Governments seemed to be in agreement on the general approach to the Berlin problem. He questioned me, however, on the Canadian approach to the matter of negotiation. He said that in his view it was obvious that the Western Powers had to negotiate, since “a war over visas” was unthinkable. The Soviet Government had been very careful in limiting the risks of war by the way in which Khrushchev had put several alternatives and by emphasizing his willingness to negotiate. The Italian Ambassador emphasized the view however that the field of negotiations should be clearly defined in advance through consultation among the NATO powers so that the West, while using negotiations to prevent war, should not find themselves weakening the security of Europe or the freedom of the people of Berlin.
  3. Basing myself on telegram S-287 of July 5 to NATO, Paris,† I told the Ambassador that at present Canadian comment was limited to the U.S. reply to the Soviet aide mémoire and that we would not wish to see substantive proposals included in the reply pending further consultation among allies. I also said that we were considering possible proposals at an official level but that detailed proposals had not yet been formulated.
  4. The Italian Ambassador said in conclusion that since President Kennedy had re-stated the determination of the Western powers “to stand on their rights” in Berlin; rights obviously could not be re-negotiated but only restated. In the circumstances the Western aim should be to try to reach a modus vivendi with the Russians over Berlin which would give a minimum degree of de facto recognition to the East German authorities in the event that the Russians carry out their intention of concluding a peace treaty with East Germany, in order to maintain access to Berlin and the freedom of its inhabitants. Incidentally, the Italian Ambassador told me that in a talk with the Soviet Ambassador subsequent to the Prime Minister’s speech of July 3, Aroutunian had appeared to be upset by the Prime Minister’s references to the Soviet Union.
  5. Mr. Bryce and the Chairman of Chiefs of Staff, in a conversation with me on July 6, both suggested that it would be desirable to have an inter-departmental meeting to discuss Canadian implications of Three Power contingency planning. I also think that it would be desirable that Mr. Bryce and the CCOs be consulted before any substantive proposals are put to other governments on the possible basis of negotiations with the Russians over Berlin.
  6. Action Recommended. I recommend that you consider calling a meeting for next week to which Mr. Bryce, the Chairman of Chiefs of Staff and Mr. Elgin Armstrong be invited, as well as representatives from European and Economic Divisions and D.L. (1) Division to consider:
    1. the draft of a telegram being prepared in the Department suggesting a possible basis of negotiations on Berlin (being prepared by the European Division);
    2. the implications for Canada of contingency planning (paper being prepared by D.L. (1) Division);
    3. possible economic measures which may be adopted in connection with Berlin.


239. DEA/50341-40

Memorandum from Assistant Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs to Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs

[Ottawa], July 11, 1961


The U.S. Ambassador called on the Minister at 3.00 p.m. on instructions, to report that, in the light of the discussions in the NATO Council, the U.S. Government had decided to change the proposed timetable concerning the presentation of the U.S. reply to Mr. Khrushchev’s note on Berlin. The United States now proposed that there should be another NATO Council discussion on Saturday, and if the Council felt that further consultation was needed, another one on Monday, but the United States hoped that it will be possible for them to present a reply on Tuesday, July 18. The Minister expressed satisfaction with this changed timetable indicating that he felt that this would allow more time for consultation.

  1. The Minister then enquired as to Mr. Merchant’s opinion concerning the Berlin situation. The U.S. Ambassador said that he considered it very serious, particularly because Khrushchev had now committed himself very clearly in public. I referred to a recent report from Mr. Roberts, the U.K. Ambassador in Moscow, and mentioned that, in that report, Khrushchev had indicated some flexibility. It was true that once a peace treaty was signed with Eastern Germany there would not be much scope for manoeuvring, but Khrushchev had mentioned the possibility of arrangements being worked out before the treaty was signed.
  2. The Minister then enquired as to Mr. Merchant’s opinion as to the reasons why Khrushchev seemed to be so rigid. Mr. Merchant said that it was possible that Khrushchev had to face internal opposition but all the evidence that was available suggested that he was in full control of the situation. It was difficult to understand his rigidity.
  3. The Minister then expressed concern that both parties might now be taking up public positions from which it might be difficult to retreat later. He said that if the situation became more threatening, this would be particularly serious for the U.K. as they were facing annihilation. He also said that while public opinion at this stage welcomed indications of firmness, it was a question, when the chips were down, as to how far people might be prepared to face nuclear devastation in order to provide support for West Berlin.
  4. The U.S. Ambassador said that he agreed with the Minister that it would be impossible to carry public opinion unless it was satisfied that every effort had been made to find a compromise solution. He added that he did not see how the United States could retreat from the positions outlined in their note. The Administration, he recalled, was in the process of reviewing all aspects of the situation and they would welcome views on the part of their allies. He mentioned in particular the recent suggestions we had made in Washington concerning Berlin. He went on to say, however, that in regard to essentials it was very difficult to envisage a compromise. If one were to establish distinctions between the people of West Berlin and the people of West Germany, this could lead to further distinctions between the people of West Germany and those of France and then those of the U.K. Solemn commitments had been made to two million freedom-loving people in West Berlin. This was a larger population than some of the free countries in the world and if it was not possible to honour our obligations to these people who had taken risks to demonstrate their attachment to freedom, there would not be much faith in the future in any solemn commitments.
  5. I intervened at this point to mention that if there was to be some negotiation later on, it was possible that a presentation of our case in legal terms might make it less easy for us, at the appropriate stage, to envisage accommodation. If we referred, for instance, to the East German Government as a mere puppet, as a simple instrument of Soviet foreign policy, such legal arguments might be used against us later very effectively should it be necessary, at some stage, to have some dealings with the East Germans at the practical level.
  6. The U.S. Ambassador said that, as far as he could recall, all the elements of the proposal that we had made concerning Berlin had been rejected by the U.S.S.R. in 1959. He felt, however, that there might be some practical arrangements which could be suggested that might yet be acceptable to the Soviet side. In the past, the Soviet Union had made contractual arrangements with Eastern Germany and they had reserved the rights of the Western powers in Berlin. The difficulty was that in his current discussions of the problem, Khrushchev did not seem to envisage the possibility of such reservation.


240. DEA/50341-40

Memorandum from Secretary of State for External Affairs to Prime Minister

SECRET [Ottawa], July 17, 1961

Germany and Berlin

In your recent public reference to Germany and Berlin, you called for the West to show the flexibility necessary to permit discussions with the USSR if these prove possible and, at the same time, the firmness necessary to maintain the freedom of the people of West Berlin and the rights of the three Western powers on which that freedom is based.Footnote 8 We are considering in detail what steps are necessary to apply these principles.

1. Negotiations

Our NATO representative, upon instructions, has requested early consideration of the various aspects of the Berlin and German problems in the NATO Council. I hope that other NATO members, like ourselves, will be prepared to suggest positions which NATO might take that would serve as a basis for negotiation with the Soviet Union but which, at the same time, would in no way jeopardize the freedoms of the West Berlin citizens and would also serve as a good propaganda position. At an appropriate time and subject to Cabinet approval, I may decide to put forward some proposals which would call for a supplementary arrangement in Berlin which would both acknowledge present western rights and offer certain modifications which might prove attractive to the USSR but which would not endanger the freedom of the citizens of West Berlin.

The United States reply to the Soviet aide-mémoire on Germany and Berlin is being discussed in the NATO Council and will be sent to the Soviet Union today. This reply re-states at length the legal basis for the rights of the Western occupation powers in Berlin but confirms in its final paragraph United States willingness to consider practical arrangements which might improve the present situation in Berlin and to consider a freely negotiated settlement of the unresolved problems of Germany. This response should serve to keep the dialogue on Berlin going.Footnote 9

2. Contingency Planning

At the same time as the possibilities of negotiations with the Soviet Union are being considered, concrete acts must be contemplated which will demonstrate to the USSR Western determination to remain in West Berlin. Many of these steps are also connected with the military problems which may arise if it ever becomes necessary to use force to maintain Western rights in the city. These problems, both civil and military and how they might affect Canada, are discussed in detail in the attached memorandum.

Consideration of all aspects of the Berlin problems, diplomatic, military and economic, are now being reviewed by the Departments concerned and at inter-Departmental meetings.


241. DEA/50341-40

Record of Meeting in Privy Council Office



  • Mr. N.A. Robertson, Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs (Chairman),
  • Mr. R.B. Bryce, Secretary to the Cabinet,
  • Air Marshal F.R. Miller, Chairman, Chiefs of Staff,
  • Mr. A.F.W. Plumptre, Assistant Deputy Minister of Finance,
  • Mr. A.E. Ritchie, Assistant Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs,
  • Mr. J.B.C. Watkins, Department of External Affairs,
  • Mr. Jean Fournier, Department of External Affairs,
  • Mr. W.R. Barton, Department of External Affairs,
  • Air Commodore R.C. Weston, Department of National Defence,
  • Brigadier D.A.G. Waldock, Department of National Defence,
  • Dr. N.J. Sutherland, Department of National Defence,
  • Mr. M.A. Crowe, Department of External Affairs,
  • Mr. R.P. Cameron, Department of External Affairs,
  • Mr. G.E. Cox, Department of External Affairs,
  • Mr. R.W. MacLaren, Department of External Affairs,
  • Mr. D.B. Dewar, Privy Council Office (Secretary).
  1. Mr. Robertson said that we were already in a worrying situation in respect of Berlin, and we should be giving some study to the implications that it might have for Canada. The circumstances of the Berlin problem were not new but a crisis situation had been built up recently from the Russian side and should be taken seriously. The present phase of the problem began with the memorandum given by Mr. Khrushchev to President Kennedy in Vienna which re-stated the Soviet demands on Berlin. Copies of the memorandum were subsequently sent to the UK and France. This week the three Western Powers were making their replies to the Soviet Union.Footnote 10 These replies would take a firm stand on Western rights in Berlin, largely on legal grounds. The US answer in particular would make a cogent legal argument. All of the notes would contain some reference to a willingness to negotiate the problem but would not make specific suggestions about the nature of negotiations. Some observers believed that the Soviet Union would not move on the Berlin question before the German elections on September 17, or before the Communist party meeting in October. Mr. Khrushchev had said plainly, however, that he would take action on the problem before the end of the year. Discussion about Western policy had so far been carried on among the Western Big Three who had consulted with Germany and with other NATO countries in the NATO Council. These latter discussions were nearing a point where substantive issues would be raised and this country, among others, would be required to take big decisions on the subject. The problem had not so far been considered by the Cabinet.
  2. Mr. Bryce said that Cabinet had discussed the Berlin question briefly and had agreed that there should be further study of it.
  3. Mr. Robertson said the US appraisal, as it was stated publicly, was that there was a large element of bluff in the Soviet demands. To the extent that the US believed this, their policy was one of counter-bluff. They believed the Berlin situation had been working itself out satisfactorily (for example, there had been no serious East German disturbances for some years) and that the present crisis had been manufactured by the Soviet Union. There had been talk in the US press of US dependents being withdrawn from Europe and of higher levels of military readiness being declared later in the summer. There had also been a leakage, possibly deliberate, of some contingency plans. These reports might be circulated to impress the Soviet Union but if they were carried through into action, the Alliance would be put into some disarray. For example if the US withdrew military dependents from Europe and Canada did not, our inaction would tend to make the US action look like a bluff.
  4. Air Marshal Miller said there did not appear to be anything in Berlin itself to require the degree of brinkmanship which the Soviet Union by its declarations appeared to be ready to undertake. Soviet complaints about the drain of refugees from East Germany and about West Berlin being a capitalist showplace and espionage centre were surely not great enough to justify the threat of major war. It must therefore be concluded that the Soviet objective was to break up the NATO Alliance by using Berlin as a lever. This might be too simple an analysis but it seemed that Berlin was essentially a pressure point the Soviets would use to exploit differences among the Western countries. Berlin was an impossible military problem from the Western point of view. It could not be sufficiently garrisoned for its defence nor could the access roads be opened by a reasonable amount of force once they were closed. From the Western viewpoint, any solution to the Berlin problem must surely be other than a military solution.
  5. If this analysis was right, the important thing was that the Western coalition be united together under stress rather than fly apart. How far national views should be subordinated to reach common agreement on a position to be taken presented the difficult and complex part of the question.
  6. Mr. Robertson said he thought a weakening of NATO was one objective of the Soviet Union but the present condition of Chinese-Soviet relations might explain why Russia was taking such a hard line about Berlin now. If this was true, it was a worrying interpretation because it would be difficult for Russia to back down.
  7. Mr. Bryce said that the problem of brinkmanship was not so difficult for the Soviet Union as for the West. Russia could threaten actions which they thought would not cause war and would meet their requirements for prestige but would be divisive to the West. The Russians probably believed that the West would not start a war because they signed a peace treaty with East Germany, but threatening to do so was attractive to them because it would almost certainly cause a division between Germany and the US. Khrushchev probably considered that the West was bluffing when we said we would not accept the consequences of a Soviet peace treaty with East Germany, and he was therefore leading us on in the hope that we would make further statements of bluff which he could then call and thereby destroy the position of President Kennedy who was his main adversary.
  8. Mr. Ritchie suggested that the Soviet objective might be to stop German re-armament at a crucial point in its development.
  9. Air Marshal Miller said this would have made sense at the time Germany began the re-armament process. All the commitments about German re-armament had, however, already been made now, and it was difficult to see the prevention of further German re-armament as the objective of the Soviet Union in formenting the present crisis.
  10. Mr. Ritchie said that if Mr. Khrushchev thought Western countries were bluffing in taking a firm stand he might wish to provoke a military encounter with West Germany, either to destroy the German forces or else to show Germany that the US would not honour its obligation to stand with them.
  11. Air Marshal Miller suggested that the humiliation of the US would anger them, make future US policy tougher and, at the very least, result in much larger US defence budget.
  12. Mr. Bryce agreed that Khrushchev’s big risk might be not war but the likelihood of subsequently facing an aroused US.
  13. Mr. Robertson said that the Western Alliance had been maintaining a very extended policy position. We had kept open the question of the Eastern frontiers of Germany, we had refused recognition of the East German government despite the fact that it had been organized and had had de facto control of the Soviet zone for nearly 15 years, and we had continued to claim the unification of Germany as our objective. Although some of these policies no longer seemed tenable or these objectives attainable, they had been maintained for so long that it was difficult to change them without appearing to be accepting a major political defeat. If the West was prepared to accept the eastern frontiers of Germany as fixed and final and could move towards a de facto recognition of the East German Government (this would at one time have been a major political concession although it was now a concession of diminished value), would Khrushchev accept this kind of settlement?
  14. Air Marshal Miller said that the UK did not particularly want to see a unified Germany, France was somewhat fearful of it and it was even questionable whether the West German Government desired it. As for Khrushchev, it seemed clear that he would accept reunification of Germany only if it had a Communist Government and he had control of it.
  15. Mr. Robertson said that with these sort of uncertainties in people’s minds it was difficult to see how the NATO Alliance could be kept firm and united in the face of a crisis.
  16. Air Marshal Miller said that the new US Administration had had a succession of set-backs to its prestige. It was likely that the explanation of the ‘tough talk’ that was now coming from Washington was that the Administration felt it could not afford to be less than firm any longer.
  17. Mr. Bryce suggested that our objective should be to try to direct the developing situation in such a way that the withdrawals from positions that must be made eventually by both sides would not be too humiliating for them to accept.
  18. Many people in the West would think that the Soviet demands for a peace treaty with East Germany sixteen years after the end of the war was quite reasonable and would not be willing to support a firm stand on the Oder-Neisse line; indeed, many might feel that in losing the eastern provinces Germany got what it deserved.
  19. Mr. Robertson said one of the great questions we must face was whether we should or could at some time say this to the Germans.
  20. Mr. Ritchie said that three of the people who would be involved in US policy-making during any Berlin crisis were the same people who had been through a Berlin crisis before. These were Dean Acheson and Generals Lemnitzer and Taylor. Lemnitzer and Taylor, at least, did not believe during the earlier crisis that an airlift was the right answer, but rather favoured a movement by force up the access highways.
  21. Mr. Robertson noted that in the crisis of two years ago, both Mr. Merchant and Mr. Murphy in the State Department considered that an airlift would be the wrong answer.
  22. Mr. Ritchie recalled that in 1959 Dean Acheson had written an article in which he proposed that if access to Berlin were denied our response should be conventional attack in strength but that no nuclear weapons should be used. Acheson had said that the conventional attack would be repulsed and the Allied forces would suffer a beating but that the incident would be worthwhile because it would save the Alliance.Footnote 11
  23. Mr. Bryce said that the response of making an honourable attempt to save Berlin would be one possible solution. Canada would have to decide whether we should share in the action.
  24. Mr. Robertson said that there was a vacuum of substantial discussion on major issues in the NATO Council. Indeed, the great issues were not even discussed elsewhere among the partners.
  25. Air Marshal Miller said our basic objective should be to maintain the solidarity of the Western Alliance because its break-up was Khrushchev’s main goal, though not his only one.
  26. Mr. Robertson said if our objective was to defeat an effort to break up the Alliance we must consider how this should best be done. Should we continue to anchor the Alliance to a number of basic domestic German political tenets, or should we try to remove the Alliance from association with these extended policy positions? We had had a similar situation with Italy vis-à-vis Trieste and that position had eventually been negotiated, though with difficulty.
  27. Air Marshal Miller suggested that the Alliance should not dispute these contentious issues in public during the period of the present crisis.
  28. Mr. Robertson agreed with this position, but pointed out that member countries should also not continue to re-affirm positions that must be modified later if the dangerous situation in Europe was to be resolved. The Prime Minister had put the emphasis on our concern for the future of the Alliance, not on the defence of the outlying positions to which the Alliance was tied. In a war these extended positions would be the first things that would be written off. Was it possible that some of these essentially second-rate positions such as the non-acceptance of the Oder-Neisse Line and our non-recognition of East Germany would be negotiable in exchange for a satisfactory settlement on Berlin?
  29. Air Marshal Miller said there would be no chance to reach agreement among the Western powers on what should be done with these issues before the time we faced the Berlin crisis. The most important point to keep in mind was that the more uncertain voice we spoke with as we moved towards the crisis, the more serious the crisis was likely to be. For the period of the emergency, we should cover over those problems on which we did not see eye-to-eye. We should have a position of unity that would carry us through the crisis and it should perhaps be affirmed by a Heads of Government meeting.
  30. Mr. Plumptre said that such a position would mean for Canada withdrawal of our dependents from Europe, and the raising of the level of alertness of our forces if the US took these actions. It would also mean leaving until later the problem of finding agreement among the Western Powers on the issues Mr. Robertson had raised.
  31. Mr. Bryce said he thought certain points had emerged during the discussion. First of all, if the Berlin crisis reached the point of fighting, the West should not use nuclear weapons; secondly, if we faced a humiliating situation over Berlin, we should have a limited conventional operation which would probably not be successful but would display our strength of purpose; thirdly, we should be prepared to go along with whatever steps the US felt should be taken to prepare for such conventional action; and fourthly, at some point we would have to accept a number of withdrawals from our present position (e.g., recognition of East Germany) and we should not in the next few months make statements which would make it more difficult for us to accept these withdrawals later on. If there was agreement on these points, the main difficulty was to decide where to draw the line between what we would accept as tolerable without fighting and what we could not accept without making some gesture of military response. Our best course was probably to talk directly and frankly to the US on these matters and at the same time to go along with whatever preparatory action the US considered necessary.
  32. Air Marshal Miller suggested one of our objectives should be to try to postpone the crisis, particularly by avoiding statements or actions which would force the Soviet hand, and thereby to win time in which a united Western position could be worked out after the German elections in September. We should try to avoid having to formulate a united Western position quickly and under crisis conditions. The most important objective should be to display a united front to the Soviet Union and thereby avoid tempting them to take more drastic actions in the hope of breaking up the Western Alliance.
  33. Mr. Bryce said we should not discuss in the NATO Council what we would accept as a price for a settlement over Berlin because differences of opinion would be displayed and they would almost certainly leak out. The best way for discussions to be held, it seemed, was for each country of importance in the Alliance to speak frankly to the US.
  34. Mr. Robertson wondered whether the kind of contingency planning which was going on was very sensible. The UK, for instance, had always refused to approve a final contingency plan which would be used in response to certain stated provocations because they maintained that a plan could not be decided upon until the political circumstances surrounding the issue at the time were known.
  35. Air Marshal Miller said that conditional contingency planning made sense but over-detailed pre-planning was not really possible because the circumstances at the time could not be known in advance.
  36. Mr. Bryce said our greatest immediate problem was that at some point we would have to accept being stopped from using force to attain our objectives. Should we not try to settle at least in some rough way what point this would be? The only alternative to preparation of this kind was to try to devise some kind of package deal we could put up to the Russians in negotiations.
  37. Mr. Robertson noted that all the Western notes admitted the possibility of negotiations. The question was how a package could be developed in time which could be presented in those negotiations.
  38. Air Marshal Miller said that each Western country might have in mind a package which would be acceptable to it but it might be impossible in the time we had to formulate an agreed package. We probably must rely on the solidarity of the Alliance up to the point of actual fighting, which might enable us to impress the adversary sufficiently to convince him not to act in such a way that we would have to make a strong military response.
  39. Mr. Barton asked whether, if we agreed to go along with whatever preparatory measures the US thought were necessary, Canada had the resources and plans to follow through with such action as the removal of dependents from Europe.
  40. Air Marshal Miller said that if such action had to be taken in a non-crisis period, the plans could be developed fairly easily. In a crisis it would be much more difficult and such a movement then might in any case be dangerous to the political atmosphere.
  41. Mr. Plumptre suggested that we could indicate our intention to take the same action the US was taking, but we might actually take the action later and more slowly.
  42. Mr. Barton said that this approach would not satisfy the demands that would be made of the Government in Canada.
  43. Mr. Robertson and Mr. Bryce suggested that a paper should be prepared immediately for Cabinet on the considerations which had been brought out in the discussion.
  44. Mr. Plumptre said that such a paper could take one of two forms. It could recommend what should be done to meet the immediate problem, (for instance, undertaking discussions with the US), and perhaps evaluate some of the long term policy questions which might be taken up later; alternatively, it might recommend we take a firm united stand with our NATO partners but that we should ask the US for assurance that they would not be too inflexible in dealing with the modification of extended policy positions later on.
  45. Mr. Bryce thought that our support for the US proposal should not be made conditional. We should be able to talk frankly to them but it was essential that we not take any position that would lessen our influence in Washington throughout the difficult period ahead.
  46. Air Marshal Miller said that the united position of the Alliance was for the purpose of facing the Berlin crisis. During this crisis we should agree with our partners to take a position either of no negotiations or limited negotiations on Berlin only. We should not attempt now to work out any new approach to the difficult issues such as reunification and the frontiers because it would not be possible to get an agreed new approach in the time available.
  47. Mr. Bryce thought that Khrushchev did not believe that the West would be willing to go as far as nuclear war over the Berlin issue and it seemed clear that further reiteration that we might do so would not convince him. Among the preparatory actions which might help convince him of our firmness of purpose might be the movement of dependents and possibly spending money on such other unpleasant and costly programmes as the building of shelters.
  48. Air Marshal Miller considered that actions taken in the European theatre would be more likely to impress the Russians. There might also be some advantage in having a Western Heads of Government Meeting in the fall.
  49. Mr. Bryce thought that a Head of Government Meeting might be somewhat dangerous even after the German elections because it might result in indications of disagreement or else in an unconvincing re-affirmation of previous positions. One action that might be useful would be for the Minister of National Defence or the Secretary of State for External Affairs to make trips to Washington, London or Paris and to refuse to divulge what the purpose of these trips was.
  50. It was agreed that External Affairs would prepare a memorandum for Cabinet reflecting some of the above points, with a view to having Cabinet discussions on it at the beginning of next week.


242. DEA/50030-V-4-40

Memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs to Secretary of State for External Affairs

SECRET [Ottawa], July 22, 1961

Berlin – United States Preparedness Measures

The purpose of this memorandum is to summarize the information conveyed to you by Mr. Merchant during your meeting with him on Saturday, July 22, on the problem of Berlin and proposed United States preparedness measures.

  1. Mr. Merchant began by explaining that the United States Secretary of State, Mr. Rusk, wanted him to deliver personally to you the main lines of United States thinking and, in particular, the points which would be made by the United States Permanent Representative in the NATO Council on Monday, July 24. He indicated that his message from Mr. Rusk and Mr. Finletter’s statement to the NATO Council on Monday would provide a preview of the main elements which will be contained in President Kennedy’s address to the nation on Tuesday, July 25Footnote 12 and which, in turn, will be followed by a special request to Congress on Wednesday, July 26.Footnote 13 He thought it was likely, however, that President Kennedy’s public statement would deal with these measures on more general terms and would not include some of the details which were being given to Canada and other NATO members.
  2. The following is a summary of the main points made in Mr. Merchant’s presentation:
    1. The present Berlin situation must be viewed against the wider background of a hardening Soviet attitude on Laos, disarmament and nuclear tests. Despite all the best United States efforts to meet the Soviet Union halfway, the latter for its own purposes appears to have decided to adopt an increasingly rigid position.
    2. While it is difficult to be certain about Soviet intentions, they appear to have decided that the balance of power is shifting to their advantage and that they should exploit the exposed Western position in Berlin to put the West “on the run.” Their objectives appear to be:
      1. to consolidate the Communist position in Europe;
      2. to achieve an early and significant weakening of the Western position in Berlin;
      3. to demonstrate Western impotence;
      4. to weaken and, if possible, divide NATO.
    3. The United States believes that action must be taken on a broad front to convince the Soviet Union and world opinion of the united purpose and determination of the peoples and governments of the Alliance.
    4. The United States considers that in view of the increasing gravity of the world situation, it is necessary and sensible for the members of the Alliance to consider measures to improve their own defences and to discuss together all possible means of protecting our mutual position without war.
    5. The measures which the United States has in mind in the present situation include:
      1. development of an agreed Western strategy;
      2. a significant build-up of Western military strength;
      3. possible counter-measures to be applied as a means of protecting the Western position in Berlin. These would include economic counter-measures relating to East Germany and possibly to the Soviet Union as well;
      4. development of concerted Western diplomatic positions;
      5. efforts to marshal maximum world opinion.
    6. For its part, the United States Administration intends to ask Congress for an extra appropriation of $3.2 billion which would be in addition to the $6 billion increase already requested by President Kennedy over and above President Eisenhower’s defence budget. Among other things this increase would enable the United States to:
      1. have the capability to move to Europe six additional divisions by the end of this year if such should prove to be necessary;
      2. increase and improve its supply of tactical and transport aircraft;
      3. increase to 50 per cent (from approximately 25 per cent) the number of SAC bomber aircraft on ground alert.
    7. The United States believes that if the West is to convince the Russians of the credibility of its position and its willingness to accept risks, it would not be sufficient for the United States to act alone in this respect. The other members of NATO should be prepared to make comparable increases in their defensive strength.
    8. The United States is also considering substantial increases in the field of civil defence.
    9. The Alliance must also be agreed on contingency planning measures for Berlin and arrangements will have to be explored to obtain precise commitments from governments in this regard.
    10. All these measures must not however prejudice existing Western plans and programmes in other parts of the world (although not specific in this regard, Mr. Rusk’s message appeared to be referring to aid programmes.)
    11. While bolstering up its defences, the West must, at the same time, leave no stone unturned in attempting to arrive through negotiations at an acceptable accommodation with the USSR on Berlin and other outstanding East-West issues. Although not specific in this regard, Mr. Rusk’s message referred to:
      1. East-West discussions through diplomatic channels;
      2. a possible Four-Power Foreign Ministers’ meeting.
    12. In considering all those possibilities, the United States intends to lay the greatest stress on full consultation with its NATO allies. (In the course of his remarks later, Mr. Merchant indicated that the possibility of having a NATO Heads of Government meeting at some stage could not be excluded.)
      Other points which emerged in the course of the conversation were:
      1. The United States regards its commitments in respect of Berlin to be absolutely vital and believes that any failure to discharge its responsibilities fully in this regard would be disastrous and would undermine completely the confidence of all its allies around the world.
      2. The Administration has not come to any decision on the question of evacuating dependents of United States military personnel from Europe. Mr. Merchant indicated that consideration had been given about two years ago to the possibility of evacuating the some 10,000 dependents of United States military personnel stationed in West Berlin. It was decided not to do so mainly because of the demoralizing effect such a move would likely have on the population of West Berlin.
      3. The Mayor of West Berlin, Mr. Brandt, will be given an outline of the same points which will be submitted to the NATO Council by the United States Permanent Representative on Monday, July 24.


243. PCO

Extract from Cabinet Conclusions

SECRET [Ottawa], July 24, 1961


  • The Prime Minister (Mr. Diefenbaker) in the Chair,
  • The Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Green),
  • The Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming),
  • The Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Hees),
  • The Minister of Transport (Mr. Balcer),
  • The Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Churchill),
  • The Minister of National Defence and Acting Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Harkness),
  • The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (Mrs. Fairclough),
  • The Minister of Fisheries (Mr. MacLean),
  • The Minister of Labour (Mr. Starr),
  • The Postmaster General (Mr. William Hamilton), (for morning meeting only)
  • The Solicitor General (Mr. Browne),
  • The Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys (Mr. Comtois),
  • The Minister of Defence Production (Mr. O=Hurley).
  • The Minister of Forestry (Mr. Flemming),
  • The Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources (Mr. Dinsdale).
  • The Secretary to the Cabinet (Mr. Bryce),
  • The Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Mr. Labarge).
    . . .

Berlin Situation; Nuclear Weapons Policy

(Previous reference July 24)

  1. The Prime Minister said that he would commence the exposition of this important problem and would hope that the Secretary of State for External Affairs and the Minister of National Defence would follow with their analyses and views of the situation.
    After a few remarks about the origins of the Berlin situation at the end of the war, he recalled that when he had talked to Adenauer in 1958 the latter thought that a crisis was looming, and possibly war. Now it appeared there really was going to be a crisis this year. Judging from the conversations in May, the Prime Minister was convinced that President Kennedy would take a definite stand and not deviate. Mr. Khrushchev has taken him to be either weak or provocative. The position of the whole West would be endangered should the United States give way. Therefore, Berlin must be maintained and the United States had to be supported in this effort.
  2. Mr. Diefenbaker spoke of some of the things that Mr. Khrushchev had been saying recently and mentioned that he had heard the latter was now starting to drink again and speak more freely. Khrushchev now seemed to think he had superiority over the United States in missiles and nuclear weapons. Even U.S. Generals thought two or three years ago that their superiority might end with 1961. NATO had not mobilized the forces that were decided upon at Lisbon, and was no match for Russia and Eastern Europe on the ground. Consequently, the question arose of what could now be done. The U.S. would not back up. Eisenhower had told Mr. Diefenbaker that he had been held back in the past by the views of his Allies. Kennedy was unlikely to be restrained to the same degree. He was going to outline on Tuesday night some of the steps that he will propose to Congress or take under his own powers.Footnote 14 These will include an increase in the call-up, a strengthening of the Navy as well as the Army, preparations to send six further divisions to Europe if necessary, and other measures. On the other hand, he was not going to repatriate the dependants of servicemen because of the effects on the Europeans.
    The question arose as to what plans should be made for action when Russia turned over the administration of the access roads to Berlin to East Germany. Will East Germany prevent their use? If so, should the West push through on the ground, and what forces should it use for the purpose? If a conflict arose out of it, could it be limited by a refusal to use nuclear weapons? If they were not used, the Western Powers might quickly be pushed into the sea. If they did use nuclear weapons, there was apt to be a nuclear war because it was difficult to imagine the use of nuclear weapons being confined to the battlefield.
    The government here must now consider its own stand on Berlin. He had spent some hours the previous day studying the analyses of the situation by officials and various suggestions for the attitude that should be taken. With some of these he did not agree. The Secretary of State for External Affairs would deal with these suggestions. The government would also have to decide what policy should be taken under present circumstances with regard to nuclear weapons in Canada, in particular for the storage of nuclear weapons at Goose Bay and Harmon Field. Negotiations on agreements on nuclear weapons were likely to take about two months and it would probably be wise to go ahead with them now. Canada should not act provocatively but the danger could not be postponed.
  3. Mr. Diefenbaker went on to say that the Prime Ministers and Presidents concerned in the NATO countries did not believe that Khrushchev was bluffing. He was being challenged at home and by China and must show progress in regard to Berlin and the German situation. He had left himself almost no escape hatches and had pointed out with definiteness what he intended to do in turning over control to East Germany. Ulbricht, for his part, said that East Germany intended to take over West Berlin. They are seriously disturbed over the flow of refugees and had become more defiant than they were before. The matter was now one causing deep concern. The alternative solutions had been tried on Khrushchev before but none of them had worked.
    (At this point the meeting was adjourned and the Prime Minister suggested that when it was resumed Mr. Green might outline his views of the situation.)
  4. The Secretary of State for External Affairs said that the present situation was precipitated by Khrushchev’s statement that he was going to recognize East Germany and sign a peace treaty with it, together with indications that, if the West were to interfere, he would counter their moves. Should access to West Berlin be resisted by force, the West would not have enough strength in Europe on the ground to force its way through. Canada was involved as a member of NATO.
    He felt Khrushchev’s present tough attitude arose because he was now convinced of Russian superiority. He felt that Kennedy was immature and insecure. He feared that he himself would be under pressure and criticism in the Praesidium and must show the Chinese that he was tougher than they think. The Russians can be stupid as others can and their present course was not a wise one. President Kennedy was reacting strongly. The situation was like that of two locomotives headed toward each other on a single track.
    The British were very worried because of their highly vulnerable position in a nuclear war. The Allies could not make any definite plans or proposals until after the German election. Khrushchev had not set specific deadlines for specific action but had said that, by the end of the year, he would sign a peace treaty with East Germany.
  5. Mr. Green said that the U.S. Ambassador had called on him on Saturday and outlined American views on the situation and plans for dealing with it. They were to be taken up on Monday at NATO. Mr. Kennedy would be announcing the U.S. position on Tuesday evening.
    He will propose that the Western Allies should have an agreed strategy on counter measures, including economic sanctions, diplomatic action and the martialling of public opinion, as well as on military measures to be taken in the event of trouble. They would hope that their Allies will be taking action parallel to their own, and Canada, for example, might be expected to send another brigade or even a division to Europe. Mr. Kennedy believed that a Four-Power Foreign Ministers meeting might be necessary, and East-West discussions through diplomatic channels. On the other hand, he was of the firm opinion that if the West gave in on the Berlin issue, it would lose its position in world affairs.
    For itself, the United States, as President Kennedy would indicate, intended to ask Congress for a supplementary defence budget of some $3¼ billion, for an increased call-up of men, not only for the Army but also additional manpower for the Navy and Air Force. He would also ask to increase the supply of tactical and transport aircraft and the number of SAC bomber aircraft on ground alert. They were also proposing to make substantial increases in the civil defence programme. All this might well mean an increase in taxes. There would, however, be no declaration of a national emergency.
  6. Mr. Green went on to say that the chief problem was what steps were to be taken if access to Berlin was cut off. There probably would be a withholding of decisions until after the election in Germany.
    In the course of his remarks on these matters, he mentioned that a story was going about that Herr Strauss, the German Defence Minister, had said that Germany would defend Berlin to the last American and this was causing some apprehension. He also reported that Mr. Merchant had said that the United States had not the slightest intention of giving nuclear weapons to Germany.
  7. Mr. Green felt there was scope for negotiations on the Berlin problem; for instance the settling of the eastern borders of Germany offered some opportunity for bargaining. The reunification of Germany remained an objective but no one believed it could be accomplished in the near future.
    The United Nations would meet in about six weeks and there was bound to be a great upsurge of feeling among the uncommitted countries over this Berlin issue. Even Russia was influenced by the world opinion that was focused by the United Nations. On the other hand, Russia would be assisted by the drastic action taken by France over Bizerte and this was most regrettable because Tunisia was one of the best nations of Africa. Indeed, in the long run, this Tunisian situation might prove to be more serious than that in Berlin. On the whole, he thought there might be some softening of war talk once the United Nations met and the Americans and Russians were carrying on some negotiations.
    In regard to nuclear weapons which the Prime Minister had mentioned, he thought it significant that the new U.S. plan for disarmament included the provision that there should be no further spread of nuclear weapons. He hoped that Cabinet would not rush in to approve Canada becoming a nuclear power. One must recognize how high the stakes were in nuclear war. It was an issue that might determine whether or not Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Vancouver and other Canadian cities might be blotted off the map. It was not just a question of losing some troops but rather one of the future of Canada and of civilization. If the present situation gave rise to a nuclear war, the United Kingdom might be blotted out entirely and most of Canada as well.
  8. Discussion at this point arose over what was to be done if Russia and East Germany carried out the action they threatened. It was noted that the United States had a terrifying number of nuclear weapons and did not appear to need help from anyone else in nuclear deterrents. Some thought it would be tragic and serve no useful purpose if Canada was the first to break the line on the spread of nuclear weapons. Others, on the contrary, felt that the making of plans to acquire defensive weapons for defence purposes did not mean that Canada was becoming a nuclear power.
  9. During the course of this discussion Mr. Green indicated that he did not have as much objection to the storage of nuclear weapons on leased bases as he did to the acquisition of weapons for the Canadian forces. He felt it was possible to defend permitting the United States to have such weapons on leased bases, as not implying that Canada was becoming a nuclear power. It was also noted that the storage of weapons at Argentia could be further justified as being under a joint NATO control through SACLANT, although there were certain technical problems to be solved.
  10. The Minister of National Defence then gave an appraisal of the situation. The extreme belligerency of Khrushchev at present suggested that he was after bigger stakes than simply Berlin. His main objective must be the breaking up of NATO. Berlin was the weakest point in the NATO Alliance. Very few members of NATO really wanted reunification of Germany, even though this was one of the nominal objectives of the Western nations, including Canada. If West Berlin came under the control of East Germany and the Communists, and if the other NATO countries did not assist in the reunification, Germany might then drop out of NATO and the Alliance might really disappear as a consequence.
    He felt Western solidarity must be maintained on this issue and at some point there must be a meeting of the NATO Heads of Government to determine the course to be followed. From the point of view of world opinion, the West must appear ready to negotiate at any time and there might be some questions, for example the Oder-Neisse line, on which negotiations could take place and could take up a good deal of time. On the other hand, the field of real negotiation was very narrow and there was not much on which the West could make concessions. The essence of the Western position was to maintain the status quo in Berlin, to stand firm. He felt the United Nations could not have much effect; it had no relationship to reality.
  11. Mr. Harkness went on, at the Prime Minister’s suggestion, to speak about nuclear weapons for the Canadian forces and said that he felt there was all the difference in the world between the defensive weapons desired for the Canadian forces and hydrogen bombs which everyone had in mind in thinking of nuclear weapons. BOMARCS could not start a war – they had a range of only 400 or 500 miles and were purely defensive weapons. Already, European countries in NATO had nuclear weapons. The government should lose no time in starting negotiations for an agreement on nuclear weapons for the Canadian forces. The agreements should be completed first and then the government could decide later if and when they would actually have the weapons made available in Canada for the forces in accordance with the agreements.
  12. The Prime Minister at this point mentioned that he felt it would not constitute any spread of the nuclear powers to have the weapons held in joint control of the United States and its Allies, including Canada.
  13. Mr. Green, however, felt that in Europe this joint control amounted substantially to U.S. control.
  14. The Prime Minister went on to say that he had asked around Christmas time that the agreement on storage of weapons at Goose Bay and Harmon Field be held up as a trading point but he indicated that this no longer needed to be done.
    He had come away from the North with the impression that from time to time there were periods of a few days at times that could be predicted, that they did not know up there what was going on, as they were without communications. He thought the next such period of silence was apt to take place in October. This tended to make Canada’s defences much more vulnerable.
    (It was pointed out, however, that the Mid-Canada line could detect aircraft penetrating the Dew Line even though the latter was temporarily blanked out for the reasons mentioned.)
  15. During the discussion which then ensued, the suggestion was made that there should be a meeting of the Canada-U.S. Ministerial Committee on Defence to deal with some of these questions relating to nuclear weapons and other matters of joint concern, but the Prime Minister reported that the U.S. President was not very anxious to have this Committee meet now. He prefers that conversations on defence be carried on a more limited basis and through other channels.
    Other Ministers expressed their views and most were to the effect that the West should not retreat, or give any appearance of weakening, on the Berlin issue as it would undermine the whole Alliance and there was nothing in substance that could be given up in Berlin. There was some discussion as to whether this should be carried so far as to imply a willingness to accept nuclear war as well as limited action on the ground, but no conclusive opinions were expressed on this point. There was also discussion as to the nature of a probe of the East German resistance to access on the ground that might be useful and the Minister of National Defence reported that the United States felt that nothing less than an armoured division would make a worthwhile test of the will to resist and it was a military absurdity to endeavour to hold open a corridor of 130 miles in length.
  16. The Prime Minister noted that the U.S. authorities said that there was no way the West could defend itself on the ground in Europe without nuclear weapons.
  17. One Minister expressed the view that it was vital to indicate a willingness to use nuclear weapons if necessary and to show no signs of weakening and, if that were done, the nuclear weapons would not in fact be used because the Russians would not run the risk of bringing about their use.
  18. The Secretary of State for External Affairs at this point reported that he felt the United States was going farther than had been believed. He felt they were all prepared for a war now and were expecting it. Indeed Mr. Merchant had left him with the distinct impression that they were now set for a nuclear war.
  19. Other Ministers said that in this case Canada must look seriously at the position it would be in should a nuclear war occur. Some felt Canada had no effective air defence and it would be necessary to give thought to shelters from fall-out at least.
  20. The Minister of National Defence noted, however, that, while no air defence could be perfect, if there was none it simply invited attack on vital targets as well as others. The prime purpose of the air defence was to defend the SAC forces of retaliation and the second purpose was to defend the industrial cities. He did, however, express the view that the West must stand firm and show that it was ready for war, in order to avoid war.
  21. There was brief discussion as to whether experience in the last war in respect of germs and gas was a guide as to whether nuclear weapons would not be used in this war.
  22. The Prime Minister then brought the discussion to a close, saying that the government was now beginning to see what a serious problem it was up against. One could not negotiate successfully unless one was willing to give up something and on Berlin there was nothing that the West could give up. If the Western nations broke their pledges to West Berlin, it would disrupt the relations with all other Allies. Khrushchev now thought the United States was bluffing and had talked of Kennedy as a mere boy.
  23. The Cabinet took note of the statements made by the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for External Affairs and the Minister of National Defence on the Berlin situation and its implications for NATO and for Canada, and the discussion that took place thereon.

Secretary to the Cabinet

244. DEA/50341-40

Memorandum to Prime Minister

SECRET [Ottawa], July 28, 1961

Nato Discussion on Germany and Berlin

The attached telegram from our Ambassador to NATO in Paris reports discussions held by the Council on July 26. He describes this meeting as the very tentative first step toward real consultation by the Alliance on the problem of Germany and Berlin.

The Ambassador is convinced that if we wish to influence the Three Powers experts meetings and the Ministerial meetings to follow, we must submit views of substance in Washington and London within the next two weeks.

Representatives of the smaller powers carried most of the discussions. Emphasis was placed on the importance which the Governments of these powers attach to the development of positive proposals on the part of the Western team to be put to the Russians. Most speakers praised President Kennedy’s address of July 25Footnote 15 for its admirable balance between military measures and the willingness to embark upon any reasonable negotiations.



Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Council to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 1948 Paris, July 27, 1961
Reference: Your Tel S-316 Jul 25.†
Repeat for Information: London, Washington, Permis New York, Paris, Bonn, Brussels, Hague (Priority).
By Bag Moscow, Prague, Warsaw, Berlin, Cairo, Delhi, Belgrade, Oslo, Stockholm, Berne, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Vienna, Athens, Ankara from London.

Germany and Berlin

Council met on July 26 in very restricted session in Secretary-General’s office in a first real attempt to come to grips with current Berlin problem. Perhaps before giving an account of the views expressed it might be useful to let you have my impressions of the meeting. It was a very tentative first step towards real consultation on this problem of central importance to the Alliance. The meeting brought to mind the first few sessions last fall on long-term planning. On the whole I believe it was a good meeting in that a number of questions of substance were posed. I assume that the Three (and Four) Power Working Group will be seized with these questions and any others which may develop out of these consultations. However I am convinced that for the short term if we wish to influence the Three Power experts meetings and the Ministerial meetings to follow we must submit views of substance as soon as possible. By short term I mean the next ten days to two weeks. There is not repeat not much time or likelihood that before the Four Foreign Ministers meet in Paris in first week of August, a further Council meeting will be held. In the circumstances such views of substance as we wish to submit would probably have the greatest effect if made directly in Washington and London. Following a conversation with Finletter I believe that State Department is receptive to our views.

  1. Yesterday’s meeting featured questions by smaller powers and almost complete silence from representatives of four most interested powers. The Germans said nothing; the French and British little more. Finletter (USA), perhaps constrained by the silence of his most interested partners, confined himself to questions on questions which were posed by other members. His purpose as he told me afterwards was to give greater precision to the points made so that these points would have their maximum effect in the Three and Four-Power gatherings. Finletter at least was interested in points of view represented by the questions asked while the other three were not repeat not particularly anxious to participate at all.
  2. The Norwegian representative led off the discussion defining what, in his government’s view, constituted the “vital interests” of the West in the Berlin problem. For his government these vital interests were simple and straightforward. They were the freedom of West Berlin and its people, freedom of access to the city, and continuance of an Allied military presence in the city. He characterized (as did most other speakers) President Kennedy’s address to the nation on July 25 as “admirable” in the balance which it established between military measures and the willingness to embark upon any reasonable negotiations. He then made use of the questioning technique which was to be followed by most members of Council who spoke. Did we envisage any basis for negotiating with the Russians? It was hardly conceivable that Western powers could negotiate from the position that present arrangements were perfect. Was it conceivable that we might seek by negotiations to give additional guarantees to Berlin? His government hoped that some such possibility would be looked at most carefully by Four Powers most concerned in their forthcoming Ministerial meetings. Wasn’t timing of negotiations a tactical problem of the first order? Should we wait for Khrushchev to start a course of events with signature of a peace treaty or should we take an initiative before he begins that process? He hoped again that Four Foreign Ministers would consider this problem.
  3. The Belgian representative said that he was heartened by Kennedy’s speech in that it placed question of Berlin in “proper perspective” indicating that the views he was to express had been discussed with Spaak just last night. He made three points concerning the military measures forecast in Kennedy’s report to nation: (a) in his government’s view an error had been committed in taking and publicizing military measures in USA without prior discussions in Council of the fundamental political points involved in Berlin problem; (b) the announcement of military measures put very severe limits on possibility of diplomatic and economic measures which might serve to ease the problem; (c) while his government appreciated that USA decisions had a high psychological content, USA government should know that Belgian opinion was simply not repeat not prepared to contemplate military measures until it had been convinced that all conceivable political measures had been exhausted. He went further to give his personal opinion that European public opinion in general was not repeat not sufficiently prepared for need for military measures. In summary he believed that a full and frank discussion of political, economic and military aspects of the Berlin problem was required if we are to proceed as allies. If we did not repeat not proceed together the effect of the unilateral American actions would be much diminished. Psychological preparation might be needed in USA. Certainly it was needed in Europe.
  4. Turning then to the more purely political elements of problem, the Belgian representative used technique of questions to suggest his government’s point of view. Why had Khrushchev precipitated a Berlin crisis at this time? Surely this was a fundamental question to be answered if we were to choose the right counter action. If Khrushchev did what he said he was going to do, i.e. sign a separate peace treaty with East Germany, what were we planning to do about it? What were existing arrangements for access to Berlin and would they be changed substantially if a separate peace treaty were signed by the Russians? Was there any possibility of forestalling the implementation of Khrushchev’s declared intention? What did it mean to say that the West intended to be “firm” on Berlin? Did it mean that this firmness applied to Berlin alone or was it a firmness rooted in the intention to accept only a reunified Germany? Was there no repeat no initiative we could take at the present time? Even the President had spoken mainly of proposals which “they” might make; was it not repeat not possible, however, for “us” to make proposals? Finally, de Staerke noted his complete agreement with the Norwegian definition of the vital interests of the West, i.e., liberty of access, continued allied military presence, and the freedom of Berliners. He ended his intervention with a brief reference to the procedural problem of establishing some relationship between the Four-Power working group whether at expert or ministerial level and the Council. Some “organic liaison” was indispensable and perhaps could best be established through the Secretary-General.
  5. The Danish representative echoed much that had been said by the two previous speakers emphasizing the importance which his government attached to development of positive proposals on the part of the Western team to be put to the Russians. He too spoke well of the balance in Kennedy’s address to the nation. The Greek representative concentrated on the desirability of exploring a role for the UN in the Berlin problem. One of the basic foundations of the Western case surely was the liberty of individuals. We publicly proclaimed ourselves to be artisans of the UN. Why then had we not repeat not brought the Berlin problem to the UN. Surely the right of individuals was an extremely valuable platform on which to stand in the UN. The majority of the members of the UN usually could be brought to understand a problem when posed in these terms. While somewhat dated, the Wilsonian principles of 1919 still commanded a degree of respect around the world. The Netherlands representative did not repeat not entirely agree with de Staeke that an error had been made in emphasizing military reinforcements first. Western firmness had to be given substance and this could best be achieved by the proposed military measures. The Soviet Union must be given no repeat no grounds for miscalculation as to the firmness of Western intentions. Nor was he fully convinced that new Western initiatives had to be taken at this stage. Certainly there should be no repeat no concessions of a substantial character. A crisis had been created by the Soviet Union and it was the Russians who should be forced to indicate how they proposed to reduce tension.
  6. I said that I thought my authorities would welcome the balance of flexibility and firmness which had characterized President Kennedy’s statement. Firmness on vital issues was required and it would therefore seem to be a good idea if we could agree on exactly what these vital issues were. I thought we could agree with the point made in Finletter’s statement to the Council on July 24 that the Western response to Soviet action with respect to Germany and Berlin must not repeat not be allowed to affect negatively other constructive efforts around the world, particularly in the aid field. In this respect we had to bear in mind that Council discussions must continue to give priority to those problems where NATO had a direct responsibility. We would also agree, I thought, that it was essential to create a strong NATO military posture but it would be dangerous if the methods chosen to demonstrate NATO and USA military strength were to exacerbate rather than ease the present difficult situation. It would be dangerous, likewise, if undue haste to demonstrate this strength would reduce the possibility of satisfactory negotiations. Suggestions had been made both in the President’s statement to the nation and in Finletter’s statement to the Council that USA efforts would involve comparable efforts on the part of other NATO partners. The Canadian attitude on this point would become evident only after the examination of the Berlin problem which the Cabinet was currently embarked upon had been completed. This examination would be facilitated by further expressions of views from our NATO partners and from the NATO military authorities.
  7. I added that the questions posed by de Staerke were important. A few more occurred to me. The Soviet timetable was of some importance and was known to us in general terms. Khrushchev was committed to negotiate with the West or to conclude a peace treaty with East Germany. Would the West be better off to negotiate before a peace treaty had been concluded – possibly in order to prevent its signature – or would it be better to wait until the peace treaty had been signed. It was my personal view that it would seem to be in the Western interest that negotiations with the Soviet Union should start before a peace treaty had actually been signed. This did not repeat not mean that the military build-up already taking place should be stopped. The question involved in this build-up was whether or not repeat not it would guarantee the maintenance of freedom of West Berliners. The USA government had evidently decided in the affirmative. I assumed that it was the USA view that this military build-up would enable us to negotiate from a position of greater the strength the more direct the willingness to negotiate should be. A second general question was whether it was possible to restrict an eventual negotiation with the Soviet Union to the question of Berlin or whether, as has been the case in the past, Berlin should be considered in the wider context of East-West relations. A discussion on this point appeared to me to be important. Military measures taken by USA could not repeat not be expected to ease relations between East and West. All issues under consideration were likely to become more difficult. We could not repeat not rule out the possibility that in this new atmosphere discussions of a general nature on East-West issues would become more difficult and that we might be limiting ourselves to restrict discussion to Berlin. After the meeting the German representative took me aside to repeat once more the line that the questions of Berlin and Germany were inseparable.
  8. A third major question concerned the position to be adopted by the West about the role, if any, of the UN in this affair. The General Assembly would be meeting at the very moment when the Berlin issue was likely to be at the boiling point. Mr. Rusk had already suggested that in certain circumstances the USA might consider referring the problem to the UN. It seemed to me that any position taken at the UN would have to be based on a Western willingness to negotiate. We could not repeat not go to UN without being clear on this point. Reference of the issue to UN was not repeat not, of course, without hazards since a great number of members would be unfamiliar with the problem in its detail. If such reference to UN was to be avoided, would it not repeat not be essential that parties directly concerned indicate a positive desire to negotiate. I made brief reference to the point which the Norwegian representative had made concerning the possibility that some additional guarantees for Berlin might be a possible negotiating base.
  9. I ended my intervention with some reference to the problem of future procedure and the relationship between the Working Group and Council. I wondered whether a representative of Secretary-General could attend the Working Group meetings and whether by this method a channel could be established between the Council and the Working Group. Perhaps, Secretary-General himself might attend some of the ministerial sessions. It was extremely important to ensure that the ministerial discussions should not repeat not lead to joint communiqués of substance which had not repeat not been cleared with Council. If it was the intention of ministers to issue a communiqué, should not repeat not the text be submitted to Council early enough to get governments’ views on it; another satisfactory course would be for the communiqué to be delayed until after the visit of Mr. Rusk to Council. Even in this latter instance any statement of substance to be issued following his visit would have to be cleared by governments. If the foreign ministers were to decide to appoint a permanent working group, consideration should be given again to attaching a representative of Secretary-General to that group.
  10. If these comments on procedures (paragraph 10) seem reasonable to you, you might wish to consider having me put them more formally to Council or conversely you might wish to have them taken up in bilateral discussions in Washington, London, Paris and Bonn. I think we should attach considerable importance to the matter of the inevitable communiqué which will develop out of the Four-Power ministerial discussions. It seems essential that every effort be made to ensure that it does not repeat not put individual governments in an awkward position.
  11. The remainder of the meeting was taken up primarily with two points. The first was Finletter’s apparent attempt by questions to get further elaboration particularly of de Staerke’s views as represented by his questions. It was in the course of this dialogue that Finletter dropped the hint that questions of a general nature passed on to the Working Group were bound to be less effective than direct statements of government views. It was interesting that at this point the French and UK representatives intervened briefly with statements which tended, in opposition to Finletter’s approach, to support the production of general questions for the Working Group’s consideration. The second general point around which further discussion developed was that of the liaison to be established between Council and the Working Group. There was general support around the table that some such liaison should be established and Secretary-General took it upon himself to explore just how this could be done.
  12. To make our report complete, I should add that the Norwegian representative once again asked that a purely factual description of how matters now stood with respect to access to Berlin be provided to the Council as quickly as possible. He told me privately that from 80 to 90 percent of all traffic, civilian and military, is already “seen” if not repeat not “controlled” by East Germans. The Belgian representative in somewhat frustrated annoyance asked whether the four most interested powers whose “dossiers must be bulging with papers” were going to speak. Their silence made it clear that they were not repeat not, at least at this stage, ready to reveal the contents of their brief cases.Footnote 16 While no repeat no date was set for a further restricted meeting, Secretary-General made the assumption that there would be further such meetings.


245. DEA/50341-40

Memorandum from Secretary to Cabinet to Prime Minister

SECRET [Ottawa], August 12, 1961

Re: Further Thoughts on Berlin

  1. The recent speeches and events give more hope for success of negotiations but the danger in the situation remains grave unless both sides speak and act with care.
  2. The NATO discussions have indicated an encouraging degree of unity and seriousness but have not endeavoured to reach the heart of the matter on negotiations or on contingency measures and when they would be used. I think it is best to avoid these in NATO. We must assume that the Russians intercept the reports of some of our NATO allies. I think Rusk’s reports were intended to reach the Russians in this way.
  3. The purposes of the defence build-up are not to win a conventional war around Berlin or to scare the Russians. The latter must know they can wipe the floor with the NATO forces in Europe unless large nuclear weapons are used. Rather the purposes are:
    1. to show we are serious and united;
    2. to suggest that if Khrushchev behaves badly there will be a continuing and general build-up in defence efforts and costs even if there is not a war over Berlin;
    3. to strengthen the Western bargaining position by (a) and (b); and
    4. to make clear to the Germans and other allies that we are willing to pay costs and take risks to meet our pledges, even if in the end we make a compromise settlement.
  4. I still believe the Russians believe we will not fight a nuclear war over Berlin. That is what makes the situation dangerous. Merely “standing firm” cannot assure peace.
  5. The United States are unlikely to show their hand on matters of substance concerning negotiations before the German elections in mid-September. They will probably want to have Kennedy-Adenhauer talks very soon thereafter. We should not press them to inform us or others of their real intentions.
  6. I believe there is room for an acceptable negotiated settlement, which would be consistent with our pledges to the people of Berlin, though it would disappoint some elements in Germany. I think Escott Reid’s proposal is as good as any I have seen,Footnote 17 and would be tolerable to Germany. It would probably be necessary to make some concession in it in regard to East Berlin. Such a settlement would open the way to eventual recognition of East Germany, which I think is acceptable to us, and probably desirable. It would involve some risks but so does the present situation.
  7. It may be necessary and even desirable to add to Reid’s proposal, in the negotiations, a limitation on the stationing of nuclear weapons in both East and West Germany (and some parts of Poland and Czechoslovakia) in order to meet the (legitimate) Russian worries over Germany having nuclear weapons. The United States would oppose this for military reasons but I think it would have real virtues for us, in helping to assure stability and less likelihood of war in the future.
  8. I think Canada should join in some defence build-up along with the other members of NATO. This should include negotiation of the terms for acquiring nuclear weapons, which should be publicly announced, and the stationing of nuclear weapons for U.S. defence forces on leased bases in Canada. Some other measures of our own, costing money, should be included. These would be for the purposes noted in paragraph 3 above, and also, and most importantly in our case, to show Washington we are serious in order that they will give proper consideration to our views as to what should be done.
  9. I think we should aim at strengthening the U.S. intention to negotiate seriously and contribute what we can in suggestions of substance. I think we should do this through Heeney in Washington, as Merchant here has such strong views of his own that it is better not to transmit our ideas through him. I think there might be value in having Escott Reid go to Washington to be with Heeney to see some of the Americans, if the Government decides to have some suggestions put forward.


P.S. I should call to your attention too the important economic counter-measures we are being asked to prepare [and] to take if necessary. You will see the implications for wheat to China. They are better than war, but serious to us. R.B. B[ryce]

246. DEA/50341-40

Head, Military Mission in Berlin, to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 42 Berlin, August 13, 1961
Repeat for Information: Bonn from Berlin.


The new DDR control measures introduced earlier this morning appeared to be in complete and effective operation at noon today although in some open spaces along sectors of border, now well guarded by heavily armed troops and police, work was still continuing on erection of barbed wire fences. I saw large East German forces including infantry, armoured cars units, tanks and (group corrupt) military factory groups concentrated at centre of city near main crossing points and around main railway station where all remaining rail connections to West Berlin are now subject to rigid control. There was no repeat no interference or control of our car and tourist traffic subject to close control was moving normally.

  1. Atmosphere in East Berlin was depressing and city centre gives all appearances of state of siege. Attitude of people on streets was one of curiosity and apathy but situation clearly tense and difficult at this point to say how their mood will develop in course of next few days. West Berliners are also upset and special police measures have been taken on this side to prevent incidents along border.
  2. Effect of new DDR control measures which are intended to eliminate refugee traffic and border crossers problem completely is to stop all East Berliners, unless they have special police permits, from visiting West Berlin. East Germans living outside Berlin area are also requested not repeat not to visit Berlin. All other traffic e.g. on accessible routes and visiting West Germans, West Berliners and allied and Western diplomatic personnel to East Berlin is explicitly declared to be unaffected by new control and subject only to already existing practices.
  3. Clever weekend timing of move, special deployment according to British source of two Soviet divisions including 400 tanks around city perimeter and concurrently publication of Warsaw Pact declaration supporting new East German measures suggest whole operation was worked out and coordinated in Moscow over past week or so. Special meeting of Volkskammer Friday gave DDR régime blank cheque to take measures of this kind and result to what undoubtedly led to example totalling over 3500 refugees in last 33 hours evidence so before barrier went down.


247. DEA/50341-40

Memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs to Prime Minister

CONFIDENTIAL Ottawa, August 14, 1961


After several weeks of increasing numbers of refugees crossing from East Germany to West Germany through Berlin and mounting unrest in East Germany, the Soviet Union closed yesterday the zonal border in Berlin. By the use of soldiers, barbed wire, and the cancellation of certain subway services, Soviet and GDR authorities are preventing the movement of both refugees and approximately 53,000 East Berlin citizens who are employed in West Berlin. As you will have seen, newspaper reports state that the closure of the border was accompanied by unrest and demonstrations by West Berlin citizens. The border has not been closed to West Berliners working in East Berlin or to bona fides Western travellers.


In 1953, in 1957, and again last year, East German and Soviet troops sealed the Berlin border for a few days. Specific reasons were given for these closures but it appears that this time no explanation has been offered by the East German authorities. It may well be that Khrushchev has decided to take this step at this time and make it permanent so that the question of the flow of refugees from East to West Berlin will not be a major point of discussion in any forthcoming negotiations with the three major Western Powers, especially if the USSR intends to guarantee freedom of access to West Berlin. Khrushchev may have decided to take the risk of closing the Berlin border at this time so that any emotions or difficulties stimulated by this move will have diminished by the end of this year (the date when he has said he will sign a separate peace treaty with East Germany, unless a “peaceful solution” has been reached with the West before that time).

During the past few weeks, various steps have been taken by the East German authorities to encourage the 53,000 East Berlin citizens who have been working in West Berlin to seek employment in East Germany where there is an acute labour shortage. Hence the prevention of these workers crossing into the Western sectors of the city has not come as a complete surprise. More sudden and unexpected has been the denial of all access to West Berlin of people travelling from East Berlin. However, even this step has been feared recently as a result of the fact that increasingly large numbers of East Germans have been crossing into West Berlin and making the labour shortage in East Germany even more serious. (Last week 12,448 East Germans sought asylum in West Berlin, the highest figure this year and believed to be the peak since 1953.)

The immediate danger in the present situation arises from the fact that the people of West Berlin in particular and of West Germany in general may attempt in some way to help their fellow Germans if the suppression of the refugee stream causes some sort of revolt in East Germany. A revolt and intervention by West Germans could, of course, produce a situation in which the USSR, the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States might be forced to make hasty decisions about military intervention.

It has been reported in past weeks that President Kennedy has ordered that nothing be done to encourage violence in East Germany and the Federal Republic has shown restraint in propaganda aimed at the east. Press reports state this morning that Dr. Adenauer broadcast yesterday to the East Germans, urging that nothing should be done to make the present situation worse. Dr. Adenauer also said that “counter-measures” are being considered. Presumably, what the Chancellor had in mind would be a termination of all commercial contacts between East and West Germany, a step which in the past has been sufficient to deter East Germans from hindering access to West Berlin. The United States has already officially denounced the closure of the border.

If, as seems likely, the Soviet Union has decided to close the border as part of a more long-term policy to stabilize the East German régime, it will probably be unlikely that economic countermeasures will induce the East German authorities to re-open the border. For a long time it has been open to the Soviet Union to seal the border between the two parts of the city, despite the fact that post-war agreements stipulated that the whole city should be under Four-Power control. The current Soviet move may be seen as one more step in Soviet plans to make the division of Germany more permanent.


248. PCO

Memorandum from Minister of National Defence to Cabinet

CABINET DOCUMENT NO. 298-61 Ottawa, August 14, 1961

Contingency Measures in Respect to Berlin

  1. At a NATO Council meeting held on 8 August 1961, immediately following the Four Power Conference on the Berlin crisis, Secretary of State Rusk made a comprehensive statement of US views of the essential elements of the problem and outlined, inter alia, the military steps which the US had taken, or intended to take, in the interests of strengthening the Western negotiating position and of indicating the determination of the West not to yield to threats in areas of vital interest. In stating this position Mr. Rusk stressed that unity of the Alliance was essential at this time and urged all nations of the Alliance to take similar measures.
  2. In the discussion following Mr. Rusk’s presentation the French, German and UK representatives approved the position taken by the USA and in turn outlined the specific military measures being considered by their governments. Several other representatives were in a position to indicate their intentions to institute similar measures. A summary of the measures taken or proposed by the US and other nations is at Annex “A”.†
  3. We are informed by the Canadian NATO Delegation that a Council meeting is tentatively scheduled for 21 August at which time it is expected that representatives will have substantial comments from their governments on the various views and proposals put forward at the 8 August meeting. These comments would cover proposals in the economic, political, psychological and military fields. In the interests of developing at least a preliminary Canadian view in regard to possible military measures consideration should be given now to a number of steps which might be taken by Canada to indicate our support of a firm and unified NATO attitude and to improve the effectiveness of our military forces.
  4. While, as pointed out by our NATO representative at the 8 August meeting, Canada has met her NATO Force Goals and is continuing to strengthen the Canada-US region, there is a number of measures which might be taken to further strengthen our position both in the present crisis and on a continuing basis. These measures are listed by general category in Annex “B”. Recommendations for specific action within these general categories will be made separately. While each measure is applicable to the present crisis, it is not possible to forecast the exact nature of developments or the duration of the crisis. Therefore wherever possible measures have been selected which it is believed are militarily and economically supportable on a long-term basis.



Annex B


Military Contingency Measures

  1. This Annex lists general categories of measures which might be taken to indicate Canadian support of a firm and united NATO position in the present Berlin crisis, and to improve our state of preparedness to meet an increased threat of hostilities.
  2. Nuclear Weapons. Complete a CAN/US nuclear weapons agreement without further delay and hasten the procurement of the nuclear weapons systems needed by the Services in their current roles.
  3. Civil Defence. Measures should be taken to increase the level of civil defence preparation such as:
    1. initiate partial manning of emergency HQs at all appropriate levels on a full time basis by both governmental and military staffs.
    2. stockpile rations, fuel and lubricants at camps, depots, etc.
    3. consider additional civil defence measures as may be recommended by EMO.
  4. Manpower
    1. remove budgetary limitations on manpower ceilings;
    2. increase manpower ceilings where necessary;
    3. lift arbitrary service ceiling on forces in Europe;
    4. increase the preparedness and effectiveness of the reserves.
  5. Rotation. Adjust rotation of units or troops for the time being to the extent necessary to permit maximum operational efficiency during the period of tension.
  6. Weapons, Equipment and Logistic Support Generally. Give consideration to selected programs and items which would be consistent with existing roles and supportable on a long-term basis.
  7. Evacuation of Dependents. Canadian, US and UK policy on evacuation will be largely interdependent. The solution may range from no evacuation prior to an emergency through partial evacuation, to total evacuation during a period of tension.
    Total Evacuation
    Approximately 24,000 DND dependents are involved and on a “crash action” basis the period taken to evacuate them would depend upon the availability of air and surface transportation at the time the decision is taken. Transportation costs would amount to between $5M and $6M.
    A progressive evacuation employing Service aircraft and commercial ships would require approximately three months.
    Partial Evacuation
    Partial evacuation could be carried out by halting the despatch of any more dependents to Europe until the crisis has been resolved and introducing a policy of allowing troops to elect evacuation of their dependents from Europe.
  8. General Military Measures.
    Make available to our allies all possible Canadian existing facilities to improve the defence posture of the West. Increase the tempo of military exercises.
    Concentrate troops and equipment so as to facilitate timely reinforcements of overseas formations.
    The states of readiness of the forces can be increased instantly by stages at any time that such action is decided upon.

249. DEA/50341-40

Memorandum by Ambassador in Federal Republic of Germany

SECRET [Ottawa], August 16, 1961

I have brought up to date in this memorandum the views I have been expressing in telegrams from Bonn.† In paragraph 11, I set forth the main provisions of the kind of agreement on Berlin which I think the West should try to secure in the forthcoming negotiations with the Soviet Union. The memorandum is followed by three annexes.† The first annex deals with the role which the U.N. might play in a reunited, independent free city state of Berlin. The second annex gives my reasons for believing that Western interests would be served by the substitution of an entirely new contractual agreement on Berlin for the present rights based on conquest. The third annex deals with the tactical problems of preparing for the negotiations with the Soviet Union.Footnote 18

* * * * *

  1. The task of working out some tolerable and honourable accommodation with the Soviet Union on Berlin will be extremely difficult. One cannot reasonably expect a sensible flexible Western negotiating position to take shape quickly. Time is necessary and patience and quiet, confidential, private exploratory talks at which tentative ideas are exchanged about the limits of possible concessions and counter-concessions and governments gradually move away from fixed positions. The negotiations with the Soviet Union must be tough but likewise unhurried and patient.
  2. Our objective should be an arrangement under which Greater Berlin would be united under a freely elected government; the right to maintain Western military forces in Berlin would be preserved unimpaired; rights of access to Berlin for both military and civilian traffic would be better assured; and Berlin would be maintained as a place where people from East and West Germany can meet and talk.
  3. The Soviet Union would find such an arrangement distasteful since it would involve the granting of freedom and self-government to over a million East Berliners and the removal of the capital of the DDR from East Berlin. The West is therefore unlikely to be able to persuade the Soviet Union to agree unless the West in its bargaining with the Soviet Union gets full value out of Western Bargaining counters.
  4. The Western bargaining position has lately been strengthened by the obvious determination of the West to fight if necessary to defend the freedom of the West Berliners. The West must continue to do what it can to ensure that the Soviet Union is in no doubt about this. President Kennedy’s recent public statements and actions have been extremely helpful. But from now on private, solemn warnings communicated through diplomatic channels from government to government are likely to carry more weight with the Soviet Government than the reiteration of public declarations. They are also less apt to have dangerous side effects.
  5. The chief bargaining counters possessed by the West are de jure recognition of the Oder-Neisse line and the acceptance of arrangements which would imply a long step in the direction of de facto recognition of the DDR. The value of these counters tends to diminish the longer we put off using them since the Soviet Union believes, and with a good deal of justification, that de jure recognition of the Oder-Neisse line and de facto recognition of the DDR are virtually inevitably before many years have passed.
  6. Because Khrushchev in his public statements for the last two and a half years has put so much emphasis on the necessity of abolishing the occupation status of Berlin, consent by the West to such a change constitutes another Western bargaining counter.
  7. It would be folly to let the Soviet Union know at the outset of a long process of tough diplomatic bargaining that the West is prepared if necessary to use all these bargaining counters. But it is essential for the West to decide before entering into negotiations the price which it is if necessary prepared to pay for a tolerable and honourable accommodation on Berlin.
  8. Any such accommodation would not be without risk to the West. No matter how good the accommodation is, the freedom of Berlin will continue for the foreseeable future to be in danger from Soviet aggression – but so will the freedom of the allied world as a whole and the uncommitted world. Moreover an accommodation on Berlin will not constitute a solution of the Berlin problem. The only solution of the Berlin problem is the unification of Germany and that is not likely to take place in the foreseeable future. All we can hope for now is an accommodation on Berlin which carries with it less risk to our interests than the present situation under which our interests are very vulnerable.
  9. The main risk of the present situation, it seems to me, is not some open, dramatic assault on the Western position in Berlin or on the freedom of West Berliners to which the West could respond with a credible threat of war. It is rather that the Soviet Union will attempt to whittle away at the Western position, the so-called salami tactics. The threat of war against the use of such tactics is not a very effective weapon for the West to use since the Soviet Government will scarcely find it credible that the West would really be prepared to fight over a minor or symbolic issue.
  10. Thus it must recently have become clear to the Soviet Government that the West is not prepared to run serious risks of war if the Soviet Government should conclude a separate peace treaty with the DDR or if DDR officials perform the functions now performed by Soviet officials with respect to military traffic on the access routes. Is it not likely that the Soviet Government may conclude that it can in time safely do such things as making unreasonably large increases in charges for the use of the access routes by road, rail and canal, authorizing the erection of high buildings in East Berlin which will increase the risks of using the West Berlin air port, closing roads and canals for repairs for unduly long periods? And so on.
  11. The following are the main provisions of the kind of agreement on Berlin which I think we should try to secure. An independent, self-governing, neutralized, democratic free city of the whole of Berlin would be established by international statute. The city would be precluded from joining either East or West Germany or from becoming a member of any military alliance but it could make agreements on economic and cultural matters with foreign governments and international agencies. (Under this provision Berlin would presumably become de facto part of West Germany on all matters other than political and military.) The government of Berlin would be elected by free elections which might be organized or at least observed by the United Nations. The Four Power Commission could intervene in the affairs of Berlin only if it were unanimous. Each of the Four Powers would have the right to station troops in its own sector at their present levels. No nuclear arms or weapons capable of delivering nuclear arms would be permitted in Berlin. International servitudes would be created across East Germany to Berlin from West Germany and Poland by air, rail, canal and road which would permit unimpeded access for goods at reasonable charges. The citizens of West Germany and the DDR would have freedom of access to Berlin. The Security Council would appoint a United Nations High Commissioner for Berlin. United Nations observers in Berlin and on the access routes would confirm that the provisions of the international statute were being implemented. Token United Nations forces could be established in Berlin. The international statute would be signed and ratified by the Four Powers, Berlin, and East and West Germany and would be adopted by the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations. The statute would terminate when Germany became united. It could not be terminated before then except by a decision of the Security Council approved by the General Assembly. The statute would end the occupation status of Berlin and terminate all rights and obligations flowing from that occupation status.
  12. The statute should be so drafted that it would not constitute de facto recognition of the DDR. Khrushchev has not indeed asked for that. But the coming into force of the statute would constitute a long step in the direction of de facto recognition.
  13. If it should become clear that the Soviet Union would not be prepared to see Berlin reunited under a democratic government, the West might propose that the status quo in East Berlin be preserved and that a régime be set up in West Berlin by international statute along the lines of that set forth above. There would, of course, be no right of intervention by the Four Power Commission in the affairs of West Berlin and Soviet troops would not be permitted in West Berlin.
  14. The concessions to the Soviet Union in such an agreement would be the movement towards de facto recognition of the DDR and the abolition of the occupation status of Berlin. The Soviet Government might insist that in addition the West acquiesce in the absorption of East Berlin into the DDR. Here perhaps would be the basis for a bargain without bringing in recognition of the Oder-Neisse line. But it would be a bargain less favourable to the West than an agreement establishing a free city of the whole of Berlin.


250. PCO

Extract from Cabinet Conclusions

SECRET [Ottawa], August 17, 1961


  • The Prime Minister (Mr. Diefenbaker) in the Chair,
  • The Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Green),
  • The Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Hees),
  • The Minister of Transport (Mr. Balcer),
  • The Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Churchill),
  • The Minister of Justice (Mr. Fulton),
  • The Minister of National Defence (Mr. Harkness),
  • The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (Mrs. Fairclough),
  • The Minister of Labour (Mr. Starr),
  • The Solicitor General (Mr. Browne),
  • The Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Monteith),
  • The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Alvin Hamilton),
  • The Minister of Public Works (Mr. Walker),
  • The Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources (Mr. Dinsdale),
  • The Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Halpenny).
  • The Assistant Secretaries to the Cabinet (Dr. J.S. Hodgson), Mr. D.B. Dewar, Privy Council Office.
    . . .

Berlin Situation

(Previous reference July 24)

  1. The Prime Minister said that he would make a few comments about the Berlin situation and then ask the Secretary of State for External Affairs to report on the latest developments. The Cabinet should then consider what defence measures should be taken in the light of the situation. In particular, it would be necessary to consider policy in respect of nuclear weapons. He had made it clear in 1959 that the Canadian forces with N.A.T.O. in Europe would be equipped with nuclear weapons if and when that action became necessary and the proper arrangements could be made. In regard to defensive nuclear weapons for use in Canada, he had stated in the House of Commons that a decision would be made if and when the United States agreed to the principle of joint control. There had been a great deal of interest in disarmament in Canada since these statements were made. A large part of public opinion tended toward the position that Canada should not have nuclear weapons even if there was joint control over them. He did not accept that position.
  2. Mr. Diefenbaker read portions of the speech of Mr. Khrushchev on August 7th,Footnote 19 and said it was a useful guide to the Soviet leaders’ future intentions. Khrushchev had described the future plans of Russia and claimed that they were causing dejection to the enemies of what he referred to as the “socialist” system. He had claimed he was in favour of a free West Berlin but wanted to prevent it from becoming a second Sarajevo, and he had ridiculed Western concern for the principle of self-determination, asking how countries that had held colonies in subjection and had aggressed against new states could be concerned about the application of the principle of self-determination in Germany. Khrushchev had said that war against the “socialist” states could not be confined, and had warned that all members of N.A.T.O. were caught in the net of U.S. alliances. He said the danger of an attack on the “socialist” states by the “imperialist” states could not be disregarded, and had reaffirmed his intention to sign a peace treaty with East Germany. The speech was a brilliant piece of work and made clear again the need for the West to ensue a manifesto declaring what it stood for. The speech showed again that the West was threatened by economic means and that the Soviets might resort to stronger means if the West showed a degree of opposition that seemed to require them.
  3. Mr. Diefenbaker said he had seen the Canadian Ambassador to Germany that morning, and that the Ambassador had a plan for a solution to the Berlin problem that involved the creation of a free city under the United Nations with its status ratified by the two parts of Berlin, the two Germanies and the four Great Powers. The plan also contemplated the location in Berlin of token forces of the Western powers as well as a U.N. force. Mr. Khrushchev had never given an indication that he would accept such an arrangement. The Ambassador had reported that Chancellor Adenauer was less rigid in his attitude than previously, and that he might be more flexible after the German elections, which Mr. Reid believed he would win. It seemed clear that there was no possibility of German reunification in the near future. Adenauer probably had only about another year in public life and his objective was to leave as his legacy a Germany as closely allied to the West as possible.
  4. The Secretary of State for External Affairs said the most serious recent incident was the sealing by the East Germans of the border between East and West Berlin. This act was inconsistent with the agreement made among the Four Powers at the end of the war, under which there was to be freedom of movement in the four sectors of Berlin; the Soviets had claimed for some years, however, that this agreement was no longer in force. Canada was not directly involved in this latest act by the Eastern side, because the undertakings of N.A.T.O. did not extend to East Berlin or East Germany and there had been no interference with the access routes from West Germany to West Berlin.
  5. Mr. Green pointed out that West Germany was involved in an election campaign in which the leader of the main opposition party was the mayor of West Berlin, and a large number of the voters had come from East Germany. There was unlikely to be any more flexibility in the German position until the election was over. Demands would increase from West Berlin and West Germany that the U.S. take firm counter-actions against the Communists; already university students and others in Germany had protested what they considered to be a weak response on the part of President Kennedy to the closure of the border between East and West Berlin.
    The United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany were involved in consultations about the course they should follow. In these consultations, it appeared that Germany and France were asking for firm counter-measures, whereas the U.K. and U.S. were advocating a more restrained approach. One limiting factor on the U.K. in these consultations might be that she would not want to antagonize the Germans whom she hoped would assist her in gaining membership in the Common Market. The Berlin situation would almost certainly be discussed at the meeting of uncommitted countries in Belgrade on September 1st and at the U.N. General Assembly Session which began on September 19th just after the German elections.
    President Kennedy had made it clear that the freedom of West Berlin and the Western Powers’ rights to have access to the city and keep troops there were not negotiable. Some other aspects of the situation, however, might be negotiable. Among these was the question of settling the Eastern borders of Germany at the Oder-Neisse line; the French government had already spoken in favour of an agreement to accept the Oder-Neisse line. The details of the arrangements for West Berlin should also be negotiable. In this connection the plan proposed by Ambassador Reid was interesting and good but it probably would not be acceptable to all the countries involved. Recognition of East Germany would have to come about eventually, and it might [not] be to the benefit of Canada for this to happen, since the continuing division of Germany was probably in Canada’s interest. Indeed this was a view widely held in a number of countries. Although it would not likely be possible for the major allies of Germany to discuss with her before the elections the possibility of recognition of East Germany, it was possible that Adenaeur would be more flexible after the elections.
  6. Mr. Green said that the job of Canada at the present time should be to persuade its friends to keep their positions flexible and not assume threatening attitudes. Canada should not just fall in line with the U.S. by taking actions which would tend to add to the atmosphere of threat. The objective should be to prevent the outbreak of war, and this could best be done by not threatening others.
  7. There was some discussion at this point about the sequence of events that might be expected to follow the signature by the Soviet Union of a separate peace treaty with East Germany. It was explained that the effect of such a treaty would be that the East German government would be able to control the access to West Berlin from West Germany which was guaranteed to the Western occupying powers by the agreements made at the end of the war. These agreements did not guarantee freedom of movement for civilian traffic between West Germany and West Berlin, but only for military supplies for the occupying powers. Canada had not been informed of the plans that the Western occupying powers and Germany intended to implement if access to West Berlin was closed off, but it had been suggested publicly that the U.S., in that event, intended to force its way through to the city. The right of the Western Powers to do this was questionable, since the Four-Power agreements were loosely drawn. If access for civilian traffic only was denied, it seemed very doubtful if the Western Powers had a right to try to open the roads again.
  8. Mr. Green said that on August 8th U.S. Secretary of State Rusk had made proposals to the N.A.T.O. Council on the actions that should be taken if the Berlin crisis grew worse. After outlining the military measures that the U.S. had taken and intended to take, and asking that other member countries should consider what similar actions they might take, Secretary Rusk had told the Council of the proposals emerging from the meeting of the Foreign Minister of the U.S., U.K., France and Germany on possible economic counter-measures. The Canadian Ambassador in Washington required instructions for discussions with the Secretary of State on these matters in a day or two and Canada’s Permanent Representative to N.A.T.O. would also require instructions for the Council meeting on August 21st. On the military side, Canada was, next to the U.S., in the best position of any N.A.T.O. country in having met its commitments to provide forces for the Organization.
  9. He was amazed at the proposals of Secretary Rusk for economic counter-measures, and the U.K. had also been surprised at them. It was proposed that, if military or civilian access, air or ground, to West Berlin was blocked, immediate economic counter-measures amounting to a total economic embargo against the Soviet Bloc should be imposed. This would include among other things the expulsion from N.A.T.O. countries of all Soviet Bloc technical experts and trade officials without diplomatic immunity, the termination of all trade agreements involving Soviet Bloc countries and the denial of all exports to and stoppage of all imports from Soviet Bloc countries by N.A.T.O. members. N.A.T.O. ports would also be closed to all Soviet Bloc shipping.
    Such measures would not be taken now but only if access by the Western Powers to West Berlin was denied, if then. But Canada had been asked to agree now to take these measures if certain contingencies arose in the future and to initiate the necessary legislative and administrative actions. Taking these economic measures would mean war and would quite likely be interpreted as such by the Soviets. Ambassador Reid had warned of the danger that, if and when the Soviets decided the West had determined to fight, they might strike first.
    He read the draft telegram of instructions to Mr. Heeney† which asked him to see Mr. Rusk at the earliest opportunity. In respect of military measures, he was to tell Mr. Rusk that public proclamations of military preparation would not be helpful because they would not impress the U.S.S.R. unless they were carried out, and Khrushchev could easily outbid the West in any such efforts. It was a prudent and necessary precaution, however, for the West to put its defences in as efficient a state as possible but to try to do so in such a way as not to contribute to an increase in tension. Canada had met its commitments to N.A.T.O., but consideration should be given to what further steps might be taken to indicate Canadian support of a united N.A.T.O. position and to improve the state of preparedness.
    Mr. Heeney was also asked to say that economic retaliation should not be used to counter prevention of movement from East to West Berlin. East Germany had the ability to control the movement of its citizens, and some restraint on the refugee flow at some time was probably inevitable. It was more satisfactory from the West’s point of view that this be done by dividing East from West Berlin rather than trying to interfere with movement between West Berlin and West Germany. It was not certain that economic counter-measures would be effective or that their long-term effects had been properly thought through by the Western planning group.
    The draft instructions further asked Mr. Heeney to say that the sealing off of East Berlin gave the West a good tactical opportunity for now proposing negotiations. The U.S.S.R. had broken a Four Power agreement on Berlin but had not interfered with essential interests of the West or of West Berlin citizens; the move also seemed to be a move based on weakness rather than strength. For these reasons, it would be useful if it became known soon, preferably before the U.N. General Assembly, that negotiations were in the offing and that they might possibly begin with meetings of the four foreign ministers.
  10. During the discussion of this draft message, the following main points were made,
    1. The economic counter-measures proposed by Mr. Rusk would not be appropriate as a response to the closure of the border between East and West Berlin, because they were tantamount to war and no one should intend to go to war because East Berlin had been sealed off; Canada should support those who were opposing the appeals from West Berlin for imposition of economic sanctions now. Economic measures might not be too strong a response, however, if Western access to West Berlin from West Germany should be denied. Some said that economic counter-measures would not be an effective response to denial of access because they would be slow in taking effect; an immediate reaction was necessary, and this would have to be by military means. Others said the West now had two responses to such a situation, the use of nuclear weapons and economic sanctions. The possible use of economic sanctions should not be dismissed because they might be the West’s only alternative to nuclear war.
    2. It was suggested that Canada should not consider economic sanctions except as a last resort, because they had many serious implications, would be a disastrous blow to Canada’s economy and might be applied for a year. Others said the effect on Canada’s economy would be less severe but sanctions might have an adverse effect on the wheat deal with China. It was said that economic sanctions could never be effective against the Soviet Union and that it would be misleading to tell the people that Russia could be restrained by such measures. However, economic sanctions might be very effective against East Germany, which was a very important industrial area in the Communist Bloc.
    3. The position might be taken now that economic sanctions should be considered if military and civilian access to West Berlin was denied; should it then turn out that only civilian traffic was stopped the Canadian position on the matter would still be fluid.
    4. If access to West Berlin by road was cut off, it was questionable whether the initiation of an airlift would constitute “maintenance of access.” In any case, West Berlin had grown industrially since 1948 to such an extent that its economy could not be sustained indefinitely by an airlift. There was some danger that if the Russians knew that the West was likely to respond to denial of access with an airlift only, they would welcome the challenge and wait for the economic strangulation of West Berlin. On the other hand, the city could survive for some time if an airlift were in effect, and this time could perhaps be used for the negotiation of a settlement of the crisis.
    5. Secretary Rusk had suggested that negotiations over Berlin might begin among the Big Four foreign ministers in October. Some Ministers thought that all the N.A.T.O. countries should be involved in the Western planning on Berlin, because all would be affected by the outcome of the crisis. Others said that only the occupying powers in West Berlin and West Germany were directly involved so far, since no N.A.T.O. interest had been interfered with. It was suggested that careful consideration should be given to the practical and propaganda implications of beginning negotiations with the Soviet Union while that country was still in breach of the Four-Power agreements on Berlin. Perhaps the West should make negotiations conditional on the Soviet Union restoring the situation in Berlin in accordance with those agreements. On the other hand, negotiations were too important to the West to make them conditional on an improvement of the situation in East Berlin. Negotiations were necessary if the Western Alliance was to be held together. The difficult problem was finding aspects of the problem that were negotiable.
    6. It was difficult to take a strong stand against the signing of a separate peace treaty between the Soviet Union and East Germany, particularly since the Western countries had signed a separate peace treaty with Japan. Nor would East German rather than Soviet processing of passes on the access routes be a reasonable cause of war; to the extent that acceptance of East German processing of passes involved de facto recognition, the West should probably be willing to grant it. What could not be accepted was the consequence that Soviet withdrawal from their responsibilities in Berlin and the access routes terminated the Western rights set out in the Four-Power agreements. The West could not afford to betray West Berlin because that would result in a loss of confidence in the West throughout the world.
  11. The Prime Minister suggested that, in the section of the instructions to Mr. Heeney dealing with economic sanctions, it should be said that the prevention of movement from East to West Berlin did not warrant the application of economic counter-measures but that, if military and civilian access to West Berlin from West Germany was denied, there should be consultation on the matter at that time.
  12. The Cabinet took note of the statements by the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for External Affairs on the Berlin situation and approved the despatch of instructions to the Canadian Ambassador in Washington, as they had been agreed to during the discussion.

    Possible Defence Measures Arising out of Berlin Situation

    (Previous reference July 24)

  13. The Minister of National Defence said that U.S. Secretary of State Rusk had informed the N.A.T.O. Council on August 8th of the military measures which the U.S. had taken or intended to take in the interests of strengthening the Western negotiating position on Berlin and of indicating the determination of the West not to yield to threats in areas of vital interest. Mr. Rusk stressed the need for unity of the Alliance and urged all member countries to take similar measures. The French, German and U.K. representatives had approved the position taken by the U.S. and had outlined the specific military measures being considered by their governments. Several other representatives had also indicated their governments’ intentions to institute similar measures. Another N.A.T.O. Council meeting would be held on August 21st, at which the comments of governments on the views and proposals put forward on August 8th would be expected. These comments would cover proposals in the economic, political, psychological and military fields. For the purpose of developing at least a preliminary Canadian view in regard to possible military measures, consideration should now be given to steps that might be taken to indicate support of a firm and unified N.A.T.O. attitude and to improve the effectiveness of Canada’s military forces.
    While Canada had met its N.A.T.O. Force Goals and was continuing to strengthen the Canada-U.S. region, there were a number of measures that might be taken to strengthen the Canadian position both in the present crisis and on a continuing basis. These measures included the completion of an agreement on nuclear weapons with the U.S. and the procurement of nuclear weapons systems, steps to increase civil defence preparedness, the raising of manpower ceilings, the adjustment of rotation plans, improvements in weapons, equipment and logistic support generally and consideration of plans to evacuate dependents from Europe. Canada might also consider making available to its allies all possible Canadian existing facilities to improve its collective defence posture, increasing the tempo of military exercises, concentrating troops and equipment to facilitate reinforcement of overseas formations and preparing to increase states of readiness of the forces if and when such action was decided upon. It was not possible to forecast the exact nature of developments or the duration of the crisis; wherever possible, therefore, measures had been selected that it was believed were militarily and economically supportable on a long-term basis.
    An explanatory memorandum had been circulated, (Minister’s memorandum, August 14 – Cab. Doc. 298-61).
  14. Mr. Harkness said the view of the Chiefs of Staff, with which he agreed, was that the Russians were unlikely to push the present crisis to the point of war, but that war could occur nevertheless, particularly if there were a revolt in East Germany and if West German forces were tempted to move in to help the insurrectionists. Even if the present crisis were resolved in the next few months it seemed clear that a fairly intense cold war situation would continue. The build-up of Canada’s forces was justified therefore not only by the present need to show a determination to stand with our allies but also by long-term requirements. It was necessary to strengthen conventional forces so that Canada could meet military threats in the future without recourse to nuclear war.
    The Minister made a number of specific proposals and the discussion on them proceeded in the following terms,
    1. The partial manning of emergency headquarters would require about 500 servicemen, and they could be provided from within present manpower availabilities.
    2. Stocks of food could be dispersed from centralized military stores to depots outside target areas; the amount of dispersal would be limited by the capacity of the depots. Purchase of replenishment stocks from the centralized stores might amount to 100,000 rations.
    3. Dispersal of vehicles, blankets, clothing and medical stores could be made from centralized locations to depots at Valcartier, Shilo, Wainwright, Regina and Whitehorse. The capacity of these installations would be a limiting factor in the size of the movement. The only additional costs involved in moving these stores would be for transportation and some of the movement could be done by Army vehicles.
    4. A speed-up of purchases of such national survival requirements as radiac instruments and equipment for decontamination, water purification and lighting could be accomplished by faster processing and approval of submissions by the Treasury Board. The $2,800,000 programme to provide fallout protection for fallout reporting posts for which funds existed in the 1961-62 Estimates, and the extended programme for procurement and installation of sirens, for which it was intended to include $2,100,000 in the 1962-63 Estimates, might both also be accelerated by Treasury Board action.
    5. The Nuclear Detonation and Fallout Reporting System was in the process of being formed, but delivery of equipment for it would not be completed until September 1962. If radiation monitoring equipment now available were re-distributed immediately, however, the system could be given a limited capability in about two weeks.
    6. A survey was under way to determine the availability of fallout protection in Army buildings, but it would take many months to complete unless more people were put to work on it. A survey of other federal buildings was also being done, and both surveys might be accelerated.
    7. The various Army Works Services projects could be expedited if greater authority were delegated to GOC’s and other officials to do such things as award contracts, use local purchase to a greater degree, and approve overtime work. The matter of granting such authorities and the possibility of augmenting Army Works sub-staffs to expedite the various programmes should be considered by the Treasury Board.
    8. The Emergency Measures Organization should complete arrangements with the C.B.C. concerning operational procedures for warning broadcasts. Funds had been authorized for this purpose, no additional manpower was needed, and the arrangements could be completed in one month.
    9. The proposal to build fallout shelters in DND married quarters had been before the Cabinet Committee on Emergency Plans and the Treasury Board, but no decision had been taken. The programme would involve 23,868 shelters at a cost of about $12,900,000, and it could be completed by December 1st. It was suggested that such a programme would provide the Armed Services with protection not being given to civilians; on the other hand, the view was expressed that the government should take the lead in building shelters in housing units for which it was the landlord. This programme for married quarters would provide employment for some 5,000 persons for a period of 6 months, or a proportionately larger number if the period were shortened. The Treasury Board should be asked to reach a decision on the matter and to consider at the same time whether shelters should also be built in other government-owned housing units.
    10. Some thought that such measures as construction of shelters in DND married quarters would disturb the population; others thought however, that it would be helpful if people were made to realize the seriousness of the situation. Private citizens were unlikely to build their own shelters until the government provided them in its housing units.
    11. If another civil defence exercise were held in the fall, more provincial and municipal organizations would be ready to participate than at the time of the last exercise in May.
    12. The C.B.C. and the private television networks should perhaps be told that it was government policy that greater civil defence measures should be taken, and should be asked to broadcast a series of programmes encouraging the people to support the policy and take appropriate measures themselves.
    13. The Emergency Measures Organization would be asked to submit recommendations about additional civil defence measures that should be taken.
    14. The Brigade in Europe was below strength because it was subject to both budgetary limitation and a manpower ceiling of 5,500 men. Since the ceiling had been imposed, some men had had to be assigned to administrative or signal duties elsewhere, the squadron of armour had been increased to regiment size, and an air observation post for the artillery had been added. Moreover, the Honest John battery was to be added to the Brigade later this year. For all these reasons it might be necessary to remove the budgetary limitations and some manpower ceilings, particularly the arbitrary ceiling on the size of the Brigade, to allow for the addition to it of a little more than 1100 men.
    15. It was argued, on the other hand, that defence spending had been high for ten years, and that an Army force of 47,000 men had been developed for use in an emergency; now that the emergency had arisen, the extra requirements should be met from the large numbers of non-combatants in the Army. Canada’s commitment to N.A.T.O. was three Brigades, which was some 16 or 17,000 men. There were in the Army about 30,000 additional men from which to draw in order to bring the Brigade up to strength. The Fourth Brigade, which was not required to meet N.A.T.O. commitments, should provide the additional men needed to bring the Brigade in Europe to strength. It was pointed out, however, that the Canadian commitment to N.A.T.O. was one Division, which comprised not just three Brigades, but also a divisional headquarters and a share of Corps Headquarters. The total Army commitment to Europe was probably more like 24 thousand men. Moreover, if the Fourth Brigade were disbanded, there would be no Army force in Canada for home defence after the forces committed to N.A.T.O. had left.
  15. The Cabinet noted the report of the Minister of National Defence on preparedness measures that might be taken in view of the Berlin situation and agreed to the following actions,
    1. initiation of partial manning of emergency headquarters by military staffs;
    2. dispersal of stocks of food from centralized military stores to depots outside of target areas and replenishment of existing stocks;
    3. dispersal of existing stocks of vehicles, blankets, clothing and medical stores from centralized locations to installations outside target cities;
    4. redistribution of radiation monitoring equipment now on issue to Army units for re-entry operations to fallout reporting posts to give the Nuclear Detonation and Fallout Reporting System an interim capability;
    5. a speed-up of the survey of fallout protection in existing federal buildings; and,
    6. acceleration to completion of arrangements with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for warning broadcasts.
  16. The Cabinet further agreed,
    1. that the Treasury Board should take all possible steps to accelerate processing and approval of pending and forthcoming submissions on:
      1. purchases of national survival equipment as provided for in the 1961-62 Estimates;
      2. provision of fallout protection for fallout reporting posts; and,
      3. a speed-up of the extended programme for the procurement and installation of sirens;
    2. that the Treasury Board should give further consideration to the proposal to expedite Army Works Service projects through the delegation of certain authorities to General Officers Commanding and other officials and the augmentation of Army Works sub-staffs;
    3. that the question of construction of fallout shelters in D.N.D. married quarters and other housing units owned by the government should be submitted to the Treasury Board for consideration and early decision; and,
    4. that a civil defence exercise similar to Exercise Tocsin 1961 should be held between October 15th and November 15th, 1961, at a date to be fixed later.
  17. The Cabinet also agreed,
    1. to give further consideration at an early meeting to the means of bringing the Canadian Brigade in Europe to full strength; and,
    2. to consider additional civil defence measures as might be recommended by the Emergency Measures Organization.

Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet

251. DEA/50346-2-40

Secretary of State for External Affairs to Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Council

TELEGRAM S-350 Ottawa, August 18, 1961
Reference: Your Tel 2031 Aug 8† and subsequent related tels† and our tel S-344 Aug 16 to Washington.†
Repeat for Information: London, Washington, Paris, Permis New York, Bonn, CCOS.
By Bag Moscow from London.

Germany and Berlin: Negotiations

We propose to deal in this telegram with the subject of possible negotiations on Berlin and Germany as raised by Mr. Rusk during his appearance before the North Atlantic Council on August 8. Our immediately following telegrams† will deal with military preparations, economic countermeasures, Soviet intentions, and publicity themes. You will already have seen some of our views on the first three of these subjects in my reference telegram.

  1. In general, Mr. Rusk’s speech and the reports he submitted are helpful. They reflect much careful thought and preparation. I welcome their flexibility and balance and, like the Norwegian representative, I am glad to see that a distinction has been made between vital interests and important interests (paragraph 8 your telegram 2038).†
  2. I welcome the clear statement by Mr. Rusk that USA recognizes that negotiations “must and would take place.” However, the questions remain of when these negotiations might be held and what the Western position at them might be. I believe, as I stated in paragraph 7 and 8 my reference telegram, that the recent Soviet action in preventing westward movement across the sector border in Berlin gives West a good tactical opportunity for now proposing negotiations. I do not repeat not mean by this that the West should negotiate now but rather than an attempt might now be made to reach agreement with USSR on forum of negotiations and that such an agreement be announced as a means of reducing tension and so that this step will have been taken before the opening of UNGA on September 19 (if not repeat not before the opening of the non-aligned conference in Belgrade on September 1). The current Soviet action in preventing Western movement across Berlin sector border seems a move based upon local weaknesses rather than strength. Both these appear to be reasons for seeking now agreement with USSR on a suitable forum for negotiations. I agree with Mr. Rusk that it might be best to begin negotiations with meetings of foreign ministers. Hence it would seem that in general, my views agree with those of Mr. Rusk as outlined in paragraph 10 your telegram 2031.
  3. On the substance of negotiations, I should prefer that you do not repeat not attempt to give any views on this matter in the North Atlantic Council. We hope shortly to discuss further ideas about possible areas of negotiation in London, Washington, Brussels, Oslo, and Rome. At that time we shall instruct you to discuss our views privately with your British, USA, Belgian, Norwegian, and Italian colleagues.


252. DEA/50341-40

Ambassador in United States to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 2641 Washington, August 24, 1961
Reference: My Tel 2588 Aug 18.†
Repeat for Information: NATO Paris, London, Paris, Permis New York (Priority), Bonn (Priority) from Ottawa, CCOS Ottawa from Ottawa.
By Bag Moscow from London.

Berlin and Germany: Economic Countermeasures

In the course of our long talk last evening with the Secretary of State and several other principal USA officials concerned in the current crisis (upon which we will be reporting separately at some length), Rusk raised with us again the question of economic countermeasures. The Canadian Government, he said, had been prompt in its response on various aspects of the situation (my reference telegram). This USA greatly appreciated. The Secretary hoped that we would soon be in a position to respond to the proposal for a NATO economic embargo if, as and when the Soviet authorities took action to prevent Allied access to Berlin; if it were necessary for governments to make any prior executive or legislative arrangements before such an embargo could be imposed, Rusk urged that this be done in advance in order that the NATO reaction could be prompt and united.

  1. This, in effect, was a repetition, with added emphasis, of the proposal made by Rusk to the NATO Council on August 8 and referred to in my conversation with Kohler of August 18 (my reference telegram). It is now, as we know, being examined by a working group set up by the Council on August 21.
  2. I was not repeat not, of course, in a position last evening to respond one way or another. However, I did intimate to Rusk that there were, I knew, difficulties in the way of our making a decision in advance of the event upon a policy which would involve very serious consequences. As he knew, there was no repeat no disposition in Ottawa to underrate the gravity of any interference with Western access to Berlin; the Prime Minister had made this clear on a number of occasions in recent weeks. On the other hand, to decide now upon such measures and to take steps which might involve reference to Parliament at this stage was another matter. All that I could do was report to the government the Secretary’s repeated request for our urgent consideration and the importance which USA attached to all NATO governments being willing and ready to take such action if and when the Soviets sought to blockade West Berlin.
  3. From what Rusk said last evening, it seems that USA are contemplating the possibility of such economic countermeasures applying beyond the Soviet bloc to the wider area of Sino-Soviet countries.


253. DEA/50341-40

Memorandum from Special Assistant to Secretary of State for External Affairs to Prime Minister

SECRET [Ottawa], August 24, 1961

Attached is a report from Mr. Heeney in Washington on certain discussions which he and Mr. Escott Reid have been having with some leading United States authorities on Germany and Berlin. I am sending this to you to-night as I thought you would want to have it before you see Mr. Reid at 8.30 in the morning.Footnote 20



Ambassador in United States to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 2645 Washington, August 24, 1961
Repeat for Information: London, Paris, NATO Paris, Permis New York (Priority), Bonn (Priority) from Ottawa.
By Bag Moscow from London.

Berlin and Germany; Current Usa Thinking

Last evening the Secretary of State dined with Escott Reid and me. Bohlen, Senior Adviser on Soviet Affairs, Kohler, Assistant Secretary for European Affairs, Bundy of the White House and Farquharson and Nutt of the Embassy were also present. We had a long and very informal conversation which, over three and a half hours, rarely diverged from some aspect of the Berlin crisis.

  1. Escott Reid is returning to Ottawa by air this afternoon and will be reporting in person to the Prime Minister and to you and the Under-Secretary. However, we both think it useful that I should set down in this telegram what seemed to me the principal features of USA thinking as reflected in what was expressed last evening by the Secretary and his colleagues. You will appreciate the fact that the conversation was not repeat not only very private but also personal and uninhibited. Nevertheless, both Reid and I believe that what emerged is of importance in enabling us to assess USA thinking at the top level.
  2. In my own judgment, the three points of most immediate importance to us in the formulation of our own policies are these
    1. USA Government has already reached the decision to make public their wish and intention to arrange early talks with USSR on problems of Berlin and Germany. In this they still hope for French acquiescence but they are determined to go ahead in any event – with the British of course. Their suggestion will likely be for a meeting of the Four Foreign Ministers when the UNGA sits in September. Whether USA contemplates any discussion in substance, or only procedure, was not repeat not clear to me.
    2. Notwithstanding their intention to hold early conversations with USSR, USA has no repeat no real hope of negotiations having constructive results. The Secretary and his colleagues made the lowest possible estimate of the prospects of USSR agreeing to any accommodation which would be satisfactory to the West.
    3. USA authorities would genuinely welcome any suggestions which we might put forward, however tentative, on the substance of any negotiations; if any such suggestions are to be influential, they will have to be made very soon.
  3. In the course of the conversation, which for the most part was general, although there were some individual exchanges, Rusk did not repeat not attempt to hide USA irritation with the French with whom they seemed to have differences on a growing list of issues (he mentioned French irresponsibility over BizerteFootnote 21 at a time when we were in such deep difficulties over Berlin). There was still a lingering hope that de Gaulle might withdraw actual opposition to any Western initiative with regard to negotiations. This would be known within the next few days. But USA would go ahead anyway. He fully appreciated the importance of doing so before the Belgrade meeting and of course before the UNGA Session.
  4. Escott Reid had the opportunity of advancing some of the views which he had set out in the memorandum on Berlin which he had prepared and revised before he left Ottawa.Footnote 22He will be telling you of last night’s reactions to its various suggestions. I will confine myself to my own impression that, on the three principal “negotiating” points, the attitude of our American friends is as follows:
    1. On the Oder-Neisse line, they would agree that the West might now concede its permanence: but they believe that at best this would be of little interest to Khrushchev.
    2. On recognition of the DDR, this is certainly not repeat not to be excluded in some form, though there are, of course, difficulties; but again it is doubtful that Khrushchev would pay much of value to our side for such a concession.
    3. On some revision of the occupation status of Berlin, they range between resolute opposition and serious misgivings; they argue that the West would be surrendering solid rights for a new contract with a party whose word had proved worthless.
  5. Repeatedly Rusk and our other guests enquired what advantage the West could conceivably derive from any arrangement to which Khrushchev would conceivably consent. Rusk and Bohlen were almost totally pessimistic as to the possibility of USSR agreeing to improvements in existing Western rights and means of access to Berlin. Indeed, at one point, Rusk went as far as to suggest that the best we could get out of negotiation would be to buy a year’s time. He and Bohlen (in part perhaps to draw us out – or so it seemed to me) described Khrushchev’s attitude in the familiar way, “what’s mine is mine; what’s yours is negotiable.”
  6. Personally I find it difficult to square such a dark assessment of the possibilities of negotiation with firm USA insistence that talks should be initiated without delay. Reid concluded from our exchange on this aspect that the Secretary and those with him accepted as almost inevitable the breakdown of any negotiations that might take place; it was for this reason, he thought, that the USA felt that the NATO powers should agree at once that, if a collapse of talks were followed by blockade, a complete economic embargo should be imposed (see my telegram 2641 this date).† I would not repeat not myself judge Rusk’s position to be of that inflexibility although, as I have said, he and Bohlen could hardly have been more pessimistic than they were last night on the possibility of an acceptable accommodation with the USSR.
  7. In an aside to me before we broke up, Bundy (who is probably the President’s Chief White House Adviser in these matters) said that I would be making a serious mistake if I were to conclude from the views which had been expressed that USA were not repeat not willing or did not repeat not intend to engage in serious negotiations not repeat not only on Berlin but also on the wider problems of a German settlement and European security.
  8. We shall be preparing a longer account of last evening’s conversation† and will send it to you by bag. Meantime you will have the opportunity of conferring with Reid and will no repeat no doubt wish to consider at once what further Canadian views may usefully be put to USA authorities.


254. DEA/50341-40

Memorandum from Secretary of State for External Affairs to Prime Minister

CONFIDENTIAL [Ottawa], August 24, 1961

Germany and Berlin Soviet Note to the United States of August 23

In a Note to the United States which was released to the press today,Footnote 23 the Soviet Union again accuses the Federal Republic of Germany of interfering illegally in the affairs of West Berlin. Specifically, the Soviet Union accuses the West German Government of sending to the city “all kinds of revanchists, extremists, saboteurs, and spies.” These people are allegedly flown to West Berlin by aircraft of the three major Western powers. The Soviet Union asserts that this “represents a flagrant breach of the agreement reached in 1945 under which … air corridors were set aside for the three Western powers, on a temporary basis, to ensure the needs of their military garrisons …”

It has long been a Soviet policy to deny any legal relationship whatever between the Federal Republic of Germany and West Berlin. The Soviet Union contends that West Berlin is situated on the territory of the German Democratic Republic and that the three major Western powers themselves recognize that the Western sectors of the city cannot be regarded as part of the Federal Republic. The first of these allegations is groundless but the second contains some truth since the three Western occupying powers have refrained from giving complete control of West Berlin to the West German authorities so that they can maintain their legal stand that the responsibility for the whole city rests with the four occupying powers. The Soviet Union sees no inconsistency in contending that while East Berlin is part of East Germany, West Berlin is not a part of West Germany.

The allegation that the three air corridors into Berlin were established on a temporary basis to ensure the needs of the Western military garrisons is not supported by the actual agreement. There are no specific statements therein which decree that the purpose of the western flights will be or who, for that matter, the passengers will be.

Why the Soviet Union chose to raise the question of the use of Western air corridors at this time is open to at least three interpretations. It may simply be an attempt to distract attention from the prevention of westward movement across the Berlin sector border. It may be no more than an attempt to underline the interim nature of the wartime agreements and the necessity of making new arrangements after the signature of a separate GDR-USSR peace treaty. On the other hand, a more ominous reason might be a Soviet desire to see whether they could question with impunity the rights of Western access to Berlin and succeed in casting doubt upon the legality of the current use of the air corridors by the three Western allies. In other words, this Note might possibly portend an attempt to “cut another slice off the salami” in accordance with a long term policy to erode completely the Western position in the city. In any case, the move emphasizes the Soviet contention that as soon as a separate peace treaty is signed with the GDR, the three major Western powers will have to arrange for the continuance of their communications with the city with the GDR authorities.

The United States has made it clear, both publicly and privately, that it will not tolerate interference with the freedom of communications with West Berlin. Hence the present move may be essentially a propaganda one assumed by the Soviet Union prior to negotiations (which it now knows will in all probability take place) to strengthen its own hand in the discussions.


255. DEA/50341-40

Memorandum from Ambassador in Federal Republic of Germany to Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs

CONFIDENTIAL [Ottawa], August 25, 1961

I had a talk with the Prime Minister for about half an hour this morning from 8:45 to 9:15. He had already read Arnold Heeney’s telegram. I therefore thought that the best thing to do was to concentrate on the impressions I had gained of senatorial opinion from Fulbright, Mansfield and Cooper, all of whom are in favour of the formation of a united, independent, free city of Berlin with a complete or considerable United Nations presence. Fulbright, I told the Prime Minister, is worried about the inflamed state of American opinion.

  1. Before I had finished my report on the Senators, the Prime Minister asked me to let him know after lunch, when he wants to see me again, my own personal advice as to whether he might develop something along the following lines in his Canadian Bar Association speech on September 1.
    “Canada is firm on the necessity of defending the vital Western interests in Berlin. Canada is equally firm that there must be negotiations on Berlin in an effort to reach an accommodation with the Soviet Union. We are not one of the negotiating powers. Nevertheless, we have earned the right to express our views because of our sacrifices in two World Wars. In the first War we lost in action X men compared with the United States Y and in the Second World War we lost Z men in action.”
  2. The Prime Minister said he knew the objection would be made that he should not give such a speech before the German election but that he was always being told not to give speeches for some such reason and that in the event the advice turned out not to have been well based. He gave as examples his Dartmouth Speech,Footnote 24 his speech at the United Nations last year with its reference to the captive nations and one other speech.Footnote 25
  3. I said that it had been going through my mind to suggest to him the possibility of a public speech but that I had assumed that this would not be given until after the German election.
  4. I did not have a chance to develop my reason for believing the speech should be postponed until after September 17 but I had already put these considerations to him. The main danger of course is that if there is an indication of the sacrifices necessary from West Germany, Adenauer and Brandt will have to state firmly in public that they will have nothing whatever to do with supporting such sacrifices. After the election, they would be more reasonable. The other danger, of course, is that we do not want to give our negotiating position away to the Russians.
  5. Another consideration is that such a speech would anger Rusk. However, when Senator Fulbright had urged me that the Canadian Government should speak its mind in public, and I had mentioned then our objections that this would anger the State Department, Fulbright said that all that would happen would be that Arnold Heeney would be reprimanded and Heeney was expendable.
  6. May I see you about this after your morning meeting.


256. DEA/50341-40

Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (United Kingdom) to Secretary of State for External Affairs

SECRET GUARD London, August 26, 1961

My dear Howard [Green]:

  1. We have been keeping your Government informed through the usual channels of developments in the Berlin situation and what our assessment is of Soviet intentions, but I thought you would like to have personally some indication of what we here are thinking on the question of negotiations with the Russians and how the West should respond to any interference with Allied access to West Berlin. These matters were considered quadripartitely at the Western Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Paris earlier this month.Footnote 26 You will of course know of Rusk’s report to the NATO Council after that meeting. Apart from paragraph 2 below, all of what follows is, as you will appreciate, extremely delicate and I should be grateful if you would restrict knowledge of it to the smallest possible number of your senior officials. The NATO Council has not been told anything about these matters.
  2. The four Ministers agreed generally with an American proposal that Western policy should consist of two principal elements:
    1. an increase in the conventional strength of the Alliance, in order to provide an alternative to either acquiescence in the Soviet proposals or the inevitability of all-out war, thereby making more credible to the Russians our declared determination to defend the Allied position in Berlin, at the risk of war if necessary; and
    2. an active diplomatic programme, including negotiations with the Soviet Union, designed to provide the Soviet leadership with an alternative course of action which does not endanger vital Western interests in Berlin.
  3. The meeting marked a major and entirely favourable change in American views, as compared with those of the Eisenhower Administration, on the Western response to Soviet interference with Allied access to West Berlin. Rusk said that military action in respect of access to Berlin should be regarded as the last resort. The aim should be to get Khrushchev to desist from denying our access. In the place of land operations along the autobahn, the Americans now envisage, as a first response, the mounting of an air-lift, military preparations, economic counter-measures and a general diplomatic offensive. The idea is that this would provide the Russians with the opportunity to negotiate rather than risk war. All action would be designed to throw on the Russians the onus of being the first to take aggressive action and to bring home to them Western preparedness, at risk of war if need be, to defend vital Western interests, by which we mean the continued presence of Western forces in Berlin, and physical access from the Federal Republic and the world to West Berlin. This concept was generally accepted by all four Ministers; and we are particularly pleased that the Americans have now come to acknowledge the useful part which an air-lift could play.
  4. We also welcome a second important change in American views, which recognizes that the West cannot give the impression of risking war over a rubber stamp. Rusk said that it would be impossible to go to war merely on a question of the substitution of East German officials for the Russians at the checkpoints. So, even if negotiations with the Russians were to fail, the crunch need not come unless the Russians and East Germans are looking for immediate trouble. The French and also the West Germans accepted this suggestion.
  5. Unfortunately, no agreement was reached at the Paris meeting about the West taking the initiative in proposing negotiations with the Russians. Rusk said that, in order to demonstrate to our own and uncommitted opinion that we were sincere in our desire for negotiations, and are not merely preparing for war, we should suggest to the Russians early in September that there should be a Foreign Ministers’ meeting in late October or early November. Rusk also argued that the West could retain better control over the situation by itself taking the initiative. This accords with our own thinking. The French, however, felt, as did the West Germans to a lesser extent, that this would weaken the effect of the American decision to build up its military strength. The French were thinking in terms of negotiation after Khrushchev has concluded a separate peace treaty with East Germany. The West Germans envisaged negotiations before then as a means of preventing the conclusion of such a treaty. In view of these differences, we suggested, in an endeavour to get agreement, that it might be possible to keep open the prospect of negotiations, without making too specific an offer to them, by announcing that there would be a further Western Foreign Ministers’ meeting in September immediately after the West German elections at which a decision could be taken on what basis and when the West were prepared to negotiate. Since the Paris meeting, however, the situation has been complicated by the recent events in Berlin, which have increased the danger of disturbances in East Germany. These have reinforced French objections to a Western initiative, but further consideration is being given through diplomatic channels to the difficult problems of the basis and the timing of possible negotiations.
  6. The Foreign Ministers also considered whether there would be advantage in early reference of the Berlin issue to the United Nations. While it was agreed that if the situation became critical it was inevitable that it should be brought to the United Nations, it was felt that it would be to our disadvantage to raise the issue now. This could only result in a demand for early negotiations, while the Western negotiating position cannot be finally prepared until after the German elections on September 17th. But it will be important that the West should take the initiative, before the Russians or some neutrals do, to ensure that we get United Nations intervention on the right lines. Otherwise, there would be grave risk of endorsement by the U.N. of a situation unacceptable to the West and condemnation of the West if it takes counter action. A fuller study of the U.N. aspect of the problem was prepared for the Foreign Ministers in Paris and will be made available to your Government through the usual channels.
  7. What the Western negotiating position could be was only briefly touched on at Paris by Ministers, both because of the lack of time and because the West Germans, particularly at this stage before the German elections, are unwilling to commit themselves to new ideas. Our opening position would no doubt have to be much the same as in 1959; and we could offer some all-Berlin interim solution. But if we did engage in serious negotiations, as we must, it is clearly necessary to go further and in the talks at official level which preceded the Paris meeting the Americans made it clear that they have thought very seriously about what the Western fall back position might be. The general tenor of their thinking seems to be that the West should attempt to preserve the existing situation in West Berlin by acquiescing in some enhancement of the position of the East German régime in return for guarantees from the Soviet Government about our access to and position in West Berlin. The Americans also appear to be giving thought to recognition of the Oder-Neisse line. These ideas of the Americans, which were only tentatively and cautiously aired, fit in well with our own thinking on this subject. As regards the attitude of the West Germans towards these matters, it seems now to be less rigid but we cannot expect to get a clear line with them until after their elections.

With best wishes,
As ever,

257. DEA/50341-40

Memorandum from Ambassador in Federal Republic of Germany to Prime Minister

[Ottawa], August 28, 1961

Speech to the Canadian Bar Association

I enclose, at your request, a draft speech on the Berlin crisis.† I hope that you will find this useful. I am giving copies to the Minister and to Norman Robertson.

  1. It seems to me that it is very important, as I said to you last Friday, that the full final text of what you are going to say on Berlin should be in the hands of the governments principally concerned twenty-four hours in advance of delivery. This would mean, I assume, that it would have to be sent out from here Wednesday afternoon, August 30.
  2. I am, as you know, worried about treading on such delicate ground before the German elections. The danger of any ill effects would be diminished if Chancellor Adenauer and Mr. Brandt had the full text in advance. Otherwise they might, in the excitement of an election campaign, start sounding off on the basis of inaccurate news agency summaries and this would make the task of securing German concurrence after the elections in a settlement on Berlin that much more difficult.
  3. It is not only, of course, a question of getting the advance text of the speech in the hands of Adenauer and Brandt. There is also the desirability of other governments receiving it in advance and of its being distributed in advance to news agencies and to editorial writers who would be likely to make favourable comments on it.
  4. It seems to me that the missions principally concerned are those in the NATO countries and the Warsaw Pact countries and in the Commonwealth countries. In addition, our Ambassador in Belgrade could usefully be sent the text so that he could give it to such people as Mr. Nehru, Mr. Nkrumah and Mr. Nasser when they arrive in Belgrade for the conference which opens on September 1.
  5. I suggest that the missions I have listed could be instructed to devote, if necessary, the whole resources of the mission to the task of securing the utmost possible publicity for the speech in all the mass media of information, especially television news, radio and newspapers. This, of course, means giving the text out in advance. In many cases, the only effective way of doing this, in my experience, would be for an officer of the mission to give the text personally to the key persons concerned.
  6. I suggest that the head of mission should himself give the text in advance of delivery to the Foreign Minister and, if possible, to the Prime Minister. Officers of the mission should personally give copies in advance to senior officers of the Foreign Office.
  7. In Washington it might be useful if it were also given in advance to such key Senators as Mansfield, Fulbright, Cooper and Humphrey, in expectation that one of them will have it printed in the Congressional Record.
  8. Washington might also give it in advance to such influential and sympathetic writers as Lippman, Reston and Marquis Childs.
  9. London could give it in advance to such papers as the Times, Guardian, Observer, Sunday Times and the Economist. Paris could give it to a corresponding group of publications.
  10. Bonn might give it to the half dozen leading foreign correspondents in Bonn and the half dozen leading German correspondents in Bonn, as well as to the German press agencies.Footnote 27


258. DEA/50341-40

Memorandum from Special Assistant to Secretary of State for External Affairs to Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs

CONFIDENTIAL [Ottawa], August 29, 1961

Berlin – the Prime Minister’s Speech To the Canadian Bar Association

On August 28 the Prime Minister gave me further directions on this speech. He made it clear that the contribution that he was expecting from the Department was quite separate from that for which he had asked Escott Reid. He wanted a draft by today so that he could work on it.

  1. The Prime Minister asked for the following:
    1. A passage from President Kennedy’s speech of July 25 concerning the “international adjudication” of the Berlin problem;Footnote 28
    2. The text of the reference to Berlin in Mr. Hammarskjöld’s latest Annual Report;Footnote 29
    3. The text of Article 107 of the Charter;Footnote 30
    4. The 1945 Four Power Agreement on Berlin.Footnote 31
  2. The Prime Minister said that he was tired of being told that he should not speak out on Berlin. He had yet to hear a convincing argument against such a statement. He had spoken over the weekend with three leading newspaper editors and was all the more convinced as a result that Canadian views should be stated. He did not want to get into a situation in which, if things went badly, he could be criticized for not having put forward Canada’s opinion as to what should be done in the Berlin crisis. After all, the New York Times was full of speeches by Senators and others giving their opinions and he was not prepared to sit in silence as if the Canadian Government had no views of its own. He was not prepared to be a tail on the United States kite.
  3. The Prime Minister said that he was increasingly being asked why we should get into a war to preserve the Germans and he wanted to answer this question. He made it clear that while he would want to make clear the things that were not negotiable from the Western point of view, he also wished to discuss the points which would be open to negotiation even though in the process he might have to say something which would not be palatable to the Bonn Government. He mentioned the Oder-Neisse Line and Access Cards as illustrations but he obviously did not mean to stop at these.
  4. In general, I had the impression that whereas a week ago he had placed most of the emphasis on why we should stand fast on Berlin, he now wished an approximately even balance between this and negotiation. He appears to have some interest in the relationship between the Berlin question and the United Nations and is also attracted by the idea, especially in view of the audience, of calling for a reference of the Berlin question to the International Court, presumably to demonstrate to world opinion the legal validity of the Western position.


259. DEA/50341-40

Memorandum from Ambassador in Federal Republic of Germany to Prime Minister

CANADIAN EYES ONLY. SECRET. [Ottawa], August 29, 1961

Berlin and Germany: Current U.S. Thinking

In this memorandum I shall summarize the impressions of United States thinking which I secured as a result of my visit to Washington last week and I shall make some recommendations on action that the Canadian Government might take.

  1. The key to the situation is of course what the President is thinking. The only clues I got came in a statement to me by Senator Fulbright that the President had lost a great deal of his self-assurance because of his mistake over Cuba, that he was now listening to too many advisers and was finding great difficulty in making up his mind; and in a statement to me by Senator Cooper that the President had said to him on August 21 something to the effect that he realized that the time would come when he would have to stand up to public opinion on the Berlin question and move from the present fixed positions. Some confirmation of this was given to me by the usually well-informed columnist Marquis Childs who told me that his impression is that the President is prepared to negotiate but that he has not yet prepared the American people for negotiation.
    The Secretary of State and Senior Officials
  2. Mr. Heeney’s telegram 2645† of August 24 summarizes the principal features of U.S. thinking as reflected in what was expressed after dinner on August 23 by Messrs. Rusk, Bohlen and Kohler of the State Department and Bundy of the White House. Mr. Heeney’s main conclusion with which I entirely concur is that “notwithstanding their intention to hold early conversations with the U.S.S.R., the U.S. has no real hope of negotiations having constructive results. The Secretary and his colleagues make the lowest possible estimate of the prospects of the U.S.S.R. agreeing to any accommodation which would be satisfactory to the West … Rusk and Bohlen could hardly have been more pessimistic than they were last night on the possibility of an acceptable accommodation with the U.S.S.R.”.
  3. Messrs. Rusk, Bohlen and Bundy also virtually ruled out the possibility of informal exploratory talks with the Soviet Union either directly or through intermediaries. They seemed to envisage “negotiation” as consisting of a formal confrontation or a number of formal confrontations at formal conferences, when surely the essence of negotiation is that it is a long slow patient process of bargaining at which tentative ideas are exchanged in quiet exploratory talks.
  4. Indeed, Mr. Rusk on two or three occasions said, using almost identical words each time, that the Soviet Union had presented proposals on Berlin which are unacceptable to us; we shall present counter-proposals which will be unacceptable to them; then we will be faced with the problem of what we shall do if the Soviet Union interferes with the access routes. No doubt seeing our concern because of this statement, Mr. Rusk the last time he used the formula qualified it by saying that this was the worst which might happen.
  5. Mr. Rusk and the others showed no concern over the fact that there has so far been no negotiation among the four Western powers principally concerned over the substance of the Berlin and German problems. Hitherto the meetings of the three Western Ambassadors in Washington at the State Department have been concerned entirely with questions of tactics or of sanctions. Moreover, as the British Ambassador pointed out to us, the fact that there are a dozen or more people present at these meetings means that they cannot be used to discuss the delicate problems involved in establishing a Western negotiating position and Western fall-back positions. Senatorial Opinion
  6. In my memorandum of August 25,† I summarized the views expressed to me by Senators Cooper and Fulbright. They are about as “flexible” in their approach to negotiations as it would be possible to be. I gather that they in general support the suggestion of Senator Mansfield that the best way out of our difficulties might be the creation of a united city state of the whole of Berlin; that the sovereignty of this state might be transferred from the four occupying powers to an international agency, probably the U.N.; and that the access routes might be garrisoned by what Senator Mansfield calls “international peace teams.” Senator Fulbright told me that he would be in favour of transferring the Headquarters of the United Nations to Berlin from New York. He is prepared to pay the Soviet Union the price of agreeing to the Oder-Neisse Line, to de facto recognition of East Germany and to the abolition of the occupation status of Berlin.
  7. I assume that these Senators are in advance of the opinions of most of their colleagues. I gather that they intend judiciously to try to bring their colleagues along and that they also expect to influence the President’s thinking.
    Public Opinion
  8. Mr. Heeney in his telegram 2646 of August 24† has summarized recent trends in the reaction of the United States public to the Berlin crisis. He concludes that “while the trend in the press and in Congress has been to give increased emphasis to the need for negotiation, there has been no clear exposition of what Western concessions might be offered in negotiations.” Senator Cooper put part of this point to me when he said, presumably speaking both of Congress and of public opinion, that the word “negotiation” was no longer a dirty word as it had been up to about a month ago. The Working Level of the State Department
  9. In the Policy Planning Division of the State Department five or six officers have been engaged, for the past three months, in working out ideas on the substance of a possible accommodation on the Berlin problem. These officers are clearly considering all possible negotiating positions and fall-back positions. They have been consulting a number of persons with special expert knowledge on Germany and the Soviet Union such as George Kennan, David Bruce (former U.S. Ambassador in Bonn and now Ambassador to London) and McCloy. The general view of those who have been consulted is that Khrushchev’s aim in precipitating a crisis over Berlin is to try to stabilize the Soviet Empire in Eastern Europe by securing de jure recognition for frontiers and by enhancing as much as possible the status of East Germany. The officer of the Policy Planning Division with whom I talked went on to say that as a result of this assessment of Khrushchev’s motives a “lot of people” were thinking about what the U.S. might contribute to the stabilization of Eastern Europe since while it could not be stated publicly it was common sense that the stability of Eastern Europe was in the long-range interests of the West. He went on to say that the Policy Planning Division had been thinking about ideas similar to those which I had put forward to him as my personal views. He agreed that one could not rule out the possibility of the Soviet Union agreeing to a united Berlin and confirmed my recollection that there had been hints early in 1959 from the Soviet Union that it might accept an all-Berlin solution. He went on to say that they had also been thinking of the possibility of moving the U.N. Headquarters, or at least the European Office of the U.N., to Berlin. He thought that recognition of the Oder-Neisse Line should occasion little difficulty and would help stabilize Eastern Europe. Granting the substance of recognition to East Germany would be another stabilizing factor. It might also be desirable to agree to the establishment of an all-German Committee which would stimulate contact between East and West Germany. Finally the U.S. might, as part of a settlement on Berlin, or following a settlement on Berlin, give economic help to East Germany.
  10. He expected that the Soviet Union in the forthcoming discussions would raise the question of European security and might propose some limitation on the possession by Germany of the means of delivery of nuclear weapons and perhaps a thinning out of forces. This would raise questions of zones and of inspection. He was interested in my comment that Germany already constituted a special zone of inspection because of the recognized quasi espionage activities of the Western and Soviet Military Missions. He said that at the moment the State Department’s thinking was that questions of limitation of armaments and inspection zones should not be dealt with in the negotiations on Berlin but simultaneously in a separate form, such as the general disarmament negotiations.
  11. It seems to me clear that no final decision has been made in Washington and that the President is being subjected to conflicting advice. In such circumstances it is possible for a country such as Canada to exercise considerable influence by strengthening the hands of those in Washington with whose views it is in general agreement. The possibility of our exercising influence is greater the sooner we present our views. I therefore recommend that we should, as soon as possible, give to the authorities in Washington a carefully reasoned exposition of our views on the questions of substance which will arise in negotiations with the Soviet Union. Perhaps these views could be put as the tentative and provisional views of the Canadian Government.
  12. I suggest that this statement of our views should also be given to Mr. Macmillan and Lord Home, to Mr. Lange of Norway, Mr. Spaak of Belgium and possibly Mr. Fanfani of Italy.
  13. I was told by a senior official in the German Foreign Office a month ago that Mr. Lange is about the only European statesman in whom Dr. Adenauer has confidence. Because of this and because of the reputation he has in Washington we might discreetly encourage Mr. Lange to make a visit to Washington as soon as possible for quiet informal exploratory talks with the President and the Secretary of State. It may be – though I am not certain about this – that a visit by Mr. Spaak to Washington would also be useful.


260. DEA/50346-2-40

Ambassador in United States to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 2706 Washington, August 30, 1961
Reference: My Tel 2702 Aug 30.†
Repeat for Information: London, Paris, NATO Paris, Permis New York (OpImmediate), Bonn (OpImmediate) from Ottawa.
By Bag Moscow from London.

Berlin and Germany: the Western Four

From what Caccia told me this morning (my reference telegram) and from what I have learned from USA sources (my telegram 2645 August 24 refers), it has now as I have reported earlier, become painfully clear that the division in the Western camp on negotiating with USSR is both wide and deep. In fact USA, at the highest levels, have reached a stage of exasperation with President de Gaulle and his representatives which is in itself serious in terms of the whole alliance. The President and the Secretary of State, I judge feel that they have done all that they can in private and by their restrained but unambiguous public position to persuade the General of the necessity for negotiating, while at the same time standing firm on Western vital interests; despite their efforts however, there has been no repeat no essential change in the inflexible and, in USA view, dangerous position of de Gaulle.

  1. The agreement reached yesterday afternoon, for the four Western foreign ministers to meet in Washington, for the North Atlantic Council meeting and with respect to any public statement on possible negotiations, is regarded here as marking very little progress even on procedure, in reconciling the French attitude with that of USA and Britain. The meeting of September 14 may range wider but USA and UK expect French to try to limit it severely to procedure (incidentally USA wanted to have it earlier, September 8, but French would not repeat not agree). At the North Atlantic Council meeting tomorrow USA representative will be making a pretty full report on the Four Power consultations but he will, I gather, go further and make it quite plain that USA intend (with UK support) to have negotiations with the USSR over Berlin whether or not repeat not there is French consent and participation with regard to the public statement on negotiations. If Gromyko is going to New York, USA intend to suggest that Rusk will discuss with him “outstanding questions,” i.e. going beyond Berlin and Germany and taking in other areas of tension, including the Nuclear Test Ban Conference. Of course, any such public statement will have to be attuned to the response in Moscow to USA approach there.
  2. USA position, as Caccia described it to me this morning is that they “will negotiate period.” The position of President de Gaulle, on the other hand, is that he is quite opposed to any negotiations; if France’s allies decide to go ahead notwithstanding French opposition, he has made it clear that France will remain totally uncommitted (even on any procedure that may be agreed and that there must be no repeat no substantive talks with Soviet Foreign Minister until the Western three (or four) have agreed on the substance of a Western position. In such circumstances it has been quite impossible for the Americans and British to discuss with French the nature of any possible accommodation with USSR or even the elements of an allied negotiating position.
  3. USA authorities are naturally pretty depressed about the French attitude. They are tending now to put together French policy regarding the UN and their coolness toward NATO and relate these examples of French intransigence to the current attitude of the French in meetings with the other three Western powers over Germany. Nevertheless USA continue to hope against hope that General de Gaulle may be persuaded to adopt a more reasonable position. In this connection it has occurred to me that our own attitude with regard to negotiations might be put to French Government to de Gaulle himself. UK Government’s position is well known (as indeed is ours on the public record and in NATO) but the British are somewhat inhibited by the present stage of their relations with the European Economic Community and the Americans have done all they can. Perhaps in these circumstances a Canadian initiative in Paris might be of some help; at any rate, I think it would be appreciated by USA and UK and by other like-minded members of the alliance.
  4. This telegram is marked “Canadian Eyes Only.” It is being sent to my colleagues in the missions immediately involved. I very much hope that all will make a special effort to guard its contents in particular in conversation with USA officials.


261. DEA/50341-40

Memorandum by Special Assistant, Office of Secretary of State for External Affairs

[Ottawa, September 1, 1961]

At [Norman Robertson’s] suggestion, Arnold Heeney looked over this draft telegram (S-367 August 30).† His view was that it should not be sent at this time because it contained too detailed a negotiating position for a middle power such as Canada to put forward (since the main responsibility rests on the 3 Occupying Powers, and no other NATO power has proffered a detailed plan for a settlement). He also thought the timing was wrong in the light of

  1. Khrushchev’s latest moves on nuclear testingFootnote 32 & renewed pressure on Berlin access
  2. French refusal to agree to negotiations (USA, he says, is “fed up” with France).
    Heeney believes any Canadian proposal now should confine itself to urging the early opening of negotiations on the basis of
    1. recognition of the Oder-Neisse line
    2. de facto recognition of East Germany
    3. agreement to a completely new statute, registered with the UN, as the basis for Western presence in Berlin, in place of occupation rights.


262. DEA/50341-40

Memorandum by Assistant Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs

[Ottawa], September 1, 1961

Call on Secretary of State for External Affairs By U.S.A. Ambassador, August 31

Mr. Livingston Merchant called on the Secretary of State for External Affairs on Thursday, August 31, on instructions from the Secretary of State, Mr. Dean Rusk. Although the main purpose of his visit was to express Mr. Rusk’s hope that when the NATO Council met on September 4 the Canadian Government would be able to indicate what action they would be prepared to take under the terms of the Secretary-General’s resolution to increase the military preparedness of the Canadian armed forces, the discussion also covered the Soviet announcement about resuming nuclear tests and the Berlin situation.

  1. Mr. Merchant said that the reason for hoping that Canada would be able to meet the September 4 target date for reporting its state of military preparedness was not in any way due to doubts or reservations about the effectiveness of Canada’s contribution to NATO. Norstad had in fact told U.S. representatives that in his judgment Canada had lived up to MC-70 goals more than any other member of the alliance except the United States. It was desirable, however, that there should be a show of solidarity by NATO members in the matter of military preparedness. It was particularly desirable that Canada should give an affirmative response to the Secretary-General’s request for such a report in view of the modest recommendations, mainly of a logistic nature, put forward by Norstad in regard to Canada’s contribution.
  2. The Minister doubted whether it would be possible for any detailed statement to be put forward by the Canadian representative to the NATO Council on September 4 since Cabinet had not concluded its discussions of the matter and would not next be meeting until September 6. However, he could say in confidence that it was contemplated to bring Canada’s forces committed to NATO up to war strength including the despatch of some 1100 men to the brigade. Mr. Robertson also recalled that arrangements had been made not to rotate the Italians in the brigade so that the brigade could be kept at maximum efficiency. The Minister said that this also was related to the desirability of not bringing more dependents over to Europe. It was agreed that the Minister would consult 1the Prime Minister as to what report could be made by the Canadian representative to the NATO Council on September 4.
    Soviet Announcement about Resuming Tests
  3. Merchant said that in his judgment the purpose of the announcement was intimidation, especially directed against the uncommitted countries whose leaders were meeting in Belgrade. The reaction of the United States was that Khrushchev probably made a great mistake and that the decision would backfire. There was a sense of relief that Khrushchev had assumed responsibility and therefore taken the blame for resuming tests. If the United States were to resume tests, it would be limited to underground tests. The U.S. Government was more likely to wait until the implications of the Soviet tests had an opportunity to sink in and, therefore, to reap the benefits of Moscow’s bad judgment. Coupled with the sealing off of East Berlin with a wall in the centre of the city, this showed a distinct toughening of the Soviet attitude.
    Belgrade Conference
  4. The Minister asked Merchant whether, as a result of the Soviet announcement, Mr. Nehru might cancel his trip to Moscow. Merchant thought that, on the contrary, Mr. Nehru might be more anxious to go as he might be very upset by this development and the signs of toughening of Soviet policy.
  5. The Minister said that the United States had shown great patience in exploring the possibilities of agreement on disarmament as well as on nuclear tests. He asked Mr. Merchant what effect he thought the Soviet announcement would have on the handling of disarmament matters as they had been agreed among the five Western powers and in NATO consultations. Merchant thought there would be no direct effect even though the Soviet announcement would not put an end to the efforts to conduct bilateral discussions with the Russians nor to putting the U.S.A. plan before the UNGA. He said that the plan was the best that had been put together in the post war world. Mr. Robertson said it was important that the Western powers maintain a readiness to negotiate on this as well as on other matters affecting the peace of the world. The Soviet statement about resuming the tests represented a threat to humanity as had been recognized in the President’s statement released earlier that day. He observed that the French attitude towards negotiations with the Russians would strengthen the Russian position. Khrushchev had used the French nuclear tests as an excuse for resuming Soviet testing. Merchant was not hopeful about any change in the French attitude.
    Chinese Representation
  6. Merchant said that members of the U.S. Embassy staff had had useful talks on problems which would be coming up before the UNGA session with Mr. Glazebrook and Mr. Ignatieff. He expressed the hope that there would be agreement on the Chinese representation issue. The Minister said that Cabinet had not yet made a decision on the handling of the Chinese representation issue at the forthcoming session. He thought that the U.S. proposals about insisting on the matter being treated as a substantive issue requiring two-thirds majority and the setting up of a sub-committee was a good idea.
  7. The Minister asked Merchant’s reaction to possible areas of negotiability in the Western position. For instance, he asked whether the West might not offer de facto recognition to East Germany. Merchant replied that it depended on how one defined “de facto”. He thought there would be no objection on the U.S.A. side in dealings with East German officials insofar as the latter took over the functions previously performed by Soviet officials in the event that the Soviet Government signed the treaty with East Berlin. The U.S.A. would not agree to anything that might imply de jure recognition. He doubted, moreover, whether either Khrushchev or Ulbricht were really interested in only de facto dealings rather than de jure recognition.
  8. The Minister asked whether it might not be desirable to offer recognition of the Oder-Neisse line as the French had done. Merchant said that it had been a matter of principle with the U.S.A. not to modify their stand on the Oder-Neisse line on moral as well as practical grounds unless such a modification were accepted and confirmed by a freely elected German Government. Mr. Robertson recalled that with the prospect of German reunification becoming increasingly remote, the matter might be considered more in terms of stiffening Polish resistance to Soviet pressures and in consolidating the position of the Church. After all, the recognition of the boundary would hardly be a gain for Russia. Leaving the Oder-Neisse line unsettled indefinitely seemed to be only adding a significant element of instability in the European scene. Merchant doubted whether the USA would regard the Oder-Neisse line as negotiable. He thought that the area of negotiation would in fact be limited to those narrow issues in the Western negotiation which had been incorporated earlier in East-West negotiations on Berlin at Geneva, such as the modification of military forces, reciprocal restraints on propaganda and covert activities that might endanger the peace, reduction of direct strength and the exclusion of nuclear weapons from Berlin. In explanation of these views, Merchant said that before the splitting of Berlin by a wall to stop the flow of refugees, it might be easier to consider widening the areas of negotiation. It must be realized that the Russians and East Germans have achieved at least part of what might have been negotiable the hard way by stopping the flow of refugees and splitting Berlin. It now seemed necessary to face the hard fact that the Soviets wanted the Western powers out of Berlin either in stages or directly. Such an objective is not negotiable.
    Morale Effects in Berlin
  9. The Minister asked what the effects of this Soviet pressure might be on West Berlin. Merchant said that the U.S.A. Government was concerned about it but so far there was no evidence of any significant impairment of morale. The U.S.A. authorities were watching such signs of declining morale as sales of real estate, transfer of accounts, running down of inventories, etc. So far, the chief measures taken to boost morale had been the reinforcement of the USA garrison, the Johnson missionFootnote 33 and the appointment of General Clay. Asked whether the USA would favour U.N. presence in Berlin, Merchant said this would not be any substitute for USA troops in present circumstances.
  10. The talk ended with reference to the situation in Brazil, on which nothing particularly significant was said.

263. DEA/50341-40

Secretary of State for External Affairs to Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (United Kingdom)

SECRET. GUARD. Ottawa, September 2, 1961

My dear Duncan [Sandys],
Thank you indeed for your thoughtful and most stimulating letter of August [26]. As you suggested, circulation has been restricted to very few persons here on a need to know basis. We are in full agreement with what you have done so far and with your tentative views as to what remains to be undertaken.

I am particularly worried that the French have been dragging their feet so conspicuously as to negotiations. A few days ago I instructed our Ambassador in Paris to appeal to General de Gaulle for a measure of flexibility. My own impression is that Khrushchev is keen to engage in negotiations and that we would be wise to obtain something in return for the various steps which he is now taking unilaterally while we are hesitating. If we wait too long, there will not be very much left for us to offer; he will have taken most of what he wants in the interval, to induce us to come to the conference table. It is, therefore, our hope here that you will continue to press the other Western Foreign Ministers to arrive at early and positive decisions as to these urgently needed negotiations. There would be particular advantage in being in a position to announce now that they will be taking place sometime this fall.

On the substance of the Western negotiating position, our thoughts seem to have developed along parallel lines. I hope to let you have shortly some suggestions which we have developed here in the expectation that they might stimulate an exchange of views on possible solutions concerning Berlin. Like you, we think that there should be an initial bargaining position, possibly involving the whole of Berlin and then, a hard fall-back proposal for West Berlin alone. The real question here is how far the West Germans may be willing to go. I am inclined to think that after the elections and, as a result of recent developments in Berlin, they may be more flexible than heretofore. It will be important, however, in any settlement that may be worked out, to carry the Germans and perhaps to allow them to play a key role, particularly in regard to presentation, if the final solution is not to be presented in terms of a betrayal on the part of their partners.

The timetable is very short. Between now and the German elections it seems to us that it might be wise to make some tentative suggestions in Washington and to encourage progress in the shaping up of agreed proposals which could later be discussed with the Germans. The matter, as you pointed out, is most delicate and we could perhaps revert to it when you have had an opportunity to consider what we have in mind.

It may well be that ultimately the whole German problem will have to be discussed in the United Nations. I fear that we may not be able to retain the initiative unless we can persuade the neutral countries in particular that we are earnest in the matter of reaching some accommodation with the Soviet bloc.

In all this, I feel that your great experience and flexibility in approach can be of the utmost importance for the Western cause. I do hope that you will not let your preoccupations with other weighty problems unduly hinder your freedom of manoeuvre and that you will continue to press for early and serious discussions with the Soviet bloc. I am convinced that time is not working in our favour. The sooner we can deal with the situation, in specific terms, before Khrushchev makes many more moves, the more likely we may be to reduce tension and to find an acceptable solution.

Yours ever,

264. PCO

Memorandum from Secretary of State for External Affairs to Cabinet

CABINET DOCUMENT NO. 344-61 Ottawa, September 6, 1961

Berlin: Proposed Economic Counter-measures

At the suggestion of the Foreign Ministers of the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany, the NATO Council is now examining a proposal that member governments should take the necessary administrative and legislative action immediately to enable them to carry out without delay concerted economic counter-measures against the Soviet bloc in the event that access to West Berlin is blocked. These measures are designed to form part of a broad range of contingency planning and are regarded by the Four Powers as one feature of a comprehensive allied policy for meeting the threat to West Berlin. (The appendix to this Memorandum sets out in detail this proposal and analyzes the implications of economic sanctions for Canada and their probable effect on the Soviet bloc.) These measures are intended to apply to the Soviet bloc only and not to China or the Asian satellites, although according to reports from Washington, an extension to the latter group of countries might be considered at a later date.

  1. The objective of the proposal now before NATO would appear to be two-fold: it would represent an act of determination by the West which would demonstrate the depth of Western resolution and might act as a deterrent to the Soviet bloc if it contemplated denying access to Berlin; it would also mean that all member governments in the Alliance would be in a position to act quickly to impose an immediate economic embargo on the Soviet Union if access to Berlin were blocked (and the threat of war were imminent).
  2. If economic measures were to be considered as part of an effective deterrent they would probably have to be made public. In Canada, if enabling legislation were required, it certainly could not be enacted without a public debate. There is a risk that a public debate throughout the countries of the Alliance could to some extent undermine the sense of resolution and determination which the West is anxious to achieve. A judgment would have to be made about the possible reaction of the Canadian people if special enabling legislation were sought at this stage.
  3. With respect to the second objective, i.e., of being prepared to take economic action immediately in the face of blocked access, it should be pointed out that while some of the measures could be carried out under existing authority others would require the invocation of the War Measures Act. This represents, however, a significant political act. It may be that it would be desirable to enact other enabling legislation which would permit the Government to take action without going as far as invoking the War Measures Act. This might be particularly true if the blockade of Berlin were paralleled by negotiations in the United Nations or elsewhere. Under such circumstances it might be inappropriate to invoke the War Measures Act, although it might be considered that our negotiating position would be strengthened through the imposition of an economic blockade, particularly if these sanctions had been announced earlier as one of the first steps in a Western response to a blockade. Open unwillingness within the North Atlantic Alliance to agree on a policy of developing economic counter-measures to Soviet pressure on Berlin as part of a range of Western reactions could leave some questions in Soviet minds about NATO’s determination. Moreover, failure to take economic counter-measures in the event of the blockade of Berlin would leave direct military action as the only other effective response to Soviet moves.
  4. From the attached analysis it is apparent that the effects on the Soviet bloc of a total economic embargo by NATO countries cannot be easily determined. Some of their economic activity and operations would clearly be disrupted; the effects of other measures may be limited and would have to be balanced against the economic price to be paid by the members of the Western Alliance.
  5. A number of NATO countries would be hurt as much if not more than the countries in the Soviet bloc. This is particularly true of the peripheral states such as Greece, Turkey and Iceland which are not in a position to undergo economic hardship unless compensatory steps were taken by the bigger NATO powers.
  6. There would be some economic hardship involved for Canada, particularly if the embargo were extended to China. However, this is a price that we should be prepared to pay if there is any expectation that economic sanctions together with other military and diplomatic moves would be effective or strengthen the West’s position with respect to any future negotiations. This is not clear at this time. The imposition of a blockade short of war thus raises important domestic political implications for Canada.
  7. The risk of a divisive effect within the Alliance arising from the unwillingness of some of the smaller countries to accept the implications of an economic embargo would have to be balanced against the divisive effect of the failure of NATO generally to respond to proposals put forward by the Big Four. On balance, it would seem that the smaller powers are likely to be on good ground in questioning a decision which hurts them far more than the major powers.
  8. It should be noted that if economic counter-measures were to be effective, some arrangements would have to be made with respect to trade and transactions through neutral third countries. This could shift some of the damaging effect to the neutrals and weaken the standing of the West with those countries.Footnote 34
  9. It is desirable, to avoid, if possible, an issue in NATO with the Big Four on this matter. It is in Canadian interests to work out procedures that will not give rise to a sense of frustration on the part of the Big Four, and the United States in particular, or which would throw into question Canada’s willingness to play its full part in the Alliance.
  10. In these circumstances it seems that the Canadian Government should give an undertaking in NATO that if the situation deteriorates to the point where access to Berlin is closed, we would join in a full economic blockade of the Soviet Bloc. There would, however, need to be a collective and agreed judgment by NATO that such a situation had been created. Whether Ministers wish to examine legislative action at this stage in anticipation, or whether reliance is to be placed on the immediate invocation of the War Measures Act is a judgment which might be better taken after a more careful study of the legal and constitutional implications.Footnote 35
  11. While it would be desirable to agree to envisage economic counter-measures in a situation where the access to Berlin were blocked (and when the use of military force might appear to be the only other response open to the West) it would not be desirable at this time to agree to apply such sanctions gradually in advance of access actually being denied. The “escalated” application of economic sanctions prompted by acts of harassment by East Germany or the Soviet Bloc could lead to increasing retaliation by the Communists and precipitate a cut-off of access to Berlin before negotiations can be initiated, thus increasing the possibility of military conflict, which could lead to full-scale nuclear war.
  12. Economic sanctions now would not be warranted. Their application by the Alliance on a graduated scale prior to the blockade of Berlin should be opposed. However, if the access to Berlin is blocked, then Canada should be prepared to join the rest of the NATO allies in considering economic sanctions as part of a series of measures against the Soviet Bloc, short of military force. The deterrent effect of seeking enabling legislation now and announcing the intention to use economic sanctions in certain circumstances must be measured against the possibility that public reaction throughout the Alliance might throw into question the ability of the West to take effective and determined action in the face of a crisis.
  13. It is recommended that instructions should be prepared for the use of our representatives at discussions in NATO, based on the considerations set out above; it should be emphasized that:
    1. we agree that a determined and resolute stand is required by NATO and that we are taking steps to contribute to the military build-up;
    2. we feel that economic counter-measures should not be applied by NATO unless the corridor is closed by the Communists;
    3. we have grave doubts about the use of sanctions on a graduated scale. This could force retaliation and precipitate a situation where the access to Berlin would be cut off;
    4. we appreciate that the Big Four are requesting other NATO countries simply to take the necessary steps now to be in a position to enforce sanctions later if access is cut off. This in itself, however, would require public debate and considerable mobilization of public opinion. Such a debate involves risks in Canada and probably to a greater degree in some other NATO countries;
    5. our hesitation does not stem from narrowly interpreted commercial interest. But we would feel justified in paying the price and taking the risks involved only if we were satisfied that such measures could be an effective deterrent and would contribute to strengthening the overall position of the West;
    6. economic sanctions will hurt the smaller powers more than the major ones. This could have a divisive effect in the Alliance unless some form of burden-sharing could be realistically envisaged;
    7. if military or civil access is cut off the Canadian Government would give consideration to taking steps immediately to join in a total economic embargo of the Soviet Bloc, if such a step, or its threat, is helpful to our common cause;
    8. Canada has serious legal and constitutional problems (with important political implications) that are being studied as a matter of urgency.





Berlin: Proposed Economic Counter-measures


On August 8 United States Secretary of State Rusk reported to the NATO Council that the Foreign Ministers of the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany had agreed that NATO governments should be asked to take, as part of a broad range of contingency planning in the military and non-military fields, the necessary steps to enable them to carry out, without delay, concerted economic counter-measures against the Soviet Bloc in the event that military and civilian access, air or ground, to West Berlin was blocked.

  1. The following measures were proposed:
    1. The prohibition of the use of all the financial facilities of NATO countries to carry on current transactions with the USSR, the Soviet Zone of Germany, the other Soviet Bloc members and their nationals.
    2. The expulsion of all Soviet Bloc technical experts and foreign trade officials without diplomatic immunity from the NATO countries.
    3. The freezing of all assets of the members of the Soviet Bloc under jurisdiction of the NATO powers.
    4. Termination of trade agreements involving Soviet Bloc countries.
    5. The denial of all exports to Soviet Bloc countries.
    6. The stoppage of all imports from Soviet Bloc countries to NATO countries.
    7. The closure of NATO ports to Soviet Bloc shipping and planes and to craft under Soviet Bloc charter.
    8. The prevention of aircraft of Soviet Bloc countries from making transit overflight and technical stops.
    9. The prohibition of calling at Soviet Bloc ports of vessels and planes of the NATO countries.
  2. On August 18 the Canadian Ambassador in Washington, on the instructions of Cabinet, expressed to the State Department the Canadian Government’s view that retaliatory measures should not be taken to counter East German moves to restrict access from East Germany and East Berlin to West Germany and West Berlin. If military and civilian access between West Germany and West Berlin were to be cut off, economic sanctions would have to be considered, but they should not be used without adequate consultation and preparation.
  3. Following a discussion in the NATO Council, where a number of countries raised several problems that required careful consideration before agreement could be reached on the Big Four proposals, a working group was established in Paris to consider the economic and political implications of a complete embargo against the Soviet Bloc and of specific counter-measures which might be appropriate to face various economic contingencies, bearing in mind the adverse effects of these measures on individual NATO countries. Canada is a member of this working group which is to report back within a month, at the latest.
  4. The working group held its first meeting on August 25 and three main points emerged at this meeting. There was a consensus that for the time being economic sanctions should be contemplated against the USSR and its European satellites only and that there should be no new restrictions on trade with China and its Asian satellites. (However, the United States authorities are reported to consider that these sanctions might be applied at a later stage to the whole Sino-Soviet Bloc.) General doubts were expressed in the working group about the long-term effectiveness of the proposed economic counter-measures. The working group also generally recognized that a number of NATO countries would be seriously affected by a trade embargo and have difficulties in implementing the proposed counter-measures.
    Implications for Canada
  5. An examination of the significance of the proposed measures for Canada has indicated that considerable economic interests would be affected by some of them, in particular those relating to finance and trade.
  6. We understand that several Canadian banks provide financial facilities to the Soviet Bloc. The order of magnitude of the transactions concerned is not known, but is probably quite significant. It should also be noted that outstanding Canadian credits to the Soviet Bloc amount to $113.7 million (Czechoslovakia $21.7 million, Poland $42 million and China $50 million). Service of these Soviet Bloc debts would most likely cease once a total embargo had been enforced, and they may possibly have to be written off.
  7. The number of Soviet technical experts and foreign trade officials without diplomatic immunity in Canada which would be affected by measures of expulsion is not significant; apart from a few Czech trade officials in Montreal, most are not staying beyond a limited period of time (e.g. for trade fairs).
  8. With regard to freezing Soviet Bloc assets in NATO countries, there is no readily available information on Soviet Bloc investment in Canada. Some may have been made through Swiss banks. They are, however, unlikely to be substantial.
  9. Total Canadian exports to the Soviet Bloc (excluding China) were valued at $35.4 million in 1960. The value of imports from the Bloc was $13 million over the same period. Canada has Trade Agreements in force with Czechoslovakia and Poland, which can be terminated at three months’ notice, and with the USSR, which expires in 1963. The latter contains a clause authorizing the suspension of its provisions on security grounds. However, the termination of these agreements or the suspension of the provisions of the agreement with the USSR would be a serious step. If the proposed trade embargo were extended to China, more substantial commercial interests would be at stake. Our exports to and imports from China were valued at $8.7 million and $5.6 million respectively in 1960; but our export trade is expected to increase considerably, mainly as the result of Canadian wheat sales to China. It is estimated that the value of these sales in 1961 will be of the order of $130 million. (A trade agreement with China was signed in 1946 and in principle continues to apply to the mainland.)
  10. In a situation where a complete trade embargo were imposed on Soviet Bloc trade, watering and refuelling and repairs would be the main operations affected by the closure of Canadian ports to Soviet Bloc shipping and planes. These facilities are provided at East and West coast ports for Soviet trawlers and research vessels. In 1961 there have so far been 89 visits of this kind.
  11. Canada has no bilateral air agreement with any Soviet Bloc country and special permission is now required for overflight and technical stops by all Soviet Bloc aircraft, except Czech and Polish aircraft. Czechoslovakia and Poland are members of ICAO and signatory to the Air Transit Agreement. By denying them transit overflights and technical stops Canada would probably be acting outside the scope of the Agreement.
  12. While some of the proposed measures could be carried out by Canada through administrative action or on the authority of existing legislation, others would necessitate the enactment of new legislation or the proclamation of the War Measures Act.
    Implications for other NATO Countries
  13. Within NATO itself some countries may be hurt as much as the Soviet Bloc. This is particularly true of the peripheral states such as Greece, Iceland and Turkey, which have an important stake in trade with the Bloc and are not in a position to undergo economic hardship unless compensatory steps are taken by the bigger NATO powers.
    Probable Impact on the Soviet Bloc
  14. The impact on the Soviet Bloc of a total economic embargo by NATO countries cannot be easily ascertained, although it is almost certain to be short term. The effect would be felt most in East Germany, but would be unlikely to continue to be significant after a period of six months. Some of the Bloc’s operations abroad would clearly be disrupted; the effects of other measures may be limited and would have to be balanced against the economic price to be paid by the members of the Western Alliance.
  15. If financial facilities in the NATO countries were to be denied to the Bloc, the effect of this measure would be felt on Bloc relations not only with NATO countries but also with the rest of the world. Most Bloc trade with under-developed countries is bilaterally balanced and the difficulties created by this measure could probably be surmounted. However, some important commodities, such as rubber from Malaya, are paid for in sterling or other convertible currencies; the loss of financing facilities in the NATO area would be a serious blow to this trade. If the embargo were to be applied to Communist China, the value of Hong Kong as an entrepot for trade with the West and as China’s main source of foreign exchange would be lost.
  16. The expulsion of non-diplomatic experts and trade officials would be of significance mainly to East Germany, which has established a number of trade offices abroad largely as a substitute for diplomatic establishment.
  17. The freezing of Soviet Bloc assets would no doubt affect funds of considerable magnitude. (Bloc trade with NATO countries averaged $330 million a month in 1960.) However, they should be balanced against outstanding credits granted by NATO countries to the Soviet Bloc excluding China, which stood at $468 million at the beginning of this year.
  18. Generally speaking, foreign trade makes such a small contribution to Bloc national incomes that the loss of imports from NATO would not cause any major economic crisis in Communist countries. There would be delays, shortages and setbacks in some sectors, but the resources of the Bloc and its independence of non-communist supplies are such that these problems would at the most be a serious inconvenience; they could in part be offset by domestic readjustments and a greater dependence on sources outside NATO. However, the saving in research and development costs, which results from the purchase of advanced western capital equipment, would no longer be available and this would perhaps be one of the most important economic consequences of the embargo.
  19. The prevention of transit overflight and technical stops would create serious problems for the Bloc in rerouting flights to Africa and the Western Hemisphere. Restrictions on shipping would have a serious effect on intra-Bloc (particularly Chinese) trade and on Bloc trade with countries such as Cuba, in view of the Bloc’s dependence on western ocean shipping for about two-thirds of its foreign trade.
  20. The effects of some of the proposed measures would not be limited to the Bloc’s economic relations with NATO countries, but extend to its relations with under-developed or neutral countries. The reactions of these countries would have to be taken into account by members of the Alliance. Restrictions on economic relations with these countries or means of securing their cooperation may have to be considered in order to make an embargo against the Soviet Bloc fully effective.
  21. None of the possible actions considered in this paper would have any effect on the type or number of weapons in the hands of Soviet Bloc forces or on the ability of Soviet Bloc defence industry to support them.
  22. There are also a number of steps which the Soviet Bloc could take to offset at least in part the economic effects of the proposed measures, such as the reorganization and closer coordination of intra-Bloc trade, the readjustment of domestic economic plans, the expansion of arrangements for trading in roubles and the use of third-country agents to obtain essential commodities from NATO countries. These steps would not entirely eliminate the inconvenience to the Soviet Bloc of a NATO embargo, but they would substantially modify its effectiveness. They would, incidentally, lead to closer coordination of the economies of Bloc countries.

265. DEA/50341-40

Memorandum from Assistant Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs to Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs

SECRET [Ottawa], September 9, 1961

Canadian Suggestions as to a Negotiated Berlin Settlement

I had an opportunity to discuss this matter yesterday in Washington with the Ambassador and Mr. Rae.

  1. Timing
    Both feel that if we wish to make any suggestions, we should try to do so next week, before the meeting of the Western Foreign Ministers.
  2. Presentation
    Mr. Heeney felt that we should
    1. acknowledge that as a result of what Khrushchev has said and done recently, negotiations have become more difficult
    2. argue that they are now as urgently required as ever.
  3. Substance

    Mr. Heeney agrees with the essential features of our suggested deal:

    1. a new statute for West Berlin
    2. recognition of the Oder-Neisse line
    3. de facto recognition of East Germany.
  4. Initial and Interim Proposals

    I agreed with Mr. Heeney that any proposals involving the whole of Berlin were unlikely to succeed and to have more than propaganda value.
    . Mr. Heeney recognized these two points

    1. if we are asked to indicate what we have in mind we should be able to present detailed schemes for illustrative purposes: he felt that such detailed proposals might be more effective if annexed to rather than incorporated into our main suggestions;
    2. in the present circumstances, the United Kingdom may be hampered in taking any initiative in this field and there is a case for a Canadian attempt to stimulate a discussion on the basis of detailed rather than new general proposals. As long as our main points are set out separately from suggestions as to alternative detailed schemes, which could be tried out in the course of the negotiations.
  5. Supplementary vs New Arrangement

    Mr. Heeney felt very strongly that we should urge a new arrangement if this would make agreement easier. While, in pure legal theory, we agreed that an original (occupation) as against a derived (contractual) right might be preferable, in practice all depended on the willingness of the Soviet bloc to respect the right in question. The prospects of enforcement were not better in one case or in the other. If Khrushchev were committed to a new arrangement, as we now had little to offer we might as well accept a new statute.

  6. Subsequently, I discussed this point with Mr. Chayes, the Legal Adviser of the State Department, and he fully agrees that if a new agreement will facilitate negotiations, the point is hardly worth arguing about. His only reservation was that public opinion might feel that this was a very substantial concession and that we had made a bad deal. He recognized that, on the other hand, this might make it easier to represent the concession to Khrushchev as an indication of our willingness to meet him on some of his requests. We might thus be saved more painful concessions in other areas.
  7. Prospects
    Mr. Heeney made repeatedly and with great emphasis the point that the United States administration are determined to negotiate with the USSR. They are determined to negotiate in good faith with every intention of reaching a settlement. Their fear, however, is that Khrushchev is not in a reasonable mood and that he may not be willing to accept a fair settlement. This does not mean that they will not do their utmost to achieve this objective.


266. DEA/50341-40

Draft Record of Meeting between Secretary of State for External Affairs and Secretary-General of NATO

TOP SECRET Ottawa, September 11, 1961

Visit of the Secretary-general of Nato

Dr. Dirk U. Stikker, Secretary-General of NATO, called on the Minister, Monday at 9:30 a.m. and had a talk for an hour. The main subjects of discussion were:

  1. Dr. Stikker’s impressions of the attitude he found in Washington on the Berlin crisis;
  2. the work of the State Department Task Force on contingency planning;
  3. the work of the Four-Power Ambassadorial Committee in Washington;
  4. possibility of commencement of negotiations on Berlin;
  5. possible ministerial meeting;
  6. prospects of negotiations on Berlin;
  7. re-unification of Germany;
  8. economic counter-measures;
  9. long-term military planning.
  1. Dr. Stikker’s Impressions of the Attitude He Found in Washington on the Berlin Crisis
    The Secretary-General said that there was a marked difference of atmosphere in which the Berlin crisis was being discussed in private meetings of the Council in Paris and that which he had encountered in his meetings with State and Defence Department officials and with the “Four-Power Ambassadorial Steering Group” in Washington. The main reasons for this difference was that Washington officials took the attitude that “we were much nearer to war.”
  2. The Work of the State Department Task Force on Contingency Planning
    The State Department Task Force which met daily under Assistant Secretary Foy Kohler had close access to relevant information. At the daily discussions they took into account intelligence, strategic, economic, financial, as well as political aspects of the Berlin problem. There were about 30 members of this Group. The State Department seemed concerned about the lack of progress in the consultations in the Council. Dr. Stikker recalled that Secretary Rusk had spoken to the Council on August 8 about U.S. plans in the military field and of the need for parallel measures by other NATO countries. Two weeks later the Council had commenced discussion on military preparedness connected with the Berlin crisis and already appreciable results were evident from governments. Rusk was also disappointed about the delay in response to Four-Power proposals on economic counter-measures. All in all, Dr. Stikker pictured the Washington atmosphere as much closer to war, with consequent pressures for immediate action, especially in the field of contingency planning measures.
  3. The Work of the Four-Power Ambassadorial Committee
    This pressure in Washington to get quick results and decisions on contingency planning had led to the setting up unofficially of an Ambassadorial Steering Group which met daily in Washington under Secretary Rusk. The other participants were: Sir Harold Caccia, United Kingdom Ambassador; M. Hervé Alphand of France; and Herr Wilhelm Grewe of the Federal Republic of Germany. Dr. Stikker said he made it crystal clear to this group that the other allies had a right to be kept fully informed through the Council of any plans that might be worked out. What the Secretary-General had in mind was that the Four-Power Group would, through their representatives in Paris, work out a report on the basis of rough drafts that Dr. Stikker had seen in Washington, and present it to the Council. The constitutional position of this self-constituted group raised some delicate problems. Dr. Stikker thought that consultations taking place could be justified under Article 4 of the Treaty which states: “The Parties will consult together when in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.”
  4. Possibility of Commencement of Negotiations on Berlin
    The Minister asked Dr. Stikker what he could say about progress in Washington in the definition of a Western position preparatory to negotiations with the USSR on Berlin. Dr. Stikker replied that there was no agreement on a basis of negotiations among the Four Powers, as France was still adamant against a decision on this matter. Dr. Stikker also found no agreed position among the United States Administration. For instance, Foy Kohler, Chairman of the Task Force, had expressed the view that the West should start with a tough position obviously unacceptable to the Russians. When the Secretary-General had argued against taking too inflexible a position in the beginning, he found that he was supported by Secretary Rusk. Nonetheless, the United Kingdom and United States had agreed to go ahead to prepare for negotiations regardless of French opposition. Views were being developed in the State Department and the Foreign Office in London. Initial probing had begun through Ambassador Thompson in Moscow. Secretary Rusk was planning to meet with Mr. Gromyko when the latter comes to New York for the opening of the UNGA. The four Foreign Ministers are to have preparatory meetings in Washington on September 14.
  5. Possible Ministerial Meeting
    Dr. Stikker said that as a reaction to the obvious by-passing of the NATO Council by the Four Powers, the Permanent Representatives of Belgium and Norway had suggested that the NATO Council should meet in ministerial session, perhaps in Washington, to ensure that the whole Council should be kept informed of the results of the contacts between the United States and the USSR. The Minister observed that the by-passing of the Council by the Four Powers had obviously gone much further than he had supposed and hoped that the situation would be remedied. Dr. Stikker said that as soon as he had definite evidence – which he obtained about a week ago – of the way in which the Council had been by-passed on contingency planning, he had taken steps in Washington, to ensure that the Council was given full information on contingency planning. He recognized his responsibility for safeguarding the institutions of NATO and for ensuring that proper consultations take place by which all members of the Alliance are kept fully informed in advance of decisions affecting them. The Minister asked Mr. Léger to comment on the idea of a ministerial meeting. Mr. Léger thought that as most of the Ministers of NATO countries concerned would be in New York in any case attending the UNGA, it would therefore be possible for Mr. Rusk to keep in touch with the NATO Foreign Ministers in New York. He doubted whether the Council should be brought into extraordinary ministerial session, particularly outside Paris, unless some further critical developments were to emerge. It would be interpreted as meaning that the permanent Council was unable to deal with the situation.
  6. Prospects of Negotiations on Berlin
    The Minister asked whether the Group of Four were considering the various ideas on negotiations which had been ventilated or were they simply pre-occupied with contingency planning. Dr. Stikker said that owing to the position of the French, the Four had not been able to get down to the consideration of possible substantive positions preparatory to negotiations. Various possibilities, however, were being examined, both in the State Department and in the Foreign Office. The Minister asked what about the attitude of the Federal Republic of Germany. Dr. Stikker said that he had close personal relations with Dr. Adenauer from which he knew that Dr. Adenauer, while not wishing to prejudice the prospects of negotiations by premature disclosures of his hand – especially during the elections, was prepared to negotiate. At their last meeting some weeks ago, Dr. Adenauer had told Dr. Stikker, “There will be no war.” Dr. Adenauer had also said that as Germany had lost the last war, it should be prepared to pay (presumably by way of concessions). In answer to a question by Mr. Robertson, Dr. Stikker confirmed that it was his understanding that Dr. Adenauer would be prepared to embark on serious negotiations after the elections. Dr. Stikker also mentioned that he had tried to sound out the reaction of the Defence Minister, Herr Strauss, on this matter. He asked him recently whether the people of Frankfurt would be willing to go to war on the issue of Berlin. The Defence Minister had avoided a direct reply.
    Turning to the discussions on substantive issues in the Council, Dr. Stikker thought that even if there were at present difficulties for the Germans and the French in defining a negotiating position, it was important that other members should express their views in the Council. Unlike his predecessor, the Secretary-General did not intend to impose his own views. He thought that the development of views in the Council could not go very much further until the results of contacts between the United States and USSR were known. In answer to a question from the Minister, Dr. Stikker expressed certain personal views on what the Soviet intentions over Berlin were. Their main purpose was, he thought, a clear demarcation of the present boundaries between the Eastern and Western Zones of Germany. Berlin, under this arrangement, should be made part of East Germany, but the Soviet Union was prepared, he thought, to move towards the incorporation of West Berlin with East Germany gradually, maintaining pressures over the access routes to West Berlin. These pressures on access routes to Berlin constituted the main danger in Berlin. The latest moves seem to be against air transport. If the flying of civil aircraft became too hazardous, it might be necessary to consider escorts and that might raise the risks of war. This brought Dr. Stikker back to the point of the importance he attached to the Council being kept informed and exercising more direct control over contingency plans. Even if the three Occupying Powers had special responsibility it was clear that their plans would affect all members – some more than others – and the other governments should be kept in constant touch through the Council.
    In answer to a question from the Minister, Dr. Stikker said that he had not heard of any specific proposals in Washington for any United Nations presence in Berlin. He later added, however, that that did not mean that there was not some thinking about it in the State Department.
    In answer to a further question from the Minister about whether there had been any discussion of the Oder-Neisse line, Dr. Stikker said that while this was not something that could be freely talked about in the Council at present, he thought, however, that everybody – including the Germans – agreed that recognition of this line would be inevitable.
  7. Re-unification of Germany
    The Minister noted that in one of the reports from NATO, Paris, summarizing Council discussions, the Secretary-General was quoted as saying that, “the re-unification of Germany in freedom remains a fundamental aim of the West.” The Minister asked how this aim figured in relation to the definition of a possible casus belli over the crisis in Berlin. The public in Canada would not regard the re-unification of Germany as an aim for which the Alliance would be justified in going to war. Dr. Stikker explained that the re-unification of Germany would definitely not be regarded as a casus belli. All he had intended to point out was that in the East-West negotiations, which he expected would concentrate on the Berlin problem, the Western powers were committed to the principle of the political re-unification of Germany in freedom as an ultimate aim. It was understood, however, that this aim could only be pursued by peaceful means.
  8. Economic Counter-measures
    Dr. Stikker mentioned the importance which the United States authorities attached in Washington to having the Allies prepare themselves in advance with the necessary legislative powers in order to apply economic counter-measures in the event of a blockade of Berlin. His understanding was that the United States authorities wanted these advance powers to be sought, without revealing allied plans to impose an economic blockade. The Minister pointed out that this was impossible under parliamentary procedures. There would have to be an explanation by the government of what was intended, and this would be followed by debate. If, on the other hand, economic counter-measures were being considered in order to deter the Russians from imposing a blockade of Berlin, surely all necessary information had to be divulged to the public.
    Dr. Stikker said that the ad hoc committee considering the matter in Paris was not expected to conclude its study before September 23. Secretary Rusk had only raised the matter on behalf of the Four Powers in the Council on September 8. Economic blockade of the Soviet bloc gave rise to special difficulties, to Iceland, Greece and Turkey. Initially Secretary Rusk had talked of “appropriate measures.” Now the United States authorities seemed to be talking about a full economic blockade to be applied automatically in the event of the closing off of civil and military access to Berlin.
    The Minister asked whether it was intended to include China in the blockade measures. Dr. Stikker replied that judging from a talk he had with the U.S. Secretary of Defence, Mr. MacNamara, this was the U.S.A. intention.
    Dr. Stikker admitted there were some inconsistencies in the position adopted by the Four. For instance, the United Kingdom were anxious not to have any information divulged in advance for fear of the possible effect on sterling and upon trade with Hong Kong. On the other hand, he emphasized the Washington view “that nuclear war was very near.” Against that background the United States authorities were urging that consideration be given to all kinds of measures which might be alternatives to nuclear war. The Minister pointed out that the announcement of an intention of the NATO Powers to impose a blockade which would have to be made if the necessary legislative measures were sought from Parliament, would surely contribute to the cumulative raising of the risks of nuclear war. They would certainly also reduce the chances of successfully initiating negotiations with the Soviet Union. Dr. Stikker recalled that the Council would have to come back to this issue when the special committee reported to the Council on September 23. At least the Four Powers seemed to be in agreement on this issue.
  9. Long-term Military Planning
    As an example of the current pre-occupations in Washington with the immediate problems of contingency planning on Berlin, Dr. Stikker mentioned that he had been unable to get any response to his request for a further clarification of U.S. views on long-term strategic planning in NATO. Dr. Stikker recalled that the U.S. had initiated this discussion in connection with NATO long-term planning. They had suggested placing more emphasis on strengthening the conventional forces of NATO and the fulfillment of MC-70 goals. Mr. MacNamara had seemed impatient that the Secretary-General had pressed for further clarification of U.S.A. views on such long-term matters, at a time when all attention should be concentrated on the immediate problems of Berlin.Footnote 36

267. DEA/50341-40

Secretary of State for External Affairs to Ambassador in United States

TELEGRAM S-379 Ottawa, September 11, 1961
Reference: Our Tel S-344 of Aug 17/61.†
Repeat for Information: London (OpImmediate), CCOS, NATO Paris, Bonn, Paris, Permis New York (Priority).
By Bag from London: Moscow, Berlin.

Germany and Berlin

I understand that you will be seeing Mr. Rusk on Wednesday morning. Bearing in mind that the meeting of the four Western Foreign Ministers will open the following day, this seems to be our only opportunity to put to Mr. Rusk and State Department officials certain points we have been considering about the Berlin problem.

  1. I realize that as a result of Khrushchev’s recent belligerent statements and actions in Berlin and, more important, the Soviet decision to resume nuclear testing, it is now more difficult for the United States to press for negotiations with the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, I believe that negotiations should take place in the near future and I hope that a decision to this effect will be taken by the four Western Foreign Ministers.
  2. I think perhaps the most useful way to convey some of our thinking about the Berlin problem to the State Department would be to provide you with the texts of working papers which we have been considering in the Department. You should make it clear that the ideas contained in these working papers are preliminary and have not received governmental approval. You should emphasize that they are simply papers which have been prepared at the working level. You may leave copies or summaries of these papers at the State Department. The working papers which are given in my following telegrams are:
    1. Negotiations;†
    2. Possible statute for Berlin;†
    3. Berlin and disarmament;†
    4. Berlin and the United Nations;†
    5. de facto recognition of the GDR
    For London:
  3. You should inform the Foreign Office that I have instructed our Ambassador in Washington to discuss with the State Department the ideas contained in the working papers. You may leave copies of them with the Foreign Office.


268. DEA/50341-40

Secretary of State for External Affairs to Ambassador in United States

TELEGRAM S-384 Ottawa, September 12, 1961
Reference: Our Tel S-379 of Sep 11.
Repeat for Information: London, CCOS (OpImmediate), NATO Paris, Bonn, Paris, Permis New York (Priority).
By Bag from London: Moscow, Berlin.

Berlin: De Facto Recognition of East Germany

It seems to us there are a number of steps which might be taken which would not involve full de facto recognition of East Germany and yet might provide bargaining elements in developing an agreed settlement concerning Berlin.

  1. Is there anything which has to be done in dealing with East Germany rather than with the USSR concerning access to and conditions in West Berlin which would involve de jure recognition? Surely no de jure recognition is involved in letting East German officials stamp papers, supervise traffic or in discussing with them the operation of safety regulations affecting the air corridors. We are inclined to think not, as long as it is made clear that there is no intention of recognizing East Germany de jure.
  2. If the concern is over the attitude of East German authorities at some later date, the problem is one of spelling out the arrangement and providing for clear and detailed USSR guarantees rather than one of recognition.
  3. If as we suspect, the USSR will attach importance to steps towards some recognition of East Germany, would it not be in the general interest of the West, apart from the practical benefits to be derived in negotiations over Berlin, to offer:
    1. East German entry into some of the specialized international agencies;
    2. East German signature of some UN technical conventions;
    3. East Germans might be associated with some other non-official international organizations.
  4. There may be other steps which will not involve more than limited recognition and which might also be considered.


269. DEA/50191-E-40

Ambassador in United States to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 2883 Washington, September 14, 1961
Reference: Your Tel S-379 Sep 11 and related messages.†
Repeat for Information: Permis New York, London, Paris, NATO Paris, Bonn (OpImmediate), Brussels, Hague from Ottawa, CCOS Ottawa (Waldock), PCO Ottawa, DND Ottawa (OpImmediate) from Ottawa.
By Bag Moscow, Warsaw, Prague, Berlin from London.

Germany and Berlin

The Secretary of State received me at 6 p.m. last night. I told him that we were following up his suggestion that he would welcome any thoughts we might wish to put forward on the substance of the problem of Germany and Berlin to supplement earlier discussions with the State Department (for example our approach of July 6) and in particular our conversation with him and other senior USA officials during Escott Reid’s visit to Washington.

  1. I left with the Secretary a copy of the various departmental papers contained in your telegrams S-380 to S-384 inclusive, making it clear that our own exam of the problems relating to Germany and Berlin was still in progress. These papers on various aspects of the problem reflected working level views which had not repeat not received government approval. In view of the current Four Power meetings, we thought it would be useful to let the State Department have these working papers promptly. We were informing the Foreign Office in London and given them a copy of the working papers as well.
  2. The Secretary assured me that our papers were welcome and would be given careful study by USA officials dealing with Germany and Berlin. In course of our talk, he made a number of comments on the prospects for negotiations. He drew attention first to the fact that at the conclusion of the visit of Sukarno and Keita, the President had issued yesterday a brief statementFootnote 37 (we are sending the text separately) in which he had stressed that “there is no repeat no need for resort to force if both sides in the Berlin crisis have peace for their purpose,” and that, while the position of the West Berliners would be defended, USA was ready to discuss world tensions with other governments, including the government of USSR, and to “search for the means to preserve an honourable peace.” The President had gone on to say that the forthcoming session of UNGA would provide an opportunity for serious talks on Germany and other problems, if Soviet side proves willing. Mr. Kennedy had added that the channels of diplomacy were open and other means were available “when they can serve a useful purpose.”
  3. The White House statement had also said that “while efforts are made to reach solutions to issues that have divided the free and the Communist worlds, it is clearly of the utmost importance that there be no repeat no unilateral acts which will make peaceful progress impossible.”
  4. In regard to the visit of the two emissaries from the Belgrade Conference, a separate message† gives you the text of a White House communication which will be made public in the course of Friday September 15.Footnote 38 This sets out the views of USA Government in reply to the message carried from the Conference.
  5. As to Soviet attitude toward any meaningful discussion and negotiation, Rusk said that reports received through Ambassador Thompson in Moscow thus far did not repeat not indicate any significant move away from the rigid position taken by Khrushchev at Vienna. At the same time there were a few straws in the wind which might indicate some minor easing of the temperature. According to reports which the State Department had received, Nehru during his Moscow visit had urged on Khrushchev that, in any treaty signed by Soviets with the GDR, provision should be made for a continuing Soviet guarantee of Allied rights of access to Berlin. Another sign was that, if it were possible to get past the German elections without any overt act by Soviets in violation of existing agreements, there was a prospect of some easing of the West German position. Indeed there were already signs of this. There was greater willingness on the part of the Bonn Government to have increased direct contacts with the East Germans in such matters as trade, transit and the free movement of people. If this mood continued after September 17, it could contribute increased flexibility in the Western negotiating position.
  6. I asked the Secretary to what extent he anticipated that substance would be covered in the Four Power meetings scheduled to begin today. He replied that for his part he hoped that some progress could be made, although the meeting would focus primarily on the problem and tactics of negotiation. He believed that it was important that the Western Powers should give some consideration to an opening declaration similar to that agreed by the Four Powers, including the Soviets, in the 1955 negotiations reaffirming the long-term goal of German reunification. (We believe he was referring to the Geneva directive to Heads of Post, July 23, 1955.) If this could be done, it would then be possible to hold out greater hope for some interim solution in connection with the problem of Berlin itself. In this context, Rusk stressed that in the various proposals for a new status for Berlin that were being reviewed (and he noted that we had given attention to a possible statute for Berlin), it was of the greatest importance that the interim aspect of such proposals should be stipulated by the Western side. In this context, we drew attention to the fact that in our own working drafts relating to a possible new status for Berlin, the expression “pending reunification of Germany” had been carefully preserved.
  7. The Secretary was somewhat critical of the complexity of previous Western positions, including both the Western peace plan and the interim Berlin proposals as advanced at the 1959 negotiations. He thought these were unnecessarily complex and had not repeat not been clearly understood at the time. The Soviets had been able to come forward with proposals which had the merit of simplicity, i.e., “a peace treaty and a free city.” Rusk thought it important that any proposals which the Western Powers eventually put forward should be clarified and presented as directly and clearly as possible.
  8. On the immediate steps ahead, the Secretary said that he would be attending the opening sessions of UNGA and that the first step in opening up prospects for negotiations would be direct bilateral talks with Gromyko. I asked whether he would be speaking for the Western Four in such discussions, to which he replied that, while he would, of course, be guided by the Four Power discussions which had taken place already, and which are to begin at foreign minister level today, he would feel it necessary and desirable not repeat not to be limited to speaking from a Four Power brief.
  9. We asked the Secretary whether a decision had been taken as to the President’s attendance at UNGA. His reply was that no repeat no final decision had been reached and that the President would only decide when he has a clearer idea of what contribution he can make in the plenary sessions. Rusk is himself leaving for New York on Sunday.


270. DEA/50341-40

Ambassador in United States to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 2911 Washington, September 15, 1961
Reference: My Tel 2828 Sep 11.Footnote 39
Repeat for Information: PM Ottawa (OpImmediate) from Ottawa.

Berlin and Germany: Prime Minister’s Statement on Defence Measures

Last evening I received a letter dated September 13 from the Secretary of State in the following terms:

“Dear Arnold:
Will you please express to your SSEA my sincere gratification for the statement made at Winnipeg on September 1 by Prime Minister DiefenbakerFootnote 40 on the general world situation and more specifically with regard to our rights in Berlin. It was a comprehensive review of a most complex question and, I thought, a telling presentation of the Western position on the whole subject.

I will also be most grateful if you would tell Mr. Green how much I appreciated his own statement before the House of Commons on September 7. His declaration on the resumption of nuclear testing showed great understanding and I would like him to know how highly we value this support.

Canada’s stand on matters which bear so much on the future of all of us, in these difficult times, is a source of real comfort to us in Washington. With warm personal regards,


  1. You will remember that Rusk had previously phoned me on the subject (my reference telegram).


271. DEA/50341-40

Memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs to Secretary of State for External Affairs

CONFIDENTIAL [Ottawa], September 15, 1961

Internationalization of Berlin

The German Ambassador called on Mr. Cadieux this afternoon by appointment to discuss the suggestion made by the Prime Minister that Berlin might be internationalized under the United Nations.

  1. The Ambassador appreciated that this was only one of many possible roles which the Prime Minister envisaged that the United Nations might undertake and that the Prime Minister had made it clear in his remarks that this role could only be undertaken with four-power approval. The German Ambassador nevertheless made the point that the authorities in Bonn, as we might have learned from the newspapers, had reservations about such a project. Furthermore, the Ambassador did not think there was any likelihood that the U.S.S.R. would agree to such a scheme. He agreed, however, that it might have propaganda value and a useful effect on neutral or uncommitted nations at the U.N.
  2. The Ambassador then went on to make two further points:
    1. Since his return to Canada he had noticed that the press here was discussing only the concessions which the West might make. There was no thought given apparently, or at least no concrete suggestions were being made, as to what the U.S.S.R. might be expected to give in return for any Western concessions. Mr. Cadieux said that the Government had been aware of this and that the recent speeches by the Prime Minister and by yourself had been made partly with a view to providing leadership on this issue and presenting the problem in perspective.
    2. The German Ambassador said that the Canadian case seemed to be based essentially on two arguments: respect for international agreements and U.N. principles. He thought that this left out the most important consideration, e.g. the loyalty of the Germans to the NATO alliance and to Western ideals. The prime objective of Khrushchev was not limited to Berlin. He had far more ambitious schemes and particularly that of disrupting the alliance. Mr. Cadieux said that the Prime Minister and yourself were fully aware of this particularly important aspect of the question; in making public remarks care had been given to selecting the arguments which seemed more likely to be accepted by the public and not to create controversy. In his speech to the Bar Association in particular, the Prime Minister had tried to answer the question which was raised in private letters and in editorials: “Why should we stand firm on Berlin?” It was a matter of record that the speeches made so far had been well received and had, it appeared, generally achieved the expected objective. The Ambassador said that he was very gratified to learn that these considerations were in the minds of the officials and of the Ministers concerned.Footnote 41


272. DEA/50191-E-40

Memorandum by United Nations Division

SECRET. CANADIAN EYES ONLY. [Ottawa], September 16, 1961

Assembly Initiative on Berlin: Technical Problems

The assumption is that the Berlin question will be discussed during the General Debate at the 16th session. This will give a full opportunity to restate in the Canadian speech the suggestions which the Prime Minister advanced in the House on September 11. A key paragraph reads as follows:

“There are some things the United Nations can do; there are others it cannot do. The United Nations is limited by the fact that Berlin is part of the peace settlement with Germany and is therefore, under the charter, reserved for consideration by the victorious powers. However, if the four powers decide they would like the United Nations to play a part, then there are roles the United Nations can play. There is the question of safeguarding the maintenance of peace; and where the peace is threatened, if the majority of the United Nations decide that this is being done by the U.S.S.R. or by any other nation, the matter could be brought before the United Nations. Mr. Khrushchev said in his interview with Mr. Sulzberger of the New York Times that he is not averse to United Nations discussions if the big four agree.”

  1. The Prime Minister dismissed the suggestions made by the Leader of the Opposition (a) that the whole city of Berlin could be placed under United Nations trusteeship with access guaranteed by United Nations force and (b) that the United Nations Headquarters should be moved from New York to Berlin.
  2. The Prime Minister then went on to make his suggestion about internationalizing Berlin as follows:
    “I think the time has come when consideration might be given – and the United Nations might give consideration thereto – to the internationalizing of the city of Berlin under the United Nations, with its status to continue under United Nations presence. I realize that this suggestion would not receive the support of Mr. Khrushchev. However, it at least would bring about a step forward in the assurance that if negotiation failed, the United Nations would have something to which it could give its attention. It would require uncontrolled access by the West. It would also require a willingness on the part of the four powers to agree.”
  3. Later the Prime Minister recognized that there were a number of complicated factors, not the least of which was the question of timing of any United Nations involvement. He then said: “The United Nations could, to begin with, exercise the function of promoter of an agreement on the Berlin problem by providing a focus for world opinion, which could have the effect of impelling the powers directly concerned to settle their differences by negotiation. Second, the United Nations could, if the powers concerned could be persuaded to agree, act in various roles as observer to verify that any new agreement reached was being fully implemented in accordance with its provision. Third, the United Nations could be assigned the more difficult task of operating an international régime in Berlin.
    “The problem is one of selecting the role which is most likely to contribute to the settlement of the Berlin problem in particular circumstances. This means essentially that the role of the United Nations must be related to developments in negotiations toward a settlement. The four powers have primary responsibility in Berlin, and must first enter into direct negotiations. There are some indications at the moment that there is a reasonable prospect of there being negotiations. When I speak of a reasonable prospect, I am not speaking in anticipation of possible success, in view of Mr. Khrushchev’s intrinsic position. If direct negotiations succeed might there be a possibility of providing a role for the United Nations, perhaps as guarantor of the agreement reached. “It is important to remember that the effective introduction of the United Nations into Berlin could only be done by agreement of all the four powers. I need not say that this may not be easily achieved. Whatever the difficulty might be, I think the little powers and other nations to be affected by the outcome of the Berlin problem have a right to an opportunity to be heard and to place their views clearly before a forum of most of the nations on earth. Furthermore, I can think of the possibility of the United Nations role being that of an observer in the city, or a supervisor on the access routes. Consideration of this possibility might facilitate negotiations and, if the idea were implemented, it might provide a stabilizing element in what is bound to remain a sensitive area throughout the years.”
  4. There would be no difficulty about including all these suggestions in the speech in the General Debate. They could be placed in the contest which the Prime Minister emphasized, that of agreement among the four powers as a result of negotiations. Already there is some indication that Mr. Rusk and Mr. Gromyko will be discussing the possibilities for negotiation.
  5. If Canada wishes to make some concrete proposal, however, in form of a resolution containing substantive suggestions, it will be necessary to have an item inscribed on the agenda. At this late date, it would have to be an additional item “of an important and urgent character,” under rule 15. Such an item would be submitted to the General Committee and ultimately to the General Assembly for a decision on whether it should be included in the agenda. It would depend on circumstances whether the General Committee and the General Assembly would act favourably on a request for the inscription of an item on Berlin. For example, if the request were made at a time when negotiations would actually be in the offing, there would probably be no disposition to have a debate and the item would not be inscribed. On the other hand, if negotiations had been tried and had failed, member states might wish to have the whole matter aired thoroughly in the Assembly. Of course, if the Berlin situation had actually become a threat to the peace, it would probably be referred to the Security Council in the first instance. Developments like these are more likely to take place later in the session.
  6. In the early part of the session, especially if arrangements for negotiations about Berlin appeared not to be materializing, there might be some sentiment in the Assembly in favour of a resolution urging that negotiations be commenced. The uncommitted members, for example, might introduce this kind of proposal, perhaps calling for a summit meeting. The Belgrade Conference has already expressed itself in favour of this. This possibility has been envisaged by the Prime Minister in his suggestion that the United Nations could promote an agreement on Berlin by focussing world opinion and by impelling the powers directly concerned to settle their differences by negotiation. Presumably, a resolution which did no more than call for negotiations could be introduced in the General Debate without any specific item on Berlin. This was the procedure followed last year when the neutral leaders sought to bring about a meeting between President Eisenhower and Mr. Khrushchev. It is doubtful, however, whether such a resolution could contain substantive suggestions as to the role which the United Nations might play in any Berlin settlement.
  7. In any event, there have been indications that the Great Powers do not wish the United Nations to inject itself into the situation unless the four powers themselves agree that United Nations participation would facilitate a settlement. Probably the Soviet Union would argue strongly that the Charter precluded United Nations intervention unless the four powers were agreed on it. It seems most unlikely that the uncommitted members would support any proposal to have the United Nations intervene in the face of Soviet opposition. This would be all the more true if the Western great powers and Germany were similarly opposed. In present circumstances, therefore, there seems little likelihood that an initiative involving substantive suggestions could be mounted at the 16th session, especially in the early part. It would depend on the situation later on whether anything could be done.

273. DEA/50341-40

Ambassador in Soviet Union to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 616 Moscow, September 20, 1961
Reference: My Tel 497 Aug 16.†
Repeat for Information: London, Washington, Permis New York, NATO Paris, Paris, Bonn from London, CCOS, DM/DND, PCO from Ottawa, Cairo (Deferred) from London.
By Bag Prague, Berlin from London.

Germany and Berlin: Some Reflections on Ju-jitsu Dated September 17

The announcement here that Gromyko will be meeting this week with Mr. Rusk has for the moment created some optimism among Soviet public and has also prompted suggestions by intermediate and lower-level Soviet officials to Western diplomats that the period of danger and difficulties is now past. This reaction of relief is of course excessive and at least very premature. It seems to me quite possible that the preliminary explorations may show that no repeat no real agreed basis for formal negotiations can be found. Alternatively there may be formal negotiations in which the two sides may not repeat not reach any agreement.

  1. This may then at best lead to situation in which USSR and some other countries sign separate peace with East Germany, followed by period in which there is in practice little or no repeat no substantive interference with fundamental freedoms of West Berlin and its access routes. Presumably some such result is likely if (a) Soviet leaders become convinced as we hope they will be of firm Western determination to defend West Berlin’s communications, and (b) there is nevertheless no repeat no general agreement on a new juridical basis or on settlement of “German” or “Berlin” problem. The resultant situation could go on for a long time, but dangers would remain.
  2. In the meantime it is also possible that there will be some deterioration in morale of West Berliners and West Germans from mere fact that Soviet Government and some other countries have signed separate peace treaty with DDR.
  3. Above situation may seem probable result if West merely stands firmly pat in present crisis. It would not repeat not be intolerable, but would be far from ideal. Meanwhile various elements in Western position (but perhaps also in DDR position) may gradually be eroded. New crisis may always seem around corner.
  4. Above prognosis is based on assumption of Western firmness and on failure of agreement with USSR on any major new proposals, but also on Soviet recognition of danger points and appropriate prudence on vital question of our Berlin access routes.
  5. I sometimes wonder whether the West might not repeat not gain more by adopting a ju-jitsu technique in face of present Soviet demands than from steadfast refusal to budge much from our traditional posture.
  6. I was interested that in interview with Drew Pearson,Footnote 42 published here on August 29, Khrushchev in describing his proposals for West Berlin stated “West Berlin government like any sovereign government must have right to maintain diplomatic, economic and cultural ties with any country of any continent.” This gives higher status to West Berlin than many interpretations of usual rather vague Soviet references to free city conceived as special autonomous enclave within East German territory.
  7. I was also interested that in his speech at Soviet-Indian friendship meeting during Nehru’s visit last week Khrushchev appeared to be demanding or at least proposing that DDR as well as West Germany should enter UN. Some Western and neutral ambassadors here have interpreted this not repeat not as further Soviet demand, but as Khrushchev’s idea of a compromise which would give DDR international recognition of status, while not repeat not necessitating Western de jure recognition. (Incidentally Pravda’s leader of September 19 says UN admission of two German states would be “very beneficial for peace.”)
  8. Personally I can see considerable disadvantage for West if two Germanies become UN members, and I doubt whether West Germany or other Western powers will accept this.
  9. Nevertheless it seems to me that UN membership for three repeat three Germanies (including sovereign city state of West Berlin) might have some real advantages. Much would depend on how this was presented, but it seems to me it could be successfully presented by West as an interim device pending German reunification. Meanwhile it would give vastly enhanced juridical status to West Berliners, and incidentally would under Charter involve tying even neutralists and UNGA itself legally to supporting and defending independence of West Berlin. Conceivably this newly enhanced status for Berlin could offset (and give some substance to Western publicity campaigns designed to reverse) the reported recent decline in morale of West Berlin’s population. In UN there would be two German spokesmen to advocate progress towards implementing fundamental principles of self-determination for all Germany against one Communist spokesman, who would probably not repeat not show up very well, voting regularly with other satellites in Soviet Bloc.
  10. Taking Khrushchev up on his published suggestion that sovereign West Berlin government would have right to keep diplomatic, economic and cultural ties with any country would make it difficult for him to object to the essential currency and economic union between West Berlin and West Germany, or indeed to any other ties or cooperation on which both sovereign parties agreed and which were not repeat not explicitly precluded in treaty.
  11. I assume that a sovereign city state of West Berlin would seek and be granted continued presence of USA, UK and French troops, to guarantee its frontiers, in exchange for agreement that West Berlin itself would not repeat not maintain any military forces. This would be more convincing (because more honest) basis for presence of three power forces than continued reliance on occupation status.
  12. I do not repeat not at all like idea of moving UN headquarters from New York to Germany; I am commenting on this in a separate message.† But moving European headquarters of UN, or headquarters of some specialized agencies, might be desirable.
  13. I realize that above proposal for three sovereign Germanies, pending voluntary reunification, would stand or fall by reaction of leaders and public opinion of West Berlin and German Federal Republic: but solution along these lines would I think have some significant advantages from their point of view also. It need not repeat not in any way imply abandoning of goal of reunification on basis of self-determination. There have been precedents of sovereign states voluntarily uniting (e.g. Syria and Egypt). It would make easier beginning of Federal German diplomatic relations with Poland and other East European countries which should surely prove advantageous in long run to Germany, to East Europeans, and to West. And it might in practice offer a more promising and less unrealistic prospect of eventual reunification. Incidentally a three-Germanies solution could mean that it would be less ridiculous or inequitable from Western viewpoint to have an all-German committee or commission set up to study questions of contacts and eventual reunification. Representation of three German states on this committee could be equal (i.e. two to one against Communists) or proportional to population.
  14. A Western proposal on these lines could be explored along with and if necessary made conditional on some liberalization of (or on undertakings gradually to liberalize) the régime in East Germany, e.g. to allow more freedom of movement across frontier and within sectors of greater Berlin. It might gradually focus pressure on Khrushchev to replace unpopular Stalinist régime of Ulbricht with more national Gromulka-type régime in East Germany. You will recall that German Ambassador Kroll, just after his return from discussions with Adenauer, spoke to me about importance of West seeking to persuade Khrushchev to replace Ulbricht and introduce more liberalized democratized régime in East Germany (my telegram 513 August 2).†
  15. Though it would not repeat not be essential, I think such Western offer in formal negotiations could perhaps be coupled with proposal for similar solution of UN membership for two Chinas (that is, mainland China and Formosa) inside UN. I realize that this latter point would be painful for USA, Formosa, Russia and China. Nevertheless it would I think have some substantial advantages for reasons set out in my telegram 509 August 21.† And while it may be overambitious to try to make some progress on China question in the midst of current Berlin crisis which is complicated and worrying enough in itself, there are I think two factors, apart from element of logical analogy, which might favour tying these two questions together at this time. One is that presumably reasonable men in both Communist and Western nations are coming towards what one might call a moment of truth, having been forced (I hope only temporarily) to peer seriously into thermonuclear abyss. This situation may make drastic psychological readjustments for all of us on both sides of Iron Curtain less difficult this winter than is normally the case. Another factor is that the current grave internal difficulties in China may make it harder for Communist Chinese leaders to dissuade Soviet leaders from going along with some such solution. The danger of undermining the prospect of uniting Chinese of Singapore into a greater Malaya seems to me the most serious real objection to the two-China solution, and I do not repeat not want to underestimate it. But fact remains that Western policy in Asia is based on a dangerous fiction that will become increasingly untenable. After we have survived present Berlin crisis we may have to face another and equally dangerous off-shore island crisis (or UN crisis) unless we take steps soon to improve Western posture vis-à-vis mainland China.
  16. As far as German question itself is concerned, I realize that the proposal here suggested might unless carefully handled create serious psychological disturbance among Germans. On the other hand it may, once the initial shock is over, strike Germans and others as a more mature and less flimsy solution for continuing peace, stability of Berlin, and progress toward eventual reunification, than some device for merely maintaining status quo at cost of some sort of de facto recognition of East Germany, which would still leave West Berlin in relatively dangerous position.
  17. I cannot repeat not predict considered Soviet reactions to this three-Germanies with full UN membership idea. Clearly it would make it much more difficult for Khrushchev, at some stage following signature of separate peace treaty, to start nibbling away at Berlin – a long term plan which he as well as Ulbricht may well be working on in the event that they cannot repeat not get what they want now through negotiations with West. Yet it would give Khrushchev the essence of what he says he seeks, and indeed give it in full measure. It could of course be coupled with technical agreements on cessation of propaganda and espionage centres in West Berlin (and in East Berlin). It would allow Khrushchev to claim to his fellow Communists that he had obtained international recognition of DDR and end of occupation status of Berlin. If it also involved UN membership for China he could claim this as another victory which he had achieved after years in which Mao Tse Tung had failed.
  18. Despite all this I think net result would prove more favourable in long run to West than to Communists. Meanwhile several dangerous problems would have been resolved and the two systems of democracy and communism could get on with “peaceful coexistence” and competition, I think we can accept Khrushchev’s challenge on this.
  19. The three-Germanies proposal could for tactical purposes be put forward on basis of all Berlin, if desired. This would at least give us something to retreat from, though I do not repeat not expect USSR would buy it, nor personally do I like idea of any intimate administrative cooperation with Communists which seems to me to involve storing up serious trouble for future.
  20. I do not repeat not know whether this ju-jitsu approach will commend itself to you – still less to USA, UK, Formosa and Germany. In any case it would seem very desirable that the three-Germanies idea should not repeat not leak prematurely and precipitate an unconsidered denunciation by e.g. any German politicians, particularly during next few weeks of probable intense political party manoeuvring in Bonn. For this reason I am marking this telegram for Canadian Eyes Only in first instance and restricting its circulation to a few posts. I leave question of circulation to other posts on standard Berlin addressee list to department.


274. DEA/50341-40

Permanent Representative to United Nations to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 1932 New York, September 21, 1961
Repeat for Information: London, Washington, Paris, NATO Paris, Bonn from Ottawa.
By Bag Moscow, Warsaw, Prague, Berlin from London.

United Nations – Berlin

Following comments have been prepared in light of Prime Minister’s statement in House of Commons on September 11 in which he discussed possible relationships of UN to Berlin problem and of departmental working papers outlined in telegrams on this subject enumerated in your message S-379 September 11 to our Embassy in Washington. From viewpoint of this post arguments for a UN role in connection with an interim Berlin settlement are particularly cogent. As I have pointed out in previous messages prospect of convincing a really representative majority of UN (including more responsible Africans and Asians) of validity of our case in Berlin as it stands are not repeat not too encouraging. Undoubtedly idea of a new status for Berlin guaranteed by UN would have more appeal. This however is largely a matter of presentation. More significant would be acceptance of principle that in a dispute between great powers threatening peace, UN could play a role in bringing about a settlement. Such a view I am sure would find wide acceptance and would of course be in line with our own consistent support for UN.

  1. It is perhaps almost too obvious to state that fundamental question arising at this point would be which Berlin? Our working papers on subject assume that we mean whole of Berlin although we speak in your S-381 September 12† of modifications which would be needed if it were necessary to define status of an independent West Berlin. It is of course highly improbable that Russians would ever accept such a new status for whole of Berlin and Western allies are still apparently a long way from accepting such a status restricted to West Berlin. Nevertheless our ideas as applicable to whole of Berlin do make up a consistent position far more coherent and presentable than status quo. If only from this point of view they would represent a step forward.
  2. Assuming however that Russians would not repeat not accept merging of institutions of Communist Berlin with those of West Berlin and that Western powers are not repeat not prepared to sponsor such a régime for West Berlin alone, is there not repeat not possibility of a compromise which could at least be kept in mind as a fall back position if it proved worthy of further exploration? Could one envisage a link between two cities of Berlin which did not repeat not go so far at this stage as unification of their separate institutions and electoral systems but which brought whole unity of Berlin under some measure of UN surveillance? Would it be possible to envisage a statute for whole of Berlin guaranteed by Security Council with a commissioner for Berlin with responsibilities outlined in your working paper but without provision that electoral systems of two Berlins should be merged? In other words, could a UN High Commissioner preside over a divided city? Any such system would have to be based upon Four Power Agreement that this was merely an interim stage towards eventual unification of Berlin. Meanwhile UN High Commissioner might be given responsibility for confirming that freedom of transit exists between population on either side of the sector boundary and for confirming existence of certain minimal human rights and freedoms on both sides of boundary. A high commissioner in such a situation would have to take counsel with civic authorities of East and West Berlin. Perhaps a consultative group from each of two Berlins should be appointed to assist him in his functions.
  3. Implementation of such an arrangement would obviously be faced with all kinds of difficulties. Advantage would be that neither East or West Berlin would be asked to merge their political and economic systems at this stage in one single entity.
  4. From time to time suggestions have been put forward that some kind of confederal link perhaps a council on which two Germanies were represented could be first embryonic stage towards German reunification. A somewhat similar idea seems to underlie German mixed commissions proposed as part of latest “foreign ministers revision of Western peace plan” as reported in NATO telegram 2323 September 18.† Such ideas in one form or another may have some future significance in relation to problem of German reunification which in our opinion must be a gradual process coming about by stages, if ever. Could same principle but under UN auspices be established as a holding operation in Berlin?
  5. I only venture to throw out these ideas because it is difficult to imagine an agreement reached on basis of either whole of Berlin or of West Berlin.
  6. Turning to relationship of any statute for Berlin to UN there are a few general comments which occur to me. In first place as you point out such a statute would have to be based upon prior Four Power Agreement. It would have to be clear that it was an interim solution pending reunification of Germany. Thus it would have to be clear also that Four Powers had reached agreement and were calling in UN to see that agreement was implemented. Our working papers suggest UN would have a role of supervision which could come very close to control. It appears to me at first that only organ of UN which could be authorized to perform this role would be Security Council. It would be most undesirable that problems arising out of UN role in guaranteeing and observing a Berlin settlement should be subject to fluctuating majorities of UNGA especially now that Assembly comprises so many countries of Asia and Africa whose primary interests are not repeat not in European problems at all but in their own nationalism and economic development. Such nations might be influenced in their attitude over Berlin by Western (or Soviet) attitude towards their “anti-colonialist” activities and their demands for economic assistance. It would be wrong to place destiny of Berlin and our own NATO engagements at mercy of such a majority.
  7. Prior to death of Secretary-General there might have been some hope that Mr. Hammarskjöld with his unique skills in this field could have been entrusted with a wide measure of executive responsibility for any “UN presence” in Berlin although his responsibility would always have had ultimately to be to Security Council. But in present state of affairs any proposal to suggest entrusting any Secretary-General with wide responsibilities in this field would probably be but another stumbling block to negotiations with Soviet Union.
  8. There remains Security Council and with it veto but as whole settlement would in any case be dependent on Four Power consent – and in reality on continuing Four Power assent, this is perhaps no repeat no firm objection. If a detailed statute for Berlin could be negotiated you might indeed get a situation in Security Council in which Security Council could not repeat not propose intervention in affairs of Berlin unless there were an unanimous decision to do so (the so-called Vienna type veto).


275. DEA/50341-40

Memorandum from Assistant Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs to Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs

SECRET Ottawa, September 22, 1961

Germany and Berlin: 4-power Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Report

After studying the report to the North Atlantic Council from the 4-Power Meeting in Washington, September 14-16Footnote 43 contained in NATO telegrams 2321† and 2322† of September 18, I should like to make a few suggestions about points which seem to me might be usefully included in any comment prepared for the guidance of Mr. Léger.

  1. In general, from the point of view of preparing a substantive position which might constitute the basis for negotiations with the Soviet Union, this report is disappointing. The revised plan considered by the Four admittedly is “a simple version of the plan established in 1959.” As such it could be, I suppose, justified as establishing the maximum possible demands on the Western side for bargaining purposes. However, with the “probing talks” between Mr. Rusk and Mr. Gromyko beginning and the German elections over, the time has come to move from manoeuvring for position to the working out of a possible bargain with the Soviet Union.
  2. The elements of such a bargain should be examined by the NATO Council in detail. It goes without saying that the manoeuvring for position will inevitably continue right up until some agreement is made with the Russians or a worse crisis develops through the absence of agreement. In the process of manoeuvring, the Council should watch, however, that the steps taken in this manoeuvring – including measures for contingency planning – should not spark off hostilities accidentally. It is particularly important for the Council to watch [the] disposition forces in Berlin, along the corridors – both air and on the ground – and to see that provocative actions are avoided.
  3. M. Spaak’s analysis contained in Mr. Léger’s telegram 2309 of September 16† should be supported as to general approach, namely, that while it would be impossible for the West to accept a separate treaty and de jure recognition of East Germany, it is essential for the West to maintain the initiative and not merely to respond, as the 4-Power report suggests, by post facto declarations of non-recognition and denunciation to a Soviet separate treaty with East Germany.
  4. Likewise M. Spaak’s suggestion to concentrate on a provisional solution seems to me sensible. I am not sure however that it is realistic to say that such a provisional solution can be limited to Berlin. After all, Khrushchev has defined the aim of his proposals as being: “…To extinguish by the conclusion of a German peace treaty the smouldering embers left in the centre of Europe after World War Two, to record juridically the existing German frontiers, to bar the way to the dangerous gambles of militarists and revanchists who have again reared their heads in West Germany.” Talks therefore with the Russians are bound automatically to broaden. Such a development, while enlarging the scope of what is negotiable, might improve the chances of a bargain, assuming that the Russians have a genuine interest in avoiding war and achieving stability in central Europe, and not merely imposing terms on the West, which they must know they are not in a position to do.
  5. The elements of a temporary bargain with the Russians would seem to exclude:
    1. the reunification of Germany at the present time;
    2. the acceptance of a separate peace treaty on the terms suggested by the Russians;
    3. the changing of the free institutions of West Berlin and the exclusion of Western rights including access of civil and military traffic between West Germany and Berlin.
  6. What seem to be negotiable are guarantees from the Russian side:
    1. for the freedom of the people of Berlin to choose their own institutions and forms of government;
    2. free access for civil and military traffic to Berlin;
    3. guarantees against unilateral interference with such rights involving the use of the UN, if possible, to observe the implementation of such guarantees both in Berlin and on the access routes.
  7. The West should be in a position to offer guarantees in exchange which might include the following:
    1. guarantees by the West not to change existing frontiers and arrangements for access to Berlin and within Berlin by force with a collateral undertaking among the Four Powers to which the two Germanies would be required to subscribe, that all disputes would have to be raised and settled through negotiations;
    2. guarantees about keeping at least long-range nuclear weapons out of both parts of Germany, particularly MRBM’s – postponement of decision in NATO provides an opportunity;
    3. guarantees against provocative activities carried out by the West in Berlin, such as broadcasting and intelligence;
    4. encouragement of de facto contacts between the two Germanies through mixed commissions to adjust day to day issues in dispute in the economic and political fields.
  8. It might be possible, in this way while meeting the Russians on their legitimate concerns for security in Central Europe, to arrive at acceptable arrangements for Berlin without a separate treaty with East Germany having to be negotiated and denounced by the West.Footnote 44


276. DEA/50341-40

Secretary of State for External Affairs to Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Council

TELEGRAM S-413 Ottawa, September 26, 1961
Reference: Your Tels 2321 through 2335 of Sep 18† and 2412 of Sep 23.†
Repeat for Information: Washington, London, Paris, Bonn, Permis New York (Priority) CCOS.
By Bag Moscow, Berlin from London.

Germany and Berlin

In the Council discussions you will, of course, be guided in general by the Prime Minister’s speech to the Bar Association on September 1Footnote 45 as well as his further statement about possible UN roles in the House on September 11. The reports given to the North Atlantic Council of the Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Washington have been overtaken as a useful basis for detailed discussion in the NATO Council by Khrushchev’s talk with Spaak giving certain Soviet suggestions about possible Berlin solutions and the President’s speech in the UNGA.

  1. Against this background the Four Power report defines the positions which the Four Powers no doubt felt obliged to adopt against the contingency that the Soviet Government signed a separate treaty without prior negotiations and may still be regarded as a tactical first position for bargaining purposes in the manoeuvring which may well go on until the basis of agreement is established.
  2. However in view of the important fact that Khrushchev has taken an initiative through Spaak to elucidate a possible basis for a Berlin solutionFootnote 46 and President Kennedy has focussed attention on specific and practical problems of access to Berlin and Western rights there, it would be important for the Council to proceed with a careful examination of what might be acceptable in the Khrushchev suggestions in order to help establish a basis of a Western position for negotiation.
  3. In particular, careful consideration will have to be given to Khrushchev’s idea of effecting a settlement by two peace treaties with elements in common, as well as to the idea of guarantees of the present free status of the citizens of West Berlin and unhindered access along clearly defined routes, which might be specified in both treaties and their implementation supervised by the UN. Obviously the indication that Khrushchev is prepared to discuss guarantees of West Berlin’s status and access to that part of the city with the Three Powers, before concluding a separate peace treaty, is a development which should be welcomed and thoroughly explored even if aspects such as the presence of Soviet troops in West Berlin would not be acceptable.
  4. Khrushchev’s references to the UN in relation to West Berlin are also of interest and merit exploration. They may indicate that the USSR is becoming more receptive to the types of UN responsibility which the P.M. outlined at Winnipeg and in Parliament.
  5. One aspect of the modified 1959 peace plan outlined in your telegram 2323† which could now be explored as possibly having a place in any provisional arrangements pending agreement on the re-unification of Germany, would be the setting up of all-German Commissions to deal with practical matters between the two Germanies. Likewise we would hope that attention is paid in any provisional arrangements to the limitation and control of arms in the area, particularly any long-range missiles. The postponement of a decision on MRBM’s in NATO might provide an opportunity.
  6. Finally, in the period of manoeuvring for position leading to the establishment of a basis for negotiations with the Soviet Union we would hope that the Council will bear in mind its important responsibilities to avoid any provocative action, especially in Berlin and the corridors while maintaining a firm attitude.


277. DEA/50271-M-40

Ambassador in Soviet Union to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 670 Moscow, October 4, 1961
Reference: My Tel 616 Sep [20].
Repeat for Information: London, Washington, Permis New York, NATO Paris, Paris, Rome, Bonn, Brussels, Hague from London, CCOS Ottawa, DM/DND, PCO Ottawa from Ottawa.
By Bag Cairo, Delhi, Belgrade, Warsaw, Prague, Oslo, Berlin, Stockholm, Berne, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Vienna, Athens, Ankara from London.

Germany and Berlin

Dated October 4. In my reference telegram I referred to word being put about in Moscow by various Soviet officials to effect that period of danger and difficulties over Berlin is now largely past. I said I regarded any such estimate as excessively optimistic and at least premature. The soothing Soviet line continues, has become more marked in public, but my comment still stands.

  1. There has I think been some change in Soviet tactics. Since early September, and corresponding almost exactly I believe with Mr. Nehru’s visit here, there has been a noticeable change in Soviet reference to Germany-Berlin problem and to Soviet press treatment of it. Instead of the hard and belligerent words which helped to build up the feeling of crisis during the summer, we have seen Mr. Khrushchev’s reassuring words to Paul Reynaud and SpaakFootnote 47 and to some extent also in his interview with Sulzberger.Footnote 48 With the exception of the army paper Red Star, which has continued to print articles by Soviet military leaders on the necessity of preparedness and possibility of war, Soviet press in news reports and editorial comment has tended to emphasize the desirability and the good prospects of negotiations as the means of settling Berlin problem. In a public lecture a few days ago, Soviet official lecturer said categorically that Berlin problem would be settled through negotiation. This is typical of present party line here.
  2. Despite these calming noises, I can find no repeat no firm evidence to suggest that there has been any significant change in the substance of Soviet proposals on Germany and Berlin which could lead West to believe that there is now a more reasonable and accommodating Soviet attitude likely to improve the prospects for negotiations if they take place. It still appears that Soviet leaders want and expect negotiation to lead to a solution on Soviet terms.
  3. My American and UK colleagues, and most other well informed observers here, share my view that any Western optimism or relaxation at this stage would be premature and dangerous. USA Ambassador Thompson tells me that he thinks recent Western visitors to Moscow have been rather misled by Khrushchev’s charm and “taken into camp.” Thompson thinks Khrushchev will probably lead us to very brink of thermonuclear war within next few months. British Ambassador’s assessment is not repeat not dissimilar.
  4. Sir Frank Roberts tells me UK Foreign Office think Gromyko has been more successful in probing American thinking than Rusk has been in probing Soviet intentions. Moreover my impression from what Sir Frank Roberts tells me, confirmed by NATO telegram 2456 September 27,† is that in conversations with Lord Home Gromyko has if anything suggested an increase in Soviet price for guaranteeing freedom of Western communications with West Berlin. To suggest that West should force FGR to undertake new juridical obligation to USSR to limit its arms and engage not repeat not to have nuclear weapons (does this involve carriers?), in exchange merely for Soviet guarantee that West can continue its present communications facilities strikes me as bland effrontery. After recent month’s thermonuclear threats by Khrushchev, and unilateral Soviet actions and his declared intentions in East Germany, this would seem amusing if the stakes were not repeat not so serious.
  5. Nevertheless the development in Soviet tactics seems significant and worth analysis. It is scarcely disputable that Soviet leaders and Soviet press have during past few weeks been trying at least in public words to play down crisis aspect of Berlin. Perhaps this is merely part of standard Soviet technique of blowing hot and then cold in order to confuse opponents and get them off balance. Or softer public tactics may be designed to improve Soviet posture during general debate at UNGA. There could be other tactical considerations involved. Soviet leaders may have become concerned that Soviet public were on point of becoming genuinely alarmed at prospect of possible war, and that some reduction of internal tension atmosphere was desirable. I think there is some validity in all of these hypotheses, but that change in Soviet tactics may be understood chiefly in terms of the probing and feeling out of each others positions which Khrushchev so frankly described in conversation with Roberts and myself in early August (my telegram 489 August 11).†
  6. It is I think possible that until recently Khrushchev seriously thought his thermonuclear threats to UK, France, Italy and various minor Western allies might show up weakness in Western cohesion and even disintegrate Western grouping. Conceivably he thought this might perhaps give him possibility of diplomatic victory to announce at Party Congress later this month. He must now have realized that no repeat no diplomatic victory can be obtained by then, and may also have concluded that public Soviet rocket rattling had been somewhat counter-productive and had tended to unify Western camp and steel Western determination to defend Berlin, and to rally American public opinion behind strong line by Kennedy. This I think would be belatedly realistic and well informed assessment by Khrushchev, who I think tends by nature to overestimate his strength, underestimate Western cohesion, and to gamble providing he has possible line of retreat always open. It seems that under circumstances the present ambiguous situation is about what Khrushchev considers most desirable of those now practically obtainable, as background atmosphere for Party Congress, in which I suspect his main emphasis will be placed on domestic problems and plans, and in which he will seek a free hand in foreign policy field for offering negotiations but determination to “draw line under results of World War II.”
  7. My impression is that while we are very far from out of the woods, Soviet tactics are relatively flexible. Soviet objectives are far-reaching but they are still probing to see how much they can obtain. They still seek one-sided concessions. But providing West keeps its nerve and realism, and providing miscalculations are avoided (which we cannot repeat not take for granted), we may get realistic, balanced and even useful negotiations. But I think we should not repeat not make one-sided concessions of substance merely in exchange for Soviet agreement not repeat not to interfere with physical status quo (i.e. access to Berlin). We must continue therefore to make it clear and credible that West will use force if this proves to be only way of defending existing freedoms of Berliners.
  8. Meanwhile we may have a lull until Party Congress, but either soon thereafter, or if negotiations are prolonged then perhaps only after some months, a more dangerous and critical period seems likely. Incidentally the Warsaw Pact manoeuvres scheduled for October and November may be designed to improve Soviet military posture and step up possible military threat and tension in some weeks time.
  9. But I think broad and far-ranging negotiations may conceivably become possible and worthwhile. A very interesting development, it seems to me, is the publication in yesterday’s Pravda proposing a wide range of partial disarmament or disengagement agreements. Unless this is merely designed for propaganda appeal for General Assembly purposes, it suggests that Khrushchev may be contemplating possibility of negotiations during next few months on partial disarmament and disengagement topics as well as on German question itself. This would be in line with suggestions frequently made by German Ambassador Kroll, and quite contrary to position taken up earlier this year by Khrushchev of categorically rejecting Bonn’s concept of merging consideration of German problem and disarmament. While some of suggestions in Soviet memorandum published in Pravda yesterday are old hat and obviously full of dangerous jokers, from Western viewpoint, some other ideas are I think worth serious consideration. I shall however be commenting on them in a separate message.†


278. A.D.P.H. Vol. 1

Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Council to Ambassador in United States

TOP SECRET AND PERSONAL. Paris, October 6, 1961

Dear Arnold,
I read your letter of September 18 and annexes† with great interest.

I do not disagree with your conclusions (paragraph 9 of your telegram No. 2882 of September 14)† that “Stikker’s impression of United States assessment (and attitude) is seriously in error.” I don’t know enough about the situation in Washington to form a judgment nor am I disposed to participate in a discussion as to whether the expression “on the brink of atomic war” used in public by Mr. Green describes the present situation more accurately than Stikker’s expression of “five minutes to twelve” said in private after his visit to Washington. I do however share Stikker’s view that the atmosphere as reflected in Council appears to be very different from that in Washington and – for that matter in Ottawa, at least at budget time on the Hill.

I think it would be wise of us at this stage to realize that Western Europe will not face up to nuclear destruction for Berlin. I am even coming to the view that, generally, it will not fight for Berlin. We are faced with a complex situation where one of the leading members of NATO, France, is taking the toughest position in the Western alliance, not because of its strength but because of the glory of its leader. We should not be misled however in thinking that he can get the French off the ground. Such an adventure at this time would be worse than the catastrophe of 1940.

The British are more realistic and more representative of European public opinion. Notwithstanding the brave words of Lord Home, they will insist on negotiation over Berlin. Add to this that the Belgians have notified us that they will go a long way on the road of accommodation, that the Italians cannot even think in terms of mobilization because of their Communists, that the West German attitude is more puzzling than comforting, and it is easy to come to the conclusion that there is no general feeling in Western Europe leading to war over Berlin.

The real deterrent, the only military strength in Western Europe at the moment, is the presence of United States forces and a considerable amount of nuclear power at the disposal of those forces.

There are new factors at play in Western Europe: the “homo economicus,” a relatively new species, wishes to protect what he has; there is a growing realization of the uselessness of it all if atomic power is to be used (Western Europe is not shelter conscious); the profound moral dislocation which the last war has created is still very much alive in the generation that normally would be called up to fight. de Gaulle is right when he says that the French Army would not be a good army if it were internationalized to serve under a NATO flag; he is wrong in thinking that it would fight better under a French flag for Berlin. He is not even sure of his generals.

This aloofness need not prevent the United States from taking a firm stand nor for that matter from seeking and indeed obtaining support for such a stand from Western leaders and governments. This is in the realm of words however. If the sequence of events is from forceful declarations by all Allies to the use by the United States of atomic weapons, then the present situation makes sense; if the forceful statements are to be followed in Europe by a very tense and fairly long period involving mobilization and serious sacrifice on the part of the population, we should be clear that we are in for a shock.

These comments give the impression that the Alliance is rather shaky. This is partly true. The Western Europeans are neither geared to a conventional war nor to atomic destruction. But the Americans have built up considerable power and this may be sufficient to keep the Soviets at bay and the Western Europeans in harness.

It would be good to discuss all this with you.

I am sending copy of this letter to Norman [Robertson].

Yours sincerely,

279. DEA/50341-40

Secretary of State for External Affairs to Ambassador in Federal Republic of Germany

TELEGRAM S-437 Ottawa, October 11, 1961
Repeat for Information: London, Washington, Paris, NATO Paris (Priority), Permis New York, CCOS.
By Bag from London: Berlin, Moscow.


The Prime Minister has approved the following paper on Germany and Berlin for your guidance while discussing the Berlin crisis with Foreign Minister and other ministers of West German Government upon your return. To assist you in these discussions, following points have been drawn up on basis of statements made by the Prime Minister and myself about the Berlin problem.

  1. German Government officials will be aware from reports German Embassy here has submitted of the great interest Canadians are taking in Berlin problem. They will be aware that Canadian public has been asking, what are Canadian commitments in Berlin? What are possible peaceful solutions to problem of Berlin?
  2. In public discussions in Canada there seems to have been little dissent from point made by Prime Minister that West is unreservedly committed to freedom and security of people of West Berlin, to unrestricted access to city, and to right of three Western powers to maintain troops in West Berlin.
  3. On the other hand, public discussion seems to have revealed that there are various points which could be regarded as negotiable. It is, of course, difficult, as German ministers well know, to define public opinion with any hope of great accuracy. However, many Canadians clearly believe that well prepared Four Power negotiations can lead to a satisfactory settlement and that the sooner such negotiations begin, the more satisfactory to the West any settlement will be and the less will be the risk of war.
  4. To obtain guarantees of essentials, it appears to be general Canadian view that the West should be ready to move away from traditional stands such as those which maintain that Western position in Berlin should continue to be based upon rights of conquest or that question of Germany’s borders must await reunification.
  5. The Prime Minister and I have outlined what Canadian Government considers to be non-negotiable elements in Berlin problem and some of the considerations which might be borne in mind when peaceful solutions are being reviewed.
  6. To accept without guarantees the Soviet plan to turn over control of access to West Berlin to East Germans would place the West Berliners at mercy of the GDR. Moreover, retreat in Berlin would mean that pledged word of the West would be called in question everywhere in the world. The Berlin problem must not, therefore, be seen solely as a German problem but rather in the light of its implications for free world as a whole.
  7. The Canadian Government believes that West should maintain a flexible negotiating position. Any final solution is bound to contain elements distasteful to NATO members, particularly Federal Republic of Germany, as well as features unpalatable to USSR. At the same time, the Canadian Government accepts need for a united and determined stand on the part of NATO, a stand which includes military preparations for all possible contingencies and which demonstrates Western determination to stand by its pledges.
  8. Question of possible solutions to Berlin problem is, of course, extremely complex and needs constant review in light of changing circumstances. The Canadian Government is no more in a position to advance final solutions than any other NATO member is. However, it has attempted to explore various avenues leading to possible Four Power Agreement (which is, of course, a precondition of any satisfactory solution).
  9. One such avenue is the UN, possibly arrangements for the whole of the city or, failing that, for West Berlin alone. It would, of course, be difficult to persuade the USSR to agree to any international arrangement covering East as well as West Berlin. However, there is value in putting forward a plan for the whole of the city as a negotiating position.
  10. One such plan might call upon the Four Powers to transfer their sovereignty over Berlin to the U.N. pending unification of Germany when Berlin would again become the capital of Germany.
  11. The transfer to U.N. of sovereignty over Berlin would of itself end occupation status of Berlin and terminate all rights and obligations flowing from that occupation status. Henceforth the rights and obligations of the Four Powers with respect to Berlin would be derived from new agreement between them.
  12. The transfer to the U.N. of sovereignty over Berlin would also, of course, internationalize Berlin. In addition there might be a U.N. presence in Berlin. This might consist at least of a U.N. High Commissioner in Berlin, token U.N. forces, and U.N. observers on access routes and in Berlin to verify that the Four Power Agreement on Berlin was being implemented.
  13. Western troops would remain in Berlin until either the people of Berlin requested their withdrawal or the Four Powers agreed to withdraw them. This might well mean that the USSR would also have right to maintain forces in Berlin.
  14. The Four Power Agreement should set forth clearly rights of access to Berlin over GDR territory. Perhaps operation of access routes could be observed by U.N. representatives or a U.N. agency might at least be given right to establish fair and reasonable tolls for use of routes and to help settle disputes arising over their use.
  15. The foregoing outline is a package plan which might not be acceptable as a whole. It is, however, possible to contemplate various more limited roles, should it not be practicable to secure transfer of Berlin’s sovereignty to the U.N.
  16. The Four Power Agreement should provide that all Germans should have right to visit Berlin. Soviet Government may not agree to this if it means that Berlin can once again become an escape hatch from East Germany to the West.
  17. A free city state of Berlin could be declared neutral. This means it could not join any military or political alliance. But it should have power to enter into economic, social and cultural agreements with other countries. This might permit it to be associated with West German customs and monetary union.
  18. The Four Power Agreement on Berlin could be embodied in a U.N. statute which would be adopted by Security Council and General Assembly of U.N. and be approved by people of Berlin. The statute should provide that it could neither be terminated before Germany is unified nor be amended except with approval of people of Berlin and of Security Council. This would mean that it could not be terminated or amended except with approval of all Four Powers.
  19. It seems probable that Soviet Government would agree to such a settlement on Berlin only if it were part of a package deal, net effect of which would be to stabilize situation in Eastern Europe. If in the course of negotiations it became clear that USSR would not repeat not agree to such an arrangement for the whole of the city, some elements in it might apply to West Berlin alone.
  20. The West, for instance, might explore possibility of a compromise providing for freedom of movement between East and West Berlin and a joint administration of such civic services as electricity, water, sewage, transportation, telephone, fire. A U.N. High Commissioner, responsible to the Security Council, could preside over a consultative council composed of representatives from the two Berlins. He would confirm that the provisions of the agreement on Berlin were being implemented. Under this compromise proposal Western troops would remain in West Berlin but no repeat no Soviet troops would, of course, be allowed there. Western access over GDR territory would be precisely defined and the UN might be of assistance in this respect.
  21. The USSR has made much of allegations about nuclear armament of the Federal Republic and of West German “militarism and revanchism.” At present NATO decisions on the positioning of MRBMs in Western Europe have been deferred. This circumstance, though not repeat not stemming from Berlin situation, might provide an opportunity for consideration whether, in any Four Power negotiations on Berlin, Russians might not repeat not yield something of substance in exchange for assurances that MRBMs would not repeat not be based in Western Europe, including the Federal Republic. If, as part of such a bargain, Russians were asked to agree to refrain from stationing MRBMs on their side, it would be essential that they accept suitable controls.
  22. (For information addressees: This telegram was drafted when our Ambassador in Bonn was recently on leave in Ottawa. It is being sent to you for information and comments only. You should not repeat not discuss it with the Government to which you are accredited without my prior approval.)Footnote 49


280. DEA/50341-40

Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Council to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 2655 Paris, October 15, 1961

Reference: Your Tel S437 Oct [11].
Repeat for Information: London, Washington, Paris, CCOS Ottawa, Bonn (Priority).
By Bag Berlin, Moscow from London.

Germany and Berlin

After reading my telegram 2653 October 14† reporting on Council discussion yesterday I think you will agree that Canadian views as outlined in your reference telegram will have to be focussed differently if they are to have maximum impact on next round of deliberations here. I very much hope therefore that no repeat no “piece of paper” will be left with Foreign Office in Bonn or any other capital at this stage. Even if all possible precaution is taken (paragraph 10 reference telegram) such a document will find its way to many capitals and be labelled as the “Canadian plan.” In reviewing the situation following comments may be of assistance.

(a) Western Rights in Berlin

  1. In paragraph 3 reference is made to the point made by Prime Minister that “West is unreservedly committed … to right of Three Western Powers to maintain troops in West Berlin.” Paragraph 5 partly reads “it appears to be general Canadian view that West should be ready to move away from traditional stands such as those which maintain that Western position in Berlin should continue to be based upon rights of conquest … .”
  2. Rights of Three Western Powers to maintain troops in West Berlin derive from their rights of conquest. One will go with the other unless a new arrangement is negotiated. For the moment French refuse to consider alternative. West Germans support them. Until an alternative has been found that proves acceptable to the Alliance I suggest that West must hold to what it has, in other words to hold to position outlined by Prime Minister referred to earlier. Alternative arrangement is likely to prove acceptable to Washington and London earlier than to Paris and Bonn. USA and UK should be warned and preferably convinced first of wisdom of any course of action we intend to take if exercise is to be productive.
    (b) Germany’s Border
  3. Only comment on this issue is in paragraph 5 where it is suggested that West should be ready to move away from “traditional stands such as … that of question of Germany’s border.” In view of importance of this question Canadian position will have to be further developed.
    (c) UN Role
  4. Canadian views on the role of UN (paragraphs 10 to 21) will be very helpful in future discussions here. We would welcome clarification on following issue:
    1. It is taken for granted here that USSR will not repeat not agree to any arrangement either under UN control or otherwise for the whole Berlin and that realistically discussions should centre on West Berlin only. UN scheme for all Berlin, outlined in paragraph 5 under reference, is unrealistic when applied to West Berlin only. Indeed this is already foreseen in paragraph 16 reference telegram.
    2. No repeat no reference is made to the transfer to West Berlin of UN agencies. Has proposal been overlooked or are we now opposed to it? It is likely that matter is to be mentioned very shortly in Council and it would be helpful to have your views.
    3. Transfer of sovereignty over Berlin to UN, as outlined in paragraphs 11, 12, 13 and 14, is not repeat not acceptable to several members of Council. In any event major modifications will have to be made if arrangement is for West Berlin only. Some intermediary formula will have to be thought out. Too exclusive a role for UN at the expense of the Four Powers may not repeat not necessarily create a healthier situation in Europe. I am not repeat not making a case for maintenance of occupation rights but I think it would be going too far too fast to press that such rights be immediately and completely transferred to UN. This is not repeat not necessarily in the interest of the West. Further, UN may not repeat not be equipped nor ready to assume such responsibility. Even if we do not repeat not like it we cannot repeat not ignore that one of the main parties to the problem, France, has no repeat no use for UN and that another one, Germany, is not repeat not even a member of the UN. In circumstances intermediary formula will have to be devised.

    (d) Military Dispositions

  5. Your paragraph 22 concerns NATO’s military dispositions. It is somewhat misleading to suggest that “NATO decisions on the positioning of MRBMs in Western Europe have been deferred.” MRBMs are already in position in Western Europe e.g. in Italy, Greece, Turkey and UK. It is not repeat not these MRBMs but the MRBMs proposed in General Norstad’s force goals for the end [19]66 period which are under discussion. There has been a suggestion from USA that decision on these particular MRBMs be deferred. You will note from our recent reports however that German delegation has opposed this deferral. Other delegations, while not repeat not taking such a direct stand as Germans, have gone on record that their support of deferral of a decision is not repeat not to be taken as an indication that their governments would eventually decide against the provision of these MRBMs. USA delegation has indicated that a similar view prevails in Washington. All that can be said at the moment therefore is that the provision of additional MRBMs for Western Europe remains under consideration.
  6. Later in the paragraph mention is made of “assurances that MRBMs would not repeat not be based in Western Europe.” Whatever may be the eventual decision with respect to the additional MRBMs request by SACEUR there will still exist the problem as to whether or not repeat not those countries in which MRBMs are now stationed would or should give them up. It should be borne in mind as well that USA, already had assigned a sea based MRBM, the Polaris, to duty off Western European shores and plans to assign further such Polaris to this general area. These MRBMs will eventually pose the same threat to USSR as would be posed by land based MRBMs in Europe. We think it highly unlikely that USA would agree to bargain away these MRBMs at least until its long range missiles can take over the same functions.
  7. If then there is any likelihood of an exchange of agreements with respect to MRBMs it would at least in initial stage only be possible to consider the additional MRBMs requested in SACEUR’s most recent force proposals. MRBMs already positioned in Europe and Polaris would be excluded. We do not repeat not see much likelihood of a European agreement even with this limitation. In this context the phrase “on their side” used in your telegram with respect to Russian restraints presents real difficulties. USSR by reason of its geographical position can from Russian heartland reach Europe with short range missiles. On the other hand USSR cannot repeat not be reached with the same type of missiles from USA, the main base of Western missile strength. Hence the requirement for the strengthening of SAC forces, speed up of USA long range missile programme, the development of Polaris and finally stationing of MRBMs in Europe. It would be our preliminary view that any bargain along lines of that suggested in paragraph 22 of your telegram would have to include restraints on Russian positioning of MRBMs well into Soviet heartland. This would bring us far on the road of disarmament but the road has yet to be built.
  8. In summary then it appears to us that there is no repeat no reasonable basis for assuming that a bargain involving a prohibition on the stationing of MRBMs on both sides of the Iron Curtain can be struck at this time. In this general context it seems to us that one of the bases for negotiations and on which we think should be discussed very soon would be along the lines of General Norstad’s proposals for an inspection and control scheme to reduce the danger of surprise attack in Europe made originally in 1957 and brought up to date in January 1960.Footnote 50


281. DEA/50191-E-40

Ambassador in Federal Republic of Germany to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 631 Bonn, October 19, 1961
Reference: My Tel 621 Oct 17.†
Repeat for Information: London, Washington, Permis New York, Paris, NATO Paris, PCO Ottawa from Ottawa, CCOS, DM/DND from Ottawa.
By Bag Moscow, Berlin from London.

Germany and Berlin: Interview with Brentano

In my half hour interview with Brentano yesterday afternoon, October 18, I spoke along the same general lines as I had to Carstens, emphasizing UN aspects. In the light of Carstens’ reaction I left out reference to the idea about all Germans having free access to Berlin. I took special care when mentioning moving away from traditional stands on rights of conquest in Berlin and on the Oder-Neisse line, to emphasize that I was talking about an assessment of Canadian public opinion not repeat not of government thinking. When I went on to talk about the approach of the Prime Minister and yourself to an accommodation on Berlin I emphasized that I was not repeat not talking about government policy but about ideas the government considered worth exploring. When I came to the role UN might play I said I had been most interested to learn that Berg had the day before publicly urged the internationalization of the access routes to Berlin which would involve UN participation. (Fritz Berg is the influential Head of the German Federation of Industry.)

  1. Brentano said he was very happy to have this elucidation from me. He had read with great interest the speeches by the Prime Minister and yourself and was in fundamental agreement with the line which had been taken. These speeches had been very helpful. He then went on to express his own views on three main issues, in each case emphasizing that he was expressing his personal views but adding that he thought that these would also be the views of the German Government.
  2. He also made clear that what he was talking about was a fall back position and that Germany could accept the three concessions he mentioned only if they formed part of an agreement in which each side had made equal concessions.
  3. The three points were
    1. Possible New Legal Basis for Berlin. He was prepared to have the West negotiate on a new legal basis for Berlin under which the original occupation rights for Berlin would be replaced by a multilateral agreement.
    2. Oder-Neisse Line. Germany recognized that there could be no repeat no change in the Oder-Neisse line until a free Germany is a neighbour of a free Poland. Moreover he believed that Khrushchev would not repeat not pay one cent for German recognition of the Oder-Neisse line. Nevertheless he was prepared if necessary to agree that Germany would renounce the right to any change in the Oder-Neisse line unless this change was the result of a freely negotiated understanding between a free Germany and a free Poland which to be effective would have to be approved by the Allies and UN and would be guaranteed by the Allies and UN. He said that by making such a renunciation Germany would be going even further than if it were to recognize the Oder-Neisse line de jure.
    3. UN. He picked up the point I had made about the responsibilities which a UN High Commissioner might have over the whole of Berlin even though the city remained divided (paragraph 21 of your telegram S-437 of October 11). He said that theoretically a solution was conceivable under which a UN High Commissioner for the whole of Berlin would initially supervise the two separate parts of Berlin and that gradually, as time went on, lines of communications would be established between these two parts.
    4. He agreed that it had been a great mistake of many Western spokesmen to refer publicly to a settlement of the problem of West Berlin. They should most certainly refer to the problem of Berlin. Brentano, like Carstens, appeared to be prepared, as part of a price for a free united Berlin, to have the sovereignty of Berlin vested in UN pending the unification of Germany.
    5. At the end of our talk Brentano made clear that what he was expressing was his approach to a fall back position and it was essential that the other side not repeat not learn of Western ideas on fall back positions. He ended his exposition by saying that if negotiations were opened with USSR with these objectives in mind Germany would not repeat not oppose; it was the results which would be decisive. There was not repeat not time for me to seek an elucidation of this caveat.
    6. I said that I knew the Prime Minister and you would be most grateful to him for his frankness in speaking to me and that we would consider that the views he had expressed were, for the time being, between ourselves.
    7. I shall later be sending you my views on the significance of the reaction of Brentano and Carstens to the probing inherent in my exposition of Canadian thinking.
    8. It would, I suggest, not repeat not be helpful, for the present at least, to pass on to other governments what Brentano and Carstens have said.


282. PCO

Extract from Cabinet Conclusions

SECRET [Ottawa], October 23, 1961

  • The Prime Minister (Mr. Diefenbaker) in the Chair,
  • The Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Green),
  • The Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming),
  • The Minister of Transport (Mr. Balcer),
  • The Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Churchill),
  • The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (Mrs. Fairclough),
  • The Minister of Fisheries (Mr. MacLean),
  • The Minister of Labour (Mr. Starr),
  • The Postmaster General (Mr. William Hamilton),
  • The Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Monteith),
  • The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Alvin Hamilton),
  • The Minister of Defence Production (Mr. O’Hurley),
  • The Minister of Public Works (Mr. Walker),
  • The Associate Minister of National Defence (Mr. Sévigny),
  • The Secretary of State (Mr. Dorion)
  • The Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Halpenny).
  • The Secretary to the Cabinet (Mr. Bryce),
  • The Assistant Secretaries to the Cabinet (Dr. Hodgson), (Mr. Watters).
    . . .

Berlin; Policy Concerning Economic Counter Measures

(Previous reference Oct. 12)

  1. The Secretary of State for External Affairs referred to a proposal being examined by the N.A.T.O. Council that member governments should take the necessary action immediately to enable them to carry out concerted economic counter-measures against the Soviet bloc should access to West Berlin be stopped.
    He felt the proposed counter-measures would have a more disadvantageous effect on Canada than on most other N.A.T.O. countries from the point of view of trade and credit arrangements. Only Turkey, Greece and Iceland would stand to lose more in these respects.
    The Canadian government had been asked,
    1. its views concerning the usefulness of economic sanctions;
    2. whether Canada would participate if such sanctions were to be concerted;
    3. whether it felt the situation would warrant a total automatic embargo against the Soviet Union;
    4. whether it had the power to apply these measures or would take action to obtain such power;
    5. whether it considered that a threat to apply economic sanctions should be announced in advance;
    6. whether it was agreeable to provide economic assistance to those countries adversely affected by the imposition of economic counter-measures.
      He added that Canada had also been asked whether it would agree to certain economic measures in case of a partial interference with access to Berlin.
      An explanatory memorandum had been circulated, (Minister’s memorandum, Sept. 6 – Cab. Doc. 344-61).
  2. During the discussion the following points were made,
    1. Some said the government could [not] invoke the War Measures Act unless it was felt at least that a state of war was apprehended.
    2. Others said that they did not think economic counter-measures would be effective.
    3. It was said that, the N.A.T.O. Council was not being given much information by Great Britain, France and the United States about the military steps they proposed to take if access routes were closed.
    4. It was revealed that there was a plan to send in aircraft escorted by fighters and to probe the corridor in battalion strength until opposition was encountered.
  3. The Cabinet decided that the government should make no commitment to participate in economic counter-measures in respect of the Berlin situation until access to Berlin was denied. This would include any advance commitment in respect of the denial of air traffic rights to aircraft from Soviet bloc countries.
    . . .

283. DEA/50341-40

Ambassador in Soviet Union to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 753 Moscow, October 31, 1961
Repeat for Information: London, NATO Paris, Washington, Paris, Bonn from London, CCOS Ottawa, PCO, DM/DND Ottawa from Ottawa.

Germany and Berlin

As you know, USA Ambassador Thompson returned to Moscow last Wednesday. I had dinner with him that night and further talk two days later. Contrary to press reports he did not repeat not bring back instructions to undertake further exploratory talks at this time with Russians on possible basis for an agreement on Berlin. His government decided that he should begin these talks only after they had sent him new instructions which would be based on discussions Americans hoped to have with Germans in the near future. I understand USA Government considered it essential to make a further effort to get a concerted position agreed not repeat not only with UK but with Adenauer and if possible with de Gaulle. Americans were of course exasperated by de Gaulle’s obduracy on procedure “which might make sense if we were all dictatorships but not repeat not otherwise,” but they believed that the key to bringing around de Gaulle would lie in first getting American agreement with Adenauer. Meanwhile this has of course been delayed by the difficulties in getting formation of a new German Government.

  1. Thompson told me that his government was not repeat not now disposed to put too much pressure on FGR, or to force them to accept concessions which in their judgment might not repeat not be wise. The one exception to this was that Americans are prepared, providing suitable agreement on other points can be found, to offer recognition for Oder-Niesse line, even if Germans refuse this point. On the question of status of Berlin Americans foresaw great difficulty in getting Germans to agree to forego the position, enshrined in FGR constitution, that West Berlin has representation within FGR political structure, which would be difficult to get around if the occupation status should lapse. But Thompson thought USA would press Germans hard on this, which he thought they had a right to do so long as it was Americans who had to bear the brunt of local defence in West Berlin. Thompson was interested in the possibility of some UN status for West Berlin but as I say doubtful that Germans would accept it.
  2. Thompson said Americans intended to insist that an agreed solution should include provision for a controlled autobahn for Western access rights to West Berlin.
  3. Thompson said Americans did not repeat not now intend to accept discriminatory limitation on West German armaments. Some safeguards against surprise attack might be possible. So might an agreement with USSR that Western nuclear powers would not repeat not give nuclear weapons (i.e. warheads) to Germans. This latter would have to be balanced by a corresponding undertaking by Russians not repeat not to give nuclear weapons to China. Thompson was doubtful that China would be willing to go along with a self-denying undertaking not repeat not to produce or acquire nuclear weapons. But he thought that unilateral declarations by USA, UK, France and USSR not repeat not to pass nuclear warheads to non-nuclear powers might suffice.
  4. At various times in past few months Thompson has mentioned to me that he thinks a non-aggression pact between NATO and Warsaw Pact might in last analysis prove acceptable to USA and other Western governments and might be very welcome to USSR and make it possible for Khrushchev to accept a reasonable compromise agreement.
  5. But on the whole Thompson was not repeat not very optimistic that FGR would accept terms that would make any formal agreement with Russians possible. We might therefore come down to what he called “Solution C,” a declaration by DDR after separate peace treaty with USSR that they would allow Western access to West Berlin to continue as hitherto, and a declaration by USA and other Western powers that they would allow East German personnel to carry out those control or checking practices hitherto carried out by Russians.
  6. Last Friday Sir Frank Roberts, UK Ambassador, returned from consultations in London with instructions completely inconsistent on timetable and procedure to the instructions given to Thompson. Roberts had detailed instructions to conduct discussions with Gromyko in support of discussions which UK Government erroneously understood or assumed Thompson would be undertaking forthwith with Gromyko. UK Government had not repeat not expected Thompson to wait for German and French acquiescence. Roberts has therefore had to wire his government that his instructions will have to be reconsidered in view of USA position.
  7. I had a long talk also with French Ambassador de Jean, who makes it clear that he personally, and I gather also Laloy and Couve de Murville, are unhappy at de Gaulle’s refusal to participate in discussions on this whole question with USA and UK. De Jean too hopes de Gaulle will be brought around after the projected Adenauer-Kennedy talks.
  8. Meanwhile, as you know, last weekend the whole situation was complicated by increased tension in Berlin caused by DDR demands that American and French civilian officials show their passes. Thompson called on Gromyko to protest this, but tells me he had a very rough time indeed. Gromyko put in a counter protest, and I understand based his case on insistence that Americans would have to recognize East German sovereignty on this question. In Thompson’s view this Soviet position, if persisted in, would make an agreement on the bigger question of the status of West Berlin and its access much more difficult, and indeed may well make agreement impossible. Thompson tells me American Government is not repeat not now at all disposed to give anything in the way of very substantial de facto recognition to DDR.Footnote 51


284. DEA/50341-40

Memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs to Secretary of State for External Affairs

SECRET [Ottawa], November 7, 1961

Berlin: Economic Counter-measures

The sense of the Cabinet’s decision on October 23 to make no commitment to participate in economic counter-measures in respect of the Berlin situation, including any advance commitment to deny air traffic rights to Soviet bloc aircraft, was conveyed by Mr. Léger to Mr. Stikker, the Secretary-General, prior to the Council Meeting on October 31. You are already aware that Mr. Stikker was very disturbed about the Canadian decision and asked that you be informed of his concern.

  1. I now wish to report on subsequent developments.
  2. Among other things, the Council considered the following three special civil aviation counter-measures:
    1. Closure of NATO airports to Soviet bloc aircraft,
    2. Prevention of transit overflights and technical stops by Soviet bloc aircraft in NATO countries,
    3. Prohibition against NATO country aircraft calling at Soviet bloc airports,
      and all member countries except Canada agreed to accept these for planning purposes. In the discussion of Canada’s position, Mr. Léger pointed out “that there were two political decisions to be taken. The first had to be taken now in subscribing to the draft decision and the second at the moment of a crisis. I considered that there was an important difference between the Canadian position and the position of the other governments of the alliance in that Canadian authorities were not prepared to take the first decision at this time. I went on to say that I did not believe Canadian authorities would wish this to be considered as a veto and that I hoped Canadian authorities would also be prepared to continue to cooperate in planning within the alliance. On this last point I told Council I would have to seek further instructions.”Footnote 52
    4. I should be grateful for your guidance on what instructions should be sent to Mr. Léger on this point.
    5. The present situation is that Council has adopted the decision on the three civil aviation counter-measures and has agreed to leave the further study of the implications of the Canadian reservation to private conversations between the Secretary-General and Mr. Léger.
    6. The Council also considered the interim report of the Working Group on partial economic counter-measures. Except for the Canadian and Portuguese, all delegations were able to reply, and it now seems clear that most governments are prepared to agree in principle to the imposition of partial counter-measures in the event of a blockade of West Berlin, and the majority of governments either have or are in the presence of acquiring the legal powers to do so.
    7. Meanwhile, this Working Group is under a two-week deadline to assemble from member countries written replies to a list of questions about partial economic counter-measures, and Mr. Léger has enquired whether, in the light of your wish not to make a written response to the list of basic questions, he should or should not submit a written statement of the factual situation, quite divorced from the questions of policy or intention. To assist you in considering this I have annexed the list of basic questions together with draft replies,† should you decide to authorize Mr. Léger to submit them; I see some advantage in following this course.Footnote 53
    8. I would also report that Mr. Stikker has already held some discussions with Mr. Léger on the broad implications of the Canadian position. You have seen telegram No. 2859 of November 1 (attached)† indicating that he is working on the text of a draft decision on the question of a total blockade under which Council would agree “to meet to decide, as appropriate, and acting with the guidance of governments, what action would be taken.” Mr. Stikker thought that this text should go a considerable way towards meeting the Canadian Government’s preoccupations, and he is seeking to clear it with the British and American Delegations. I should appreciate your comments on this suggestion.Footnote 54
    9. Mr. Stikker also thought that his suggested formula could apply to civil aviation partial counter-measures if this would facilitate acceptance by the Canadian Government of Council’s decision. This point would naturally have to be cleared at a later stage and approved by Council since it would require the amendment of the decision already agreed upon by all countries except Canada.Footnote 55
    10. Little progress is being made in the study in the Committee of Economic Advisers on mitigation of the economic impact of an embargo. Discussion will be resumed on November 9, and Mr. Léger has also asked for instructions on the extent to which the Delegation can continue to cooperate in the detailed work on economic counter-measures, within the terms of the Cabinet’s decision. I should welcome your views on what guidance should be given to Mr. Léger on participation in the study on mitigation of economic consequences for countries like Greece and Turkey.
    11. You may also wish to bear in mind that the subject of economic counter-measures will almost certainly be raised and discussed by the NATO Ministers in the course of the December meeting.Footnote 56


285. DEA/50341-40

Memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs to Secretary of State for External Affairs

SECRET Ottawa, November 9, 1961

Germany and Berlin

Attached for your initials, if you agree, is a memorandum to the Prime Minister about a letter which he may wish to send to President Kennedy about the forthcoming visit to Washington of Dr. Adenauer.Footnote 57



Prime Minister to President of United States

SECRET Ottawa, November 10, 1961

Dear Mr. President,
It has been with interest and pleasure that I have learned of the visit to Washington of Dr. Adenauer on November 20-21. I am sure that during your talks with him, you will be discussing the Berlin problem and in particular, whether to negotiate at this time with the USSR and, if so, what the Western position should be. During your conversations, you will probably have in mind the message which the North Atlantic Council has decided to send to the Ambassadorial steering group in Washington.

You will recall that the message from the North Atlantic Council urges that negotiating positions be developed as soon as possible and that they be aimed at an understanding with the Russians about access rights to Berlin and the status of the city. The Council also agreed that negotiations begin as soon as possible and that, to this end, contacts with the Russians should be resumed. I am in full agreement with this decision of the North Atlantic Council. It seems to me that opposition to negotiations with the Soviet Union over the Berlin problem is both untenable and even dangerous in the long run. Time appears to me to be against us. The policy of attrition of Western rights in Berlin which the East German régime has already embarked upon will likely continue until negotiations begin or until a truly dangerous situation occurs between Western and Soviet troops in Berlin.

Naturally we are concerned about the implications for West Germany of approaches to the Soviet Union which may involve the fate of Berlin and of Germany itself. Similarly, we recognize that a distinction must be made between essential Western interests which are not negotiable and initial tactical positions. Nevertheless, it seems to me that German and Western interests generally should be at one in ensuring that there is sufficient flexibility in the Western position to allow reasonable prospects of success in negotiating improvements in the Berlin situation. I hope that, as we approach negotiations, this flexibility will not disappear and that we do not become increasingly inhibited in our concepts of what is negotiable and what is not. With best personal wishes,
I am,

Yours sincerely,

286. DEA/50341-A-2-40

Secretary of State for External Affairs to Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Council

TELEGRAM DL-1521 Ottawa, November 22, 1961
Reference: Your Tel 2787 Oct. 25.†
Repeat for Information: CCOS, DM/DND (OpImmediate), Washington, CJS Washington, Permis New York, London, Paris, Bonn, Brussels, Hague, Rome (Priority).
By Bag Ankara, Athens, Copenhagen, Oslo, Lisbon from London.

Nato Planning for Berlin

The Prime Minister has approved the following comments in relation to the Secretary-General’s paper PO/61/809 which we understand will be up for discussion in the Council in the near future. These comments are based on the assumption which appears to be made in the Secretary-General’s paper (paragraph 6) – that, in regard to any decisions to be taken in respect of NATO plans which are drawn up, the “rule of unanimity for NATO action is the present position.”

  1. It is clear from Mr. Stikker’s paper, as far as NATO planning for Berlin contingencies is concerned, that the reference to “political authorities” in paragraph 6 of Annex B should be interpreted as referring to the NATO Council as an instrument for conveying the decisions of governments. In addition, the “specific political decision” referred to in paragraph 6(d)(3) and the approval and implementation procedures in paragraphs 7 and 8 are interpreted by Canada as meaning that all plans before implementation have to be approved by governments and that the execution of approved plans will be “the subject of decisions by governments at the time.”
  2. For the purpose of dealing with military planning in connection with the Berlin situation, it is important that it is clearly understood that the final responsibility both for approval of plans and for decisions to implement them should rest with governments who will express their views through their permanent representatives in the NATO Council and that no delegation of governmental authority in such crucial matters can be contemplated. Provided this is understood, Canada can accept the interpretation placed on these paragraphs by the Secretary-General.
  3. Bearing in mind the conclusion in the Secretary-General’s paper that “it is in the Council that the will of governments will be expressed by the permanent representatives,” we believe that the Council should consider what measures are required to enable it to deal effectively and expeditiously with such important questions in the event of an emergency.

287. A.D.P.H. Vol. 1

Ambassador in United States to Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Council

TOP SECRET AND PERSONAL. Washington, November 22, 1961

Dear Jules [Léger],
I never did answer your very interesting – and sobering – letter of October 6 which was stimulated by Stikker’s reports of the Washington atmosphere when he was here.

It seems to me that, despite the active diplomacy in many places since your letter was written, the situation has really changed remarkably little since you wrote. While it would seem from this vantage point that the NATO countries are inclined somewhat to take the imminence of danger more seriously, there remain unhappily the major elements of disarray as between Bonn-Paris, on the one side, and London-Washington on the other. Then too, Washington’s current guest, the old Chancellor, is in a much weaker position and your local great man seems, on this his 71st birthday, to have lost a good deal of his support among the intellectuals and France seems almost more divided than ever.

I wish that we could have a talk but I see no immediate prospect of it. I read your messages with great interest and realize how heavy and responsible your present task is. The week before last, I was at the United Nations when Tommy Burns recorded our abstention on the resolution for prohibition of nuclear weapons. Finletter’s tough words in the Council described pretty accurately what I have learned to be the reaction in top U.S. circles. Our American friends simply cannot understand why we voted as we did – or failed to – and I now see that it has been decided that we should maintain the same attitude in the plenary.

It is certainly a difficult task to hold this Alliance together. Sometimes I think the Americans will “weary in well-doing.” If we can’t do it when we are frightened, how can we manage when Khrushchev smiles again? It is all very difficult.

Yours ever,

288. DEA/50341-A-40

Memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs to Secretary of State for External Affairs

SECRET [Ottawa], December 1, 1961

Berlin: Economic Countermeasures

The British Deputy High Commissioner, Mr. Fowler, called on Mr. Ritchie yesterday and informed him that the Four Powers intend to submit to the NATO Council the following resolution:
“The Council has decided that in the event military and civilian access, air or ground, to West Berlin is blocked, the immediate imposition of significant countermeasures amounting to a total economic embargo against the Soviet bloc would be an appropriate response. The NATO countries are planning their concerted participation in such an effort. In the event that blockage appears to be substantially complete, the Council will meet and as appropriate, acting under guidance of governments, will consider whether in fact such blockage has taken place and what the timing of the total embargo should be, in the light of all the circumstances of the moment and in support of military, political and psychological action being undertaken.”
It is not clear whether this new resolution will be discussed prior to the NATO Ministerial Meeting, but it seems likely to become the focal point of discussion on this subject at the Meeting.

  1. The new resolution is said to have been accepted by Britain, the United States and France (– the Germans are expected to accept within the next few days –) apparently as a compromise following upon the NATO Council’s failure to agree on the first two “basic issues” of a total economic embargo. You will recall that when these issues were discussed in the Council a number of countries expressed reservations particularly concerning the proposal that “a total economic embargo should be applied automatically.” The British representative said that his Government would have to be consulted after the NATO Council had decided on the facts of the blocking of access to West Berlin. The Norwegian representative concurred and said that his Government would not agree in advance to suspend political judgment. The Secretary-General was instructed to search for a compromise formula and he subsequently informed Mr. Léger in confidence that he hoped to secure acceptance of a wording whereby, in the event of access being blocked, the NATO Council would agree “to meet to decide, as appropriate, and acting with the guidance of governments, what action should be taken.” You will recall that we instructed Mr. Léger to inform the Secretary-General that we could accept this formula provided that the word “guidance” was replaced by “approval” or “instructions” in order to remove any possible doubt that the Council decision could only be taken with the full approval of all member governments.
  2. The resolution now proposed goes considerably beyond the Secretary-General’s formula. It involves agreement in principle that a total embargo would be an “appropriate response” to the blocking of access to West Berlin and it commits governments to that response, leaving the NATO Council to decide subsequently only on the question of whether or not the appearance of a complete blockade is in fact the situation and when the total embargo should be imposed.
  3. Mr. Fowler said that his Government, which considered its basic attitude to be very similar to that of the Canadian Government, would be most interested to receive our comments on the proposed resolution. He said that his Government had come to accept the draft resolution in the realization that the United States might otherwise turn toward an undesirable emphasis on military measures alone. British representatives had made clear that their Government would not agree to a full embargo unless war appeared to be actually imminent. They stressed that the embargo should be used as a final political warning which might serve as a deterrent to the Soviet bloc countries by persuading them that the West intended to stand firm. Britain did not consider that the resolution created any binding or automatic commitment to impose a total embargo.
  4. The United States was reported to have shown little enthusiasm for the resolution but to have accepted it as a compromise in the expectation that other related questions would be settled satisfactorily. In particular the United States expected all NATO members to adhere to the resolution on air traffic countermeasures. The United States had noted that the question of the degree of blockage “air or ground” described in the resolution was somewhat obscure and that the resolution contained no provision for automatic application; however, it did avoid leaving the whole problem for discussion at the time of access being blocked. (The British were interpreting the words “substantially complete” in the resolution as meaning virtually complete.)
  5. The French were said to have agreed to accept the resolution if the NATO Council as a whole were prepared to accept it. The German Ambassador in Washington had not yet received instructions.
  6. Mr. Fowler was informed that authoritative Canadian comments would have to wait on consultation of Ministers. However, Mr. Ritchie noted that preparatory discussions appeared to have been progressing satisfactorily in Paris and he wondered why it was considered necessary to raise again the general issues contained in the draft resolution. Commenting in a preliminary way on the text of the resolution he noted that there was some vagueness concerning the extent to which the Council would be acting under “guidance” of governments rather than under “instructions” or with “approval” of governments.Footnote 58He also noted that the resolution was confined to a total embargo and that it appeared to confine Council discretion to the question of fact regarding blocking of access and the timing of the commencement of a total embargo. Mr. Ritchie said that his judgment generally was that we would have serious doubts and difficulties over the proposed resolution.
  7. In order that we may inform our British colleagues concerning the Canadian attitude and that we may provide guidance concerning the attitude which our NATO Delegation should adopt if the new draft resolution is raised prior to the Ministerial Meeting, I should be grateful for any comments you wish to make. In particular, I would appreciate it if you would indicate whether you wish to make any further recommendations to the Cabinet on this question.Footnote 59


289. DEA/50341-A-40

Memorandum from Special Assistant, Office of Secretary of State for External Affairs, to Economic Division

SECRET [Ottawa], December 4, 1961
Reference: Memorandum dated December 1, 1961.

Berlin Economic Counter Measures

The Minister briefly considered the memorandum under reference on Saturday last in the light of Mr. Ritchie’s explanation that if we stood pat on the instructions already sent to Léger we might find ourselves completely isolated in the Council. Mr. Ritchie pointed out in addition that the USA/U.K. draft revision of the proposed Resolution on Economic Counter Measures was not on the face of it wholly incompatible with the Canadian position and with minor adjustments might be rendered acceptable.

  1. The Minister agreed that a Memorandum to Cabinet might be prepared which in essence would authorize Mr. Léger to go along with a redrafting exercise in NATO, perhaps based on the USA/U.K. draft, provided Mr. Léger’s instructions made it clear that
    1. Canada would not enter into a commitment to agree to a total economic embargo, although we might be able to agree to something less or something different as an appropriate response to a blockade of Berlin;
    2. final decisions on counter measures were to be the responsibility of Governments, not of the Permanent Council acting under some prior authority;
    3. whatever compromise wording might be generally acceptable, Canada has no intention of introducing prior to a blockade enabling legislation to impose economic counter measures.
  2. Just prior to his departure for the West, the Minister telephoned me to say that a draft memorandum to Cabinet taking account of the foregoing points should be submitted in his absence and as soon as possible to the Prime Minister; and that the Memorandum to Cabinet embodying the instructions for the Delegation to the NATO Ministerial Meeting should be adjusted to take account of the Prime Minister’s reaction to the separate memorandum on economic counter measures.


290. PCO

Memorandum from Secretary of State for External Affairs to Cabinet

CABINET DOCUMENT NO. 452-61 Ottawa, December 6, 1961

Berlin: Economic Countermeasures

During the last three months the NATO Council has been discussing economic countermeasures as “one of a series of responses” available to the West in the event that access to West Berlin should be blocked or impeded following the failure of negotiations on Berlin or refusal by the Soviet Union to negotiate.

  1. On October 23, 1961 the Cabinet decided
    “that the Government should make no commitment to participate in economic countermeasures in respect of the Berlin situation until access to Berlin was denied. This would include any advance commitment in respect of the denial of air traffic rights to aircraft from the Soviet bloc countries.”
  2. This decision was communicated to the NATO Council on October 31 by the Canadian Representative who informed the Council that the decision applied not only to the proposal concerning a total embargo but also to the proposed partial economic countermeasures and to the proposed measures in the event of an interdiction of NATO air traffic. Our Representative reserved the Canadian position on all of these questions and explained that he did not believe the Canadian authorities would wish their decision to be considered as a veto on further planning in this field.
  3. The Council discussions have revealed substantial differences of opinion between the United States, France and West Germany on the one hand, who favour a total economic embargo going into force automatically as soon as the Council decides on the facts of a blockage of access to West Berlin, and on the other hand Britain, Norway, Denmark, Canada and some other members who are not prepared to see decisions taken in advance of access to West Berlin actually being blocked.
  4. While there seems to be no differences in basic views among the latter group, all except Canada have been prepared to accept the Council’s decision on air traffic countermeasures, have been prepared to go along with planning for other partial countermeasures and generally have gone to some lengths to maintain an appearance of Council solidarity.
  5. There is a possibility that failure to reach agreement on an approach to economic countermeasures may lead the United States and some others to overemphasize military preparations. In addition, evidence of inability to work towards a compromise solution might increase the tendency of the three Occupying Powers and Germany to act without consultation with the Council.
  6. We have now been informed by the Deputy British High Commissioner that Britain together with the United States, France and West Germany have agreed to present to the NATO Council the attached compromise resolution. It seems likely to become the focal point for any discussion of this question before and during the Ministerial Meeting, December 13-15, 1961.
  7. Most members of NATO seem ready to search for a compromise text and the Canadian Delegation would have difficulty in abstaining from participation.
  8. In light of the previous Cabinet memorandum, the present resolution would require modification to meet the following requirements:
    1. makes clear that member governments are not committing themselves in advance to a total economic embargo, since some different measures might be more effective or suitable in some circumstances;
    2. recognizes that while there would be continuous consultation in the NATO Council, actual decisions concerning the nature and timing of any action can be taken only by Governments;
    3. avoids any implication that new legislation or substantial new regulations will be introduced in Canada until the need for countermeasures arises;
    4. ensures that the conditions set out in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) above should extend to any application of the resolution with respect to partial countermeasures, including those prepared in the field of civil aviation.
  9. Cabinet may therefore wish to consider whether Canadian Representatives should be authorized to seek revision of the resolution along the above lines. If they are successful it might then prove possible for Canada to accept the resolution.



Draft Note


The Council has decided that in the event military and civilian access, air or ground, to West Berlin is blocked, the immediate imposition of significant countermeasures amounting to a total economic embargo against the Soviet bloc would be an appropriate response. The NATO countries are planning their concerted participation in such an effort. In the event that blockage appears to be substantially complete, the Council will meet and as appropriate, acting under guidance of Governments, will consider whether in fact such blockage has taken place and what the timing of the total embargo should be, in the light of all the circumstances of the moment and in support of military, political and psychological action being undertaken.

291. PCO

Extract from Cabinet Conclusions

SECRET [Ottawa], December 7, 1961

  • The Prime Minister (Mr. Diefenbaker) in the Chair,
  • The Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Green),
  • The Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Hees),
  • The Minister of Transport (Mr. Balcer),
  • The Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Churchill),
  • The Minister of Justice (Mr. Fulton),
  • The Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Nowlan),
  • The Minister of National Defence (Mr. Harkness),
  • The Minister of Labour (Mr. Starr),
  • The Postmaster General (Mr. William Hamilton),
  • The Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Monteith),
  • The Minister of Defence Production (Mr. O’Hurley),
  • The Minister of Public Works (Mr. Walker),
  • The Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Halpenny).
  • The Secretary to the Cabinet (Mr. Bryce),
  • The Assistant Secretaries to the Cabinet (Dr. Hodgson), (Mr. Labarge).
    . . .

Berlin; Economic Countermeasures

(Previous reference Oct. 23)

  1. The Prime Minister said that discussion had been going on for weeks in the N.A.T.O. Council on the subject of denial of access to West Berlin. East Germany has been creating more and more interference. France had stubbornly refused to consider negotiations to ease or settle the problem.
    The only area of agreement among the N.A.T.O. countries had been with respect to economic countermeasures. Canada had been an exception. There was a possibility that France would use Canada’s stand to justify its own position. The United States had stated that it would be impossible to service West Berlin by an air-lift this time. West Berlin now had more population than 25 per cent and greater production than 50 per cent of the nations in the United Nations. There had been general agreement in N.A.T.O. that immediate economic countermeasures should be applied against the Soviet Bloc in the event that military and civilian access to West Berlin be denied. The Cabinet, however, had decided Canada would not make any advance commitments in this regard and this had been communicated to N.A.T.O. There had been all kinds of economic countermeasures proposed and substantial differences of opinion on these. The United States, France and West Germany favoured a total embargo to go into effect automatically. Britain, Norway, Denmark and Canada and others were not prepared to see decisions made in advance of the event. However, in order to maintain a semblance of solidarity, these countries have been prepared to go along with planning partial countermeasures, including the Council’s decision on air-traffic countermeasures. Canada had been an exception in this and had not accepted the decision on air-traffic.
    Britain, the United States, France, and West Germany had now agreed to present to the N.A.T.O. Council a compromise resolution which was likely to be the focal point for any discussion before and during the Ministerial meeting. It was suggested that a revision of this resolution along lines set out in the memorandum might make acceptance by Canada possible. An explanatory memorandum had been circulated, (External Affairs memorandum, Dec. 6 – Cab. Doc. 452-61).
  2. The Prime Minister did not agree with the view that there was a possibility that failure to reach agreement on an approach to economic countermeasures might lead the U.S. and others to overemphasize military preparations.
  3. The Secretary of State for External Affairs agreed with the Prime Minister’s comment and said that he had not been satisfied with the memorandum drafted for Cabinet and had therefore not signed it. Canada had taken the stand that it could not take a position with regard to economic countermeasures beforehand and had pointed out that Canada’s War Measures Act would have to be amended first. He felt that this stand should not be changed.
  4. The Minister of National Defence said that the countermeasures to be applied to flights of civil aircraft over Canada involved only administrative action and there would be very little called for because of the small extent to which these routes were used by members of the Russian bloc.
  5. The Cabinet,
    1. noted the information submitted in a memorandum from the Department of External Affairs dated December 6th (Cabinet Document 452-61) concerning proposed economic countermeasures to deal with the Berlin crisis;
    2. decided that the Canadian position on this subject should not be changed, except in regard to the air traffic measures to be taken in response to partial interdiction of N.A.T.O. aircraft (civil or military) to or from West Berlin; and,
    3. agreed in regard to these air traffic measures that the Canadian reservation on the decision of the N.A.T.O. Council dated October 31st should now be withdrawn, on the understanding that the Canadian representative on the Council would act only subject to instructions from his Government on these measures.
      (Note: The measures referred to in (c) include:
      1. closure of N.A.T.O. airports to Soviet bloc aircraft;
      2. prevention of transit overflights and technical stops by Soviet bloc aircraft in N.A.T.O. countries; and,
      3. prohibition against N.A.T.O. country aircraft calling at Soviet bloc airports.)
        . . .

292. DEA/50341-A-40

Memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs to Secretary of State for External Affairs

SECRET Ottawa, December 7, 1961

Berlin; Economic Countermeasures

For comparative purposes copies† are attached of the draft decision on a total economic embargo which the NATO Council considered on December 7, and of the draft compromise resolution which the British Deputy High Commissioner passed to us earlier this week and which was attached to the Memorandum to the Cabinet on this subject.

  1. You will notice that only the last part of the last sentence of the earlier resolution has been altered. The words “will consider whether, in fact, such blockage has taken place and what the timing of the total embargo should be, in the light of all the circumstances of the moment and in support of military, political and psychological action being undertaken” have been deleted and the following wording has been substituted:
    “will consider whether such an embargo should be put into effect.”
  2. The earlier text did not represent much of a compromise with those member governments who objected to the four-power proposal that a total embargo should come into force almost automatically when access to West Berlin was blocked. The earlier resolution left to the subsequent discretion of governments only the determination of the existence of a complete blockage of access and the question of timing of the embargo.
  3. The new text now before the NATO Council does not contain the objectionable automatic element. It specifically states that when blockage of access to West Berlin appears to be substantially complete, the Council, acting under the guidance of governments, will decide whether or not to impose an embargo. The final decision is thus left to governments to make at the time that access to West Berlin is actually blocked. However, as the Secretary-General explained in presenting the new resolution, it contains “a moral obligation” to agree to a total embargo in response to a total blockage. It also contains an obligation to participate in preliminary planning.
  4. The Cabinet decision of October 23, 1961, which was reaffirmed today, stated in part “that the Government should make no commitment to participate in economic countermeasures in respect of the Berlin situation until access to Berlin was denied …”. The moot question is whether acceptance of the new resolution acknowledging a total embargo as an “appropriate response” to a blockade of West Berlin, would constitute a “commitment to participate in economic countermeasures.” If it does, we obviously cannot accept the new resolution. If it does not, we could accept the resolution with a reservation to the effect that in the opinion of the Canadian authorities the question of whether a total embargo would be an appropriate response to blockage of access to West Berlin would have to be decided in the light of the circumstances prevailing at the time access was actually blocked. In my opinion, the first two sentences of the new resolution involve “a commitment to participate in economic countermeasures” and in the light of the Cabinet decision they could not be accepted.
  5. There is a paradoxical element in Cabinet’s decision to allow our Delegation to remove the Canadian reservation on the NATO Council decision concerning air traffic countermeasures. Although the air traffic countermeasures operate in a much narrower field than the proposed total economic embargo, they go farther in one sense than the proposed decision on a total embargo; the decision on air traffic countermeasures involves a commitment “to make without delay the necessary plans to enable them to implement these measures …”, whereas the proposed decision on a total embargo contains only a passing reference to “planning their concerted participation.”Footnote 60


Part 3

Nuclear Policy

293. H.C.G./Vol. 10

Memorandum from Advisor to Government of Canada on Disarmament to Secretary of State for External Affairs

CONFIDENTIAL [Ottawa], January 13, 1961

Nato – Nuclear Armament or Disarmament?

This memorandum is drawn up in accordance with your instruction to put down on paper the considerations I drew to your attention during our conversation on 12 December.

  1. The request that you have received from the Minister of National Defence to open negotiations with the United States with a view to determining the conditions under which nuclear warheads will be made available under joint control for the “Honest John” artillery and F-104G aircraft with which the Canadian forces in Europe will shortly be equipped has brought to attention the question of a re-examination of the strategy and policies on which the original decision to equip NATO forces with tactical nuclear weapons was based.
  2. The original decision to equip NATO forces with tactical nuclear arms was taken in 1954. In 1956 the North Atlantic Council directed the NATO military authorities that land, sea and air forces available to NATO must (inter alia) meet the requirement that they should be able to deal with armed aggression other than minor incursions, in accordance with the concept of “forward strategy,” counting on the use of nuclear weapons at the outset. The shield forces were to have the capability to respond quickly with nuclear weapons to any type of aggression.
  3. In 1957, the communiqué issued after the meeting of the heads of government stated that “NATO has decided to establish stocks of nuclear warheads which will be readily available for the defence of the alliance in case of need. In view of the present Soviet policy in the field of new weapons, the Council has also decided that intermediate range ballistic missiles will have to be put at the disposal of the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.
    “The deployment of these stocks of missiles and arrangements for their use will accordingly be decided in conformity with NATO defence plans and in agreement with the states directly concerned.”
  4. What was decided in 1957 and which seemed to be sound at that time may no longer be sound in 1961. Since the date of the decision, many experts have come to doubt whether tactical nuclear arms would really be effective in the defence of Europe. The belief is quite general that if these tactical nuclear arms were used they would make it inevitable that any war in Europe would be a nuclear war, and probably would quickly develop into an all-out war between the two great nuclear powers.
  5. In 1956, President Eisenhower proposed that NATO should set up an organization to study disarmament policy as it related to the defence of the NATO area. In 1957, Mr. Diefenbaker said at the beginning of his statement at the meeting of NATO heads of government on December 16, “We meet here today to strengthen our military position and ensure that until the day that the negotiation of disarmament is possible, we shall have the strength necessary to preserve our security and maintain a strong position from which to negotiate at any and at all times.”
  6. However, no organization has been set up in NATO for the study of disarmament. The Germans have recently called attention to the present need for such an organization. You will recall that the situation during the 1960 negotiations on disarmament was very unsatisfactory in that there was no effective consultation with NATO on the disarmament measures proposed. This was due to the haste with which the Western disarmament plan had to be developed. Although Canada suggested at various times that the NATO military authorities should be brought into the study of disarmament proposals, nothing was done in this respect.
  7. Reverting to the problem of the defence of NATO Europe, there would seem to be three possibilities:
    1. To go through with the present plans for widespread use of tactical nuclear arms, together with the provision of a NATO nuclear deterrent. This course seems likely to intensify the arms race and the danger of nuclear war;
    2. Strengthening NATO in conventional arms and forces. While this could be done if the NATO nations were sufficiently persuaded of its necessity, and would do much to eliminate the threat of nuclear war developing in Europe, it would necessitate sacrifices and create many political difficulties for the nations concerned;
    3. Acquire security through balanced disarmament of both the Warsaw Pact and NATO powers.
  8. I understand that a reply dealing with the specific questions which the Minister of National Defence raises in his letter is being prepared by another division of the Department. However, I believe that it is widely held that there is need for an intensive re-examination of NATO strategy including the proposal for a NATO deterrent and it would seem that the above three possible courses of action should be carefully examined. It is therefore suggested that, if you feel the above arguments are valid, the Minister of National Defence should have these views placed before him with the recommendation that the Canadian Government should urge in the strongest terms that a re-examination of NATO strategy on the lines suggested above should be undertaken, and endeavour to gain the support of other NATO nations for this action.
  9. May I receive your instructions, in due course, as to what further action, if any, is to be taken in this matter.


294. DEA/50219-AL-2-40

Secretary of State for External Affairs to Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Council

TELEGRAM DL-46 Ottawa, January 18, 1961
Reference: Your Tel 66 Jan. 12† and Our Tel DL-27 of Jan. 16.†
Repeat for Information: Washington, Permis New York, London, Paris, Brussels, Bonn, Hague, Rome (Priority), DM/DND, CCOS.

Note for Communications: This message required for NATO meeting a.m. January 19.

I welcome the arrangements which are being made to have SACEUR provide the Permanent Representatives with a complete and up-to-date picture of the present nuclear position of the Alliance. At the same time I assume that the main purpose of the meeting will be to hear his report and that it is not intended that there should be any substantive discussion at this stage and particularly until governments have had a full opportunity to consider the present situation in the light of the information made available by General Norstad. In the circumstances I expect that your role and that of your colleagues at the meeting will be mainly to ask questions on any aspects of Norstad’s presentation which appear to require clarification. To assist you in that regard we are setting down below for your general guidance some of the more important points relating to NATO atomic policy which may require clarification:

  1. What is proposed role of tactical nuclear weapons in NATO shield forces in relation to need to deal with limited and cold war situations, as distinct from their general deterrent role against major war.
  2. Norstad in describing NATO strategy has frequently referred to need to force a “pause” in aggression to make aggressor appreciate carefully full consequences of proceeding with attack. Recognizing the likely “escalatory” effect of use of tactical nuclear weapons is it reasonable to assume that they would not be used to force a “pause,” or if they were used could West reasonably expect any “pause” to occur?
  3. Assuming control in peacetime on the means of delivery for tactical weapons rests with national governments whose forces possess them, and the warheads remain in U.S.A. custody until released by the President, at what stage in peacetime can SACEUR take direct charge of deployment and preparation of such weapons for immediate use assuming there is increasing risk of aggression.
  4. To what extent must SACEUR consult governments whose forces have means of delivery at their disposal before taking action under (3).
  5. Is it correct to assume that Council will be consulted by SACEUR regarding the use of tactical nuclear weapons where there is sufficient time to do so?
  6. What is relationship of NATO alert agreements to any action taken by SACEUR under (3) and (4) above?
  7. With regard to the IRBM’s already set up in Italy it is our understanding that SACEUR retains operational control over these weapons, subject to agreement of U.S. and Italian governments before they can be used. Does this same arrangement apply to other IRBM’s e.g. in Turkey?
  8. The U.S.A. suggestions regarding MRBM’s speak of a “truly multilateral” missile force. What authority if any has Council with respect to use of present IRBM’s?
  1. As you will observe the above questions relate only to the present nuclear position of the Alliance which, we understand, is all that is up for consideration at the present time. We shall have other questions to raise when an opportunity is given to obtain clarification of the U.S.A. MRBM concept.


295. DEA/50219-AL-2-40

Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Council to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 196 Paris, January 27, 1961
Reference: Your Tel DL-46 Jan 18.
Repeat for Information: Washington, Permis New York, London, Paris, Bonn, Brussels, Hague, Rome, CCOS, DM/DND Ottawa (Priority) from Ottawa.
By Bag Ankara, Athens, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Oslo from London.

NATO Nuclear Policy

General Norstad himself briefed the Council on January 26 at SHAPE Headquarters on the atomic forces available at present to the Alliance and the controls which exist over them.

  1. The briefing which was admirably done extended with questioning over 2½ hrs. A very large percentage of the time was taken up with a factual explanation of the types and numbers of atomic weapons. The Council was informed of the types of aircraft available to Allied Command Europe for the delivery of atomic weapons, the types of missiles, the numbers of special ammunition storage sites which were available, and comparative charts on the force levels within the Alliance were shown. As much of this factual information as we could record will be included in separate numbered letters to Ottawa only.† Norstad also took some time to suggest a new land-based MRBM weapon system which will also be the subject of a separate report.†
  2. The nature of the meeting was not repeat not such as to provide the best opportunity for introduction of all of the questions contained in your reference telegram. There was a fairly extended discussion of the problem of control and your questions on that issue or ones very similar in intent were answered. It was agreed that the Council would have further meetings with Norstad as it progressed in its study of this whole question so that we will have further opportunities to raise those of your questions which were not repeat not answered at this meeting and such others as may occur to you. In other words, the briefing and the discussion which it generated tended to concentrate more on what atomic forces were available at present and what controls existed over them than on the question of how and under what circumstances atomic weapons might be used at the moment. This latter question is one that I know is much in the minds of Council members but I suspect that the tabling of UK paper (our telegram 168 January 25)† with its very specific questions in this area had its effect on the course of the questioning at this first meeting with Norstad. The Council is fully aware that these questions, having been asked, will have to be dealt with in future discussions.
  3. Norstad opened his presentation with a brief historical background. He indicated that as early as April 1952 he had been charged personally by the then Supreme Commander with the planning for use of nuclear weapons in the NATO area and for co-ordinating operations with external forces, i.e., USA Strategic Air Command. The first conference of senior allied military personnel to deal with atomic weapons for NATO was convened in May 1952 at Fontainebleau. In June of 1952 the 49th USA Air Division moved to UK. Its 150 aircraft constituted the most highly-trained atomic delivery unit available at that time and its purpose was to contribute to the defence of the NATO area. In somewhat different form, Norstad said, highly-trained atomic delivery units continued to exist today in UK to fulfill the same purposes. As an indication of developments in this field at this early date, Norstad indicated that in the May 1952 Conference the planning figure discussed was 20 atomic weapons. By July 1954 the planning figure was 125. He emphasized that this early planning involved atomic weapons for specifically NATO requirements as estimated by Allied staff officers. The first specific mention of atomic weapons in formal NATO plans came in MC48 which was considered and approved by the Council in the fall of 1954. He quoted paragraph 22(a) of MC48, as follows: “Our studies have indicated that without their immediate use (i.e., atomic weapons), we could not repeat not successfully defend Europe within the resources available. Any delay in their use – even measured in hours – could be fatal. Therefore, in the event of a war involving NATO, it is militarily essential that NATO forces should be able to use atomic and thermonuclear weapons in their defence from the outset.”
  4. Norstad said that his only purpose in this brief review of NATO’s nuclear policy was to set in perspective present military requirements. The need for nuclear weapons was not repeat not something which had emerged only in the last few years. The need for these weapons and the approval of planning for their use had been a constant feature of the Alliance from 1954 onward. The Herter proposalsFootnote 61 were only the most recent development in a recognized pattern. They were designed to meet NATO military requirements which existed and did not repeat not involve the extension of those requirements. Nor did the proposals for the introduction of additional MRBMs change NATO’s basic strategy. They simply would provide the means to allow SACEUR to carry out the responsibilities given him for the defence of the NATO area. He could not repeat not meet his responsibilities without them.
  5. When speaking specifically of the Herter proposals, Norstad said that MRBMs would take over some of the functions already performed by available aircraft. He said there were some 700 targets vital to his command which lay more than 300 miles beyond the Iron Curtain. Eighty percent of these targets lay in the area 300-700 miles beyond the Iron Curtain. To engage these targets successfully he required the force of MRBMs which he had repeatedly asked for, to work with the aircraft which he had available and the improved version of those aircraft which he would have available in the years ahead. He made it clear that while, in his opinion, the Polaris submarine with its missiles offered specific advantages for dealing with his military task, he also believed it essential to have a highly-mobile land-based system of missiles which would be complementary to the sea-based force. As indicated above, his suggestion with respect to the land-based MRBM system will be dealt with in separate correspondence.
  6. In answering questions in connection with the atomic delivery systems which presently existed in the NATO area, Norstad made it clear that in his mind there was no repeat no reasonable distinction to be made any longer between so-called tactical and strategic nuclear weapons. There was no repeat no yardstick by which such a distinction could be judged. It was true that the ranges of nuclear weapons available to him varied considerably but there was a great deal of flexibility in the use of a particular weapon, depending on whether the situation faced at a particular time required the application of force by that weapon at minimum, middle or maximum ranges of its capability. There was similar flexibility possible in the yield of warheads which could be used on particular weapon carriers. The implication of his statements in this context was that insofar as there was a control problem, it applied to all nuclear weapons regardless of whether they were described loosely as tactical or strategic. The size of the modern “battlefield” was such as to make analogies with past experience difficult, if not repeat not misleading.
  7. The discussion of controls and questions on this subject was interspersed throughout the presentation which I should indicate was not repeat not made from a formal brief but by Norstad without notes and with a minimum of charts. For purposes of this report therefore I think it would be best to start with the summary made by Spaak and Norstad at the end of the discussion. In the course of a number of answers to questions asked, Norstad had made it clear that action by the President of USA simply made nuclear weapons available for use but did not repeat not direct what specific use would be made of them. Spaak said it seemed clear that the question which remained unanswered was who decided how the weapons would be used when they were made available to NATO. He asked Norstad directly how he would envisage his actions after the release of the warheads by the President. Norstad said that if the situation arose today where the use of atomic weapons seemed required, he would ask immediately to meet the Council and to state the facts. There was no repeat no question on the matter of who had the right to control the use of atomic weapons. When asked, as he was on numerous occasions, his response was “the political authority.” He said however that to speak frankly he did not repeat not believe that the Council had the ability to carry out its responsibilities. He believed that some machinery must be found which would enable the Council to fulfil its responsibilities. From the description which he had given of his ability as a supreme commander to control his forces and therefore their use of weapons, he was satisfied that he could exercise that control. He therefore felt forced to answer Spaak’s question by a question itself along the lines of the following: I can carry out my responsibilities to control the military use of these weapons but can you, the Council, carry out your responsibility in such a way that the battle could not repeat not be lost before it began? He made it clear that he believed that individual governments of the Alliance had to solve the problem, which was a political problem and not repeat not a military one, of that machinery they could develop, satisfactory to them, which would enable immediate political direction to be given to the Supreme Commander when he asked for that direction. He said it would be his personal desire, and he was sure the desire of anyone who might succeed him as SACEUR, to pass as much responsibility as possible for decisions in this area to the political authority. The crisis of conscience would develop, both for SACEUR and for the Council members, when they were faced with a situation requiring immediate decision if the machinery did not repeat not exist on the political side for ensuring that that decision was acceptable to governments.
  8. Spaak accepted this explanation as reasonable and said that it seemed to him that there were two situations that could be distinguished. One was that of a direct atomic attack by the enemy. It seemed to him that the Council would automatically decide that NATO’s atomic weapons should be used immediately, although he was not repeat not aware that such written direction existed in any NATO text. He believed it was something which should be put in textual form for ministerial approval in the not repeat not too distant future. The second situation was that of a conventional attack launched by the enemy. General Norstad’s description of the situation was absolutely correct. There was no repeat no firm procedure for Council decision on the possible use of atomic weapons in the circumstances. Indeed there was the “utmost vagueness” even about expressions of government views in this area. It seemed to him essential that if governments were thinking of taking the responsibility for a multilateral NATO atomic force, they could not repeat not much longer avoid a decision on this question of control.
  9. Norstad agreed that the idea of multilateral force highlighted the absence of confirmed political direction with respect to the use of atomic weapons. The multilateral force concept did not repeat not however create the problem. The problem existed today and had existed ever since the first atomic weapon was integrated into NATO forces. He believed that a very heavy burden of responsibility rested on SACEUR which should properly be borne by the Council. Governments had been willing to leave the method of exercise of responsibility indefinite and undefined. Perhaps even after detailed examination of the problem which the Council was now embarking upon, governments would prefer to retain present arrangements. If they did so however, they should be conscious of the burden which would rest primarily with the Supreme Commander. He emphasized again that there was no repeat no question of principle. The problem was one of the assumption of political responsibility by the governments and the agreement of the governments to a suitable means by which that responsibility could be exercised. He said that if governments wished to embark upon a search for some acceptable method, he had one procedural suggestion to make. He believed it would be useful if the Council would undertake to write what might be called “rules of engagement,” attempting to set out general political guidance as to the kind of situations in which it would seem appropriate that NATO atomic weapons be used. He said he himself could think of half a dozen situations in which the use of atomic weapons by NATO forces would be the only possible action in terms of commonsense.
  10. This summation of the problem had been preceded by a fairly extensive description by Norstad of his own direct control of atomic weapons within the military chain of command and the methods by which that control would be exercised. We shall make this the subject of a separate report as well.†
  11. Members of the Council expressed satisfaction that Norstad’s briefing was most complete on the subject of NATO’s nuclear capacity that had ever been given to the Council. This telegram is confined to the more general aspects of the briefing. You will receiving a considerable amount of additional factual material in subsequent messages.† We believe it will take some time for individual governments to digest the information which SACEUR has provided. When that has been done however we believe that the Council will be in a better position perhaps than it has ever been before to conduct an informed discussion of NATO’s nuclear policy and of the specific USA suggestions concerning a multilateral MRBM force.


296. H.C.G./Vol. 11

Memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs to Secretary of State for External Affairs

CONFIDENTIAL [Ottawa], January 31, 1961

Nato and Nuclear Armaments

Attached is a memorandum by General Burns setting down some views he has formed about the problem of NATO and nuclear armaments. I believe you will find it interesting.

  1. For your information I have also sent copies of the paper to the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff and to Mr. Bryce. I hope to have a meeting with them in the near future at which time we will discuss the NATO nuclear problem generally with particular reference to the United Kingdom paper concerning a comprehensive review of NATO strategy.Footnote 62 I have suggested that we might also discuss General Burns’ paper at that time.



Memorandum by Advisor to Government of Canada on Disarmament

Ottawa, January 30, 1961


Can a war in which nuclear weapons are used be a limited war? Can anyone demonstrate that, if tactical nuclear weapons were used in Europe, it would be possible to limit the war in geographical extent and in the kind of nuclear weapons used? For the first time in history, hostile nations have the power to strike vital objectives in each others’ territory with overwhelming force, from the first hours of war. This fact makes it almost impossible to deduce from the history of past wars what the form of a future war might be.

The expression “escalation” has been used to convey the idea that, if two nations having “spectrum” of nuclear weapons and means for their delivery, once begin to fight with the smaller nuclear weapons, they will inevitably use ever larger weapons to secure victory, or avoid defeat, until the largest and most destructive weapons are brought into the struggle. The escalation period would probably be very brief; perhaps days, perhaps only hours.

“Escalation” might work as follows: The use of tactical nuclear weapons of short range by forward troops would be replied to by weapons of greater power and longer range, sited farther back. Nuclear strikes intended to interdict the movement of enemy reserves would hit far into enemy territory, and so would attempts to neutralize air bases and missile launching sites. Retaliation would progressively come from aircraft based at, or missiles launched from, greater distances, and attempts to forestall such retaliation would inevitably extend the area of operations until it included the heartland of both sides.

It is difficult to imagine any agreement between the two sides which could effectively limit the size or range of nuclear weapons once they were used at all. Rather than that such an agreement would be made and kept, it is surely far easier to conceive of an agreement not to use the weapons at all, to reduce and finally eliminate them from national armaments.

If escalation is inevitable following any use of nuclear arms, it is clear that the defence of Europe by nuclear weapons is really “built-in brinkmanship.” It would seek to deter war by ensuring that any hostilities would immediately result in all-out nuclear war. And the lower down in the scale of units that nuclear arms were distributed, the greater would be the possibility of nuclear war breaking out through a fault of judgement, or accident.

It has been suggested that it would be possible by the use of the smaller nuclear weapons to impose a “pause” on the USSR if an attack were made on European territory. It is not clear how it is expected to bring this about. It is said that a first, limited use of nuclear weapons by NATO troops would demonstrate the alliance’s determination to use every weapon rather than yield to aggression, even if of limited extent. But as the Russians are as well provided with tactical nuclear weapons as are the NATO allies, what would be most likely to happen would be that they would reply in kind; and the Allies would either have to continue in the escalation or else stop and suffer the aggression to succeed. So the pause-enforcing function or “shot across the bows” does not seem to be an effective element in a NATO defence policy.

There is a difficult problem involved in the control of nuclear weapons, which at present is exercised by the USA, sometimes jointly with the allied host country. It is understood that the President of the United States has to authorize the release of nuclear warheads. If he does this, it will be with the realization that he will very probably be exposing the continental United States to a devastating nuclear war which could be initiated by some relatively junior officer using the tactical nuclear weapons with which his unit is equipped and trained to fight. If on the other hand the President does not release the nuclear weapons, the NATO forces which depend on them will be practically powerless to resist attack, since they will not have the numbers of men nor the conventional armaments to match those which can be brought against them.

So there is a dilemma confronting the USA and the European NATO allies. If, in equipping the NATO forces with tactical nuclear weapons the USA gives up its veto on their use, it may be exposing itself to all-out nuclear war initiated without its specific consent. But if it retains the veto, the Europeans will fear that at a critical juncture the USA might refuse to release the warheads, leaving the NATO forces largely defenceless. It is hard to believe that the American determination to defend Europe is so great that they would be ready to engage in all-out nuclear war, with all that would entail, to resist any and every kind of attack.

If we come to the conclusion that nuclear war is not a rational way of defending the freedom of Europe, what is to be done? Should we not now decide to and set about making the West strong enough, relative to our opponents, in conventional forces and armaments so that we can be reasonably certain that the nuclear arm need never be used except in retaliation for its use by the other side? And if this is so, would it not be more sensible to achieve equality of strength by making a disarmament agreement which would reduce Russian strength in conventional forces and armaments to parity with ours, rather than greatly increasing ours?

It would also seem that in the first stages of any disarmament agreement it would be necessary to retain nuclear weapons and the means for their delivery on both sides, but with the understanding that they would be only used in retaliation for the initiation of nuclear warfare.


297. DEA/50219-AL-2-40

Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Council to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 279 Paris, February 3, 1961
Reference: Your Tel DL-46 Jan 18.
Repeat for Information: CCOS, DM/DND (Priority) from Ottawa, Washington, Permis New York, London, Paris, Bonn, Brussels, Hague, Rome.
By Bag Ankara, Athens, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Oslo from London.

Nato Nuclear Policy

A number of the questions raised in your reference telegram were dealt with in the course of General Norstad’s briefing of the Council on January 26 (our telegram 196 January 27). It is clear that similar questions will be dealt with in the further discussions which will arise with respect to the longer UK list of questions on NATO nuclear strategy which has been circulated to the Council (our telegram 168 January 25).† We thought it might be useful however to attempt to deal more specifically in this message with the questions you have posed. Our purpose is to find out if the answers set out below are satisfactory for your requirements and to ensure that we have a clear understanding of the problems you had in mind in posing some of the questions. For purposes of clarity we shall repeat the text of the eight questions.

  1. Question 1: What is proposed role of tactical nuclear weapons in NATO shield forces in relation to need to deal with limited and cold war situations, as distinct from their general deterrent role against major war?
    Answer: As indicated in our telegram 196, SACEUR believes it misleading to think of nuclear weapons in terms of tactical or strategic insofar as they form part of the necessary armoury of NATO forces to meet the responsibility placed on SACEUR to defend the European area for a certain period. All nuclear weapons serve a dual purpose in contributing to the successful implementation of the task of the shield forces which, in General Norstad’s own words to the last NATO Parliamentarians Conference (our telegram 3048 November 22) were identified as “First, to contribute to the deterrent. To do this, we must be in a position to prevent if possible an act of aggression, large or small, intentional or unintentional, by the presence of effective defending strength … a second mission is to defend the people and territory of the NATO countries … a third and most important product, if not repeat not purpose, of the shield force is the contribution it makes towards establishing the credibility of the great strategic retaliatory forces. Without effective NATO forces deployed in the forward areas and properly equipped, we would, in the event of aggression, have no repeat no option, no repeat no choice of response, between ICB or nothing.”
  2. Question 2: Norstad in describing NATO strategy has frequently referred to need to force a “pause” in aggression to make aggressor appreciate carefully full consequences of proceeding with attack. Recognizing the likely “escalatory” effect of use of tactical nuclear weapons is it reasonable to assume that they would not repeat not be used to force a “pause,” or if they were used could West reasonably expect any “pause” to occur?
    Answer: We think it likely that General Norstad’s response to this question would be an assurance that insofar as it was his responsibility, he would apply only the required degree of force necessary to force a pause in order that the aggressor would be required to make a conscious decision as to whether or not repeat not he would extend an incident so that it would constitute an act of major war. We doubt that he would commit himself in advance, as a military commander, to a distinction between the use of conventional and nuclear weapons in this context. The analysis put forwarding the letter of August 22, 1960 from the CCOS to the USSEA and in paragraph 9 of that letter in particular seems relevant to us. SACEUR has however on a number of occasions emphasized the importance of adequate conventional forces in his command. Most recently in speaking to the Assembly of the WEU on December 1, 1960 he made the following comments which seem to us relevant to your question. “A substantial conventional capability is essential to the defence of Europe and is certainly essential to our making an effective contribution to the deterrent.” The basic combat elements of NATO forces “should be so organized and so equipped that their normal response to an incident would be of necessity with conventional weapons … the threshold at which atomic weapons are introduced into the battle should be as high as possible … we must continue to pay the greatest attention to the development of conventional weapons because if we do all these things, we then raise the threshold at which atomic weapons would have to be introduced into the battle.”
  3. Question 3: Assuming control in peacetime on the means of delivery for tactical weapons rests with national governments whose forces possess them, and the warheads remain in USA custody until released by the President, at what stage in peacetime can SACEUR take direct charge of deployment and preparation of such weapons for immediate use assuming there is increasing risk of aggression? Answer: This is one question which we are not repeat not too certain that we fully understand. It is our understanding, perhaps wrongly so, that SACEUR, for example, has operational command of Canadian forces since they are “assigned” forces (see CCOS message JS-3305 to SHAPE January 24)† and can direct their operational deployment, including the deployment of the weapon system available to them and in support of them. Insofar therefore as the means of delivery for nuclear weapons is concerned, we are not repeat not clear as to the intent of your question unless it be with respect to “earmarked” forces in contrast to “assigned” forces. Insofar as the supply of the necessary warheads is concerned, i.e. the “preparation of such weapons for immediate use,” we believe that SACEUR would think that he could take such action once release of the warheads from USA custody had been authorized by the President of USA. Thereafter the use of such weapons would be governed by political decisions taken on behalf of NATO and by any such national decisions as were required on the use to be made of these weapons. As reported in our telegram 196, General Norstad indicated what his views were on the exercise of political authority over the use of nuclear weapons. On other occasions as, for example, in speaking both to the parliamentarians in November 1960 and to the Assembly of WEU in December 1960 he said in part “I believe that atomic weapons should be introduced into the battle only as the result of a deliberate decision, a decision which is the product of an established decision-making process, a process which is in turn directed by the political authority of the Alliance … the use of these weapons should be the result of a specific deliberate decision made at a level consistent with the policies and plans of NATO.” (You will no repeat no doubt wish to check with the CCOS on our interpretation of SACEUR’s responsibilities and likely course of action.)
  4. Question 4: To what extent must SACEUR consult governments whose forces have means of delivery at their disposal before taking action under question (3)?
    Answer: I am inclined to believe that SACEUR would not repeat not consider himself bound to consult governments whose forces are assigned to him (except USA Government insofar as the preparation of such weapons for immediate use is concerned) before taking the actions contemplated under question 3 although he would keep them informed of developments as time and communications permitted. I believe he would regard such action as a necessary preparation for possible eventual use of weapons which would be mandatory upon him as a military commander charged with the responsibility for being in a position to carry out the defence of an area. His consultation with respect to “earmarked” forces would presumably be governed by the exact conditions imposed by individual governments concerned. The final decision as to use of the weapons however, he seems clearly to be aware, is to be reserved for the appropriate political authority.
  5. Question 5: Is it correct to assume that Council will be consulted by SACEUR regarding the use of tactical nuclear weapons where there is sufficient time to do so?
    Answer: General Norstad gave a simple answer to this question in the course of his briefing on January 26 when he assured the Council that he would consult it where there was sufficient time regarding the use of any nuclear weapons.
  6. Question 6: What is Relationship of NATO alert agreements to any action taken by SACEUR under questions (3) and (4) above?
    Answer: This question involves a detailed interpretation of the NATO alerts agreements which are by no repeat no means crystal clear. Countries have made individual reservations with respect to the operation of the agreements. It is our understanding that Canada has accepted the agreements as they stand. It is clear that there are two parallel sets of regulations, one of which defines states of emergency as approved by the political and the other which describes states of military readiness as prescribed by the military authorities. While we do not repeat not profess to be experts on the interpretation of these parallel sets of regulations, it would be our understanding that military commander could bring his forces to a high degree of readiness (including probably the steps covered in question 3) without trespassing on the responsibilities and authority of governments to take the political decisions as to the eventual use to be made in specific conditions of the forces and weapons available, or decisions on alerting the civil populations.
  7. Question 7: With regard to the IRBMs already set up in Italy, it is our understanding that SACEUR retains operational control over these weapons subject to agreement of USA and Italian Governments before they can be used. Does this same arrangement apply to other IRBMs, e.g. in Turkey?
    Answer: From what General Norstad said at his briefing on January 26, we think that the simple answer to this question would be yes.
  8. Question 8: USA suggestions regarding IRBMs speak of a “truly multilateral” missile force, what authority if any has Council with respect to use of present IRBMs?
    Answer: We have General Norstad’s assurance as given on January 26 that he would come to the Council for direction if time permitted concerning the use of any nuclear weapons. He has on numerous occasions as well emphasized that all NATO weapons will be used only in accordance with NATO plans as approved by the governments of the Alliance. The “truly multilateral” qualification used by Mr. Herter must be read in context. It is true that it has significance insofar as control features are concerned. Mr. Herter said that his concept of a multilateral MRBM force “does not repeat not preclude exploration of the concept of increasing the authority of the Alliance over the atomic stockpile” which would serve this force. We cannot forget however that he was talking as well about multilateral ownership, multilateral financing and multilateral manning of the MRBM force. There are at present, as you will realize, few if any weapon systems which would qualify as “truly multilateral” with respect to ownership, financing and manning. Mr. Herter gave it as his opinion as well that the concept of a multilateral force “would have immense political significance for the cohesion of the Alliance.” He suggested that the multilateral approach would prevent the “creation of additional national nuclear weapons capabilities” which themselves “would mean duplication of effort and diversion of resources and would tend to stimulate competition within the Alliance in the nuclear weapons field.” The Herter proposals cannot therefore be thought of in terms of the control problem alone.
  9. If the foregoing material does not repeat not satisfactorily answer the questions you have in mind, we shall be grateful for your further comments. Further opportunities will be given to us in the course of Council’s examination of the questions put by UK authorities to put forward questions of more specifically Canadian concern.


298. C.E.W./Vol. 3175

Extract of Record of Meeting

SECRET Ottawa, February 28, 1961


  • Mr. R.B. Bryce, Secretary to the Cabinet,
  • Mr. N.A. Robertson, Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs,
  • Air Marshal F.R. Miller, Chairman, Chiefs of Staff,
  • Mr. G. Ignatieff, Assistant Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs,
  • Air Commodore R.C. Weston, Co-ordinator Joint Staff,
  • Brigadier D.A.G. Waldock, Chief, Joint Ballistic Missile Defence Staff,
  • Mr. R.P. Cameron, Department of External Affairs,
  • Commander I.A. McPhee, Department of National Defence,
  • Mr. D.B. Dewar, Privy Council Office, (Secretary).

Nato Nuclear Policy

  1. Mr. Bryce said that there had been an exchange of comments between External Affairs and National Defence on the subject of the United Kingdom paper that had been tabled in NATO on the subject of NATO nuclear strategy. It would be useful now to discuss the procedures that should be adopted, both in Paris and in Ottawa, for considering the subject of NATO strategy and to discuss the substance of the United Kingdom paper.
  2. Mr. Ignatieff said he believed the two Departments were agreed on the need for an orderly approach to determine whether the present nuclear policy should be changed. They also agreed that the study should begin with a review of the Political Directive of December, 1956,Footnote 63 and should proceed from there towards the necessary military studies. It was also agreed that work should go forward both in Ottawa and in Paris, and that there might be value in having joint Council-military study groups. The private discussions so far held among Permanent Representatives had been desultory.
  3. At the most recent meeting of Permanent Representatives, the Secretary-General had proposed that the Council should for the time being suspend its study of NATO nuclear policy, mainly because the United States would not be able to present firm views on the subject for some months. A number of countries were opposed to the Secretary-General’s suggestion on the grounds that the views of European members of NATO should be clarified and made available to the United States for the purposes of its own study of NATO strategy.
  4. One question that might be considered was whether the problem of revision of the Political Directive could be tackled directly or whether, as the United Kingdom seemed to think necessary, a number of questions had to be discussed and answered first. In any case it seemed that revision of the Political Directive would require a study by a body comprising both political and military elements.
  5. Air Marshal Miller said that the present Political Directive was a formulation of policies that were already being followed at the time of its adoption. The problem of revising it now would be more difficult than was its original formulation. For this reason, it would probably be best to approach the problem by having a study of the questions involved. The difficulty was that the Council was not an appropriate strategic planning group to carry out such a study, and would not produce answers in a reasonable period of time. What was needed was a smaller planning group which should be appointed by the Council to do the study.
  6. Mr. Ignatieff said he agreed that this approach would be more likely to produce quick results, but all member countries would probably have to be represented on the planning group. Such planning groups had not been set up in the past mainly because the International Staff was too occupied with other work. The present examination had now been precipitated by the United Kingdom paper which in turn reflected a study asked for by Prime Minister Macmillan of whether limited wars would be fought according to the current NATO strategy even though the condition of nuclear equipoise had changed the strategic situation.
  7. Mr. Bryce said it was a real question whether the member countries of NATO would or could undertake a searching examination of NATO strategy. The answers to some of the basic questions in this area might undermine the basic concept of the Alliance, because the situation of nuclear equipoise which the United Kingdom gave as the major new factor affecting the strategic situation was the opposite of the situation when NATO was established and the West had all the nuclear strength. It might be that the United Kingdom had tabled its paper in NATO in the hope that its discussion would be an educative process that would make it easier for the Alliance to face difficult decisions later on.
  8. Mr. Ignatieff said there had been no real discussion of NATO strategy for years because the strategic deterrent was in the hands of the United States and every one realized that the decisions about the use of the strategic forces of the Alliance would ultimately be taken by the United States President. But now the United States was deterred in a situation of nuclear equipoise and the other countries felt a greater need to examine their strategic problems. The United Kingdom Prime Minister, faced with a Great Debate about the consequences of a nuclear war for Great Britain, had ordered his Chiefs of Staff to study whether in any limited war involving NATO, the decision would have to be made between total disaster for the United Kingdom, and surrender. The Labour Party of Norway was also divided on the subject of nuclear weapons. The time had perhaps arrived when it would be less dangerous to face the strategic problem and try to resolve it than to continue to live with the old plan.
  9. Mr. Bryce suggested that since the questions to be dealt with were so serious and troublesome, it might be better to have them discussed outside the NATO Council before the Council took them up. There might be some advantage in having a few senior Canadian military and External Affairs officials visit London and perhaps other capitals to discuss the problem informally at an early stage.
  10. Mr. Robertson said that it would be advisable to have a full examination of the problem in Ottawa before discussing it with our allies. The Political Directive was a fundamental doctrine of NATO and we could not discuss with others how it should be revised until we had thought out the matter ourselves.
  11. Mr. Bryce said if the United States deterrent was now counter-deterred and if the dangers of “escalation” were so great that we would be prevented from using tactical nuclear weapons in a limited war, then there was a new and difficult military problem to be solved.
  12. Brigadier Waldock said from what had become known about it, the Bowie ReportFootnote 64 in the United States seemed to have recommended an increase in conventional forces and a drawing back of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, and giving to the Europeans more control over the means of strategic deterrence. A new study by Dean Acheson was now underway and recent statements by Secretary of State Rusk suggested that the new study was reaching the same sort of conclusion.
  13. Mr. Bryce said the military problem of defending Europe without recourse to tactical nuclear weapons would be very difficult and it would not be easy to contemplate giving to the Europeans a deterrent over which the United States had no control.
  14. Mr. Robertson said that the consequences of the new situation for East-West relations were serious. It would not continue to be good enough to re-affirm each year, for instance, that an attack on the freedom of Berlin would be regarded as an attack on the whole Alliance. We were increasingly in danger of having to assume unreal positions which lacked credibility. In 1956 the task of drafting the Political Directive was not too difficult, because the problem could be solved partly by rhetoric; we said then that we would respond with all our strength if we were attacked. Any realistic study now would indicate that we must contemplate different degrees of response in different situations. We should have to consider what sort of compromises would be tolerable to us that we did not have to accept five years ago. We might find, for example, that we could accept an arrangement about Berlin that was more of a compromise than we had previously considered we could accept. This examination of areas where we might accept more limited objectives would be difficult, because it would appear to be a weakening of our position and some countries more directly affected would be disturbed by it. But we probably must attempt it and at the same time do our best to keep the Alliance together.
  15. Brigadier Waldock said one possible approach might be an examination of the various courses of action open to the Soviet Union, and what response we would make to each one. This would be a sort of war-games exercise, but involving both military and political planners.
  16. Air Marshal Miller said the real question was whether NATO (or any international body) could carry out such a study. Would the big powers be prepared to have the study done by the whole group of fifteen and would the whole group be able to reach agreement?
  17. Mr. Robertson said a pilot study might be done in Ottawa. We would then decide whether we could discuss it with all fourteen of our allies or with some of them. If the problem were discussed in the Council to begin with, roadblocks might be set up to prevent a real examination.
  18. Mr. Bryce said it seemed clear that the Political Directive must be revised not by the Council but by a smaller working group composed of both military and political authorities. But before this was done, there must be a discussion in the Council or elsewhere of whether a thorough study of strategy should be done and of what the issues were. The examination of the United Kingdom paper in the Council might serve this purpose.
  19. Mr. Robertson and Air Marshal Miller agreed with this view. Air Marshal Miller commented, however, that it would be possible for Canada to continue to take part in the NATO discussions without taking any initiative in launching a study of strategy, if such a course were decided on.
  20. Mr. Bryce suggested that in the meantime thought should be given in Ottawa to what attitude Canada would take if and when a study in NATO were undertaken. We should consider the problem from the Canadian viewpoint, but also take into consideration the position of other countries. Admiral Mountbatten would soon be visiting Ottawa, and it would be useful to discuss with him the intentions of the United Kingdom in putting their paper before the NATO Council. Subsequently, a few Canadian officials might go to London for discussion. It was possible that the NATO discussions would not move much farther until the United States had presented the results of their review of NATO strategy. In the meantime, we could prepare our own thoughts on the matter.
    . . .

299. C.E.W./Vol. 3175

Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Council to Head, Defence Liaison (1) Division

SECRET Paris, March 17, 1961

Dear Bill [Barton],
I have read with a good deal of interest the material with which you have been providing me under a number of private letters. I am thinking in particular of papers forwarded under your letters of February 15† and March 3.† I hope you will continue the practice of providing papers of this sort which, while not actually instructions for action, give a most essential indication of the development of the thinking of interested officials in Ottawa.

This kind of material is particularly useful even if never used in a formal meeting for it can be used as one’s own in personal conversations without in any way committing the Government. If it is any comfort to you, I have the impression that a number of other Representatives are working on the same type of direction from their capitals, i.e., something less than official instructions but something more than mere generalities. It is, it seems to me, a symptom of the difficulties of the issues involved that even the major powers are not prepared to commit themselves too precisely on policies in the nuclear field.

I shall not attempt in this letter to comment at any length on the many interesting ideas contained in the papers which you have sent us but will confine myself to a few comments on the general direction of Ottawa thinking, as revealed by the papers, in the matter of procedure. I agree that the orderly and logical approach to decisions with respect to the continued validity of the present NATO strategy suggested by Frank Miller is one possible procedure. You are aware, however, that just the opposite procedure is favoured by the United Kingdom; or, to put it another way, the United Kingdom approach of questions and answers could be said to precede the steps suggested in Para. 18 Annex “A” to CSC 1788/1.† The U.K. Representative could argue that exploration of the ground by the question-and-answer technique is essential before we can “agree in Council that the political directive needs revision or amplification.” Because this view is received with a certain sympathy by some other members of the Council, I am inclined, at this stage at least, to favour your formula as set out in numbered sub-paragraph (1) on page 2 of your letter of March 3. Ipso facto, I am therefore led as well to see a good deal of merit in the point made in numbered sub-paragraph (3) on the same page. There is no doubt that the most orderly approach is that the political purpose which a strategy is to serve should be defined before one considers the desirability of changes in the strategy as it exists. On the other hand, orderliness and logic are not always the hallmark of governmental or Council approaches to problems of this sensitivity. It may require, as is often the case with important governmental decisions, a general churning-up of ideas and “diffuse discussion” before anyone, including the Great Powers, puts himself in the mental state of deciding that this or that orderly approach to the problem must be made. This is a rather roundabout way of saying that procedures will immediately suggest themselves when policies have become clearer. It seems to me that, when even such a country as the United Kingdom can only come to Council with questions concerning nuclear strategy and not with a suggested course of policy, it is pretty apparent that we have not yet reached the stage of sufficient clarity of policy among member governments to be able to move to the next stage of co-ordinating policy. To put it even more simply, it is not possible to coordinate policies that do not exist.

The other procedural suggestion concerning a “small political-military working group” is affected, it seems to me, by the same general arguments. In addition, however, it has other difficulties. How small is the group to be and who is to be left out? I have some doubts as well as to whether certain individual Permanent Representatives, (and I think particularly of those of Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway), are prepared at this stage at least to agree that other of their own nationals can represent their government’s views on a topic of this significance any better than they themselves can. A number of Permanent Representatives have pointed out in the discussions which we have already had on this subject (and I did introduce the idea tentatively, you will recall) that members of the working group will be getting instructions from national capitals which will be exactly the same as those received by Permanent Representatives. The analogy which may come to mind of the value of study groups in national capitals cannot without some caution be applied to study groups set up by a multilateral organization. In the case of national study groups, individual and professional opinions can be expressed rather freely because only the personal reputation of individuals is involved. The situation is not exactly similar in international study groups where, no matter what is said to the contrary, national representatives are what they are called, representatives of national viewpoints. I do not wish to suggest that at some point there may not be a role for a special study group. I am inclined to believe, however, that if we were to press this view at the moment, we would not get a particularly sympathetic response.

This letter will not, I realize, be particularly helpful to you in clarifying the problem. I think, however, it is simply too early to commit ourselves firmly on matters of procedure. Perhaps the most useful contribution we can make to the discussion will stem from an attempt to clarify our own minds on NATO strategy and Canada’s role therein. The “pilot study” suggested by Mr. Robertson in the course of your meeting on February 28 may be the most desirable Canadian approach at this time. I think as well that the idea of Mr. Bryce of a number of bilateral discussions in other capitals may be worth further exploration. It would seem only sensible that those bilateral discussions take place at least with U.K. and U.S. officials. I hope that, as time goes on, we will be able to make contributions to your thinking from here. I would repeat, however, my hope that you will continue to provide us with your tentative views as they develop without waiting until they have gone through the process of becoming instructions. I do not believe that Canada is in the position to take too much initiative in these discussions but I do believe it essential that we explore the ground as thoroughly as possible from a Canadian viewpoint in order that, when the appropriate time comes, we can make a solid Canadian contribution to the general discussion.

Yours sincerely,

300. DEA/50030-AG-1-40

Memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs to Secretary of State for External Affairs

SECRET Ottawa, April 13, 1961

NATO Defence Policy

While the meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Oslo will be principally concerned with political problems of the Alliance it is almost certain that the efforts of the President of the United States to find a sensible solution for the military problems of the Alliance as set out in his Defence Budget message of March 28Footnote 65 will also impinge on these discussions. Indeed the U.S. Permanent Representative in NATO has officially asked that the problem of NATO’s nuclear future be discussed in the NATO Council before the Oslo meeting, following up his interim report on the new Administration’s views on NATO defence policy made in the Council on March 29. This memorandum is a first attempt at an analysis of the implications of the United States’ views on NATO military questions.

  1. As summarized in the brief given to the NATO Ministers in Washington after the talks between Prime Minister Macmillan and President Kennedy on April 8, the United States’ views are:
    1. That the basic NATO doctrine contained in the 1956 political directive and in subsequent major military committee papers did not require change but possibly its interpretation should be re-examined;
    2. That NATO was lagging in the provision of conventional forces and should make a determined effort to reach presently planned goals in order that it would have the capacity to force a significant pause following an attack and thereby raise the threshold of the use of nuclear weapons. First priority should be given to this effort to raise effectiveness of conventional forces;
    3. NATO has a substantial nuclear power and this nuclear power and this nuclear deterrent must be maintained;
    4. The United States intended to continue to maintain nuclear weapons in Europe for NATO purposes;
    5. It “could be expected,” according to Finletter, that Polaris submarines would be committed to NATO in the future.
  2. In essence what the President of the United States has been saying is that for the time being the principal protection against nuclear attack by Russia against NATO will continue to be provided by the United States retaliatory forces; on the other hand, NATO forces in Europe must be at the same time prepared to defend themselves against attack by Soviet conventional forces without relying unduly on tactical nuclear weapons in the NATO shield. This is to be accomplished by meeting current force goals and particularly by improving the quality and effectiveness of national contributions especially in the field of conventional weapons. For its part the United States is prepared to make substantial contributions in the form of strong, highly mobile forces trained in conventional warfare.
  3. The main reason for this change of emphasis reflected in the review conducted by Mr. Acheson, is undoubtedly that it is becoming increasingly unconvincing for the United States to say that it will devastate Russia (and get devastated in return) in the event of any Russian military move in the NATO area, in the light of the amazing demonstrations of Soviet capability in long-range missiles underlined only yesterday by the flight in space of a Soviet cosmonaut terminating apparently in a “soft” landing. President Kennedy is concerned to reduce the risks, especially for the U.S.A. of extreme reliance on nuclear weapons in the NATO shield forces, although he has been careful to retain an element of doubt in Russian minds about how the United States might respond to an attack in order to preserve the validity of the Deterrent Policy. Thus the President in his Defence message said: “in the event of a major aggression that could not be repulsed by conventional forces, we must be prepared to take whatever action with whatever weapons are appropriate.”
  4. But the trend of United States defence policy is plainly to reserve the use of nuclear weapons for extreme cases. To deal with the possibility of Soviet conventional attack in Europe the United States has proposed a strengthening of conventional forces in order to enable NATO to check the Soviet onslaught without resorting in the first instance to nuclear arms against non-nuclear attacks which would inevitably risk escalation to full nuclear war. To reduce to the minimum the risks of escalation or miscalculation, the President has also emphasized civilian control over all weapons, particularly nuclear weapons. This point was made with emphasis in his message of March 28 as follows:
    “The basic decisions on our participation in any conflict and our response to any threat – including all decisions relating to the use of nuclear weapons, or the escalation of a small war into a large one – will be made by the regularly constituted civilian authorities. This requires effective and protected organization, procedures, facilities and communication in the event of attack directed toward this objective, as well as defensive measures designed to insure thoughtful and selective decisions by the civilian authorities.”
  5. These changes in United States policy the President indicated in his Defence message involve, on the one hand, strengthening the United States missile deterrent by emphasis on the more mobile and invulnerable missile carriers such as Polaris and Minuteman squadrons as well as Skybolts for the United Kingdom deterrent force. On the other hand, as the President indicated, this involves:
    1. strengthening the United States capacity to meet limited guerrilla warfare;
    2. extended research on non-nuclear weapons;
    3. increased flexibility of conventional forces;
    4. increased non-nuclear capacities of fighter aircraft;
    5. increased personnel training and readiness for conventional forces.


  1. Canada is in a strong position to give general support to the United States’ views on NATO nuclear policy because the Canadian record of fulfilment of existing MC/70 goals quantitatively and qualitatively has been good.
  2. The main emphasis in the United States presentation in NATO has been the fulfilment of MC/70 goals and an improvement in the quality of the contributions by the NATO European allies.
  3. In NATO nuclear policy the implications of the United States views is clearly centralized control of nuclear weapons which if extended to long range weapons could run counter to the United Kingdom and French independent nuclear deterrents.
  4. There is an evident reluctance on the part of the new Administration to equip NATO with a force of Polaris submarines operating under joint allied control as envisaged in the Herter proposals. This no doubt stems from a recognition that the hopes of the previous administration of “buying off” the creation of separate nuclear deterrents by the United Kingdom, France (and perhaps later Germany) were unrealistic and would impose impossible financial demands on the Alliance at the expense of meeting existing force goals.
  5. One possible corollary to the argument that NATO should increase its ability to confine our response to non-nuclear weapons, would be to put tactical atomic weapons in reserve under centralized control.
  6. For the European members of NATO the main implication of the new United States policy will be increased pressure to raise both the quantity and quality of all NATO forces and particularly the conventional forces to bring them to a level approximating the requirements of MC/70. It will also, no doubt, cause them to seek clarification of the policy of the United States regarding the employment of nuclear weapons in specific situations, because, in General de Gaulle’s words, “the continental European states, which are much more exposed, must know exactly with what weapons and in what conditions their overseas allies would participate in the same battle with them.”
  7. U.S. policy as applied to the other members of NATO, and in particular the European countries, does not apparently mean the abandonment of the requirement for them to develop a tactical nuclear capability as called for in MC/70 but rather the adoption of a schedule of priorities which would call for increased efforts to meet the shortfall of conventional forces in the first instance, both in quantity and quality; therefore, it could involve increased defence expenditures under existing planned force goals unless these goals were modified.
  8. For Canada the implications would mainly lie in:
    1. consideration whether any nuclear capability to be supplied by Canada to NATO ground forces should be organized in centrally controlled units rather than assigned in support of the Brigade;
    2. increasing the mobility of Canadian conventionally trained forces by increasing their airlift capacity with Canadian-built aircraft, thus using available Canadian defence production resources more fully. It will be appreciated however, that unless existing Canadian force goals and commitments were modified, the attainment of such increased mobility would involve an increase in the Canadian defence budget.

    In the light of the foregoing, after consultation with the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff, on his return from Washington, I suggest that:

    1. our NATO Delegation be instructed next Tuesday to give general support to the United States approach in the review of NATO military matters;
    2. that you consider giving favourable support in any discussions on these matters which may take place in Oslo;
    3. that the implications of the United States views be studied interdepartmentally urgently;
    4. that when this study is complete, consultation take place with the United States authorities through our mission in Washington and with SACEUR;
    5. that a Canadian position on NATO military policy be clarified by approval in Cabinet before the annual Ministerial Meeting next December.

Since this matter will be discussed by the NATO Permanent Representatives next Tuesday I attach for your signature, if you approve, a draft telegram of instructions for Mr. Léger.† Because the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff has been away in Washington all this week it has not yet been possible to obtain his approval. We are, however, sending him this draft today and we will ensure that any comments of substance which we may receive from him on Monday are brought to your attention for your approval before the message is despatched to Mr. Léger.
If you approve the attached message we would be grateful if it could be returned to Defence Liaison (I) Division to await any comments from the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff.Footnote 66

for Under-Secretary of State
for External Affairs

301. DEA/50219-AL-2-40

Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Council to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 945 Paris, April 15, 1961
Reference: Your DL-548 Apr 7.†
Repeat for Information: CCOS, DM/DND (Priority) from Ottawa, Washington, Permis New York, London, Bonn, Brussels, Hague, Rome, Paris.
By Bag Ankara, Athens, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Oslo from London.

Long-term Planning – Nato Nuclear Policy

I saw General Norstad on April 14 with a view to getting his comments on the present welter of statements from high authorities with respect to NATO’s military future. I sought as well to get his views on the points raised in your reference telegram. While the conversation ranged over a variety of topics I shall attempt to group under a few headings what I regard as the most important expressions of Norstad’s views.

  1. Revision of NATO Strategy. While being careful not repeat not to criticize in any way the recent statements made by his government at the highest level, General Norstad went to some length to point out that he as the Supreme Commander knew of no repeat no new strategic concept which was being planned or even suggested by USA Government for NATO. The emphasis given in a number of recent public statements to the requirements for increasing the conventional capabilities of NATO shield forces was one which he (Norstad) had been urging for four years; so too was the pause concept. He referred to the briefing which he had given last week to the Military Committee in Chiefs of Staff session in Washington and indicated very briefly the outline which he had given the Military Committee of future military requirements of the Alliance as he saw them. We presume that you will be receiving a more detailed account of this briefing from National Defence. In brief he said that he had indicated to the Military Committee that the conventional forces available to him were sufficient in quantity. He had urged however that their equipment be improved, that their operational capability be increased, and that above all they be given tactical mobility. He said that what he meant by tactical mobility was the provision of simple “wheels and tracks” and not repeat not anything elaborate in the way of major airlift capabilities. He said quite bluntly that he neither needed nor wanted more paper divisions. If the members of the Alliance could bring their presently assigned units to something like 95 percent manning and could provide them with equipment which was presently on sale he would have an adequate fighting force. One other important feature so far as he was concerned was that the forces should be given a greater ability to survive hostile actions.
  2. Nuclear Weapons. Turning then to NATO’s nuclear capability he said again that the emphasis in recent public statements was an emphasis which he himself had developed over the last few years. He said he thought that President Kennedy’s mention of his (Norstad) name in his address to the Military Committee had been deliberate in order to indicate the Administration’s general support of the requirements which Norstad had put forward. Norstad said that he believed USA should and would commit Polaris submarines to the needs of the Alliance (perhaps five to ten submarines). In his view there should be “no repeat no others in the world.” In other words he did not repeat not personally support the idea that Polaris submarines should be sold or given to other individual members of the Alliance. He said the first bid for such submarines had already been made by the Germans who had not repeat not only offered to pay for them but to pay in advance and to pay a price which would give a good profit to the sellers. He did not repeat not think it politically wise that there should be a proliferation of Polaris submarines. They raised problems of control of the most sophisticated sort to which his own government was devoting the maximum of attention.
  3. In his own view the essential nuclear capability of NATO should be made up of a balance of USA Polaris submarines and mobile land-based MRBMs. These latter MRBMs should have built-in control features. General Norstad was obviously referring to the truck-mounted weapons system on which we reported after our interview with him on January 26. He added that in his estimation MRBMs were “essentially a European animal.” They could not repeat not be forced upon the European members of the Alliance but those members had to reach decision to have MRBMs and to suggest control procedures. He said as well he was convinced that USA would offer the Polaris submarines to NATO on the same basis as the assignment of the Sixth Fleet. He reminded us that paragraph 12 of MC38/3 assigned the Sixth Fleet to him as SACEUR.
  4. Speaking in more general terms about the nuclear problem he repeated briefly another element of his briefing to the Military Committee last week in which he had repeated his often stated view that atomic and nuclear weapons must be used by NATO forces whenever necessary but that the threshold of their introduction into the battle should be as high as possible. He believed as well that they could be introduced only as the result of a particular decision at a high level, the conditions for which must be predetermined to the greatest degree possible. It was his own strong view that the selective use of atomic weapons would not repeat not result in total war. Their use could even serve as a warning “shot across the bow,” i.e. selected targets could be engaged with low yield atomic weapons of great accuracy to warn against future aggression by an attacker. Closer cooperation was required between the political and military authorities of national governments under this concept than was true for implementation of the concept of massive retaliation. If the die were cast for the use of major strategic forces a process was set in operation which required little political control. Essentially under such a concept one threw all one’s power as quickly as one could into a do or die effort. On the contrary the selective use of atomic weapons to make the deterrent fully effective and to prevent the move to mutual suicide required much greater integration between civilian and military authorities.
  5. General Norstad spoke briefly and in terms which would be familiar to you from our earlier reports about his understanding of the control problem. He emphasized once again that public statements gave the impression that a new control problem was raised because of some new idea of a NATO nuclear force. This was simply not repeat not true. There were atomic weapons in NATO at this moment and there would always be atomic weapons; the control problem therefore was not related to any new force requirement which he (Norstad) might put forward, but existed today. We were as he put in a “power game whether we like it or not repeat not.” NATO must have the power to offset that of the potential aggressor, but having it we must be able to control it. It did not repeat not make sense to him that we could allow the relative power of the potential aggressor to increase vis-à-vis our own. He went on to say that in all his many soundings in Europe he could say quite flatly that no repeat no governmental opposition existed to the provision of nuclear weapons for NATO forces in Europe. He said as well that he had been approached by a number of senior French civilian and military authorities who urged him to find a method of integration which would permit France at an appropriate time to cease production of their own atomic weapons. He had been urged to do all he could to develop NATO control of its atomic forces so that when political situation permitted France could adhere to the system.
  6. Force Goals. General Norstad reviewed very briefly the method which he proposed to follow in briefing countries on the new force goals for the 1966 period. We were not repeat not able to follow all his detailed comments in this context but understand that they were outlined to the chiefs of staff when he spoke to the Military Committee recently. We did understand that he will invite representatives of Department of Defence to come to SHAPE for briefings beginning early in May. These briefings will cover the broad strategic concept, overall NATO force requirements for 1966, individual country breakdowns for 1966, and the detailed, country force programmes for 1962 to 1964. While speaking on this subject he rapidly outlined the figures involved in his new requests which certainly gave the impression that his new force requirements are more of a development or a modernization of present weapons than a striking increase in the nuclear capability of existing forces.
  7. Oslo Meeting. Finally and almost as an aside to our conversation General Norstad left an impression that Mr. Rusk might at Oslo reaffirm most of the Herter proposals of last December. He suggested that he would probably indicate that USA forces will be left in Europe, that Polaris submarines will be made available for NATO defence, that USA stockpiles will remain in Europe, and that USA would be willing to explore the concept of increasing the authority of the Alliance over the atomic stockpile as a whole. He suggested that Mr. Rusk would express USA interest as well in the creation of a multilateral NATO MRBM force but would give clear indication that USA thought this was essentially a European decision to take. I would suggest that we should perhaps make an attempt to find out more certainly in Washington of Mr. Rusk’s plans in this regard.


302. DEA/50219-AL-2-40

Secretary of State for External Affairs to Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Council

TELEGRAM DL-585 Ottawa, April 17, 1961
Reference: Your Tel 894 Apr. 12.†
Repeat for Information: Washington, Permis New York, London, Paris, Bonn, Brussels, The Hague, Rome, CCOS (Priority).

Long-term Planning – Nato Nuclear Policy

As we indicated in our telegram No. DL-548 of April 7† we are in favour of continuing these exchanges between the Permanent Representatives. For the purpose of the discussion on Tuesday we suggest that you should continue to be guided by the considerations set forth in our message under reference as well as by the following points which reflect Canadian preliminary views:

  1. We are generally in accord with the trend of thinking on NATO strategy evident in Mr. Finletter’s statement and in the report of the Kennedy-Macmillan talks and you should express support for the general line being followed by the USA delegation. In particular we believe that it is highly important to improve NATO’s capability to check a Soviet conventional attack without resorting in the first instance to the use of nuclear weapons by NATO shield forces.
  2. We would agree with the main emphasis in the USA presentation on the fulfilment of MC/70 goals as a means of achieving this aim, with priority being given to shortfalls in the quantity and quality of conventional forces.
  3. It may be worth bearing in mind that Canadian Representatives have consistently emphasized the need to meet currently agreed forces goals and have stressed the importance of ensuring that the forces contributed are of a high quality and equipped with the most up-to-date equipment. Moreover, we have drawn attention to the fact that the results of the annual review have indicated a wide degree of variance in the progress which individual countries of the Alliance have made in respect of achieving the overall force goals based on MC/70.
  4. We also share the view that it is of the utmost importance to reduce to the minimum the risks of accident, miscalculation and escalation. In this connection the question of ensuring effective controls over the use of nuclear weapons in the NATO shield forces is of the utmost importance. These controls must be (i) military, to eliminate as far as possible the risk of war by accident and (ii) political, to ensure that such weapons are only used on the basis of decisions taken at the highest level of political authority.
  5. It remains a matter for careful analysis and study what arrangements can be made for introducing a workable and acceptable system of political controls over the use of nuclear weapons by NATO forces.


303. DEA/50102-AC-40

Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Council to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 1079 Paris, April 28, 1961
Reference: Your Tel DL-648 Apr 26.†
Repeat for Information: Washington, Permis New York, London, Paris, Bonn, Brussels, Hague, Rome, CCOS, DM/DND (OpImmediate) from Ottawa.
By Bag Ankara, Athens, Copenhagen, Oslo from London.

Long Term Planning – Nuclear Policy

Our report on Council meeting of April 26 (our telegram 1061 April 26)† had gone forward before receipt of your reference telegram. You will note from that report that a Secretariat document (PO(61) 448) summing up the important considerations concerning NATO strategy and nuclear weapons which have been touched on in various meetings of the Council will be going forward by bag on April 28. We believe that it will meet your request for a background paper insofar as the main elements of the discussions to date are concerned. It does not repeat not however deal with the positions adopted by various members of the Council. We shall therefore in this telegram give our impressions on this score. Before doing that we would suggest that the most useful documents for the delegation’s brief on this subject would be the following: The new Secretariat paper PO(61) 448; the UK paper TYP/UK(61)1; Finletter’s most recent statement (our telegram 1054 April 26);† General Norstad’s address to the NATO parliamentarians on November 21/60; and President Kennedy’s address to the Military Committee earlier, this month (Washington telegram 1134 April 11).† The general accounts of Acheson’s views provided in Washington telegram 1098 April 6† and our telegram 1024 April 21† might also be useful as general background in the delegation brief. We would hope it would be possible that the delegation could bring from Ottawa one or two copies of MC48/2, MC14/2 and the political directive CM56/138. All of these documents are in very short supply and it would be very useful for us if one copy of each could be brought over to be left with us in Paris.

  1. The USA and UK delegations have taken fairly well-defined positions as indicated in the UK paper and in a number of statements by Finletter particularly his most recent statement on April 26. Both delegations have indicated that their authorities would be reluctant to support the idea of a redrafting of the political directive and of the strategic papers which have flowed from it. USA in particular has taken a strong line that these documents are flexible enough to allow the necessary interpretations required to meet NATO military needs in the foreseeable future. I think it is safe to say that this view is shared by most delegations who have spoken in the course of the discussions. We believe this view is also shared by the Secretary-General.
  2. While there is then a general reluctance evident in the Council to contemplate the redrafting of basic papers in this field there is nonetheless a general recognition that NATO strategy must be discussed seriously and at length in the Council because (a) the nature of the weapons is changing and nuclear weapons are becoming more readily available; (b) the cost of the weapons is increasing; (c) the nature of the Soviet military threat may be changing somewhat; and (d) there is need for greater clarity and understanding on the means of joint control over the use of NATO’s nuclear weapons. Aside from these points there are other problems of a more national character which suggest the necessity of Council consideration of the problem. Most important of these are the determination of General de Gaulle to develop a national nuclear force and to limit his cooperation with NATO in this field; the restrictive USA approach whereby nuclear warheads remain in USA custody and the UK possession of warheads. There is concern as well to find a framework which will continue to contain a growing German military power within the Alliance, especially in the days after Adenauer. Finally I believe that although there has been some temporary soft-pedalling of the USA views which characterized the last days of the Eisenhower administration that Europe could afford to devote greater resources to its own defences, this view will come to the fore again.
  3. The views of General Norstad cannot be neglected in any general approach on this subject and while we have reported them in some detail over the past few months we think we should highlight in this message one of his general themes. Norstad has gone to some length to argue both privately and publicly that, contrary to many reports, the force requirements which he has put forward for the period ahead are not repeat not revolutionary. He regards those force requirements as evolutionary and essential for him to have if he is to carry out the responsibilities given to him as Supreme Commander. Following on from the general position he emphasizes the following: (a) the necessity for member governments to meet MC70 standards; (b) the requirement for effective foolproof communications to enable military control of nuclear weapons; (c) the need to give ground forces mobility; (d) the need to enhance the survivability of present weapons systems and particularly of aircraft; and (e) the increased importance of modernizing conventional weapons available to the Alliance.
  4. When it comes to details there is little common agreement. The European members of the Alliance, particularly the less powerful ones such as the Benelux countries, Greece and Turkey, have registered strong opposition to the concept of a limited war in Europe which is given attention in the UK paper. Representatives of these governments have taken a strong line in the discussions that any substantial Soviet attack should be met with the full strength of the Alliance from the outset. There should be no repeat no question of sacrificing territory in an initial phase against the possibility of winning it back at some later stage. This point of view has perhaps been put most clearly in the Italian paper submitted early in the new year. It is safe to assume that these members of the Council will continue to regard with great caution the idea of a limited war and even the idea of the pause.
  5. Again there is division of opinion, although in our estimation not repeat not so fundamental as in the case of the limited war concept, on the emphasis given in recent USA contributions to the discussion on giving priority to the building up of the conventional forces and equipment of the Alliance. I think there is general agreement that the idea of raising the threshold of the use of atomic weapons is both desirable and necessary. If however this presupposes a much enlarged expenditure by the European members of the Alliance on conventional equipment doubts have been expressed as to where the money will come from. A number of European representatives, including those of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, have said that it will simply not repeat not be possible to build up two types of forces, one for conventional war and another for atomic war. The question here then is more a matter of financial problems than of anything else. The UK on the other hand makes little mystery of the fact that they cannot meet MC70 manpower requirements on the continent.
  6. Insofar as the question of control of nuclear weapons and indeed of all NATO weapons is concerned there are even more varied opinions. Really no repeat no delegation has committed itself very far in this field beyond a general indication that the matter must be studied. The suggestion made by General Norstad that attention should be given first to attempting to work out some rules of engagement for the nuclear weapons of the Alliance may gain favour although it is looked on with a great deal of scepticism for the moment by some, particularly the Norwegian representative. It is likely to be supported by the USA representative, less so by the UK representative and fairly strongly by the new Secretary-General. There is a measure of agreement that any control system which may be developed must be secure, capable of rapid implementation, serviced by reliable communications and subject to political authority. The Secretary-General before he left the Netherlands chair suggested that an examination might be made of the delegation of control responsibilities to a restricted group of countries or that a system of reaching decisions in the Council by a simple majority and weighted votes might be looked at. This has not repeat not yet been picked up by any other member of the Council but we can expect to hear more of it from Stikker as Secretary-General.
  7. The financing of new weapons requirements for NATO while recognized as a problem has been given scarcely any serious attention to date in the Council. Indeed the first concrete suggestion to be made on this score was made only on April 26 in Finletter’s statement. That was to the effect that Council should develop a five year projection of increased resources that might be made available to NATO defence programmes. The idea of the multilateral financing of weapons may gain strength as the discussion continues. There may at some stage be some suggestion that the principles and procedures which have worked fairly successfully in the field of infrastructure could be applied to weapons systems themselves. The problem is real and will have to be faced. USA has indicated that it will be prepared to explore with members of the Alliance who clearly need help in achieving their foregoals what might be provided most effectively in the form of military assistance.
  8. The problem of how the military authorities of the Alliance are to be associated with these discussions of military strategy and weapons has been mentioned but has not repeat not been given serious study. It will come to the fore as the discussions continue. There is a recognition in the Council that the liaison between the Council, the Standing Group and the Military Committee has not repeat not been rapid or effective. One major change has occurred with the assumption of the office of Secretary-General by Stikker. His relations with Norstad in particular and with the military authorities in SHAPE in general will certainly be much closer than those of Spaak. This is bound to have some effect on the Council discussions. It will not repeat not necessarily however aid in the solution of better liaison with the Military Committee.
  9. There has been some renewed discussion of the problem of balanced forces and integration. The Germans as you are aware under the personal initiative of Mr. Strauss have put forward very specific views on the integration of logistic support. We can expect this German emphasis to be continued. We are aware as well from Acheson’s comments that his study group were impressed with the need to make some progress on the integration of forces within the Alliance, a matter which has been accepted in principle from the earliest days of the Alliance but which has been given little practical effect. The military authorities have been assigned the tasks by the Council to continue their studies on this score. On the other hand only as recently as this week the Netherlands representative pointed out that even such a seemingly natural group as the Benelux countries would find it difficult to give concrete form to principles of integration unless they could receive direct and unmistakable assurances from the more powerful members of the Alliance that their national interests would be guarded.
  10. These are in summary form our impressions of the attitudes of some members of the Alliance towards the principal elements which emerge so far from the Council’s study of NATO strategy. Our impressions cannot repeat not be too specific or too strong since there has not repeat not been a great deal of searching discussion as yet. We are inclined to believe that with the publicly expressed determination of the USA to make improvements in this field and with the personality of the new USA representative, Finletter, we are likely to see more substantive discussion in the forthcoming weeks. Stikker as well will keep steady but moderate pressure on the Council in this field. On the other hand we have been given no repeat no indication as yet that USA, UK and France are working towards a better coordination or cooperation in their national endeavours. Unless this is done the atomic policy of the Alliance will not repeat not be satisfactorily integrated.
  11. Four our own part we have not repeat not taken a prominent role in the discussions. We have made use of your instructions as circumstances permitted. We have emphasised in particular that the greater the military power of the organization becomes the more essential it will be to develop real and effective consultation. We have pointed out as well that the political purpose of NATO strength must not repeat not be forgotten i.e. that we have built this military strength in order to be in a better position to negotiate with the other side. Some of the immediate problems are perhaps more clearly European but the problem of control will affect the North American members equally as well as the European members of the Alliance. Our experience in working out joint defence arrangements with the USA may at some time be useful in the discussions which lie ahead. From now on we shall have to pay close attention to developments in this area.

304. DEA/50219-AL-2-40

Chairman, Chiefs of Staff, to Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs

SECRET Ottawa, May 9, 1961

Nato Long Term Planning – Defence Strategy

  1. As requested in your letter dated 28 April 1961,† the following comments are submitted concerning the recent discussions in NAC on NATO strategy and, in particular, the US position as stated to NAC on 26 April by the US Permanent Representative.
    US Position
  2. The review of NATO affairs by the new US Administration has served to focus attention on NATO’s problems and, in the field of military strategy, to suggest remedies which have been apparent for some time. It represents a clearer statement of US strategic doctrine and a determination to face up to the implications of this doctrine, but it does not represent any significant change in strategic policy. The theme of Mr. Finletter’s statement to Council indicates that:
    1. The US is concerned regarding neglect of the conventional forces of the alliance. The US reaffirms its intention to retain its forces in Europe and improve their conventional capability. At the same time, they expect European nations to give high priority to meeting their MC 70 commitments both in quantity and quality.
    2. The nuclear capability of the shield forces, while not meeting the full requirement of NATO Commanders, is formidable. The US intends to keep it that way. The US offer of an independent NATO nuclear deterrent force made by Mr. Herter last December still stands, and if nations, having met their conventional force requirement, wish to take the matter up, they are welcome to do so.Footnote 67
    3. The US obviously sees no early solution to the problem of NATO political control of the decision to use nuclear weapons. While agreeing that such control is desirable, they throw the ball firmly back to the European members to find a solution. Whatever this solution may be, they will not allow themselves to be placed in a position of being forced into or being prevented from using nuclear weapons, by European nations.
    4. The military requirements are clear. Their fulfilment is impeded by political and economic factors. The way ahead lies in closer co-operation or integration of effort.
    Nuclear Strategy and Control
  3. If Canadian policy on NATO strategy can be regarded as upholding NATO objectives while:
    1. ensuring that nuclear weapons are only used on the basis of decision taken at the highest level of political authority,
    2. not endangering the chances of negotiating a universal and comprehensive disarmament treaty by letting nuclear weapons get out of hand,
    3. preventing the unnecessary build-up of autonomous national atomic forces in order not to prejudice stability or disarmament, and
    4. not detracting from the main purpose of nuclear weapons as a deterrent to war,
      Canada can find little to differ with in the US position as outlined to the NATO council.
  4. Because NATO nuclear weapons are largely in the hands of US forces, the decision to invoke the use of nuclear weapons effectively rests with one person, the President of the United States. From the military viewpoint this solution is probably the most practical one. Any measure of political compromise in this regard can only weaken the decision making process.
  5. Furthermore, US custodianship of the West’s nuclear arsenal tends to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
  6. It is true that in the absence of a nuclear force which NATO “can call its own,” the temptation of members, as in the case of France and Britain to build autonomous national nuclear forces is great. This desire is a direct result of the questionable credibility of the US deterrent, the wish to play a greater part in the councils of the alliance and the political cross currents which have beset Western Europe for many decades.
  7. The problem of resolving the military need for prompt action in the decision making process with the political requirements of individual members of the alliance should continue on the agenda of discussion. In the absence of complete political integration in Europe, a situation which would automatically resolve the outstanding issues, US custody and control of the means of waging nuclear war is the best solution.
    Conventional Capability
  8. When faced with the possibility that the USSR, with its superior conventional capability, may be tempted to engage in limited conventional war under the umbrella of their growing missile capability, Canada cannot but support a balance of forces which would ensure deterrence to any form of Soviet attack in the NATO area.
  9. The establishment of a better balance of forces within NATO by strengthening the conventional capability could play an important part in future disarmament deliberations. In the absence of any unilateral move on the part of the Warsaw Pact powers to reduce their conventional forces to near equality with NATO, the alternative is for NATO to increase her strength so that a common point of departure towards balanced reductions may be established.
  10. A strong NATO conventional capability which is designed to raise the threshold at which nuclear weapons need to be introduced in to the battle, and thus increase time for decision making, is in line with Canada’s view that the decision to use nuclear weapons should be taken at the highest level of political authority.
  11. From a military point of view, NATO is not in bad shape and, if nations would fulfill their MC 70 commitments, it would be in good shape. This means only that nations should do what they have solemnly promised to do. Since Canada has by and large fulfilled her commitments, she is in a good position to press for other member countries to do so.


305. DEA/50219-AL-2-40

Memorandum from Assistant Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs to Defence Liaison (1) Division

TOP SECRET Ottawa, September 12, 1961

Nato and Nuclear Weapons

As a matter of special confidence, Dr. Stikker told me that he had discussed with the Prime Minister his ideas about NATO control over nuclear weapons. The ideas he had expressed were based on views which he had put forward in the SHAPE “X” exercise. He had discussed these ideas with SACEUR and with Dr. Adenauer.

  1. These ideas were that the circumstances under which nuclear weapons might be used might be divided into three categories:
    1. surprise attack;
    2. massive conventional attack;
    3. various limited forms of aggression which would have to be considered case by case.
  2. As to “a” and “b”, Dr. Stikker thought that there should be an understanding arrived at in the Alliance that in the event of surprise attack with nuclear weapons or with a massive conventional attack NATO would retaliate with all forces available.
  3. As regards category “c”, he thought that arrangements could be worked out to enable the Council to decide whether to authorize the use of nuclear weapons and what particular types of nuclear weapons by some form of weighted voting.
  4. The Prime Minister, Dr. Stikker said, made careful notes and checked his understanding of Dr. Stikker’s ideas. We should therefore at once look up any relevant information in the files of the Department, to be prepared to answer any queries from the Prime Minister.


306. DEA/50219-AL-2-40

Memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs to Secretary of State for External Affairs

SECRET [Ottawa], September 25, 1961

Nato – Bilateral and Multilateral Control over the Use of Nuclear Weapons

When Mr. Stikker was in Ottawa recently he raised, in the course of his talks here, the problem of control of nuclear weapons in NATO in relation to the present crisis in Berlin in two ways:

  1. the problem of multilateral political control over nuclear weapons in NATO; and
  2. the problem of authorization of possible use of nuclear weapons in the event that the present emergency over Berlin gives rise to hostilities.
    The Secretary-General also mentioned his ideas for political control by the Council and, in particular, his suggestion for a weighted voting system.
  1. The attached paper† examines some of the more important implications of this problem. Part I of the paper deals with the question of control over the use of nuclear weapons in NATO. Its main recommendation is that, if a decision is taken to acquire nuclear weapons for Canadian forces, it would seem to be in the Canadian interest to work for a multilateral arrangement for the political control over the use of nuclear weapons by NATO forces under SACEUR in addition to any bilateral arrangements which may be entered into between Canada and the U.S.A. regarding the control of nuclear warheads to be used by Canadian forces or U.S.A. forces on or over Canadian territory.
  2. Part II of the paper discusses some of the risks of escalation involved in using nuclear weapons in Europe. Its main recommendations are that:
    1. we seek clarification of precisely what instructions have been given to SACEUR and by SACEUR to subordinate commanders on the issue of and possible use of nuclear warheads;
    2. Mr. Léger be instructed to discuss with the Secretary-General and the other delegations the development of adequate and effective control by NATO Governments through the NATO Council in order to ensure that any use of nuclear weapons results from a political decision and not as a military response to any foreseen or unforeseen contingency or provocation;
    3. Mr. Léger be instructed to stress the risks of escalation during any discussion in the Council of contingency planning in relation to Berlin.
  3. If you agree with the general line taken in these papers, I would recommend:
    1. that a copy might be sent to the Prime Minister for his information;
    2. that a copy be sent to the Department of National Defence for comments;
    3. that a copy be sent to Mr. Léger for comments;
    4. that after consultation with the Department of National Defence, instructions be sent to the Canadian Delegation on the basis of these papers.Footnote 68


Part 4

Annual Review

307. DEA/50107-M-40

Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Council to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 3131 Paris, November 21, 1961
Repeat for Information: CCOS, DM/DND from CCOS, Finance Ottawa, DDP Ottawa from Ottawa.

Interim Review – Canadian Examination

Canadian examination was held on November 20. By reason of the requirement for a special meeting of Council on same afternoon, our examination was considerably shorter than in previous years. In addition, the extremely useful material which you provided us with in a series of recent messages put us in a position to deal most expeditiously with questions asked by military authorities and the international staff. We shall not repeat not, in this message, go over details of our answers since they were based directly on material which you provided. We will send you by bag copies of prepared material which was used in the course of examination.

  1. Gregh commented briefly on our opening statement (your telegram DL-1489 November 15)† picking up the emphasis in that statement on Canadian efforts in the Canada-USA region. He said that it was perhaps unfortunate that by reason of the structure of the command details of the military effort made in the Canada-USA region were outside the scope of the Annual Review Committee. He emphasised however that the international staff appreciated the importance of the efforts expended by Canadian and USA Governments in that area of such great importance to the Alliance as a whole. He said the international staff had been particularly grateful for opportunity provided them this year to visit Canada and to get a clearer understanding of what we were doing in the Canada-USA region.
  2. Military items as listed in subparagraphs (a) and (b) of agenda (document AC19-A/292) were taken up next and use was made of information which you provided in a number of telegrams including DL-1493 November 16.† In the course of discussion we were questioned on following points: replacement of ships and naval aircraft nearing obsolescence, problem of air defence of the aircraft carrier and escorts, mechanization of the Canadian brigade group, the possibility of pre-stocking of heavy equipment and supplies in connection with the possible deployment of the M-Day infantry division to Europe, survival capability of First Canadian Air Division, air crew-aircraft ratio of the Air Division, and possible plans for the transport of the M-Day Division to Europe.
  3. While we will not repeat not attempt to cover this discussion in any detail since you are fully familiar with the answers which we gave, we think it would be useful to summarize a few of the points made by our questioners. The Standing Group representative before any military comments were made said that it was the overall judgment of the NATO military authorities that Canadian effort was an extremely satisfying one. He expressed the hope therefore that the “marginal comments” which would be made concerning Canada’s military effort would be thought of and accepted within the framework of this overall judgment. SACLANT’s representative in dealing with naval questions expressed SACLANT’s hope that an early decision would be taken with respect to the ASW helicopter for the McKenzie class destroyers. He pointed out that experience proved that there was considerable time lag between the taking of the decision and the procurement of the hardware; the earlier the decision therefore the earlier the hardware would be provided. As far as air defense of the escorts was concerned, he said that SACLANT was fully aware of Canadian problems but must continue to express his concern at lack of progress made in meeting the military requirement in this context. In dealing with the submarine, SACLANT’s representative used the formula reported in our telegram 3067 November 15† which was in effect a request from SACLANT for the provision of substantive information with respect to Canadian attitude as soon as possible.
  4. Our comments with respect to mechanization of the Brigade Group were noted. Standing Group representative did express disappointment that the provision of the Bobcat would be delayed until 1964-65. He expressed the hope that the problems connected with the procurement of this equipment could be solved more quickly than was now contemplated so that the Bobcat could come into service much earlier. The Standing Group’s comments on our answer with respect to survivability was simply to emphasise once again SACEUR’s conviction that this was a serious and continuing problem.
  5. Gregh, in the course of discussion of military items, made two points of substance. He recognized that a real Canadian effort was being made to bring naval equipment up to date but he had as well to accept the expression of concern by SACLANT on a number of points. Canada seemed to be in same position as a number of other countries in making a choice between the better and the best. He had been struck in the course of this interim review by the recurrence of this common problem that governments faced of attempting to make decisions to acquire “almost perfect” equipment. This approach was of course rational and reasonable. If however it led to undue delay in getting any new equipment, perfection might have to be reconsidered. He hoped Canadian authorities would establish a proper balance between perfection and improvement in equipment. Similarly he commented in general terms on survival question. Survival capability of almost all air forces in central Europe had been raised in the course of the interim review. The “fragmentary replies” from many countries suggested that perhaps a “horizontal” study of problem should be made by military and civilian authorities together. The various factors of dispersal, hardening and VTOL aircraft had been mentioned as possible solutions yet there seemed to be no repeat no common denominator of views. He believed Secretary-General would probably propose some such horizontal study of question in his overall summary appraisal of this years interim review.
  6. Under Item C of Agenda, i.e. “plans of action,” we made two statements based largely on the paper which you indicated in your telegram 1492 November 16† had been approved by Panel. The Standing Group representative commented simply that Canadian response in military terms had been extremely satisfying. USA representative addressed himself to the indication we had given that a supplementary estimate would have to be sought to cover the financial implications. He said it was extremely encouraging to find a member of the Alliance who was willing to provide more money to meet emergencies than had been forecast.
  7. Under Item D of Agenda, i.e. “finance and economy” we made two statements, one which was a slightly revised version of the material which we had already given the staff on the basis of your telegram DL-1473 November 10.† The other was statement on mutual assistance, the text of which was that contained in your telegram DL-1501 November 16.† We had on November 18 been able to arrange a meeting between Mr. Plumptre, Mr. MacNeill and ourselves on the one hand and the International Staff, with Gregh as Chairman, on the other. In the course of that discussion we had a full opportunity to develop the points made in your DL-1473 and to reach tentative agreement with the staff on the kind of amendments which might be made in the draft chapter. In that sense therefore the handling of Item D on the Agenda had been fairly well stage managed in advance. We made the same points and Gregh responded to a degree as if he was hearing them for the first time. We will follow up question with the staff in the next day or two and provide you with an indication of the kind of amendments on which we can get agreement. We were extremely grateful that Mr. Plumptre could find time to meet with the staff in advance of the examination.
  8. In the course of the examination Gregh, speaking in response to our statement, did express the hope that Canadian authorities would see their way clear to making even a greater military contribution. He admitted that in almost every respect Canadian military effort met the standards set by military authorities. He recognized that Canada was facing certain real economic difficulties. However it was true that in the 1953-54 period Canada had spent a proportionately higher percentage of her GNP on defence and he could only hope that with the increased pressures on the Alliance Canadian authorities would at some time see their way clear to getting back to the levels of expenditures of these earlier years. Turning then to our statement with respect to mutual aid, he pleaded for perhaps greater flexibility in our thinking. He emphasised that the staff did not repeat not misunderstand what we meant by ad hoc mutual aid and had not repeat not intended their references in this respect to be taken as criticism. Staff did hope that Canada would actively seek other opportunities to implement its policy. He then developed an argument which we had developed more directly in speaking to us privately on November 18. The International Staff did believe that many European countries were now in a position to help the less favoured nations of the Alliance. At the same time it continued to be of crucial importance that Canadian aid be continued. There were certain members of the Alliance who were underdeveloped. The more members of the Alliance who could help to bring these countries along the easier the task would be for all. There was a continued role for Canada to play in this cooperative venture. In the course of the long statement which he made under this item he prepared the way for the acceptance of amendments which we had already discussed with him.
  9. In our closing statement we said simply that the international staff seemed to think that Canada was better off than we did ourselves. If we were right we would have to continue to deal with major economic problems. If the staff was right it might be possible to look at “marginal comments.” Canadian approach to these problems was pragmatic and in the end we had produced the hardware and the manpower which was needed. Indeed we had exceeded our commitments in response to the Berlin emergency. We referred again to the Prime Minister’s comments which were included in the opening statement pointing out that the Atlantic community was imbedded within our own borders and that the Alliance could continue to count on our cooperation to meet the military threat to that community.

308. DEA/50107-M-40

Extract of Report by Canadian Delegation to North Atlantic Council

CONFIDENTIAL. [Paris], November 20, 1961

Nato Annual Review – Canadian Examination Opening Statement by the Canadian Delegation

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Annual Review Committee:
We welcome this opportunity once again to review the Canadian defence programme which, as in previous years, is mainly devoted to providing our share of the collective effort necessary to maintain the deterrent capacity and defensive strength of NATO forces in the NATO area, including the Canada-United States Region. The Prime Minister of Canada made clear earlier this year that support for the NATO alliance continues to be one of the major elements of Canadian foreign and defence policy when he stated: “Canadian defence and foreign policy are based on the realization that an equilibrium of power is essential to the preservation of peace. Commitments under NATO have become a measure of our stake in the defence of the whole Atlantic community and a part of the effort to achieve a balance in the world … We are part of the Atlantic community. Our past and future make us that. When the Atlantic community is threatened, so is Canada.” In this opening statement I propose only to touch on the main developments during the past year. I shall not attempt to go over the programme as a whole or to comment on the Draft Chapter which will, I feel certain, be covered adequately during the course of the examination. Since last year’s Annual Review examination, there have been two important developments relating first to the defence of the Canada-United States Region of the Alliance and second to preparedness measures in the light of Soviet policy in respect of Germany and Berlin.

  1. For some time representatives of the Canadian and United States Governments had been exploring the possibility of an arrangement which would ensure more effective use of the productive capacities, skills and resources of each country and at the same time demonstrate our mutual determination to improve the defensive strength of NATO and particularly of the air defence arrangements in the Canada-United States Region.
  2. An agreement to attain these important objectives was concluded with the United States in June of this year. Under the terms of this agreement, Canada has assumed responsibility for the manning, operation and maintenance of eleven Pinetree System radar stations and financial responsibility for five Pinetree System radar stations which have hitherto been the responsibility of the United States.
  3. The second main element in this agreement with the United States provided for the re-equipment of Canadian air defence squadrons in the Canada-United States Region with sixty-six F-101 interceptor aircraft and appropriate support equipment which will replace CF-100 aircraft heretofore operating with Canadian squadrons under NORAD.
  4. In the third place, Canada and the United States have agreed to contribute 200 million dollars, of which the Canadian share will be 50 million dollars and the United States share 150 million dollars, for the procurement in Canada of a number of F-104G aircraft, associated support equipment and initial spares. The aircraft procured will enable Canada and the United States to make a significant contribution to the collective strength of the Alliance under our respective mutual aid and defence assistance programmes.
  5. The other main development relates to Canada’s preparedness measures. Last September, in the light of the deteriorating international situation, and in particular because of Soviet policy with respect to Germany and Berlin, the Government decided to take several steps to bring existing Canadian forces to a higher state of preparedness and to make more effective contribution of the armed forces to civil defence arrangements in Canada.
  6. In the terms of our NATO contribution, these steps involve:
    1. an increase in ship complements of the Royal Canadian Navy amounting to approximately 1750 officers and men;
    2. an increase in the strength of the Fourth Canadian Infantry Brigade by a total of approximately 1100 all ranks. In addition, some 1500 all ranks will be made readily available in Canada as reinforcements;
    3. an increase of 250 in the First Canadian Air Division.
  7. In addition, in order to improve the general military effectiveness of our forces at home and particularly those earmarked for the strategic reserve, the Government decided to increase Army formations by 8950 personnel and Air Force units by approximately 1000 men. These measures, which are being taken to increase Canadian defence preparedness, will involve a total increase of approximately 15,000 in the Canadian regular forces, raising the present ceiling from 120,000 to 135,000 officers and men.
  8. Coupled with the measures I have just mentioned, the Government is accelerating and improving its survival and civil emergency planning. The Canadian militia forces amounting to some 42,000 men will be employed for survival operations and steps are being taken to increase the number of men trained to take part in survival and rescue operations should the need arise. Approximately 100,000 men will be trained in special courses across the country. Such measures are considered by the Canadian Government as complementary to the effort being made in light of the international situation to strengthen Canadian forces in the Canada-United States Region and in NATO Europe.
  9. With respect to the agreed Canadian contribution to NATO, the Canadian authorities have noted with satisfaction the favourable comments of the Major NATO Commanders and of the Standing Group concerning the capabilities of the Canadian Brigade Group in Europe, of the Royal Canadian Navy and of the First Canadian Air Division to carry out their assigned missions. As we indicated during our Annual Review examination last year, these commitments along with agreed commitments in respect of the Canada-United States Region involve a high level of defence expenditures. The two important developments I mentioned – the agreement with the United States and the special measures being taken in light of the Berlin emergency – will, of course, involve additional expenditures. However, it is indicative of the measure of our continuing support for the Alliance that in spite of the additional financial burden imposed by these two developments the Canadian Government is prepared not only to maintain forces which it has assigned to NATO but to increase them in the light of the Berlin emergency.
  10. In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and the members of your staff and the NATO military authorities for the excellent cooperation and helpful assistance which has been extended to the Canadian Delegation and to the Canadian authorities in preparation for this examination and throughout the year. My authorities were particularly pleased to have had an opportunity to welcome members of the International Staff to Ottawa during the summer and to have been able to discuss informally with them various aspects of the Canadian defence programme and your procedures. Members of the Delegation and I will be glad to try to answer any questions you may have.



CONFIDENTIAL [Paris], November 20, 1961

Interim Review – Canadian Examination Statement by the Canadian Delegation with Respect to Mutual Assistance

During the examination of Canada in the course of the last two Annual Reviews, full statements were made of the position of the Canadian Government regarding the continuation of Canadian mutual aid. I should like to review the main points made in these statements and to outline our present position.

  1. It was made clear during the last two examinations that Canada would continue air crew training on the present basis, the provision of spares support for equipment already transferred, and contributions to NATO military budgets and common infrastructure. Technological and economic developments both in Canada and in Europe, however, made it no longer possible in future for Canada to programme equipment for mutual aid, on an annual basis, either from stocks or from direct production. It was stated that such materiel as might become available would be offered as mutual aid on an “ad hoc” basis. It was pointed out further that the Canadian Government considered that the economic and financial position of most European member countries was such that it was no longer appropriate for Canada to provide mutual aid for economic reasons.
  2. From the references to Canadian mutual aid made in this year’s Draft Country Chapter and particularly from the International Staff’s conclusion in paragraph 23C, it would appear that what Canada has meant in expressing an intention to offer equipment for mutual aid on an “ad hoc” basis is not yet clearly understood. Briefly, it means that Canada will be prepared to offer as mutual aid, equipment which may become in future surplus to the requirements of the Canadian forces and which may have continuing value to other members of the Alliance, or to undertake production of new equipment in Canada for mutual aid purposes where an opportunity offers to do so with mutual advantage both to Canada and to other members of the Alliance. The recently announced agreement with the United States to produce F-104G aircraft in Canada for purposes both of the Canadian mutual aid and the United States mutual defence assistance programmes provides an illustration of the latter kind of ad hoc mutual aid.
  3. The size and constituent elements of our mutual aid programme must continue to depend on our assessment of Canada’s overall situation and requirements in relation to those of our NATO partners.






  • Aircraft and Air Defence.
  • Replacement of Ships.
  • Submarines.


  • Mechanization of the Brigade Group in Germany.
  • Pre-stocking of heavy equipment and supplies.


  • Survivability of 1st Canadian Air Division.
  • Aircrew-Aircraft Ratio.




Decisions have yet to be taken concerning, in particular, the replacement of ships and naval aircraft nearing obsolescence. Also air defence of aircraft carriers and escorts.

Aircraft and Air Defence

The Canadian authorities are continuing to study the complex factors inherent in adapting an air defence missile system to our escort vessels. While these studies are being actively pursued they have not yet reached the stage where a decision can be made.

With regard to air defence aircraft for the fleet we would like to draw to your attention a letter forwarded by the Canadian Chief of the Naval Staff to SACLANT in May of this year. This letter pointed out to SACLANT that our “Banshee” aircraft would be retired in 1962, that a SAM system would not be available in the RCN at that time, and SACLANT was requested to consider the possibility of providing area air defence in the EASTLANT area under the principles of collective balance of forces. A reply has not yet been received.

A replacement programme for ships nearing obsolescence is under active consideration, but no decisions have been taken as yet. In the meantime, we would like to draw to your attention paragraphs 9 and 10 of the General Statement of the Canadian Reply to the Interim Review. There we pointed out that the construction of six new Mackenzie class destroyer escorts was continuing at the major shipyards. These are the improved Restigouche class and will bring to twenty the number of Canada’s new A/S ships. The last two and eventually all ships in this class will be equipped with the Canadian developed variable depth sonar and also a helicopter platform and hangar for the operation of an A/S helicopter.

Extensive modernization of the seven ships of the St. Laurent class and the Crusader, an early type of destroyer escort, has been approved. These vessels will be fitted with the new variable depth sonar and will carry A/S helicopters to extend their detection and destruction capability against submarines.

A decision as to the type of helicopter to be used by the RCN has not yet been made.
A tanker supply ship is also under construction.

Canada has not accepted the requirement to provide one submarine by end-1962 as indicated by the Major NATO Commanders country programme for 1962. Further, this is a new requirement for Canada and clearly would be very difficult to meet in 1962, even if the requirement were accepted.

The planned mechanization of the Canadian Brigade Group in Germany should be expedited.


SACEUR requests that this Brigade be mechanized by the end of 1962. This entails providing armoured personnel carriers to carry all the infantry, self-propelled mounts for the artillery, armoured command and communications vehicles and some armoured transport vehicles.

It is planned to do this by providing the Brigade Group with the Canadian BOBCAT, a tracked amphibious and armoured carrier which has been developed and which will permit the various configurations mentioned above to be built on a common chassis.

Present plans envisage first introduction of BOBCATS in the Brigade Group in 1964 with 500 vehicles being delivered by 1965. Acceleration of this programme could be costly and would entail some risk of introducing incompletely developed carriers with consequent reduction of operational effectiveness.

In the meanwhile, the Brigade Group has already been issued with sufficient extra wheeled transport to make it completely mobile and permit it to train for all types of operations.


SHAPE recommends that consideration be given to the pre-stocking of heavy equipment and supplies in Europe in connection with the possible deployment of M-Day infantry Division to Europe.


The question of pre-stocking heavy equipment and supplies in Europe is recognized as one factor bearing on the availability of the strategic reserve component. As indicated previously, this general problem is being studied, but it is too early to give a firm reply on any one aspect.


Air Force – Survivability of 1st Canadian Air Division


Canadian authorities have applied their research facilities to the overall problem of survival and in particular to the problem of ensuring survival of a portion of 1 Air Division’s forces in the face of nuclear attack. This problem is complicated by the planned change in role for this Air Division from air defence to that of strike reconnaissance. This change-over is planned to commence late next year and be completed during 1963. There is some question in our minds as to whether the dispersal facilities required for air defence would be a requirement with the change of role. Further study will be made of the problem of dispersal sites when concepts of use of deployment airfields by strike squadrons and of deployment and release of weapons for strike aircraft are developed. In general, solutions to problem of aircraft survival are being actively sought.
Aircrew-Aircraft Ratio

It should be noted that the recent augmentation of 1 Air Division personnel has increased the aircrew/aircraft ratio on the CF-100 and Sabre squadrons to 1.25 to 1. The problem of increasing the number of aircrew to that required also exists in the squadrons in Canada. The RCAF is and will continue to be involved for some time in a large training programme associated with the conversion of its Canadian based all-weather squadrons to the CF-101 aircraft and the conversion of 1 Air Division Sabre squadrons to CF-104 aircraft. It is planned that the CF-104 squadrons will be established at a 1.5 to 1 ratio. However, there are no plans to increase the aircrew/aircraft ratio of the Sabre and CF-100 squadrons.


Plan of Action

Present state of implementation of the measures taken in response to Commanders’ requests.


  1. The Ambassador has already outlined the measures which the Canadian government has authorized in response to the situation arising out of the Berlin crisis.
  2. Of these measures, the following will be implemented by 1 Jan 62.
  3. Army. The Brigade was strengthened by the dispatch to Europe in September of 765 officers and men. This brings units up to an increased war establishment greater than the figures indicated in our previous replies.
    1. SSM missile unit of 4 launchers arrives in Europe in December of this year.
    2. Plans exist to lift a further 1515 reinforcements by RCAF transport to Europe. Arrangements have been made for the reception of these aircraft at airfields in Europe and for the transport of these reinforcements from terminal airfields to Canadian reception units. By end of this year it will be possible to move these 1515 reinforcements to Europe within 48 hours. These reinforcements will arrive with personal weapons. They will be provided with other equipments from reserve stocks now held in Europe.
  4. Navy. The manning of ships in the fleet assigned to SACLANT has now been raised to 86%. This has been achieved by temporarily reducing certain shore establishments. It is not intended at this time to increase the percentage of manning of ships at the expense of other shore establishments as this would seriously affect ground training programmes.
  5. Air Force. Of the increase of 250 personnel for the Air Division in Europe, all are in position which now gives the Air Division a ratio of aircrew to aircraft of 1.25 to 1. These additions have also increased squadron maintenance capability and improved the operational status of 61 Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron. Further Implementation from 1 Jan 62
  6. Army. The armoured reconnaissance unit with the 4 CIBG will be strengthened by the addition of nine light helicopters which it is planned will arrive in Europe by the end of February 1962. In addition to the increase to the Brigade strength outlined, it is anticipated that the Canadian Army will increase its strength in Canada by approximately 3,600 by 1 Apr 62.
    Navy. It is anticipated that the Royal Canadian Navy will meet its increased manning figure by April 1963 and it is estimated that 1,000 of the projected increase of approximately 1,800 will be enrolled by April 1962.
    Air Force. As from 1 Jan 62, the additional increase of personnel strength in Canada will permit the RCAF an increased air transport capability by retaining in service a North Star Squadron which was to have been phased out as the Yukon heavy transport squadrons become operational.
    In addition to the increases and plans which have just been outlined, the Canadian government has approved certain other measures in response to the Berlin crisis which affect particularly the Canadian forces stationed in Canada.
    Army. The strength of the Canadian Army in Canada will be increased by a total of 10,600 all ranks in order to provide first reinforcements for the Brigade Group in Europe, to bring units in Canada up to full war establishment and to permit the formation of a divisional headquarters and immediate support units. These reinforcements will improve the combat effectiveness of the balance of 1st Canadian Infantry Division stationed in Canada and earmarked for assignment to SACEUR as part of the strategic reserve.
    Navy. A total increase of approximately 1,790 men will bring existing ships, the majority of which are earmarked to SACLANT, and certain other operational facilities up to the strength required for a prolonged emergency.
    Air Force. An increase of 950 will not only provide for the increased air transport capability mentioned before but will also permit the manning of certain radar stations.
    National Survival. At the same time, the Canadian government authorized certain expenditures connected with communications, training, and procurement of special equipments to be used by the services in their operations to support national survival plans.
    Mr. Chairman, in conclusion, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that all Canadian Armed Forces, including the reinforcements mentioned above are Regulars on long service contracts.



SECRET [Paris], November 20, 1961

Interim Review – Canadian Examination

Agenda Item C (II)

“Financial Implications of Measures with Respect to Berlin Plan of Action”

The degree of implementation of the measures taken in response to commanders’ requests as outlined by General Kitching, and the national survival measures which have been outlined earlier, will require additional expenditures during 1961-62.

The estimated additional expenditures amount to:

Navy $ 1.4 millions
Army 39.6 millions
Air Force 3.0 millions
$44.0 millions

  1. In addition to these estimated expenditures which are superimposed on the 1961-62 defence budget, there will be a deficiency in the RCAF capital appropriation of approximately $45 millions. This is due chiefly to the rate of expenditure on CF-104 aircraft which has been in excess of the provision for that expenditure in the budget. These two figures taken together would indicate an overall deficiency in existing appropriations of the order of $89 millions. There are, however, under-expenditures and savings in other elements of the defence appropriations for 1961-62 which will lead to a net deficiency of an estimated $36 millions. It will be necessary to seek a supplementary appropriation from Parliament.
  2. You will recall, Mr. Chairman, that in previous Annual Reviews we have often indicated that Canada’s contributions to NATO have always been expressed and conceived in physical terms and not on the basis of simple defence expenditures. I believe that the situation I have just described is a concrete example of what we have tried to explain, i.e. when a physical programme requires more money, we take steps to provide that money.

Part 5

Ministerial Meeting, Paris, December 13-15, 1961

309. PCO

Memorandum from Secretary of State for External Affairs to Cabinet

SECRET [Ottawa], December 6, 1961

Nato Ministerial Meeting, Paris, December 13-15 – Canadian Position

This is the annual meeting of the Foreign, Defence and Finance Ministers of NATO, which is held each December to discuss the main issues of international concern and to take stock of the overall defensive strength of the Alliance on the basis of the results of the Annual Review Examinations of the national defence efforts of member countries.
The agenda (copy of which is attached)† provides a general guide to the sequence in which the main items will be discussed. These are:

  • I Review of the International Situation
  • II Military Questions
  • III Any Other Business
  • IV Date and Place of Next Meeting
  • V Communiqué

It does not, however, reflect adequately the extent to which Berlin will be the central problem for discussion under Agenda Item I and is likely to permeate discussion throughout the meeting. It seems probable that at least all of the first day of the meeting will be devoted to this question, although there may also be some discussion of other important international developments, e.g. in Laos, the Congo and Vietnam.

On the military side, it is not expected that the agenda will give rise to the discussion of any controversial questions. These matters are traditionally dealt with on the second day of the meeting and involve mainly statements by the NATO Military Commanders (covering the present estimates of the Soviet military threat and overall strength of the NATO forces) and by individual Defence Ministers on the problems raised during the Annual Review process with particular reference to their respective national defence efforts. In addition, there may be some discussion this year of the special efforts which are being made by the NATO member countries to increase their defence contributions in the light of the Berlin emergency.

The other questions on which there may be some discussion are:

  1. Cooperation in research development and production and
  2. NATO civil emergency planning.

In the light of the broad outline set forth above, we have prepared the attached paper which sets out proposed guide lines on the central issues facing the forthcoming Ministerial meeting. I recommend that the attached paper be authorized as guidance for the Canadian Delegation at the December Ministerial meeting.




SECRET [Ottawa], December 6, 1961

Nato Ministerial Meeting, Paris, December 1961 Guide Lines for Canadian Delegation

I. East-west Relations and Berlin

East-West Relations

  1. The NATO Ministerial Meeting will be taking place against a background of some slight indications of a relaxation of international tensions, particularly arising from the removal of the December 31 deadline on Berlin,Footnote 69 and the publication of President Kennedy’s interview in the Soviet press.Footnote 70 The pressures in the city of Berlin are, however, still being maintained.
  2. These slight improvements in the international climate come after a period of intensification of pressures against the West and obvious disregard for public opinion which were notably at their peak during the recent Party Congress: for example, by resumption of nuclear tests – particularly the explosion of the 50 megaton bomb and the threatening attitude towards the independence of Finland.
  3. Seen against long-term Soviet policies it is unlikely that this relaxation is more than temporary but it may on the other hand be motivated, at least to some extent, by a desire to correct what has undoubtedly been a deterioration in the image of the Soviet Union among the non-committed nations resulting from the tough Soviet tactics referred to above and culminating in the explosion of the 50 megaton bomb.
  4. While this apparent change in Soviet attitude has its dangers for the West, it also provides an opportunity for progress in exploring a basis for negotiations with the Soviet Union when tensions have been eased and the West would not seem to be undertaking negotiations under threat.

Berlin – Negotiations

  1. In order to be able to take advantage of the present situation, it is of the utmost importance that the Alliance should reach an early agreement on a Western negotiating position.
  2. In the absence of such agreement, NATO members risk finding themselves faced with another crisis if Mr. Khrushchev chooses to resume pressures on Berlin with the West thereby losing the opportunity of undertaking negotiations on a reasonable basis.
  3. Canada believes that East-West negotiations on the Berlin problem should begin without further delay. If we delay opening negotiations, we run the risk of
    1. the Soviet Union signing a separate peace treaty with the East German régime, thereby (i) losing the opportunity of having the substance of a new four-power agreement incorporated in a Soviet-GDR treaty and (ii) being compelled to deal directly with the East German régime on Western rights of access;
    2. leaving ourselves vulnerable to gradual erosion of the Western position in Berlin and step-by-step encroachment on Western rights;
    3. allowing circumstances to continue until an even more dangerous situation could arise in Berlin.
  4. To get negotiations started, Canada agrees to the formula of the “narrow approach” (i.e. negotiations restricted to access to and the status of Berlin) as an initial negotiating position.
  5. Canada believes, however, that some of the broader aspects of the Berlin problem, to which the “narrow approach” in any event may well lead, will have to be examined as well. One broader consideration, which the Canadian Government consistently advocated as a means of obtaining a Berlin settlement of greater durability, would be to provide a role for the United Nations as part of any East-West agreements.
  6. NATO should also examine the problem of the public positions the West should adopt in respect to Berlin. While it may be sufficient to employ the “narrow approach” in the initial stages of negotiations, something more must be provided to explain the Western stand on Berlin to the public, both in the West and in the uncommitted nations.
    Berlin – Military Contingency Planning
  1. Canada recognizes that the association of all NATO members with the 1954 Three Power Declaration on BerlinFootnote 71 and various agreements reached in NATO since that time, particularly the 1958 NATO Declaration on Berlin,Footnote 72 constitute the specific commitments of the Alliance in respect of Berlin.
  2. The responsibilities of the Alliance as a whole in respect to Berlin bring with them a corresponding responsibility on the part of the three occupying powers to consult the Council regularly in respect of their contingency planning on Berlin. This responsibility stems not only from the NATO agreements referred to but from the simple fact that three-power action or response in Berlin could directly involve the Alliance as a whole.
  3. This wider responsibility of the Alliance was reflected in the discussions which were held in the Permanent Council last month to provide guide lines for the NATO military authorities to enable them to draw up plans which might be necessary in certain circumstances to complement the three-power contingency plans.
  4. Canada notes with satisfaction that the Council directive concerning NATO military planning for the Berlin crisis, as contained in PO 61/808, clearly specifies that “the execution of approved plans will be the subject of decisions by governments at the time.”
  5. We believe that while plans may be drawn up and submitted to governments for approval, government decisions at the time are essential to ensure that implementation of such plans is subordinated to the political objectives of the Alliance and in order to avoid the danger of escalation through retaliation. (This position is in conformity with Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty which reserves to each government the right to take “such action as it deems necessary” in the event of an attack on any member of the Alliance.)

NOTE: The question of economic countermeasures will be dealt with in a separate memorandum to Cabinet.Footnote 73

II. Military Questions

NATO Annual Review and Military Preparedness in Relation to Berlin

  1. While devoting our efforts on the political front to the initiation of early negotiations with the Soviet Union on Berlin, we must continue to maintain strong defences.
  2. The Canadian Government has consistently met its agreed military commitments to NATO and is gratified by the favourable response with which our efforts were received during this year’s annual review examination.
  3. In the light of the deteriorating international situation last summer, brought on by Soviet threats to encroach on the freedom of West Berlin and to deprive the West of its rights in that city, the Canadian Government took steps to increase the military preparedness of Canadian forces assigned to NATO, as well as forces which are required for the defence of the Canada-U.S. region. These measures, which were announced by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons on September 7, involved a total increase of approximately 15 thousand in the Canadian regular forces raising the present ceiling from 120,000 to 135,000 officers and men.
  4. Canada endorsed the directive agreed on at the 1961 Spring meeting in Oslo requesting the Council to continue its examination of defence questions and to develop for submission to the 1961 December meeting policy guidelines for NATO defence plans and programmes within the framework of agreed political and strategic guidance. In the event, however, it became clear that priority would have to be given in the Council discussions to developments relating to the Berlin crisis and to the improvement of the conventional strength of the forces of the Alliance. In the circumstances, Canada agreed with the United States proposal that further detailed study of long-term military planning should be deferred, because of the Berlin crisis, until after the 1961 Ministerial meeting.
  5. Canada intends to continue to maintain its agreed military contribution to NATO in its present high state of readiness and effectiveness.
    Cooperation in Research Development and Production
  1. Canada continues to support the NATO objectives for Cooperation in Research Development and Production and has participated actively in the Armament Committee’s “20 Projects Programme.”
  2. Sufficient experience has now been acquired to justify careful analysis of the present programme to determine whether it should be continued, expanded or redirected.
  3. If there is a meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in the Spring of 1962, this would provide a convenient forum for reviewing the programme.


NATO Civil Emergency Planning

  1. Canada supports the thesis that civil emergency planning is an essential complement to the military defences of the Western alliance and considers that both national and NATO authorities have responsibilities in this field.
  2. In accordance with recommendations made in the course of the Ministerial meeting in Oslo, we recently proposed in the Senior Committee that, as a further step in speeding up progress on the NATO aspects of civil emergency planning, the NATO international staff dealing with emergency planning should be strengthened. We would urge that when the detailed proposals that we are now preparing on this matter are submitted to the responsible NATO Committee, they will be given serious consideration.

IV. Date and Place of next Meeting

1. Foreign Ministers
The Greek Government has given notice that they will propose at the December Ministerial meeting that the normal Spring meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers be held in Athens in May 1962. It is recommended that Canadian Ministers be authorized to express Canadian concurrence.

2. Defence Ministers
There are indications that some Ministers may raise the question of holding a meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in the Spring.

As reports from our NATO Permanent Delegation indicate a difference of views between governments on this question, it is recommended that the Canadian Delegation be authorized to explore during the December Ministerial meeting the need for holding such a meeting of Defence Ministers.

310. PCO

Extract from Cabinet Conclusions

SECRET [Ottawa], December 7, 1961

  • The Prime Minister (Mr. Diefenbaker) in the Chair,
  • The Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Green),
  • The Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Hees),
  • The Minister of Transport (Mr. Balcer),
  • The Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Churchill),
  • The Minister of Justice (Mr. Fulton),
  • The Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Nowlan),
  • The Minister of National Defence (Mr. Harkness),
  • The Minister of Labour (Mr. Starr),
  • The Postmaster General (Mr. William Hamilton),
  • The Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Monteith),
  • The Minister of Defence Production (Mr. O’Hurley),
  • The Minister of Public Works (Mr. Walker),
  • The Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Halpenny).
  • The Secretary to the Cabinet (Mr. Bryce),
  • The Assistant Secretaries to the Cabinet (Dr. Hodgson), (Mr. Labarge).
    . . .

N.A.T.O. Ministerial Meeting; Policy to Be Followed by Canadian Delegation

(Previous reference December 5)

  1. The Secretary of State for External Affairs said that it was desirable to review the proposed agenda for the N.A.T.O. Ministerial meeting to be held in Paris on December 13th-15th, and to establish the guide lines for the Canadian delegation.
    An explanatory memorandum had been circulated, (Minister’s memorandum, Dec. 6 – Cab. Doc. 451-61).
    Report of Expert Group on Africa
    It was noted that the agenda contained an item calling for a Report of the Expert Group on Africa. The U.N. force in Africa had gone too far in attempting to force the Congolese into one federated nation, disregarding the tribal background and the varying degrees of development in the different sectors.
  2. The Secretary of State for External Affairs said that the first public reaction had been in favour of the Katangese but there was a good deal of information now reaching the outside to indicate that back of them were mercenaries employed by wealthy mining companies. If the U.N. had not gone in, the internecine struggle would have resulted in widespread slaughter. Canada sat on the Congo Committee in the U.N., and had been very influential in preventing extreme measures being taken. Canada had troops in Katanga and must either back the U.N. or let it down. Britain’s reaction against the military action of the U.N. force has been influenced by her other African interests, particular in Rhodesia. At the moment, the British were in an uncomfortable position.
  3. The Minister of National Defence said that the taking over of Katanga by military force was not practical. Only a few centres could be successfully captured. The rest of the country would continue tribal warfare in the jungles. The further military action was carried, the greater the difficulties will be.
  4. During the discussion the following points were raised:
    1. Some felt that Canada would be embarrassed were the U.N. to ask for more white troops. Others said that this was unlikely as there would be little use in sending more white troops into Africa. More African and Asian nations had recently been added to the U.N. force. At the moment, Canada was not likely to get any requests for additional troops. The Canadian personnel in Africa were dispersed in small groups attached to various unit headquarters.
    2. Some said that this would be a good time for Canada to withdraw her troops. On the other hand, this would leave the U.N. force in Africa in a hopeless state, as it depended almost entirely on Canadian signal units to maintain its communications.
    3. Some said that Canada should not take a public stand against the U.N.’s use of force, but that it might be pointed out, personally, to the Secretary-General of the U.N. how public feeling was against this latest move.
      East-West Relations and Berlin
    4. During the discussion the following emerged
      1. Some said that pressure might be exerted at the Ministerial meeting in favour of early negotiations over Berlin. This raised the question as to whether Canada should add its weight to such a demand. Considerable differences of view still existed between France and the United States with West Germany caught in the middle.
      2. It was said that the Americans were in favour of early negotiations, and in this they had the backing of the British. France would not even consider talking to Russia under present circumstances.
      3. Some said that Canada should not get involved in these differences. It appeared that de Gaulle had a reasonable argument based on the premise that there was nothing to be gained by negotiating with Russia, and therefore the longer negotiations were delayed the longer the status quo was likely to be maintained.
      4. There was no need for Canada to become involved in any argument regarding negotiations, as the government’s position had been stated by the Prime Minister as being in favour of negotiations.
    5. The Cabinet noted the agenda and the guide lines for the Canadian delegation to the N.A.T.O. Ministerial meeting to be held in Paris on December 13th-15[th, 1961.]
      . . .

311. DEA/50341-40

Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Council to Secretary of State for External Affairs

TELEGRAM 3378 [Paris], December 13, 1961
Repeat for Information: Washington, London, Brussels, Bonn, Hague, Rome, Paris (OpImmediate).
By Bag Copenhagen, Oslo, Ankara, Athens, Lisbon from London.

Nato Ministerial Meeting – Item 1(a) East-west Relations and Berlin

As foreseen, discussion on the first item of agenda “International Situation” was focused on problem of Berlin and whether and on what basis negotiations should be undertaken with USSR. This discussion took place in restricted session with two advisers for each delegation only present in addition to ministers and permanent representatives.

  1. Secretary Rusk opening discussion, analysed Berlin problem against a background of a NATO strengthened militarily, economically and politically confronted by the program of world revolution backed by the large resources of the Sino-Soviet bloc. Soviet pressures on Berlin had not repeat not abated, although there had been, what he called, some procedural improvement such as the removal of the year end deadline and recognition by USSR that it could not repeat not merely abandon its occupation rights or transfer its responsibility to the GDR. These Soviet offensive tactics were to some extent at least, the result of Communist failures in GDR, as evidenced by the outflow of refugees. Berlin no repeat no doubt, was a real thorn in Soviet flesh and Khrushchev is trying to pass it on to the West. On the other hand, Berlin was subject to continued pressure and must be sustained against Communist erosion of the freedom of movement in and out of West Berlin. Proposals put forward by Khrushchev so far carried dangers not repeat not only to Berlin but to NATO. To meet these dangers a policy of firmness and determination was required as well as unity. It was also important in a dangerous situation that Khrushchev should not repeat not be under any illusions regarding Western firmness so that he should not repeat not fall into the errors of other dictators of miscalculating the risks of war and taking chances with a dangerous gamble.
  2. Rusk stresses the need for continuing consultation among allies on Berlin to ensure unity and the need for search for a peaceful solution. If essential interests of the West were threatened by the Russians, the Alliance would be faced with a casus belli and it was therefore essential to have tried to reach agreement. He said that a tolerable modus vivendi was possible.
  3. By way of reply to French reluctance to open negotiations, Rusk said there was no repeat no need to fear talks with the Russians. The West certainly would not repeat not give away what it was prepared to fight for and essential positions could therefore be maintained. The negotiators could always say no repeat no.
  4. In all the recent talks with Gromyko, no repeat no solutions had emerged but opportunities for further talks were left open. There was a degree of vagueness in Soviet position which offered some possibilities.
  5. Rusk cautioned against the premature convoking of a formal negotiation, which would have to be conducted in the glare of publicity and would engage the positions of leaders on both sides. In his view, it was preferable to continue probing through diplomatic channels on a basis agreed to by the Western Four. In that way we would know how and when a basis for a peaceful settlement had been reached.
  6. On the question of timing of resuming probing, Rusk said it should take place sooner rather than later. He was not repeat not ready to leave the initiative to the other side.
  7. In private conversation later, Rusk indicated that while he had reached a reasonably satisfactory understanding with French Government about further contacts with the Russians, which would amount, in his view, to the opening of negotiations, it was still difficult to commit de Gaulle to any public acknowledgment of such an understanding as for instance in a communiqué.
  8. Schroeder (Germany) spoke second emphasizing known German positions. Germany was not repeat not alone in facing the supreme challenge of Berlin. It did not repeat not fear being isolated because they felt they could count on the Alliance. In fact, NATO had been strengthened as a result of the artificial crisis fomented by Khrushchev over Berlin.
  9. German Government would be prepared to work towards a modus vivendi on Berlin issue provided it did not repeat not prejudice in any way a settlement of German problem on the whole nor impair communications between Berlin and the Federal Republic. He also stressed that not repeat not only the economic viability of Berlin be maintained but also its psychological facilities, otherwise through exodus of Berlin citizens and withdrawal of investment, Berlin risked becoming an empty shell.
  10. Schroeder was particularly emphatic about non-recognition of the GDR de jure or de facto. The most that could be accepted would be contacts between West and East German officials at the technical level to facilitate access, but this would be without prejudice to Western rights. Germany Government was also willing to reiterate its renunciation of force in solving Berlin problem and enter into a unilateral non-aggression discussion with regard to the Warsaw Pact countries.
  11. Schroeder emphasized that any modus vivendi on Berlin would not repeat not mean abandonment of the ultimate aim of reunification. He urged that the unnatural division of the people in the heart of [Europe?] could not repeat not be lived with indefinitely. The main emphasis now should be on the solidarity of the Alliance. Before concluding Schroeder gave a summarized report on conditions in East Germany. Although thousands had left the East zone, no repeat no uprisings could be expected because of the known capacity of the Ulbricht régime to suppress any effort at liberation. Indeed the policy of repression was being stepped up and any proposed deStalinization was superficial. There was no repeat no sign of relaxation of the totalitarian dictatorship in the East zone. It was therefore important not repeat not to give the impression to East Germany that they were forgotten and this made it all the more important that NATO arise to give their support in assuring the freedom of the people of West Berlin in maintaining the policy of non-recognition of the Pankow authorities.
  12. Segni (Italy) and Krag (Denmark) both advocated continued efforts to establish a basis of negotiations with USSR. Krag also gave assurance of Denmark’s staunchness in the face of Soviet pressures over Baltic command and Finland. He also informed Council of the warning note delivered today to Denmark by USSR, which reiterates the old Soviet charge that the “Baltic command converts the Baltic sea into a concentration area for aggression against USSR.”
  13. Spaak (Belgium) followed with the most direct attack on French position and the most powerful appeal for negotiation. NATO was faced, he said, with the choice of either to continue a peaceful foreign policy allowing nature to take its course or to take more positive action to deal with the threatening situation. He urged that NATO take the initiative away from the Russians, who could always be counted upon to use threats to gain their ends and to face NATO with fait accompli. Situation in Berlin was deteriorating and no repeat no time should be lost to establish a basis of negotiation. While endorsing the “narrow approach,” he warned against public discussion of negotiating position. Western essential requirements should be stated clearly and precisely. As to the refinements mentioned by Rusk about further probing and diplomatic contacts as against formal negotiation, Spaak asked who or what was left to probe. Soviets were probing the West while not repeat not divulging any of their own fallback or final position. It was no repeat no sign of weakness in negotiating, the only weakness is to be weak in negotiation.
  14. Luns (Netherland) gave strong support to German thesis, emphasizing that there should be no repeat no recognition of GDR or negotiation on European security issues involving disengagement or demilitarization or even denuclearization of Germany beyond the limitations that country has already accepted. Indeed Germany needed to be drawn more closely into NATO through the integrated force including the furnishing of nuclear weapons. He took direct issue with French position on negotiations, emphasizing that time was not repeat not on our side.
  15. Couve de Murville (France) made an unconvincing and rather half-hearted restatement of the well known French thesis against negotiations. The issue was not repeat not Berlin. The manufactured crisis involved, in fact, the future and fate of Germany and therefore of Europe and of NATO and finally of France itself. Soviet objective was the neutralization of West Germany and dissolution of NATO through the detachment from it of Germany and, if possible, Scandinavian countries. It was for this reason France was seeking a new equilibrium in Europe to shield itself from Soviets. Presumably an oblique reference to the EEC.
  16. NATO was involved in a trial of strength against Soviet pressures and intimidation with the possible risk of atomic war. Main reaction from the military side had been USA military contribution, but France had done what it could. Crisis should be faced with firmness and dignity and maximum resolution should be displayed in protecting essential Western interests.
  17. As regard negotiations, France had never resisted negotiations in principle. Question was essentially under what conditions should negotiations take place. There were two essential prior conditions: (a) not repeat not to negotiate under threat of blackmail, (b) that West should know what to negotiate about. Neither condition obtained now. Khrushchev had renewed his threats and Soviet had merely reiterated its unacceptable proposals. He said that he had spoken to Mayor Brandt, who urged negotiations because of increased anxieties in Berlin, but in Couve’s view, anxiety of Berliners would increase if negotiations, as probably would be the case, resulted in a compromise between the present status and the demands of the Soviets. He indicated that no repeat no agreement would be better than a bad agreement.
  18. Rusk had said that no repeat no agreed basis of negotiation had existed with USSR but further probes would be necessary to try to establish whether such a basis exists. Couve said that French Government was not repeat not opposed to that position. He concluded, however, by emphasizing that it would be unrealistic to expect that out of such negotiations settlements would be reached amounting to a détente and that unity and firmness among allies was essential.
  19. I followed speaking from a text which has been sent to you by separate telegram.†
  20. Lange (Norway) supported my contention that it was essential to get negotiations going without delay, drawing on his recent talks with Khrushchev. He was particularly concerned about the evident hardening of public conditions on both sides. French argument against negotiations seemed to be related mainly to the long term Soviet threat but was not repeat not a valid argument in dealing with immediate threat of erosion of Western position in Berlin. The present exodus from Berlin gave real cause for concern and made Khrushchev feel that the time is on his side. He was in favour of agreeing on the “narrow approach” for opening negotiations and supported our case about a UN presence being helpful in giving Berliners a sense of security and viability. He also supported Krag in assuring Council that the Scandinavians would resist blackmail from USSR over Baltic command and Finland. Lange warned that latest Soviet note to Denmark with its ominous tone and oblique references to Finland might indicate that Kekonen’s understanding with Khrushchev might be short lived.
  21. Home (UK) in general supported Rusk’s approach. Berlin crisis had to be considered against a background of what he called the “militant intervention in international affairs by the Sino-Soviet Bloc.” This required two responses (a) military preparedness including nuclear threat and assurance against any vacuum into which Communist forces might infiltrate and (b) find a degree of agreement or at least tolerance with USSR. Policies of force and negotiation were essentially complementary. People faced with the prospect of being blown into atomic dust had to have the assurance that everything possible had been done to reach agreement. He did not repeat not quarrel with French thesis that the question had to be seen in the German and European setting, but this did not repeat not constitute an effective argument against negotiating now. Our requirements were clearly established and the Russians could be expected to make counter proposals. Concessions should not repeat not be made without extraction of matching concessions. His conversations with Gromyko, he claimed, had persuaded Russians of the dangers inherent in turning Soviet rights of controlled access over to the GDR which could lead collision with Western rights into a conflict. This might have been responsible for the removal of Soviet ultimatum and the date on which USSR would sign an agreement with East Germany. While the Russians may have also suffered some defeat by having to erect a wall to keep East Germans in, the erosion of the Western position through sustained pressures were working against the West. On balance, therefore, time was not repeat not on our side. If we waited longer, the West might be faced with an even more dangerous crisis and the pressures for concessions on the West would be correspondingly greater.
  22. Sarper (Turkey) and Averoff (Greece) both advocated early negotiations. Turkey emphasized, however, that negotiations should not repeat not be at any price. Averoff recalled that Khrushchev was regarded as a bold reformer in Communist world with many enemies, was looking for a quick diplomatic success and the West should be on the lookout against his wiles in trying to attain it.
  23. Greece’s only hope of keeping out of war arising from neighbouring Communist pressures rested on the Alliance.
  24. Secretary-General, in summing up, justifiably described this as an interesting and rewarding discussion, conducted with the seriousness and fullness which the subject warranted. He would not repeat not attempt a summation because, although there was large measure of agreement, one government was definitely opposed to negotiation, although not repeat not opposed to diplomatic contact with USSR. He indicated that further private discussions would be carried on in the hope of reflecting the greatest possible measure of unity in the communiqué.
  25. A Communiqué Drafting Committee was set up by Secretary-General consisting of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Turkey, UK and USA, other delegations being welcomed to participate, which we are doing.

312. PCO

Extract from Cabinet Conclusions

SECRET [Ottawa], December 18, 1961


  • The Prime Minister (Mr. Diefenbaker) in the Chair,
  • The Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Green),
  • The Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming),
  • The Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Hees),
  • The Minister of Transport (Mr. Balcer),
  • The Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Churchill),
  • The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (Mrs. Fairclough),
  • The Minister of Fisheries (Mr. MacLean),
  • The Minister of Labour (Mr. Starr),
  • The Postmaster General (Mr. William Hamilton),
  • The Solicitor General (Mr. Browne),
  • The Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Monteith),
  • The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Alvin Hamilton),
  • The Minister of Defence Production (Mr. O’Hurley),
  • The Minister of Public Works (Mr. Walker),
  • The Associate Minister of National Defence (Mr. Sévigny),
  • The Minister of Forestry (Mr. Flemming),
  • The Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources (Mr. Dinsdale),
  • The Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Halpenny).
  • The Secretary to the Cabinet (Mr. Bryce),
  • The Assistant Secretaries to the Cabinet (Dr. Hodgson), (Mr. Watters).
    . . .

N.A.T.O. Ministerial Meeting; Oral Report

(Previous reference December 7)

  1. The Secretary of State for External Affairs said that the main discussion at the recent N.A.T.O. Ministerial Meeting had been aimed at determining the attitude of the member countries towards negotiation with the Soviet Union on the Berlin question. All fourteen countries in the alliance, except France, were in favour of negotiation. General de Gaulle, however, had taken the attitude that the time was not opportune for any negotiation on Berlin as long as the U.S.S.R. was making threats. Canada’s position, which was shared by all other countries except France, was that the Western Alliance should maintain a position of military strength and be ready at any time to negotiate.
    France, Germany, Britain and the United States had met the previous day on the Berlin situation and had discussed what might be said of it in the communiqué.Footnote 74 Because of the attitude of France, the communiqué did not reflect the views of the other members of the Alliance. In essence, the communiqué said that the diplomats of the countries more concerned should explore with Russia whether there was a basis for negotiation, rather than saying that there should be negotiation.
    When the communiqué was presented M. Spaak of Belgium had taken a strong line that this was not good enough and that there should be a direct statement of intention to negotiate. Canada and Norway supported M. Spaak. The U.S., having agreed with France said nothing.
    An attempt had been made by the U.K. to include a reference in the communiqué to the desirability of the U.K. joining the Common Market, but this had been eliminated by the Canadian representatives.
    The key paragraph part of the communiqué was as follows:
    “The Council heard statements on Berlin by the foreign ministers of the countries most directly concerned, and was informed of the intention to resume diplomatic contacts with the U.S.S.R., in accordance with the aims which the West is pursuing for the maintenance of world peace and in the hope that these contacts might serve to determine whether a basis for negotiation could be found. Their colleagues approved the resumption of diplomatic contacts and expressed the hope that a negotiated settlement could be achieved. After full discussion of the situation, the Council agreed that the Alliance must continue on its resolute course, combining strength and firmness of purpose with a readiness to seek solutions by peaceful means.”
  2. Mr. Green, in answer to questions as to what there was to negotiate between the Western Alliance and the U.S.S.R. over Berlin, replied that there was,
    1. the form of control over Berlin;
    2. a treaty replacing the present occupation rights;
    3. the possible presence of the U.N. in West Berlin;
    4. the terms of access to West Berlin;
    5. the boundaries of Germany.
    He went on to say that the second major item discussed was the problem of U.N. intervention in Katanga. M. Spaak of Belgium was critical of the U.N. operations against Katanga. He was supported by Britain and France. Britain appealed for the help of the others in bringing about an immediate cease-fire. The U.S. supported U.N. action in Katanga.
    The press had said, on the day following the meeting, that all fourteen countries were against U.N. intervention in Katanga, so the Canadian delegation and some others had felt obliged to tell the press that they supported the U.N. action.
  3. The Prime Minister said he had received many telegrams criticizing the Canadian attitude in not supporting an immediate cease-fire.
  4. Mr. Green pointed out that the U.N. force in Katanga was opposed by mercenary troops paid for by private mining companies and that, if Katanga were successful in its bid for secession, Leopoldville would follow and Communist influence in the area would increase.
  5. Mr. Green said further that he had been re-assured to hear from the U.S., in great detail an indication of the state of their nuclear striking power in ballistic missiles and aircraft. They now believed they had marked superiority over the U.S.S.R. in these weapons. The U.S. also was sincerely trying to make the alliance work and consistently supported the U.N. as well. He was well satisfied with their behaviour. Mr. Rush had stated explicitly that, if there was an attack on any of their allies, the U.S. would be in at once. He spoke as strongly as Dulles had in 1957.
    He went on to say that Canada’s position in N.A.T.O. was becoming more difficult. West Germany was doing all it could to secure a nuclear striking force by N.A.T.O. and nuclear weapons for West Germany. Europe would become stronger in a military sense as well as economically as time went on, and with the formation of a United States of Europe they would become more aggressive. This would probably lead to their going to war with Russia eventually.
    At the moment, he said, France was unsettled politically and there might be danger of civil war as a result of the intervention of the Army in the political situation.
    Britain would say nothing to disturb France at the present time because of her desire to enter the Common Market. This would undoubtedly have an effect on Britain’s relations with the Commonwealth.
  6. Mr. Fleming confirmed that this was also his conclusion.
  7. Mr. Green said that Canada now amounted to very little in the N.A.T.O. picture.
  8. The Cabinet noted the report of the Secretary of State for External Affairs on the North Atlantic Council Ministerial Meeting held in Paris on December 13th-15th, 1961.
    . . .

313. DEA/50102-AD-40

Secretary of State for External Affairs to Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Council

DESPATCH NO. DL-863 Ottawa, December 19, 1961
Reference: NATO telegrams 3379 of December 14† and 3405 of December 15.†

Nato Ministerial Meeting – December 13-15

It was hoped that the NATO Ministerial Meeting just concluded would demonstrate allied unity in the face of Soviet pressures over Berlin. Instead it revealed some specific differences, and even more serious potential differences in the making – serious enough to require some careful thought and analysis of their implications, as they may affect Canadian interests and the future of the Alliance.

  1. Some consolation can be derived from the communiqué which, by keeping to generalities, was able to reflect agreement in general terms among the allies in their approach to world-wide problems. Thus the declaratory first part of the communiqué reaffirmed that the aims of the Alliance are a stable order and the seeking of peace and disarmament. The members of the Alliance agreed to reaffirm the pledges with regard to Berlin they had taken in 1954 and repeated in 1958 to defend the Western rights and freedom of the people of Berlin. They also agreed to tighten the military, political and economic links between them in the face of the Soviet threats. But even agreement on these basic goals is susceptible to serious strains on closer scrutiny.
  2. Some of the more important implications for Canada of current and potential differences within the Alliance are examined in the attached memorandum. Since these differences relate to policy questions on which important decisions may have to be taken in the coming months, I would welcome your comments and the comments of the other Heads of Mission to whom this despatch and enclosure are being sent.





Nato Ministerial Meeting – December 13-15

I. Berlin

The meeting, which focussed on Berlin almost to the exclusion of all other issues, revealed that United States leadership and policy-making for the Alliance are being effectively challenged by France.
The important point at issue was what should be the appropriate diplomatic move to be made towards the Soviet Union over Berlin. The U.S.A. and Britain evidently wanted to proceed to something approaching negotiations – at least renewed diplomatic probing as a prelude to negotiations – without further delay. General de Gaulle, on the other hand – with or without the tacit consent of Bonn – took the position that it was wrong to enter into negotiations because this would mean concessions which the Anglo-Saxon powers might be willing to make at the expense of not only Berlin, but of the entire security position in Central Europe.
Despite support for the U.K.-U.S. position from virtually all members, and a vigorous counter-attack on the French position led by M. Spaak, the French would not budge beyond reluctant agreement that contact should be established through diplomatic channels to see whether a basis for negotiations could be found. In particular, M. Couve de Murville refused to permit any language in the communiqué which would reflect any allied desire for a settlement by negotiations. Because of the over-riding American preoccupation with the need for Western solidarity in the face of a grave Soviet challenge, Mr. Rusk decided to yield to French intransigence and to accept the compromise wording suggested by Mr. Stikker and eventually incorporated in paragraph 8 of the communiqué. The West German Government whose interest naturally is focussed almost to the exclusion of any other consideration on the Berlin and German issues, was able to shelter at this meeting under the self-appointed guardianship of General de Gaulle. Despite the apparent agreement reached between Chancellor Adenauer and President Kennedy at the Washington meeting on the desirability of negotiations, the German Foreign Minister seemed content to allow the argument to proceed without his intervention, on the basis of the French Government against the rest of the Alliance. The argument was resolved in an unsatisfactory compromise reflecting an obvious allied difference, only when Secretary Rusk threatened to part company with his French and German colleagues in support of M. Spaak’s demand that the communiqué should register an allied desire to enter into negotiations.
Since the German problem (of which Berlin is only a symptom or a symbol) is the only East-West problem which seriously affects central Soviet security interests (as it does Western security interests) and is therefore the only issue capable of leading directly to world war, Canada’s interest in the outcome of this inter-allied difference is of fundamental importance. Pressure has been and will continue to be exerted on Canada to maintain the solidarity of the Alliance in the face of Soviet pressures on Berlin. Canada may be faced with the dilemma that it may only be possible to maintain solidarity on terms which may heighten the risk of war and in circumstances where Canada may have a minimal voice, as compared with the influence of the Bonn-Paris partnership, in controlling the situation through the North Atlantic Council.
In summary, it was evident at the meeting that Europe, currently under French-German leadership, is becoming increasingly unwilling to entrust the security of Europe entirely to American hands; that Europe now feels strong enough to insist on having a dominant voice in determining the fate and destiny of Europe; that France used the NATO Council for a political demonstration of Europe’s ability to challenge USA leadership of the Western Alliance. In all this the normally influential voice of the U.K. was scarcely heard – presumably because of imminent membership in the EEC. The big question still remaining unanswered however is who will eventually dominate the European grouping – France and Germany or the U.K.

II. The Atlantic Concept vs the Third Force

The meeting also revealed that the movement towards European economic and political unity through the EEC, now in a somewhat incomplete form, shows signs of having achieved a momentum towards completion by the possible inclusion of the U.K. and of taking on the shape of a third force capable of exercising influence as an independent world power grouping.

Since power in dealing with both the Soviet Union and the U.S. must be measured in terms of nuclear capability, it is a notable fact that France and Germany – each in a different way – are now embarked on policies aimed at obtaining control over nuclear weapons. France, having failed to secure nuclear weapons on equal terms from the U.S., is going ahead with the development of a nuclear weapons programme and its own force de frappe which the foreign editor of Le Monde, André Fontaine, has described as “… the central point of Gaullist doctrine in foreign and defence policy,” Le Monde, December 16. This nuclear force would be nationally controlled and is expected to be operative in accordance with President de Gaulle’s plans within three years. The Germans, on the other hand, realizing that they are committed under their agreement with the allies of 1954 to renunciation of nationally produced or developed nuclear arms, are working towards a NATO-controlled nuclear force with the weapons supplied by the U.S.A. Defence Minister Strauss called for progress in the studies on the problems relating to the establishment of a multilateral MRBM NATO force and asked that the matter be treated as one of urgency.

The control of this nuclear force under NATO would give rise to crucial problems for Canada, as it would dilute the U.S.A.’s exclusive control over the issues of war or peace. In order to overcome the alleged disadvantages of having “fifteen fingers on the trigger,” proposals under consideration by the Secretary-General and likely to emerge when discussions on this question take place in the Council may have the effect of giving a select group of countries the power of decision on the use of nuclear weapons committed to NATO. This group might well consist of the Six of EEC plus the U.S. and U.K., with a high degree of regional control over use in emergency situations.

The position of all European NATO members on this question is still not clear but those members in favour justify their plea for a NATO nuclear force mainly as a reassurance that European interests would not be sacrificed by the U.S.A. when faced with a Soviet threat directed against a European target alone. The solution of putting nuclear weapons under the control of a select group, however, raises in another form the Gaullist concept of a directoire which in fact could decide the issue of war and peace on behalf of the Alliance and involve Canada in nuclear devastation without proper consultation. Moreover, giving Germany control over nuclear weapons in any form may result in a violent Soviet reaction as it may be regarded by them as a “last straw” in NATO capitulation to German militarism.

The Administration in Washington seems to be fully aware of these problems and also of the need to improve NATO’s conventional forces. It appears to be willing but in no hurry to share its control over nuclear weapons with its European partners, quite apart from the constitutional impediments to shared control. The United States position was set forth in President Kennedy’s Ottawa speech when he said the U.S.A. was willing to “commit to the NATO command area five – and subsequently still more – Polaris atomic missile submarines subject to any agreed NATO guidelines on their control and use and responsive to the needs of all members but still credible in an emergency. Beyond this we look to the possibility of eventually establishing a NATO sea-borne missile force which would be truly multilateral in ownership and control, if this should be desired and found feasible by our allies once NATO’s non-nuclear goals have been achieved.”Footnote 75

III. Relations with the United Nations

The discussion on the Katanga issue at the Ministerial meeting demonstrated more than ever how France and the U.K. particularly will resist subordinating their national interests to those of the U.N. Over Katanga, the British, French, Belgians, with the support of the other former colonial powers including the Netherlands and Portugal, took the view that the U.N. appeared to be acting well beyond its functions under the U.N. Charter, and challenged U.S. support for the U.N. Only Canada and Norway voiced support for Secretary Rusk, arguing that the world organization had a primary obligation to protect its personnel from the harassment of the Katangan authorities. Denmark, Iceland, Luxembourg, Italy, Greece and Turkey remained silent, but it can be assumed that most of them would support the U.N. NATO is therefore divided on this issue on colonial lines.

But the attitude of scepticism and even hostility went far beyond the expression of mere doubt about the propriety of the current U.N. operation in Katanga. France, in particular, poured scorn on the U.N. and the Secretary-General showed bias against the U.N. in his summing up of the Ministerial discussion. He also reiterated the call for NATO examination of the voting positions adopted by members in the U.N. with a view to establishing a unified approach.

This attitude of hostility shows signs of increasing as the Alliance falls increasingly under the influence of the Bonn-Paris partnership. After all, West Germany, not being a member of the U.N., can afford to be indifferent to its influence and fate. France, in its approach to its colonial problems, has directly rejected U.N. intervention and regards the enlarged membership of the Assembly as an undesirable challenge to French national interests.

This development exposes NATO not only to isolation as a group in the U.N. but of presenting a public image of an organization dedicated to the protection of the higher standard of life of the privileged few enjoying the benefits of a highly industrialized civilization, in a world where the “have-nots” predominate.

The course of increasing self-sufficiency which the Western Europeans seem to wish to chart for themselves may also tend to confront the world with a group which under the EEC practices economic discrimination and in the U.N. practises political non-cooperation with the newly emerging countries of Africa and Asia, which may therefore tend to turn increasingly to Soviet leadership. In such circumstances, Canadians would find it increasingly difficult in making a choice between supporting NATO and the U.N. The NATO which they joined was one in which the necessity of finding a means of exercising the right of self-defence under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter was clearly subordinated to the pursuit of the kind of world approach set out in the preamble of the Charter. In fact the preamble to the North Atlantic Treaty and the non-military Article 2 were among the justifications used in explaining Canadian membership in the Alliance to the Canadian public. If the European component of the Alliance were now to show itself increasingly out of sympathy with the approach to world-wide problems required of members of the U.N. under the Charter, support for the NATO in Canada might substantially suffer.

IV. Conclusion

The tendencies examined above which may lead the European group in NATO to ever greater self-sufficiency – economically, militarily and politically on discriminatory terms – pose serious problems for Canada. Because of its geographical location Canada, of necessity, does not belong to this group. Also because this whole tendency leads towards further divisions in the world through the creation of artificial barriers, Canada, as a member of the Commonwealth, as well as of the U.N., might find it increasingly difficult to accommodate its national interests in NATO if the Alliance were to go further in this direction. Urgent thought is therefore required in the analysis of these trends.

314. DEA/50102-AD-40

Report by Delegation to NATO Ministerial Meeting

SECRET [Ottawa], December 28, 1961

Nato Ministerial Meeting – Paris – December 13-15


Although the intended theme of the meeting was to be NATO unity in the face of Soviet pressures over Berlin, the discussions revealed important differences on the central issue of what should be the appropriate diplomatic move to be made to the Soviet Union over Berlin. Views also differed sharply on the role and responsibilities of the U.N. in the Congo. Defence questions did not figure prominently in the discussion; but the more important statements by Mr. Strauss, the German Defence Minister, and Mr. McNamara, the United States Secretary of Defence, revealed some basic differences of approach to major defence issues.

In contrast with the meeting of Foreign Ministers in Oslo earlier in the year, the December meeting was marked by an absence of cordiality, a lack of organization and frequent leakages to the press.

Item I – Review of the International Situation

East-West Relations and Berlin

The meeting, which focussed on Berlin almost to the exclusion of all other issues, revealed that United States leadership and policy making for the Alliance are being effectively challenged by France.

U.S. Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, opened the discussion with an analysis of the Berlin problem against a background of an alliance, strengthened militarily, economically and politically, but confronted with the problem of world revolution espoused by the Sino-Soviet bloc and backed by its significant and growing resources. Soviet pressures on Berlin had not abated although there had been what he called “some procedural improvements” such as the removal of the December 31 deadline and an acknowledgement by the Soviet Union that any responsible discussion on Berlin must occur between the Soviet Union and the Western powers and not between the Western powers and the so-called “German Democratic Republic.”

These Soviet offensive tactics were to some extent, at least, the result of Communist failures in the G.D.R., as evidenced by the outflow of refugees. West Berlin has indeed been a thorn in Soviet flesh; Communist failures have put pressures on Mr. Khrushchev who is trying to pass those pressures on to the West for a far-reaching new solution of the Berlin problem. On the other hand, Berlin was subject to continued pressure and must be sustained against Communist erosion. The minimum elements of “a tolerable modus vivendi” are that “the West Berliners be protected against engulfment, that they be supported against erosion … that they enjoy free access to the rest of the world, including uncensored access, in order that the East Germans will not be in a position to determine who shall move back and forth … We believe that they must continue to be in a position to exercise their own free choice with respect to their institutions, their laws, their protection and their relations with others and that close relations with the Federal Republic should be sustained.”

The proposals put forward so far by Mr. Khrushchev carried dangers not only to Berlin but to NATO. To meet these dangers a policy of firmness and determination was required as well as unity. It was also important in a dangerous situation that Mr. Khrushchev should not be under any illusions regarding Western firmness so that he should not fall into the errors of other dictators of miscalculating the risks of war and taking chances with a dangerous gamble. The United States attached great importance to the measures of a military nature which have been discussed in NATO “because we think those military measures are themselves eloquent. Indeed I think that one has found in this autumn period a certain degree of caution in Mr. Khrushchev which was missing in the summer.” Mr. Rusk stressed the need for continuing Allied consultation on Berlin to ensure unity and the need to search for a peaceful solution. With a policy of firmness must go a readiness, through responsible contacts with the Soviet Union, to search for peaceful solutions. If West Berlin engages the vital interests of the West and “if attack upon those vital interests is a causus belli, then it would seem to us that it is of great importance that we establish effective contact with the other side in order that a crisis should not move too far, too fast and on an uninformed basis.”

The United States did not know “whether it is possible to find a basis for negotiation in the classic sense,” but given the issues and the dangers it was wise and prudent to maintain effective contact in order to find out what possibilities exist for a peaceful settlement. There was no need to fear a negotiation in which we would give away that which we would be prepared to fight for. The negotiators could always say no. In all the recent talks with Mr. Gromyko, no basis of negotiation had emerged but certain questions were left open; a degree of vagueness was present which left the way for further exploration.

Mr. Rusk cautioned against the premature convoking of a formal negotiation which would have to be conducted in the formal glare of publicity and would engage the positions of leaders on both sides. In his view, it was preferable to continue probing through diplomatic channels on a basis agreed to by the Western Four. In that way “we may discover how, whether and when the possibilities for a peaceful settlement can be found.” On the question of timing of resumed probings, Mr. Rusk said it should take place sooner rather than later. He was not ready to leave the initiative to the other side.

The new German Foreign Minister, Mr. Schroeder, following Mr. Rusk, outlined well-known German positions. Germany was not alone in facing the supreme challenge of Berlin. They did not fear being isolated because they felt they could count on the Alliance. In fact NATO had been strengthened as a result of the artificial crisis fomented by Mr. Khrushchev over Berlin.

The West should envisage negotiating either about the comprehensive problem involving German reunification and European security, or about a very restricted subject such as some aspects of the Berlin problem. While it was probable that the restricted subject would be the best point of departure, negotiations of this nature will not lead to a final solution of the Berlin problem which was only conceivable in terms of reunification with Berlin as the capital.

Germany would be prepared to work towards a modus vivendi provided it did not prejudice in any way the settlement of the Berlin problem as a whole. The “main hope of these negotiations would be to improve access.” He also stressed the importance of preserving the “psychological viability of West Berlin” which depended on the maintenance of economic, financial and political links with the Federal Republic. Otherwise through the exodus of citizens and the withdrawal of investment Berlin risked becoming an empty shell whose defence would be pointless.

Mr. Schroeder was particularly emphatic about non-recognition of the East German régime either de jure or de facto. If recognition were granted to the régime, this would only encourage the Soviets to attempt further expansionist moves in Europe. It would also give the people of East Germany the impression that they were being forgotten by the West. On the other hand, within the framework of this policy the Federal Republic was prepared “to establish contacts with the Soviet zone at the technical level in order to ensure that the practical problems of access to Berlin are handled as smoothly as possible.” But this would be without prejudice to Western rights.

The problem of the German frontiers and European security should not form part of the settlement of individual aspects of the Berlin question. However, Germany was prepared to declare again its renunciation of the use of force and to agree to unilateral non-aggression declarations by NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries. Any modus vivendi on Berlin would not mean, however, the abandonment of the ultimate aim of reunification. The unnatural division of a people in the heart of Europe could not be lived with indefinitely. The main emphasis should be the solidarity of the Alliance on this matter. (Before concluding, Mr. Schroeder gave a summarized report on conditions in East Germany which underlined the fact that there was no sign of relaxation of the totalitarian dictatorship in the eastern zone.)

Mr. Segni and Mr. Krag, the Italian and Danish Foreign Ministers, both advocated continued efforts to establish a basis of negotiations with the U.S.S.R. Mr. Krag also gave assurances of Denmark’s staunchness in the face of Soviet pressures over the Baltic Command and Finland. He reported on the approval given to the Baltic Command by the Danish Parliament and on the warning note delivered by the Soviet Union reiterating the old charge that the Baltic Command converts the Baltic Sea into a concentration area for aggression against the Soviet Union.

Mr. Spaak of Belgium then launched the most direct attack on the French position and the most powerful appeal for negotiation. NATO was faced, he said, with the choice of either continuing a peaceful foreign policy, allowing nature to take its course or to take more positive action to deal with a threatening situation. He urged that NATO take the initiative away from the Russians who could always be counted on to use threats to gain their ends and to face NATO with a fait accompli. The situation in Berlin was deteriorating and no time should be lost in establishing a basis for negotiations. While endorsing “the narrow approach,” he warned against public discussion of the negotiating position. As to the refinements mentioned by Mr. Rusk concerning further probing and diplomatic contacts as against formal negotiations, Mr. Spaak asked who or what was left to probe. The Soviet Union was in fact probing the West while not divulging any of their own fall-back or final positions. It was no sign of weakness in negotiating. The only weakness is to be weak in negotiation.

Strong support for the German thesis was given by Mr. Luns of the Netherlands emphasizing that there should be no recognition of the GDR or negotiation on European security issues involving disengagement or demilitarization or even denuclearization of Germany beyond the limitations which it has already accepted. Germany needed to be drawn more closely into NATO through the integrated force including the introduction of nuclear armament. Along with Mr. Sarper of Turkey and Mr. Averoff of Greece, Mr. Luns took issue with the French position on negotiations emphasizing that time was not on our side.

M. Couve de Murville made an unconvincing and somewhat half-hearted exposition of the familiar French thesis against negotiations. The issue was not Berlin. The manufactured crisis involved, in fact, the future and fate of Germany and therefore of Europe and of NATO and finally of France itself. The Soviet objective was the neutralization of West Germany and the dissolution of NATO through the detachment of Germany and, if possible, the Scandinavian countries. In what presumably was an oblique reference to the EEC, M. Couve said it was for this reason that France was seeking a new equilibrium in Europe to shield itself from the Soviet Union. NATO was involved in a trial of strength against Soviet pressures and intimidation with the possible risk of atomic war. The main reaction from the military side had been the U.S.A. military contribution but France had done what it could. The crisis should be faced with firmness and dignity and maximum resolution should be displayed in protecting essential western interests.

France had never resisted negotiations in principle; the question was under what conditions should negotiations take place. The two essential prior conditions were: (i) no threats or ultimatums; (ii) the West should know what to negotiate about. Neither condition obtained now. Mr. Khrushchev had renewed his threats and the Soviet Union had merely reiterated its unacceptable proposals. He disagreed with Mayor Brandt who urged negotiations because of increased anxieties in Berlin; in the French view the anxiety of Berliners would increase if negotiations, as probably would be the case, resulted in a compromise between the present status and Soviet demands. No agreement would be better than a bad agreement. He said the French Government was not opposed to further probing to establish whether a basis for negotiations existed. It was unrealistic, however, to expect that out of such negotiations would emerge a settlement amounting to a détente. Following M. Couve, the Secretary of State for External Affairs, Mr. Green, said the essence of the Canadian position was to keep the Alliance strong but to be prepared to negotiate. He questioned whether it was realistic to expect the Soviet threat to disappear or even to diminish. The timing of negotiations should not be determined solely by the degree of Soviet harshness and moderation currently in vogue; otherwise the West would forfeit any power of initiative or control over developing events. The four simple and constant factors in the present situation are (i) experience of the past few months shows that time is not on our side; the process of ever increasing pressure and of steady erosion of Western rights will likely continue; (ii) since the Soviet Union has it on its power at any time of their own choosing to sign a peace treaty with the GDR the West would then have either to deal directly with the East German régime or to resort to force, neither of which is likely to enhance the freedom or the security of the people of West Berlin; (iii) the removal of the December 31 deadline at least took away the element of an ultimatum from the Soviet position and enables the Western powers to explore the various possibilities of arriving at a basis for negotiation; (iv) if the deadline were reimposed or if Soviet pressures over Berlin were increased governments would be faced with serious decisions involving the risk of war. Before such happens it is essential for each Western government to be able to indicate to its people that they have endeavoured to improve the situation through negotiation.

In the hope of facilitating agreement on the Western negotiating position Canada agreed with the NATO statement recently sent to the Ambassadorial working group in Washington recommending that they attempt to reach accord without delay on an initial negotiating position which should be restricted if necessary to consideration of the status of Berlin and access to it. Canada also believed the West should not overlook the need to explore some of the broader questions which the Soviet Union may raise in the context of discussions on Berlin or to which the agreed so-called narrow approach itself may lead. Even in the context of a settlement confined to Berlin alone every means should be explored of finding ways to give Berlin secure and durable guarantees. One way might be a possible provision for a role for the United Nations. The very presence of the U.N., such as the holding of regular or periodic meetings or of moving the European office of the U.N. to Berlin would give a measure of stability and an international stake in the preservation of a free Berlin.

In conclusion Mr. Green emphasized that the worst step NATO could take in the interests of world peace would be if word went abroad that the West had no intention of negotiating on the problem of Berlin. On the other hand if NATO could announce a willingness to negotiate it would give hope to mankind and “will give a great fillip to the working out of some method in which the nations of the world can live together in peace” (Full text of Minister’s statement contained in Annex “A”).†

Mr. Lange of Norway, drawing on his recent talks with Mr. Khrushchev, strongly supported Mr. Green’s contention that it was essential to get negotiations going without delay. The French argument against negotiations seemed to be related mainly to the long-term Soviet threat but was not a valid argument in dealing with the immediate threat of the erosion of the Western position in Berlin. He was in favour of “the narrow approach” and supported the Canadian suggestion of a U.N. presence being helpful in giving Berliners a sense of security and viability. He also supported Mr. Krag in assuring the Council that the Scandinavians would resist blackmail from the USSR over the Baltic Command and Finland.

The U.K. position outlined by Lord Home supported in general the approach set forward earlier by Mr. Rusk. The Berlin crisis had to be considered against a background of “militant intervention in international affairs by the Soviet bloc” and required (i) Western military preparedness including the nuclear threat and assurance against any vacuum into which communist forces might infiltrate and (ii) the finding of a degree of agreement or at least tolerance with the USSR. Policies of force and negotiation were essentially complementary; people faced with the prospect of being blown into atomic dust had to have the assurance that everything possible had been done to reach agreement. While not quarrelling with the French thesis that the Berlin problem had to be seen in the German and European setting, this did not constitute an obstacle against negotiating now. Our requirements were clearly established and the Russians could be expected to make counter proposals. Concessions should not be made without extracting matching concessions. His conversations with Mr. Gromyko had, he thought, persuaded the Russians of the dangers inherent in turning Soviet rights of controlled access over to the GDR which could lead from a collision with Western rights into a conflict. While the Russians may have also suffered some defeat by having to erect a wall to keep East Germans in, the erosion of the Western position through sustained pressures was working against the West. On balance, therefore, time was not on our side. If we waited longer the West might be faced with an even more dangerous crisis and the pressures on the West for concessions would be correspondingly greater.

In summing up, the Secretary-General justifiably described the discussion as interesting and rewarding. He was not prepared to attempt a summation however, because although there was a large measure of agreement, one government was definitely opposed to negotiation although not opposed to diplomatic contact with the USSR. This difference of view was, if anything, sharpened during the discussion of paragraph 8 of the communiqué. Despite support for the UK-USA position from virtually all members, and a vigorous renewed counter-attack on the French position led by Mr. Spaak, the French Foreign Minister would not budge beyond reluctant agreement that contact should be continued through diplomatic channels to see whether a basis for negotiations could be found. In particular, Mr. Couve de Murville refused to accept any language in the communiqué which would reflect any allied desire for a settlement by negotiation. Because of the apparently over-riding U.S.A. preoccupation with the need for Western solidarity in the face of a grave Soviet challenge Mr. Rusk decided to yield to French intransigence and the argument was resolved after some three hours debate in an unsatisfactory compromise wording reflecting an obvious allied difference. (Copy of final communiqué attached at Annex B.)†

Item I(B) – Review of the Reports by Geographical Areas

Discussion under Item I-B of the Agenda was devoted largely to developments in the Congo and the role of U.N. There were also short statements by Mr. Luns concerning the situation in Netherlands New Guinea, by Mr. Rusk regarding developments in Laos, South Vietnam and the Caribbean, by Mr. Nogueira concerning Goa and by Mr. Sarper and Lord Home concerning developments in the Middle East.

The Congo and the United Nations

Mr. Spaak opened with a lengthy statement reflecting the difficulties which the situation in Katanga were causing in the Belgian Parliament and in Brussels. His concern arose not only in terms of the Congo but also in terms of the criticism in Brussels of Belgium’s allies. The Belgian Government believed the secession of Katanga would be a serious development; a federal solution for the Congo was desirable. On the other hand, he did not believe it had been the intention of the supporters of the U.N. action that the U.N. should attempt to impose a political settlement in the Congo. In his view the U.N. operation was no longer a police action but a full scale war. He had found it extremely difficult to get clarification from the Secretary-General as to what the real objectives of the current U.N. military operations were. It was true that the Congo could not live without Katanga, but a destroyed Katanga would be of little value to the Congo. He was equally worried about the effect of what was happening on the solidarity of the Alliance. It was the task of the Alliance to examine the situation as a matter of urgency and to attempt to find some common basis for action. He hoped this common accord could be reached on a policy directed towards conciliation in the Congo and not military action.

Lord Home expressed his government’s concern at what he termed the chaotic situation in the Congo which might extend right across the centre of Africa if we were not able to work towards a better solution. The only hope would be if the U.N. could enlist cadres of people who knew the African continent to help in the transition towards independence of the states in Central Africa. The original U.N. action had been designed to prevent the involvement of the Congo in the cold war. That role for the U.N. was still valid. However, it now seemed that the U.N. forces on the ground had got themselves into the position where instead of the U.N. being the conciliator it was now appealing to find a conciliator who could conciliate between the U.N. and the local Africans. (N.B. it is not known on what basis Lord Home made this assertion.) It seemed obvious to the U.K. that the U.N. was not equipped to undertake anything except the smallest police action. In a short intervention, Mr. Rusk expressed his government’s concern that the position of the central government be sustained and that Katanga should not succeed in seceding from the Congo. Efforts to bring Mr. Adoula and Mr. Tshombe together had so far been unsuccessful. It was his personal view that the U.N. effort last September had been a mistake. On the other hand the present fighting had been precipitated by the action taken against the U.N. forces by the Katangese. The United States did not believe that the U.N. could have as its political objective the bringing about of a political solution in Katanga. The U.N. could do no more than ensure its own security in its communications and protect U.N. forces from continual harassment by the Katangese. It was the hope of the U.S.A. that the fighting could be stopped and the process of conciliation resumed. The U.S.A. was not supporting any unlimited military mission for the U.N. in the Congo, but unless the problem of the Katanga secession could be resolved along with the problem of a possible secession by Mr. Gizenga’s province, we were in deep trouble in the Congo.

Mr. Lange and Mr. Green, speaking later in the debate, gave strong support to the U.N. and to the U.S.A. position (copy of Mr. Green’s speech attached as Annex C).† Of the four or five other speakers who entered the discussion, most were critical of the U.N. operation and supported the view that there should be an immediate cease-fire in Katanga and that the U.N. should concentrate its efforts in bringing about reconciliation between the central government in Leopoldville and Mr. Tshombe. There was no disagreement, however, on the main objective of obtaining a solution which would permit the establishment of a United Congo Republic including Katanga, especially since that province was, for economic and financial reasons, indispensable to the establishment of a viable Congo state.

During the discussion there was also a good deal of criticism of the U.N. by the United Kingdom, France and Portugal, and others, which went beyond its particular operations in the Congo. Lord Home in particular made a plea that the NATO Governments should give their serious attention to the present state of the U.N. He described the recent U.N. resolution calling for immediate independence for all colonial areas as complete and absolute nonsense and said that if it were carried out there would be country after country which would be brought to a chaotic condition within a few months. He asked how long the Western countries were prepared to continue observing the convention in the U.N. where “we all subscribe to or abstain on resolutions which we know are not only nonsense but, if they were carried out, extremely dangerous.” In summing up, Mr. Stikker drew attention to this point of view and asked that serious thought should be given to the attitude NATO countries should take in the U.N. when “unrealistic” resolutions are being proposed. He also pointed to the plea made by Mr. Nogueira for NATO solidarity on world wide questions and added that to limit solidarity to the Treaty area was a disadvantage. Any progress which could be made in extending solidarity to world-wide issues would, in Mr. Stikker’s view, strengthen the cohesion of NATO.

The Far East

The Netherlands Foreign Minister, Mr. Luns, referred briefly to recent sabre-rattling pronouncements by President Sukarno and to the number of military measures which were being taken by the Indonesian Government threatening an attack on Netherlands New Guinea. He therefore urged the allies of the Netherlands to exert as strongly as possible in Djakarta diplomatic pressure and warnings to the Indonesian Government against launching aggression against Netherlands New Guinea. He expressed gratitude that the U.S.A. had already taken such action and confidence that it had achieved the desired effect. He expressed concern that if India were allowed to overwhelm Goa by military might this would constitute a dangerous precedent and might encourage Indonesia to take similar action.

The following day the Portuguese Foreign Minister expressed his full support for Mr. Luns’ appreciation of the implications of any Indian seizure of Goa. India, he said, did not want to negotiate “except on how we should let them grab Goa.” They wanted no investigation of so-called incidents and were not prepared to abide by the judgment of the International Court which had clearly established the Portuguese claim to Goa. He concluded by saying that his latest information was that India would start military operations either December 14 or 15. At this point, both the U.S. and U.K. Ministers intervened to underline the seriousness of the situation and to indicate that their governments had already made strong representations to India.

On Laos, Mr. Rusk merely reported that the three Princes had had a meeting in Xen-Khouang and planned a second at the end of December. The conference in Geneva had gone relatively well but the possibility of further progress depended upon the formation of a coalition government which would have a reasonable chance of being a neutral government.

On South Vietnam, Mr. Rusk described U.S.A. efforts to provide support and assistance to the South Vietnamese in their fight against the guerrillas. He indicated the U.S.A. would be supplying military means which would permit the Vietnamese a higher degree of mobility both on the ground and in the air. He expressed hope that the allies of the U.S.A. would take advantage of any opportunities to give the governor of South Vietnam at least some political support and “if called upon, perhaps some other kinds of assistance and support.”

Latin America

Mr. Rusk described briefly the situation in the Dominican Republic and the U.S.A. efforts “to get these people to set aside some thirty years of bitterness, fear, hatred, violence and to gather themselves together in a moderate coalition government … (and return to) … full cooperation with the Organization of American States.”

On Cuba, Mr. Rusk outlined the preparations for and the problems relating to the January meeting of the O.A.S. He said the shape of the meeting was likely to be based upon the initiatives taken by Colombia having in mind the conditions under which Cuba might withdraw from its present ties with the Sino-Soviet bloc and return to full co-operation with the OAS. Failing that, the OAS would consider what measures it ought to take to protect the hemisphere from the kinds of harassments, infiltrations and threats which are coming out of the Cuban régime at the present time. He concluded by suggesting that the NATO members in shaping their own policies with respect to Cuba might wish to consider the extent to which they could take into account the attitude of the OAS as it evolves over the next several weeks.

Middle East

Mr. Sarper (Turkey) gave the Council a lengthy analysis of developments in the area. Lord Home followed with a short statement. The more significant points made were (a) the danger is now much less that Arab unity would only be achieved at the price of its being directed by the racial and extreme nationalist policies of President Nasser; (b) with the dissolution of the Union of Syria and Egypt, the present Syrian régime is much more inclined towards the West; (c) Iraq has alienated Kuwait and with it a portion of the Arab League; (d) although under great pressure from President Nasser, Jordan’s independence is still intact; (e) with the exception of Saudi Arabia, the sheikdoms of the Gulf maintain friendly relations with the U.K.; (f) the Russians are on the whole becoming more and more unpopular in Iraq; (g) in general it is probably fair to say that Communism has had a setback in the area.

Item II – Military Questions

Status of NATO Military Effort

Following a briefing by the Chairman of the Standing Group on Soviet capabilities, the substantive discussion was opened with a statement by Mr. Stikker, who informed Ministers that the Permanent Council’s examination of defence questions and the development of agreed guidelines had not been completed largely because of the priority which had had to be given to developments relating to the Berlin crisis. He mentioned that, broadly speaking, two broad categories of problems had been examined: (i) the role and organization of the shield forces, and (ii) the utilization and political control of nuclear weapons. There was, he said, general agreement on the need for a truly balanced force capable of meeting any type of enemy threat but, he pointed out, some concern had been expressed about the high cost of providing such a force. He also referred to the general guidance approved by the Council instructing the Military Committee to ensure that the end-1966 force requirements took into account the necessary increases in conventional forces without prejudicing the development and maintenance of the nuclear capability essential to NATO forces. The military authorities were also reminded by the Council that, although action on requirements for MRBM’s had to be deferred at this time, the subject would be considered by the Council at an early date. He concluded by emphasizing the importance of clarifying ideas in respect of NATO strategy and pointed out that the NATO military authorities recognize that the end-1966 force requirements will have to be revised in the light of the conclusions of the current study of NATO strategy.

The main substantive statement was made by the German Defence Minister, Mr. Strauss, who, after outlining German efforts to meet agreed force goals and the current emphasis on the build-up of conventional forces, made a strong plea regarding the absolute necessity of a strong nuclear component for NATO forces. He argued that too much emphasis on NATO’s conventional strength would mean trading loss of territory for time and political manoeuvrability. “Germany, in its exposed military-geographic position like some other countries along the front line, must be freed from the fear that large parts of its territory might be overrun by the enemy either in accordance with the present emergency defence plan or due to the conventional superiority of the enemy.” In such a situation an alliance with unbalanced forces would be faced with the dangerous alternative either of risking general war at the time or of accepting a loss of territory. A balanced deterrent containing both nuclear and conventional elements was thus necessary not only to have a certain margin for selecting military countermeasures but also to keep the deterrent credible for the European allies as well as for the potential or presumptive aggressor.

On MRBM’s, Mr. Strauss pointed to the intelligence reports of growing Soviet capabilities in this field and the increasing vulnerability of the entire European area. This created a whole series of military, political, technical and psychological problems which would require serious study before nuclear parity is reached some years from now. While this situation is partially outweighed by U.S.A. and U.K. strategic capability to attack these targets, it does not solve the problem. He added that “the most dangerous weapon which an aggressor might use against Europe can be less and less covered in the future by the capabilities available to the NATO Commanders and more and more only by strategic capabilities remaining under national control.” Germany, he said, had always advocated increased integration in the military field but if progress in this concept were impeded or further delayed “anti-integration trends might well become even stronger,” In conclusion, Mr. Strauss indicated that the Federal Republic supported SACEUR’s requirements for MRBM’s and strongly recommended that urgent attention be given to study of the political, military, technical and financial questions and to the particularly important problem of control. He expressed particular gratitude for the U.S.A. offer concerning the establishment of a multilateral MRBM force and for “the guarantee of a NATO influence on the nuclear weapons.” He agreed with SACEUR that in the framework of the modernization of armed forces and under the concept of balanced forces, MRBM’s are indispensable for the defence of Europe. He proposed that members should submit their ideas within a given date and that a combined political-military working group should be set up to study the control of nuclear weapons within NATO and the introduction of an MRBM system into Allied Command Europe and should work out recommendations for possible solutions to the problem.

Mr. Visser of the Netherlands spoke of his country’s defence efforts and expressed hope that the measures now being taken in order to strengthen NATO defence for the immediate future should, as far as possible, be designed to promote the achievement of the military posture which will have to be maintained in the coming years. He also expressed hope it would be possible to hold the Triennial Review in 1962, although agreement on NATO’s longer term force goals still had to be achieved.

On MRBM’s he mentioned that SACEUR had made many appearances before Council to justify this requirement which is supported in the end-1966 force goals. Without the MRBM element, that plan would no longer constitute a balanced force. In order to maintain confidence in our defence planning, it was essential that we determine soon how the MRBM requirement is going to be fulfilled. On control over nuclear weapons, he mentioned that this is related not only to MRBM’s but to other nuclear weapons as well. he mentioned that one of the main conclusions of the Military Committee’s report was the requirement to be able to initiate, if necessary, a nuclear reaction within two - fifteen minutes. This pointed up the difficulty of working out an arrangement which would satisfy both the military requirements and the need for political control. The control problem was one which best illustrates the basic problem with which the Alliance is faced, i.e., the need to integrate the defence policies and efforts of fifteen sovereign nations for the defence of the NATO area.

Support in principle for the concept of establishing a multilateral MRBM force was expressed by the Italian Defence Minister, Mr. Andreotti, who devoted most of his statement to Italian efforts to increase the size and efficiency of their forces, measures which would necessitate an increase of 6% in the defence budget for the current fiscal year and of more than 10% for 1962-63. Mr. Sarper of Turkey spoke mainly about NATO strategy and strongly opposed any suggestion that the present strategic concept and political guidance should be revised. He was prepared to accept the idea of new interpretations of existing documents but was against any interpretation or revision which amounted to the acceptance of the notion of local or limited wars. He gave support to the Greek Defence Minister’s suggestion that a common defence fund be established to enable countries with economic development problems to fulfill more adequately their defence obligations. Like Greece, Turkey’s forces were heavily dependent on external aid and the government would have to place an additional heavy strain on the country’s resources if it was to meet its 1962 forces goals and SACEUR’s recommendations in relation to the Berlin build-up. The Danish Defence Minister’s intervention consisted of a report on Danish Parliamentary approval of the NATO Baltic Command and on the problems relating to the present state of the Danish Armed Forces.

In the French view the main problem was one of establishing priorities particularly when, as the Italian Defence Minister had pointed out, even current demands were making heavy demands on national financial resources. These priorities would have to be considered, according to Mr. Messmer, not only in linear terms but also in depth and would have to take into account requirements for social progress at home as well as aid to underdeveloped countries which, after all, constituted a basic element in the West’s fight against communism. Moreover, priorities would have to vary from nation to nation and in France’s case account would have to be taken of its responsibilities in Algeria and Africa. He expressed worry about waiting for the build-up of the West’s conventional forces if we have decided to develop our nuclear forces. He also indicated it would be equally dangerous to believe that, in the event of a Soviet conventional attack, Western conventional forces alone would be able to force a pause sufficient to enable consultations to be held to decide on the employment of nuclear weapons. A limited but rapid nuclear response would be indispensable in the face of widespread Soviet conventional attack.

Commenting on Mr. Strauss’ remarks, the United Kingdom Defence Minister, Mr. Watkinson, said he did not see how it would be possible to make any final and definitive judgments on MRBM’s until similar judgments were reached with respect to NATO strategy. Supported by Mr. Rusk he suggested that the German proposal, including the idea of a joint political-military group, should be referred for early consideration by the Council in Permanent Session. General agreement was reached on this basis.

Special Restricted Session on Defence

It will be noted that the United States did not participate actively in the general discussion of defence questions summarized above. Instead, at a special restricted meeting of the Council held following the general defence debate Mr. McNamara gave Ministers a comprehensive and revealing account of U.S.A. estimates of relative East-West strengths and of U.S.A. views on the more important aspects of NATO defence policy.

Since it was largely at the suggestion of the U.S.A. that the Permanent Council had deferred discussion of nuclear strategy last fall and had agreed to postpone any decision regarding the MRBM elements in the end-1966 force goals, Mr. Strauss’ remarks could be interpreted as a challenge to the U.S.A. position. Moreover his references to a stronger nuclear component in the shield forces and to the need to avoid losing territory along the front line were clearly aimed at the present U.S.A. emphasis on giving priority to increasing the conventional strength of NATO shield forces in order to raise “the threshold” at which nuclear weapons might have to be used.

Mr. McNamara’s statement began with a comparative analysis of nuclear strengths which showed that NATO has a decided advantage in terms of both delivery systems and nuclear weapons of practically every category and in terms of surviving strategic nuclear forces following a full-scale nuclear exchange, regardless of which side initiated it. However, since the threat of general nuclear war had not been sufficient thus far to deter the Soviet Union from pressures and other actions to erode vital Western interests, the present relative strengths in the conventional field were particularly important.

While the U.S.S.R. has superiority in conventional forces at the present time, this superiority, Mr. McNamara said, is not overwhelming. NATO has the capability during the course of the present tensions to provide a non-nuclear defence of the NATO area adequate at least to hold a Soviet conventional attack for a period sufficient to cause the Soviet Union to realize the gravity of the course upon which it has embarked. From this the Secretary of Defence drew the following conclusions: (i) general war superiority is and must remain a fundamental strength of NATO. However, because its effects would be so grave, it should only be resorted to after exhausting all feasible political, economic and other lesser military actions; (ii) the relative non-nuclear balance leaves the West vulnerable to the continued aggressive policy of the Soviet Union employing minor aggressions or limited conventional actions. A NATO capability to defeat Soviet aggression at whatever level it occurred would make such Soviet actions clearly futile; (iii) the West should make certain that it is better prepared for future crises than it has been for the present one. In the course of his remarks Mr. McNamara outlined the grave weaknesses revealed by a survey undertaken in connection with the Berlin crisis. (iv) We must recognize the dangers of exclusive reliance on general nuclear war as an instrument of policy and make the effort required to build a strong non-nuclear capability as well.

On control over nuclear weapons Mr. McNamara reiterated the U.S.A. view that “nuclear weapons must be subject at all times to responsible political control that meets the needs of all NATO countries.” The U.S.A. recognized the need for timely political decisions and the legitimate desire of all NATO members for participation in determining the policy, the strategy and the circumstances for the use of nuclear weapons.

On MRBM’s the Secretary of Defence referred to the extent to which a significant portion of the U.S.A. strategic effort is devoted and will continue to be devoted to targets which threaten Europe but which do not directly threaten the U.S.A. In military terms, the issue is essentially how to make the best use of our resources; political views differ however. The U.S.A. remained willing to discuss any steps which the Alliance might wish to take in this direction. To meet the demands of the mid-1960’s the U.S.A. had recently undertaken the design phase of an MRBM but this design project was without commitment as to future production or as to method of deployment. Although President Kennedy’s Ottawa offerFootnote 76 still remained open, the U.S.A. would not be prepared to facilitate procurement of MRBM’s for a NATO force which was not “truly multilateral in ownership and control” as described by President Kennedy in his Ottawa speech. Concluding, Mr. McNamara listed the main future requirements of NATO defence policy:

  1. The Allies must continue to have nuclear superiority, delivery forces capable of defeating Soviet forces and, if necessary, capable of destroying the U.S.S.R. Geographic and military reasons dictate that the bulk of those forces should be based outside of Europe. The major portion of these forces has been and will continue to be provided by the U.S.A.
  2. Although maintaining a preponderance of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, “we cannot – nor should we attempt to assign a general war mission to forces based in Europe which does not take account of the role of the nuclear forces based outside the continent.”
  3. Although NATO’s nuclear strength must continue to grow there is a continuing requirement for non-nuclear forces adequate to deter or to defeat Soviet non-nuclear aggression at various levels of intensity.
  4. Collectively NATO has much greater resources than the U.S.S.R. and its satellites and those countries which are economically able to do so should assume their full share of the overall requirements.

Resolution on Defence

At the conclusion of the general discussion, the draft resolution on defence (document C-M(61)143) was approved without comment. It takes note of the assessment of the NATO military authorities that “until the remaining deficiencies are overcome the capability of the NATO forces to carry out their assigned missions … will continue in jeopardy …” and underlined that despite the recent improvements necessitated by the Berlin crisis “national goals still too often fall short quantitatively as well as qualitatively of the requirements of the NATO military authorities.” Copy of resolution attached as Annex D.)†

Co-operation in Research Development and Production

The Secretary-General pointed out that the Armaments Committee was still engaged in preparing its report which would cover the results achieved in the specific twenty projects; he suggested the report might be dealt with at the next meeting of Defence Ministers if one were held. Mr. Watkinson expressed general satisfaction with the results achieved to date and expressed the view that the Committee was on the point of moving from its preliminary work to actual decisions where difficulties would probably arise. He urged that governments make a real effort to co-operate and to share the increasing cost and complexity of arms even if it does mean giving up occasionally individual national ideas and projects.

Speaking for Canada, Mr. Harkness underlined the continuing need for real co-operation in this field and reviewed briefly the wide measure of Canadian participation in the various projects. He said that the time had arrived to review the activities to date, to determine whether they should be continued, expanded or redirected. If a NATO Defence Ministers’ meeting were convened in the spring of 1962, Canada supported the idea that the meeting should review the research, development and production programme.

Item III – Other Business

Economic Problems of Turkey and Greece

Mr. Inan of Turkey emphasized the importance which his government attached to the special NATO report which was being prepared on the economic situation in the two countries. He then spoke of the Turkish Government’s long-term development programme and of the special problems involved in attempting to foster economic growth by diverting resources from consumption to capital formation or investment. This was particularly difficult when the people expect from the new government immediate and effective improvement in living conditions. Turkey’s challenge, which was also a challenge for NATO, was to give its peoples an adequate standard of living while retaining intact the framework of democracy and justice.

Civil Emergency Planning

Short statements emphasizing the importance of NATO civil emergency planning were made by the Minister of National Defence, Mr. Harkness, and by the German and Netherlands Foreign Ministers. Mr. Harkness stressed that extensive civilian preparations are necessary in other to reduce casualties and chaos in a nuclear war and to lend more credibility to the deterrent posture of the Alliance as a whole. The international preparations in NATO were moving in the right direction but not fast enough; only in the field of shipping was any international agency ready to function. He suggested one way to achieve more progress would be to increase beyond the small increase now contemplated the number of full-time officers on the NATO international staff working on this programme. (Copy of Mr. Harkness’ statement attached as Annex E.)† Dr. Schroeder spoke of German national efforts in this field and urged that more should be done at the NATO level. He felt these problems should be dealt with in increased measure at Ministerial meetings and proposed that the subject should be placed on the agenda of the next ministerial meeting. Mr. Luns noted that while some progress has been made in recent months the primary necessity was for countries to increase their national activities in this field. Ministerial meetings should also give more time and attention to the subject than they have in the past. Summing up, the Secretary-General acknowledged that much remained to be done and that certain nations were sadly lagging in their civilian preparations for war. However, with greater Council interest in the problem and the increases in the NATO international staff which he had been authorized to make following the Oslo meeting, he felt it would be possible to make new progress.

Item IV – Date and Place of next Meeting

It was agreed to accept the Greek Government’s invitation to hold the annual spring meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Athens from May 3 to 5.

Although several delegations expressed themselves in favour of a Defence Ministers meeting in the spring, no final decision was taken. Mr. Rusk suggested there might be some advantage in having the Defence Ministers meet with the Foreign Ministers in Athens but Mr. Stikker pointed out this raised enormous problems of accommodation. The question was left open.


Footnote 1

See NATO, Final Communiqués, 1949-1974 (Brussels, n.d.), pp. 136-38.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

Marginal note: Noted by P.M. H.B. R[obinson]

Return to footnote 2 referrer

Footnote 3

See “Texts of Soviet Memoranda on German Peace Treaty and Nuclear Tests,” New York Times, June 12, 1961, p. 13.

Return to footnote 3 referrer

Footnote 4

See “The President’s Report,” New York Times, June 7, 1961, p. 40.

Return to footnote 4 referrer

Footnote 5

See W. Eric Beckett, The North Atlantic Treaty, the Brussels Treaty and the Charter of the United Nations (London: Stevens and Sons, 1950), pp. 59-64.

Return to footnote 5 referrer

Footnote 6

Marginal note: This is a very good letter. [Norman] R[obertson]

Return to footnote 6 referrer

Footnote 7

See Canada, Department of External Affairs, Statements and Speeches, 1961-62, 61/7.

Return to footnote 7 referrer

Footnote 8

See Canada, House of Commons, Debates, 1960-1961, Vol. VII, pp. 7471-72

Return to footnote 8 referrer

Footnote 9

See “Text of U.S. Reply to Soviet Note on Berlin and of 1944 Protocol on Germany,” New York Times, July 19, 1961, p. 4.

Return to footnote 9 referrer

Footnote 10

See “Text of U.S. Reply to Soviet Note on Berlin and of 1944 Protocol on Germany,” New York Times, July 19, 1961, p. 4; “La réponse française à Moscou,” Le Monde, July 19, 1961, p. 4; United Kingdom, Parliamentary Papers, Cmnd. 1552, Selected Documents on Germany and the Question of Berlin, 1944-1961 (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1961), pp. 448-50.

Return to footnote 10 referrer

Footnote 11

See Dean Acheson, “Wishing Won’t Hold Berlin,” Saturday Evening Post, March 7, 1961, pp. 32-33, 85-86.

Return to footnote 11 referrer

Footnote 12

See “Radio and Television Report to the American People on the Berlin Crisis,” Public Papers of the Presidents: John F. Kennedy, 1961 (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1962), document 302.

Return to footnote 12 referrer

Footnote 13

See Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the 87th Congress, First Session, vol. 107, Part 10, pp. 13460-13463, 13468, 13504-13508.

Return to footnote 13 referrer

Footnote 14

See “Radio and Television Report to the American People on the Berlin Crisis,” Public Papers of the Presidents: John F. Kennedy, 1961 (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1962), document 302.

Return to footnote 14 referrer

Footnote 15

Marginal note: Silence. [J.G. Diefenbaker]

Return to footnote 15 referrer

Footnote 16

Telegram approved by the Prime Minister.

Return to footnote 16 referrer

Footnote 17

See document 249.

Return to footnote 17 referrer

Footnote 18

Marginal note: Original given to P.M. by the author. H.B. R[obinson]

Return to footnote 18 referrer

Footnote 19

See “Excerpts from Khrushchev Speech on the Berlin and German Situations,” New York Times, August 8, 1961, p. 8.

Return to footnote 19 referrer

Footnote 20

Marginal note: 7.15 p.m. Mr. Heeney has spoken to me on the telephone. He wanted to be sure you had the opportunity of reading the attached report before you see Escott Reid in the morning. H.B. R[obinson]

Return to footnote 20 referrer

Footnote 21

See Lloyd Garrison, “U.S. Urges Talks in Bizerte Crisis,” New York Times, July 21, 1961, p. 3.

Return to footnote 21 referrer

Footnote 22

See document 239.

Return to footnote 22 referrer

Footnote 23

See Seymour Topping, “3 Allies Accused,” New York Times, August 25, 1961, p. 1.

Return to footnote 23 referrer

Footnote 24

See Canada, Department of External Affairs, Statements and Speeches, 1957, 57/30.

Return to footnote 24 referrer

Footnote 25

See Canada, Department of External Affairs, Statements and Speeches, 1959-60, 60/32

Return to footnote 25 referrer

Footnote 26

See Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963, Vol. XIV (Washington: United States Government Printing Bureau, 1993), documents 94-101.

Return to footnote 26 referrer

Footnote 27

Marginal note: Escott Reid draft fused with Departmental draft Aug. 29 by Ross Campbell & myself after P.M. had given approval to this arrangement. H.B. R[obinson]

Return to footnote 27 referrer

Footnote 28

See “Radio and Television Report to the American People on the Berlin Crisis,” Public Papers of the Presidents: John F. Kennedy, 1961 (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1962), document 302.

Return to footnote 28 referrer

Footnote 29

See Wilder Foote, ed., The Servant of Peace: A Selection of the Speeches and Statements of Dag Hammarskjöld (London: Bodley Head, 1962), p. 370.

Return to footnote 29 referrer

Footnote 30

See Canada Treaty Series, 1945, No. 7.

Return to footnote 30 referrer

Footnote 31

See “Arrangements for Control of Germany by Allied Representatives,” Department of State Bulletin, Vol. XII, No. 311 (June 10, 1945), pp. 1051-55.

Return to footnote 31 referrer

Footnote 32

See document 115.

Return to footnote 32 referrer

Footnote 33

See Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963, Vol. XIV (Washington: United States Government Printing Bureau, 1993), documents 94-101.

Return to footnote 33 referrer

Footnote 34

Marginal note: Not necessary. [Author unknown]

Return to footnote 34 referrer

Footnote 35

Marginal note: What about action first & retroactive legislation. [Author unknown]

Return to footnote 35 referrer

Footnote 36

Marginal note: Noted by P.M. Sept. 12. H.B. R[obinson]

Return to footnote 36 referrer

Footnote 37

See “Statement by Kennedy,” New York Times, September 14, 1961, p. 3.

Return to footnote 37 referrer

Footnote 38

See “Text of Kennedy Reply to Message from Neutrals,” New York Times, September 16, 1961, p. 2.

Return to footnote 38 referrer

Footnote 39

Marginal note: Not rec’d in Reg[istry] [Author unknown]

Return to footnote 39 referrer

Footnote 40

See “PM Urges Calm Appraisal, Not Hysteria in Face of Red Moves,” Globe and Mail, September 2, 1961, p. 4.

Return to footnote 40 referrer

Footnote 41

Marginal note: Prime Minister to see. R. C[ampbell] 16/9.

Return to footnote 41 referrer

Footnote 42

See “Text of Interview with Soviet Premier,” Washington Post, August 28, 1961, p. A8

Return to footnote 42 referrer

Footnote 43

See Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-63, Vol. XIV (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1993), documents 151, 152.

Return to footnote 43 referrer

Footnote 44

Marginal note: I generally agree with the argument of the paper. [Norman] R[obertson]

Return to footnote 44 referrer

Footnote 45

See “PM Urges Calm Appraisal, Not Hysteria in Face of Red Moves,” Globe and Mail, September 2, 1961, p. 4.

Return to footnote 45 referrer

Footnote 46

See Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963, Vol. XIV (Washington: United States Government Printing Bureau, 1993); p. 446.

Return to footnote 46 referrer

Footnote 47

See Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963, Vol. XIV (Washington: United States Government Printing Bureau, 1993); p. 446.

Return to footnote 47 referrer

Footnote 48

See C.L. Sulzberger, “Khrushchev Says in Interview He is Ready to Meet Kennedy,” New York Times, September 8, 1961, p. 1; “Excerpts from Transcript of Khrushchev Interview on Berlin and Other Issues,” p. 11.

Return to footnote 48 referrer

Footnote 49

Marginal note: See memo dated Oct. 18/61† on this file & also tel. S-448 of Oct. 19/61.† In view of comments received from our NATO delegation, the Minister decided on Oct. 18/61 to instruct the Ambassador in Bonn (Mr. Reid) to defer any action on S-437 for the time being. [Author unknown]

Return to footnote 49 referrer

Footnote 50

See Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-1960, Vol. IX (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1993), document 132. Marginal notes: Minister to see. 16/10 [Auteur inconnu/Author unknown] At SSEA[’s] request, phoned [Norman Robertson] 16/10 from airport to ask that a tel be sent by fastest means, instructing Reid to withhold action on 2655 [sic] until further notice. Also asked that H.B. R[obinson] draw this tel to PM[’s] notice. R. C[ampbell] 16/10

Return to footnote 50 referrer

Footnote 51

Marginal note: Seen by PM. [Author unknown]

Return to footnote 51 referrer

Footnote 52

Marginal note: OK. [Howard Green]

Return to footnote 52 referrer

Footnote 53

Marginal note: OK. [Howard Green]

Return to footnote 53 referrer

Footnote 54

Marginal note: This seems to be O.K. if “guidance” altered to “approval or instructions.” [Howard Green]

Return to footnote 54 referrer

Footnote 55

Marginal note: No. [Howard Green]

Return to footnote 55 referrer

Footnote 56

Marginal note: We are not in a position to participate in any such play. [Howard Green]

Return to footnote 56 referrer

Footnote 57

Marginal notes: I. Minister: The Under Secretary had doubts about this as a communication at P.M. level, but thought something like it might usefully be said by Heeney to the State Dept. R. C[ampbell] 14/11. II. Not signed. SSEA agrees with USSEA’s judgement. R. C[ampbell] 15/11

Return to footnote 57 referrer

Footnote 58

Marginal note: Mr. Fowler telephoned this morning to say that London did not regard this language as delegating authority to Council. The authorization of Governments would be required. A.E. R[itchie] Dec. 2/61.

Return to footnote 58 referrer

Footnote 59

Marginal note: Please see my memo 4/12. R. C[ampbell]

Return to footnote 59 referrer

Footnote 60

Marginal note: Take to Paris. [Ross Campbell] For further developments on Berlin, see Part 4 of this chapter.

Return to footnote 60 referrer

Footnote 61

See Volume 27, documents 222, 223.

Return to footnote 61 referrer

Footnote 62

A copy of the United Kingdom paper, “NATO Strategy and Nuclear Weapons,” can be found on DEA/50219-AL-2-40.

Return to footnote 62 referrer

Footnote 63

See Volume 22, Chapter III, Part 5.

Return to footnote 63 referrer

Footnote 64

/See Robert R. Bowie, The North Atlantic Nations: Tasks for the 1960’s. A Report to the Secretary of State, August 1960. College Park, MD: Center for International Security Studies at Maryland (Nuclear History Program Occasional Paper 7), 1991.

Return to footnote 64 referrer

Footnote 65

See ‘Text of President Kennedy’s Special Message to Congress on Defense Spending,’ New York Times, March 29, 1961, p. 16.

Return to footnote 65 referrer

Footnote 66

Approved by SSEA 15/4. Not to be sent until CCOS comments received. [Ross Campbell]

Return to footnote 66 referrer

Footnote 67

Marginal note: Does not stand. [Author unknown]

Return to footnote 67 referrer

Footnote 68

Marginal note: The SSEA does not want the Dept. to take the initiative in raising any of these problems at this time. R. C[ampbell] 29/9

Return to footnote 68 referrer

Footnote 69

The deadline, set by Khrushchev in the aide-mémoire given to President Kennedy on June 4, was removed on October 17. See “Condensed Version of Khrushchev’s Speech to the Soviet Communist Party Congress,” New York Times, October 18, 1961, p. 16.

Return to footnote 69 referrer

Footnote 70

The interview was published in Izvestia on November 29, 1961. See Current Digest of the Soviet Press

Return to footnote 70 referrer

Footnote 71

See United Kingdom, Parliamentary Papers, Cmd. 1552, Selected Documents on Germany and the Question of Berlin, 1944-1961 (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1961), p. 192.

Return to footnote 71 referrer

Footnote 72

See “Communiqué of the North Atlantic Council Regarding Berlin, 16 December 1958,” Documents on International Affairs, 1958 (London: Oxford University Press/Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1962), pp. 373-74.

Return to footnote 72 referrer

Footnote 73

See “Communiqué of the North Atlantic Council Regarding Berlin, 16 December 1958,” Documents on International Affairs, 1958 (London: Oxford University Press/Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1962), pp. 373-74.

Return to footnote 73 referrer

Footnote 74

See NATO, Final Communiqués, 1949-1974 (Brussels, n.d.), pp. 139-42.

Return to footnote 74 referrer

Footnote 75

See “Address Before the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa,” Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1961 (United States Government Printing Office, 1962), document 192.

Return to footnote 75 referrer

Footnote 76

See “Address Before the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa,”Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1961 (United States Government Printing Office, 1962), document 192.

Return to footnote 76 referrer