Cabinet Secretaries' notebooks (CAB 195/19): Berlin
One certainty. K. will make his Treaty, to enhance status states of D.D.R.
Another : world opinion won't allow war w'out prior negotiations.
When? Nil before G. election : for e.g. Oder Neissi line wd. have to be included in any deal. Start therefore between 17/9 and 17/10.
What sort? Direct with R. on presence & access in return for de factor negotiation of D.D.R. If that failed, we wd. go to U.N. with 2 proposals - that and, alternatively, free City plan.
Don't go to U.N. first - that wd. erode W. position.
U.S. are disposed to prefer to let K. move, then take him to U.N. & negotiate there. Too risky. Doubtful if we wd. get sufft. Majority v R. & DDR. latter might behave reasonably for a time, & give U.N. no cause for complaint.
Believe K. mght prefer my timing. He wd. be in clearer control at time of negotn.
Military. Acheson plans rejected or diluted. Prob. of 2 divns. abandoned in favour of i) economic pressure ii) garrison airlift iii) only then a land operation. General strengthening of N.A.T.O. is now preferred.
Berlin is outpost : must avoid major battle for an outpost. Failure of mil. strategy. It is militarily indefensible.
Balance of advantage in West is now to leave maximum contact with D.D.R. because least satisfactory of all R.'s satellites. We can erode it.
Flow of refugees wd. be serious blow to R.
Situation in which we talk tough on basis R. is bluffing, we mght have another Brizerta - but with nuclear weapons.
Recognise weakness of our posn. and base our policy on that recognition.
i) Legal. Only to m'tain troops : access for that. No legal basis for supplying civilians in Berlin.
ii) We have made treaty with W. Germany. Why shdn't R. do so with East.
iii) Mil. posn. untenable. No way, short of nuclear, of holding Berlin. Don't threaten what we can't do. Must convince U.S. of that.
iv) Work for reasonable compromise.
Agree it wd. be mistake to begin in U.N.
Go for interim agreement, in direct negotn with R. Aim at 5 p.m.
Can't get it unless we make advance on our posn. 2 yrs. ago : for we have gained those 2 yrs.
Limitn. of forces. Supervision in W. Berlin - offer something like Free City or regime leading to it. Access : reorganise D.D.R. de facto and let them manage access. Somethg. on E. frontier.
Chance of R. agreement on these lines if G. cd. be persuaded.
Yes : that sort of package + U.N. presence.
D.D.R. has bn. State for 15 yrs. : Berlin its capital. Favour negotn.
Agree. Element of bluff in our posn. N. weapons means there is element of bluff in all such situations. There is bluff on both sides.
Don't chuck this card away too soon. It mght detach U.S. - who might act even less responsibly alone.
On this point I think D.S. goes too far.
Taken from C.C. 45(61) - Meeting held on 28 July 1961