s which would prohibit its reproduction.
110. Memorandum From the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs
(Ball) to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs
Washington, August 1, 1961.
/1/Source: Department of State, Central Files, 460.119/8-161. Secret.
The source text bears no drafting information, but was attached to a memorandum
of transmittal from Battle to Bundy. Another copy of this memorandum is attached
to a memorandum from Ball to Rusk, July 31, which shows Rusk's approval to
send it to Bundy. (Ibid., 611.61/7-3161)
Export Controls to the Soviet Bloc With Respect to Agricultural Surpluses
In response to your inquiry, I can say that the Department continues to support
the decision reached by the Export Control Review Board regarding export of
wheat or other commodities to the Soviet Bloc. Specifically, we do not advocate
any change at this juncture with regard to the export control criteria which
permit the licensing of wheat sales to Russia and the Soviet Bloc.
I well understand the interest of the Commerce Department in being assured
that the prevailing policy does in fact represent the considered position
of the Executive Branch. I can also sympathize with them in face of the
pressure being applied and inquiries whether such exports are not in conflict
with the other actions of the United States Government with respect to Berlin.
As you know, a continuance of the present export control policy is consistent
with the Presidential determination on Berlin; viz, that we should withhold
application of economic warfare measures pending development of the situations
that it was agreed should trigger such action.
I believe that Carl Kaysen has also brought to your attention the related
action we have taken with respect to the amendments proposed by the House
for PL-480, one of which would have prohibited the export of agricultural
surpluses to the Soviet Bloc. Just as we feel the House amendment would
be ill-advised, so we would consider any change in the position taken by the
Export Control Review Board to be equally ill-advised.
George W. Ball
111. Editorial Note
In telegram Secto 22 from Paris, August 7, 1961, Secretary of State Rusk
reported to the President on a just concluded meeting on Berlin with his
counterparts from the United Kingdom, France, and the Federal Republic
of Germany. He called the meeting a "gratifying demonstration of unity and
seriousness of purpose." Although there was some disagreement on tactics,
"all four of us agreed that formal negotiations with the Russians should
come in October or early November." The following day, however, Rusk met with
President de Gaulle, who stated, according a memorandum of the conversation,
"If you see there is something which develops from these negotiations which
is worthwhile, we will join you. But you really are doing it on your own account."
De Gaulle continued, "How can we negotiate when Khrushchev insists on what
the results will be?" For text of telegram Secto 22 and the memorandum of
Rusk's conversation with de Gaulle, see Foreign Relations, 1961-1963,
volume XIV, pages 309-316.
112. Editorial Note
On August 13, 1961, the German Democratic Republic introduced control measures
that effectively prevented residents of the Soviet Zone and East Berlin
from entering West Berlin. At the same time barbed wire and other physical
barriers, which eventually became "The Berlin Wall," were erected to restrict
crossings into the Western sectors of the city. Secretary of State Rusk
responded on August 13 with a statement calling the restrictions a violation
of the Four-Power status of Berlin. For text, see Documents on Germany,
1944-1985, page 776.
At its meeting on August 15 the Berlin Steering Group, according to the
minutes, "agreed that the closing of the border was not a shooting issue"
but instead "was essentially one of propaganda," providing an opportunity
to "reap a large harvest." At the group's meeting 2 days later, President
Kennedy decided that the United States would reinforce the West Berlin
garrison with one battle group (1,500-1,800 men). Secretary of Defense
McNamara suggested that the border closing "might portend a speed-up of
Khrushchev's schedule" and therefore "our own military preparations should
be hastened accordingly. There was some disagreement with his diagnosis, but
none with his prescription." For records of both meetings, see Foreign
Relations, 1961-1963, volume XIV, pages 333-334 and 347-349.
In an August 18 letter to Governing Mayor Willy Brandt, President Kennedy
stated that "there are, as you say, no steps available to us which can force
a significant material change in this present situation. Since it represents
a resounding confession of failure and of political weakness, this brutal
border closing evidently represents a basic Soviet decision which only war
could reverse." In an August 21 memorandum to Rusk, the President indicated
that he wanted to "take a stronger lead on Berlin negotiations." President
de Gaulle wrote Kennedy in a letter of August 26 that he believed "that
the opening of negotiations in the present circumstances would be considered
immediately as a prelude to the abandonment, at least gradually, of Berlin
and as a sort of notice of our surrender." Nevertheless, in telegram 660 to
Moscow, September 3, Rusk instructed Ambassador Thompson to approach Soviet
Foreign Minister Gromyko in anticipation "that there will be discussion with
Soviet representatives in regard to future negotiations" on Berlin. "If Gromyko
seems willing to discuss negotiations you might endeavor to ascertain from
him what the Soviets envisage as a basis for negotiation." For text of the
four documents, see ibid., pages 352-353, 359-360, 377-378, and 388-389.
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