American civilian political officer served with Intelligence and Research, Berlin Task Force, US State Department in West Berlin, Germany, 1950-1958; served with Soviet Desk, Bureau for Intelligence and Research, US State Department in Washington DC, US, 1959-1963
REEL 1 Recollections of period as political officer served with Intelligence and Research, Berlin Task Force, US State Department in West Berlin, Germany, 1950-1958: reactions to Nikita Khrushchev’s ultimatum on Berlin, 1958; the Eisenhower Administration’s strategy towards Berlin; opinion that Nikita Khrushchev was searching for détente; question of whether events would lead to war over Berlin; degree to which Nikita Khrushchev intended to use nuclear weapons; opinion of degree to which Americans reacted to possibility of nuclear war; how Ernst Reuter described Berlin; Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and West German Government’s attitude towards West Berlin; American requirements from West Germans; American attitude towards prospect of German neutrality; German attitude towards Allied concessions to Soviet Union over Berlin.
REEL 2 Continues: West German and Allied approaches to negotiation with Soviet Union over Berlin; Chancellor Konrad Adenauer’s attitude towards stance of Soviet Union and negotiations over Berlin; factors involved in Nikita Khrushchev’s ultimatum. Recollections of period as political officer with Soviet Desk, Bureau for Intelligence and Research, US State Department in Washington DC, US, 1959-1961: President John F Kennedy’s policy after Vienna Summit, 6/1961; American policy on Berlin; American emphasis on defence of West Berlin; nature of East German refugee crisis; anticipation that Soviets would seal off Berlin during crisis; reaction to Berlin Crisis, 1961; reasons for official reaction being slow; reaction of Secretary of State Dean Rusk to Berlin Crisis, 1961; Mayor of West Berlin Willi Brandt’s reaction to Berlin Crisis, 1961.
REEL 3 Continues: reaction to situation in Berlin Crisis, 1961; further details of slow official reaction by American Government; question of sending US troops along autobahn into Berlin; how construction of Berlin Wall improved Nikita Khrushchev’s political position; sense of relief within American Government circles; question of recognition of East Germans in Berlin; description of Checkpoint Charlie crisis, 1961; degree of danger in US troops opening fire; question of risk of armed confrontation; American Government attitude towards General Lucius Clay’s actions during Berlin Crisis, 1961; contrast in outlook in Berlin and Washington DC; background to President John F Kennedy’s visit to West Berlin, 6/1963; President John F Kennedy’s reaction to Mayor Willi Brandt’s letter on Berlin Wall; method of dealing with Soviets.
REEL 4 Continues: nature of Nikita Khrushchev’s contradictory messages of détente and nuclear strength.