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threat to the peace under article 39 of the Charter. “A threat to the peace”, he said, “is created when a State uses force or the threat of force to secure compliance with its demands.” He then explained in detail that, “Firstly .. the United States is in Berlin as of right; secondly
the right to be in Berlin includes the right of access and responsibility for the maintenance of the population there; thirdly
the Soviet Government fully acknowledged these rights and responsibilities through specific agreements and through practice over the course of nearly three years; fourthly
the Soviet Government on one flimsy pretext after another has sought in violation of its obligations under the Charter of the United Nations to coerce the United States and France and the United Kingdom into abandoning Berlin and their rights and responsibilities in that city.
The salient feature of the case before the Security Council is that the Soviet blockade is still maintained and thus continues in existence the threat to the peace which it created."
Dr. Jessup pointed out that “the fact that this matter comes before the Council under Chapter VII of the Charter does not mean that the Council is precluded from using any of the machinery of pacific settlement suggested in any part of the Charter. The Security Council has the greatest flexibility of action.” The three powers
did not come to the Council, he said, with any cut-and-dried formula for a solution. Although they had reserved to themselves full rights to take such measures as may be necessary to maintain in these circumstances their position in Berlin, they had not made a restricted or qualified submittal of the case to the Council. The reservation expressed simply the determination to take such measures as might be necessary to insure the safety and subsistence of our forces in Berlin and of the population committed to their charge by Four Power agreement, pending Security Council action. He stated that one such measure is the Allied airlift and that any such measures would be in conformity with the Charter. The United States hoped that the Security Council could assist in removing the threat to the peace and would be ready the moment the blockade was lifted to participate in a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers to discuss with the U.S.S.R. any questions relating to Germany.
After the Representatives of the United Kingdom and France had made similar presentations, the President adjourned the Council subject to further call by him. The members of the Council that were not directly involved in the dispute-Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, Colombia, and Syria—then began exploratory talks under the leadership of the President, Mr. Bramuglia, to gather in
formation about the points of view of the parties and to clarify the issues.
At a Security Council meeting on October 15 the six members reported on these talks and the President put two broad questions to the parties, suggesting that the answers might be given at a subsequent Council meeting. In the first question, the parties were asked to explain in detail the circumstances of the imposition of restrictions upon transport, communications, and trade and the current status of these restrictions. The second question concerned the circumstances of the joint directive of August 30, 1948, addressed by the Four Powers to their military governors in Berlin and the detailed reasons for the failure of the military governors to reach agreement on the basis of it.
The Representatives of the three Western Powers indicated at once their readiness to give this information. Mr. Vyshinsky, the Soviet Representative, recalled his previous declaration that he would not participate, and said that,
the very raising of these two questions here was dictated by nothing but a desire to drag the U.S.S.R. Delegation into a discussion of the Berlin question.
It is naive to believe that the U.S.S.R. Delegation will stick to this glue which has been spread over this piece of paper which is now called the Berlin question. The U.S.S.R. Delegation will not submit any material to the Security Council.”
At the following meeting the Representatives of the three Western Powers gave their responses to the questions. In view of the full presentation of the facts which they had previously made, they needed only to provide added details.
The neutral group, after further discussions among themselves and with the parties, developed a draft resolution which was transmitted to the representatives of the parties. At the Council meeting on October 22 the six members presented the resolution. It called upon the Four Powers first to prevent any incident which would be of a nature to aggravate the situation in Berlin. Secondly, it called on them to put into effect simultaneously on the day of notification of the resolution to the four Governments (a) immediate removal by all parties of all restrictions on communications, transport, and commerce between Berlin and the Western zones and the restrictions on commerce to and from the Soviet zone and (b) an immediate meeting of the four military governors to arrange for the unification of currency in Berlin on the basis of the Soviet mark. The four military governors were to fix the conditions for the introduction, circulation, and continued use of the Soviet mark as sole currency for the whole of Berlin and to arrange for the withdrawal of Western mark“B”. All these currency measures
were to be in accordance with the terms and conditions defined in the joint directive of August 30, 1948, addressed by the Four Powers to their military governors in Berlin and to be carried out under the control of the Quadripartite Financial Commission. The currency change-over, under the terms thus fixed, was to be completed by November 20, 1948. Finally, the draft resolution called upon the four Governments, within 10 days after the completion of all the above measures, or on such date as might be mutually agreed upon by them, to reopen negotiations in the Council of Foreign Ministers on all outstanding problems concerning Germany as a whole.
After statements by the six representatives, the Council adjourned to give the parties an opportunity to study the draft resolution. On October 25, when the Council again took up the Berlin case, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States accepted the resolution as a fair compromise. Although it contained no express recognition that the Soviet blockade measures constituted a threat to the peace, it called for their immediate removal, concurrent with the beginning of negotiations looking toward the currency change-over. It thus would have removed the factor of coercion from these negotiations. However, Mr. Vyshinsky declared the intention of the Soviet Union to prevent adoption of the resolution by exercise of its veto right. He pointed out that the resolution did not provide “simultaneity” in the removal of the blockade and the currency change-over and argued that the resolution therefore “violated” the directive of August 30. The Soviet Union thus demanded that the Council treat the blockade as a legitimate measure, the withdrawal of which would be balanced against the currency concession to be made by the Western Powers, and thus assist the U.S.S.R. in achieving its objective through coercive methods.
The United States Representative then pointed out that the responsibility for the failure of the Council's efforts rested “squarely and unavoidably" on the Government of the U.S.S.R.:
We must”, he said, “now ask, “What does the Soviet Union want?
“Does it want a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers to discuss Berlin
or questions of Germany as a whole? The Soviet Government can have such a meeting without the threat to peace. We have told them that before. We repeat that promise. We have indicated our acceptance of the principle in our approval of the draft resolution.
“Does the Soviet Union want the Soviet zone mark to be established as the sole currency of Berlin under Four Power control, as Premier Stalin himself suggested? They can have that without maintaining the blockade. We have told them so before and we tell them so again.
“Does the Soviet Union want assurances that we do not want to use Four Power control of the currency in Berlin to damage or to control the general economy of the Soviet zone outside of Berlin? They can have such assurances without threat or violence. We have made that clear already. We make it clear again.
"Does the Soviet Union want guaranties to prevent the use of transport facilities for black-market operations in currency in Berlin ? They can have such guaranties without resorting to duress. Again, it is a matter which we have told them before we would do, and we are ready to say so again.
“The United States has never intended to use currency as a means of adversely affecting the economy of the Soviet zone.
if on the other hand the Soviet Union wants to drive us out of Berlin
that result they cannot get by maintaining their threat to peace.
If the Soviet Union wants us to work out technical details of the first four questions I put, under duress of maintenance of blockade measures, instead of through the process of free negotiation, again the answer to that question is 'No'. In short
the Soviet Government can get all it says that it wants without maintaining the blockade. With the blockade it can get neither what it says it wants nor what its actions seem to suggest it actually does want. It is the blockade which is the barrier and it is the Soviet Union which can lift the blockade.
even now in spite of the fact that the Soviet Union has seen fit to indicate that it intends to block the efforts of the Security Council
the Berlin question can be settled on the basis of the program suggested in the draft resolution.
The three Western Governments have indicated their acceptance of the principles contained in that resolution. If the Government of the Soviet Union would give reciprocal assurances
it can be done." The vote on the resolution was 9 to 2, only the Soviet Union and the Ukraine casting adverse votes. The U.S.S.R. vote prevented adoption of the resolution.
Efforts Outside Council
Three days after the veto, on October 28, 1948, the Foreign Ministers of France, the United Kingdom, and the United States met and issued a communiqué stating that they stood by their expressed willingness to be guided by the principles of the draft resolution; that the matter was still on the agenda of the Security Council; that the Council was in a position to consider any development in the situation; and that as
members of the Council they would continue to discharge their responsibilities.
Two days later the Soviet point of view was sharply stated by Premier Stalin in a press interview. Attributing the efforts made by the non-Soviet members of the Security Council to "reactionary circles" and “warmongers” in the Western countries, chiefly the United States, he charged that two "agreements" to settle the case had been breached. One of these was the August 30 directive. Actually it is of course clear that the understandings leading to the August 30 directive were subject to agreement being reached by the military governors in Berlin. Because of Soviet repudiation of these understandings the military governors failed to reach agreement by the date set. Although the reference to the second “agreement” was never explained by the U.S.S.R., it seems to have been an unfounded allegation that the six neutral representatives and the Western representatives had suddenly reversed themselves and agreed outside the Council to the Soviet demand for "simultaneity”.
In addition to the continuing efforts of the neutral group in the Security Council, Secretary-General Lie and Mr. Evatt, President of the General Assembly, sought to further a settlement. Early in November the Secretary-General announced that the Secretariat was studying the Berlin currency problem. On November 3 the General Assembly adopted a resolution proposed by Mexico, appealing to the great powers to renew their efforts to compose their differences and establish a lasting peace. Ten days later, Mr. Evatt and Mr. Lie sent a joint communication to the heads of the delegations of France, the U.S.S.R., the United Kingdom, and the United States referring to this appeal and urging that the four Governments should hold conversations and take any steps necessary to reach a solution of the Berlin problem. They asked that the four Governments lend active support to the mediation efforts of the President of the Council and, as far as they themselves were concerned, offered to lend any further assistance that might be most useful. The U.S.S.R. reply stated the earlier Soviet position, that the August 30 directive should be accepted as an agreement and that a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers should be held to consider the problems of Berlin and of Germany as a whole.
The Western Powers replied on November 17, stating that they were still ready to take part in the efforts of the Security Council to solve the Berlin problem. On the same day, noting that all Four Powers had replied and had indicated a desire for settlement of the issue, Mr. Evatt and Mr. Lie renewed their appeal that the Four Powers lend their support to the efforts at mediation by the President of the Security Council.