|All Sources > The Manitou Messenger (DA-MM) > The Manitou Messenger (1916-2014) > 1959 > No. 10, Vol. 72|
Pragmatism offers clue; what to do in Berlin crisis
Author: Larry Nelson
Foolish indeed it is to assume, as some Americans do, that the solution to the Berlin controversy is a strict 'sit and wait for the Soviets to back down' attitude. Equally as unintelligent is the belief in the belligerent attitude that only forceful handling of East German attempts to once more blockade West Berlin will prove to the Eastern powers that be, that only we, after all, have the armament and 'right' policy to effect a settlement.
As with any international dispute, the answer to local appeasement and lessening of tension is found someplace in between these two extremes. Of many factors presently conditioning U.S. policy, two may be singled out for consideration.
First is the ascendency this week of Christian A. Herter as Secretary of State to succeed incapacitated John Foster Dulles. This in itself forecasts no new policy change. Herter has, for the past few months, been Dulles' top aide and has been, since about March 1st, in virtual command of the state department due to Dulles' illness. Simply stated, our basic policy is conditioned by West Germany's membership in NATO; as such, we are committed to her defense. For Herter, who promises to be a 'stay at home' secretary, carrying out Dulles' general recommendations, this means following the 2nd major factor in our analysis.
That is this: for the first time in many years, U.S. diplomacy is following the British lead as outlined by Sir Winston Churchill and Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd promoting unconditional support for the resistance efforts and freedom of the West Berlin Government.
At present, we are dealing with a Soviet objection to using the air corridor to West Berlin above 30,000, one of the trivia growing out of a basic antagonism caused by three month old ultimatum to get our troops (10,000 of them) out of West Berlin by May 27. Just last week, Soviet Premier Kruschchev admitted to the legal right of the presence of these troops, leaving some doubt as to the rigidity of Communists policy.
It is the opinion of this writer, disseminating many commentators of the day, such as Eric Severeid and Walter Lippmann, that Kruschchev no more wants limited war (that may erupt into nuclear halocaust) than we do, but is now willing to await Ministerial level conference reports from the meeting for which Secretary Herter departs on Monday. For now, it seems, Nikita is looking to limited objectives, hoping to capitalize on what he believes to be Western dissention on the Berlin crisis, in order to drive out the occupation army—thereby virtually insuring the deliverence of the 2.2 million West Berliners into Communist hands via secret infiltration and fall by weakness.
We cannot afford to judge the situation on ethical-moral grounds; Communists do not pay much attention to our condemnations. Tell subjugated Latvians, Czechs, and Hungarians that we're right and the Soviets are not ethical—listen closely to the cynical reply. What we are committed to is good pragmatism, telling us to stand firm on West German sovereignty and not make hopeless concessions.