289 Department of External Affairs to High Commission in London

Cablegram 2662, CANBERRA, 20 July 1948, 5.30 p.m.

IMPORTANT TOP SECRET

Glad of appreciation on Berlin position including the following points:-

(a) How effective is air lift? Assuming Russians do not lift blockade, how long can sufficient supplies be flown into Berlin to prevent not only starvation but disruption of economic life in Western sectors? (b) Do United Kingdom authorities think that the Russians will lift the blockade without a quid pro quo (e.g. four power talks on whole German question)? (c) What is United Kingdom attitude on possibility of such four power talks? (d) If there should be no compromise and if the air lift in fact proves ineffective, what alternatives are open to the Western Powers and what is United Kingdom view of such alternatives? (e) One alternative would be reference to United Nations, preferably Assembly. In Q145, United Kingdom have stated that reference to United Nations at this stage would only confuse issue, presumably because they feel that Western powers can handle situation effectively. But what are their views on reference to United Nations in situation envisaged in (d) above?

[AA : A1838, 29/2/2/4/4]