Ellsberg Weighs Crisis in Berlin
The United States and Russia are fighting a diplomatic war over Berlin in which either side must attempt to threaten the other into a corner without actually committing itself to armed conflict.
Such was the opinion voiced last night by Daniel Ellsberg '52, Junior Fellow, in his fourth Lowell Lecture on Power Economics. If the United States takes part in a summit conference this summer, Ellsberg maintained, it will be in response to Russian threats "to test our ability to retaliate with less than suicidal punishments."
Both Berlin and the Munich Conference of 1939, he stated, are prime examples of crises in which diplomatic negotation followed a theory of bargaining based on threats.
While pointing out that there are important differences between Berlin and Munich, Ellsberg reminded his audience that the final decision to abandon Czechoslovakia to the Nazis hinged on Hitler's determination to make good his threats to start World War II and Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's reluctance to fulfill Allied treaties.