INT: So when actually the barbed wire turned into a stone wall, was there any sign then, people thought that we can't have that thing there?
JA: I think this is a very interesting point, in that the... perhaps - and I don't know - perhaps it was even a probe of the DDR side to just see what the reaction of the allies would be, how far could they go? Would there be resistance? And this entire motion was to stop the flow of people from the East coming to the West and it was extremely effective and if you recall, there's some rather fascinating photographs as they began to string the concertina wire around and they increased the depth of the wire, the strands of wire, the thickness of the wire and they moved back and set up a second barrier. It became a very formidable preventive measure to stop anyone from moving and there's some fascinating photographs that were captured of Fo-Pos or border guards who in desperation themselves, at the last minute, jumped over the wire and came over to the Western side. I think it caught them as much by surprise as it did the Western allies.
INT: After the thirteenth, the allies reacted quite slowly, but then they also reacted in terms of on the twentieth of August actually sending a whole battle group over the motorway and sending them straight to Berlin. How important was that fact in that kind of situation of doing something like that?
JA: The battle group coming? The days that followed the thirteenth of August, enabled the Western powers in Washington, in NATO, to regroup, to concentrate their thoughts, to lodge their protests with the Soviets and I think President Kennedy, from the American side, made some very strong decisions in consultation with his senior advisers, both military and State Department. And when the battle group came from West Germany, this was a stopgap, moral booster for the West Berliners. It was a we must do something response and let's at least get some troops moving in. And this as a very, very important show of force to both sides. It was a reassurance to the West Berliners and the rest of the world that the Western allies, and particularly the Americans, were not going to stand by. And I remember the spirit of the West Berliners as they turned out to greet that battle group after they paraded through the streets, they drove their vehicles all the way down town and made it a deliberate show of force and there were tears in the eyes of the Berliners, there were absolute unbelievable expressions of overwhelming fascination by the American troops when they came in. I recall they picked a very formidable soldier to lead that battle group in, it was Colonel Glover Johns, who was an American colonel who was the epitome of the warrior. He looked very much like the man with the golden helmet in medieval times. He had a handlebar moustache and he was a soldier's soldier. And Glover Johns led that battle group in and he told me later one day, he said, I got up on the reviewing stand and I watched my soldiers passing by in review and he said, one of the most interesting moments that occurred was one of my very popular black soldiers in my battle group, he had a rose stuck down his gun barrel that some young lady had thrown up to him on the back of his truck and he said, he had a rose behind his ear and he said, as he passed the reviewing stand, he turned around and his eyes rolled up and he saw me and he said, he saluted and it was like, oh God. And the moment of bliss just disappeared into one of absolute horror as he saw Colonel Johns. And he said, I looked down at him and I gave him a frowning smile of recognition, but the greatest thing that happened was this battle group that was sent in, because this was so necessary to let the Berliners know that someone cared and that the allies were not going to stand by and let this overwhelming transgression proceed unimpeded by the military. It was incredible. The response of the Berliners to the Americans and the French and the British has always been overwhelming here. There's been a love affair between the Berlin citizens ever since 1945, I think. And this was probably the highlight of the American military in Berlin was when this battle group came in to support the role of backing up the diplomatic and the military intentions to do something against this wall.
INT: You, at that stage, were extremely to General Clay and I would like to ask you a bit more about that kind of contact you had with him, because you were in daily contact when he took command and how he took command in Berlin again, after you'd left after the air lift and to just kind of describe me a bit how Clay dealt with that kind of dilemma of having a kind of wall to the neighbour.
JA: John Lucius Clay was to me one of the most capable, admirable leaders, military leaders. When President Kennedy picked John Clay to come to Berlin as his special adviser on the Berlin situation,he was the ideal personality for this role. And there wa lot of disagreement later, there were a lot of people on the State Department side and a lot of military people that were really afraid that John Clay would create a hornet's nest over the Berlin crisis, because he had one philosophy when dealing with the Soviets or dealing with the Russians and that was strength that was force. I received a message saying that General Clay would arrive in Berlin and I was to contact him as soon as possible and indoctrinate him for special intelligence briefings and when I saw him on TV when he arrived here, I wasn't too impressed. I'd never met him up to that time and I saw a little short man with grey hair that I thought this is one of these burnt-out generals that someone's picked to come back in and handle a mission. And I questioned it at the time, but the next morning, when I met General Clay in his office, I encountered the most fascinating, intelligent, laughing, sparkling eyes of any human being that I've ever encountered in my life. And this man was not only vibrant, he was not only clever, he was not only a very human, personable individual, he was damned experienced. He brought a lot of background to the table and he once told me, he said, I learned early in the game of dealing with the Russians, if the Russians understand one thing and that's force, that's strength. You must never negotiate or deal with the Russians without having a position of strength. He said, if you're ever standing in front of a Russian and you're talking to him and you're having a little bit of a problem and you sense that perhaps he's getting ready to do something in opposition to your interest, he said, the only thing the Russian will ever understand is if you haul off and hit him and he said, then he understands you, then you can deal with him. And I saw this position during the entire period of crisis that John Clay was here and every crisis that happened in Berlin, John Clay's attitude was one of positive force, of positive act, not react, and the... occasions whereby we had serious threats by the DDR and the Russians, General Clay always came forward with a positive recommendation to the White House, to the State Department, that we take a positive action to deal with it.
INT: What were his practical kind of ways of actually showing that force?
JA: For example, there was a British officer from the British Liaison Mission that was shot in the territory of the German Democratic Republic on tour, and a Russian soldier shot him and we were notified an hour or so later that the British were seeking assistance in attempting to evacuate this wounded British officer. John Clay - and understand that there was always a problem in that the commanders as well as the State Department representatives on the ground in Berlin had to always go back to their respective headquarters, through the command chain, be it military of State Department. The shots were called from Washington, from Paris, from London and NATO headquarters and the chain of command was followed all the way back in getting a decision to react or to act. And in this case where the British military liaison officer was shot and critically wounded, John Clay was awaiting permission to send in a helicopter, he was awaiting permission from US army headquarters and Washington to assist the British and unfortunately I think the officer died before we could respond. They brought him in and he was in critical condition before anyone could react and grant permission to go in and remove this very seriously wounded individual. And the next morning, General Clay called me in to transmit a message back to President Kennedy and the gist of the message was, given what transpired yesterday with the British Military Liaison Mission, it's inevitable that we will have a similar confrontation with one of our people and one of our liaison officers. I propose that we draw up an immediate plan whereby, in the event that one of our people are ever injured or wounded or shot at or in any way harmed in the DDR, that we will notify the Soviets immediately, not ask their permission, and tell them that we're sending a armed helicopter in to assist in the evacuation. And this was one example of a positive means. A second example transpired in the October confrontation at Checkpoint Charlie...
INT: Can I stop you there. Let's come to that at a later stage. I think it might be quite important to talk about Clay. Clay appears to be somebody who kind of is very sensible in his assessment of the situations and...
JA: (Interrupts) I'm sorry, Clay's appeals to...
INT: Very sensible in his assessment of the situation and how would you kind of think that kind of goes together with his kind of secret plans of kind of conducting kind of penetration of the wall, which he actually planned in the forests of West Berlin?
JA: Um, I'm not quite sure I totally understand your question. Given General Clay's strength, position, attitude, how would I...
INT: Why was he actually secretly at the same time conducting experiments...