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The Soviet Government’s Explanation of its Berlin Policy (December 24, 1962)

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You, Mr. Chancellor, also travel there not infrequently. And every time you stay in the “frontline city” an odious trace remains thereafter. Why? As one sees, you are not concerned with the interests of the population of West Berlin; rather, you are interested in using this city for hostile activities against the Soviet Union, the GDR, and other socialist countries.

The authorities of the German Federal Republic explain that an attack on the lives of border guards who are protecting the German Democratic Republic is not a crime; and they offer the murderers asylum. The provocateur Müller, who murdered GDR border guard Reinhold Huhn, has virtually been made into a hero. Why do you remain silent, Mr. Chancellor, when the lives of young Germans, border guards of the GDR, are extinguished by shots coming from West Berlin?

The facts show that the government of the Federal Republic wants Germans to become accustomed little by little to the possibility of a fratricidal war by Germans against Germans. In a speech delivered at the graduation ceremony for officers of the Military Academy of the Bundeswehr, Federal President [Heinrich] Lübke said that one day Bundeswehr soldiers might find themselves in a situation in which they will have to fight against their own compatriots. And then he goes on about the so-called communication problems between Germans in East and West.

What needs to be done to radically improve the situation and put an end to dangerous incidents on the border between West Berlin and the GDR, and also on the border between the German Federal Republic and the German Democratic Republic?

The only option, Mr. Chancellor, is to sign a German peace treaty and to normalize the situation in West Berlin. “Normalize,” mind you. What does that mean? It means eliminating the antiquated occupation regime, which in fact disguises a NATO base there; it means granting West Berlin the status of a free city; it means offering West Berlin effective international guarantees for that which you and your allies designate as absolute freedom: the right of the people of West Berlin to determine their own lifestyle and social order and to maintain unhindered connections with the outside world; and [it means] the guarantee of non-intervention in their internal affairs, regardless of which side it is coming from. It also means abandoning the subversive activities that are coming out of this city and being directed against the socialist states.

If necessary, troops could remain stationed in West Berlin for a certain period of time. That which remains controversial is mainly the question: in what capacity and under which flag would these troops operate and how long would they remain there? The Soviet government recommends that the troops in West Berlin should not represent the NATO countries, that the NATO flag in West Berlin should be replaced by the flag of the United Nations, and that the UN should assume certain international obligations and functions there. Leaving the present abnormal situation in West Berlin as it is would be tantamount to deliberately resigning oneself to serious international complications.

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