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Billion Mark Loans and Humanitarian Concessions (July 25, 1984)

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The federal government assesses these measures by the GDR very positively. They prove that the mutual efforts to improve relations are continuing to develop and that these efforts yield results that benefit people in both states. The measures presently resolved by the GDR serve to improve and facilitate travel in both directions, including border-area traffic and that of travelers and visitors to Berlin. The federal government especially welcomes the fact that the GDR has reduced the minimum currency-exchange requirement for pensioners to DM 15.00. It has thereby responded to our concern to reduce the minimum exchange at least for the socially weaker members of society. With an eye to the age structure, this is particularly significant for West Berlin. I would like to emphasize the extension of the maximum length of stay for entry into GDR counties near the border to two days, that is, until midnight on the day after entry. In combination with the expansion of entry authorization to more than three counties in the GDR for border-area travel, this has resulted in many more options for people to make and maintain human contact across the border.

Reduction of the minimum exchange requirement for all travelers remains a central concern of the federal government. A number of wishes have yet to be satisfied, also as regards border-area traffic, travel into the GDR in general, Berlin’s tourist and visitor traffic, and with respect to travel options and greater freedom of movement for GDR residents, especially those of working age.

The federal government will also continue to advocate perseveringly for improvements and easements in tourist traffic, especially since we are convinced that, in the end, greater freedom of movement in tourist traffic lies in the GDR’s own well-understood self-interest, since many people in the other part of Germany do not necessarily want to leave the country but very much want to travel.

The federal government will continue its present course, that is, dialogue with the GDR on all questions of bilateral relations, but also on current international issues, especially on multilateral east-west policies involving both parts of Germany. We stand by our assertion that our Deutschlandpolitik is at the same time a policy for European peace.

In the Basic Treaty, the goal of “good neighborly relations” between the two German states was formulated. We take this demand very seriously and will continue to work with all our strength towards its attainment. The last 1¾ years have brought us much farther down this road.

Whoever supports the unity of the nation and takes this historical mandate seriously must do all that is humanly possible so that the people in Germany can come together. We are doing just that.

Source: Erklärung zur Entwicklung der innerdeutschen Beziehungen von Staatsminister Dr. Philipp Jenninger [Declaration on the Development of Intra-German Relations by Minister of State Philipp Jenninger], Press Release [the Federal Press and Information Office], Bonn, July 25, 1984.

Translation: Allison Brown

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