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The Berlin Ultimatum (November 27, 1958)

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In case the Government of the USA and the governments of Great Britain and France express their agreement to consider the question of liquidating the present occupation regime in West Berlin by setting up a free city within its territory, the Soviet Government would be willing on behalf of the Four Powers to enter into official contact on this matter with the government of the German Democratic Republic, with which it has already had preliminary consultations prior to the sending of the present note.

Naturally, it would also be realized that the GDR's agreement to set up on its territory such an independent political organism as a free city of West Berlin would be a concession, a definite sacrifice on the part of the GDR for the sake of strengthening peace in Europe, and for the sake of the national interest of the German people as a whole.

The Soviet Government, guided by a desire to normalize the situation in Berlin in the interest of European peace and in the interest of a peaceful and independent development of Germany, has resolved to effect measures on its part designed to liquidate the occupation regime in Berlin. It hopes that the Government of the USA will show a proper understanding of these motives and make a realistic approach to the Berlin question.

At the same time the Soviet Government is prepared to enter into negotiations with the governments of the United States of America and with those of the other states concerned on granting West Berlin the status of a demilitarized free city. In case this proposal is not acceptable to the government of the USA then there will no longer remain any topic for negotiations between the former occupying powers on the Berlin question.

The Soviet Government seeks to have the necessary change in Berlin's situation take place in a cold atmosphere, without haste and unnecessary friction, with maximum possible consideration for the interests of the parties concerned. Obviously, a certain period of time will be necessary for the powers which occupied Germany after the defeat of Hitler's Wehrmacht to agree on proclaiming West Berlin a free city provided, naturally, that the Western powers display due interest in this proposal.

It should also be taken into consideration that the necessity may arise for talks between the municipal authorities of both parts of Berlin and also between the GDR and the FRG to settle any questions that may arise. In view of this, the Soviet Government proposes to make no changes in the present procedure for military traffic of the USA, Great Britain, and France from West Berlin to the FRG for half a year. It regards such a period as fully sufficient to provide a sound basis for the solution of the questions connected with the change in Berlin's situation and to prevent a possibility of any complications, provided, naturally, that the governments of the Western powers do not deliberately seek such complications. During the above-mentioned period the parties will have an opportunity to prove in practice their desire to ease international tension by settling the Berlin question.

If the above-mentioned period is not utilized to reach an adequate agreement, the Soviet Union will then carry out the planned measures through an agreement with the GDR. It is envisaged that the German Democratic Republic, like any other independent state, must fully deal with questions concerning its space, i.e., exercise its sovereignty on land, on water, and in the air. At the same time, there will terminate all contacts still maintained between representatives of the armed forces and other officials of the Soviet Union in Germany and corresponding representatives of the armed forces and other officials of the USA, Great Britain, and France on questions pertaining to Berlin.

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