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The Politburo Gets Briefed (September 15, 1987)

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– It was expected that concrete questions regarding the acquisition and supply of electrical energy between the GDR and the FRG, including Berlin (West), will be resolved at a commercial level and that corresponding negotiations will lead to long-term agreements.

– It was agreed that progress in the continued negotiations on reducing the salt content of the Werra River is possible if, having taken the economic interests of both sides into account, concurrence is achieved on the use of the procedure available in the FRG for the environmentally-friendly preparation of potash salts.

– Confidential assurance on the part of H. Kohl and E. Albrecht that they would work toward a consensual settlement of the issue of the Elbe border.

On this point, in addition to concluding the agreements on inland navigation, sport boat traffic, flood protection, and fisheries that are already well underway, E. Honecker declared his intention to start negotiations on water-protection measures for the Elbe, and to include Hanover, Hamburg, and Kiel within the border-area traffic.

– The GDR expressed its commitment to introducing some easements on travel and visitor traffic regulations, including Berlin (West) (Amending entry requirements; allowing entry to former GDR citizens who left the GDR prior to January 1, 1982, provided they are not undesirable persons; allowing bicycles to be brought in for use during visits). An intention to hold internal and informal talks on some issues regarding West Berlin was expressed.

– There was agreement to work together more closely in combating AIDS.

It is significant that the two foreign ministers met on German soil for the first time (in the office of FRG foreign minister [Hans-Dietrich] Genscher) and that additional meetings were arranged.

6. The visit ushered in a new phase in bilateral relations between the two German states. It became clear that new, positive results on the way to normalizing relations for the good of the peoples of Europe and of both countries are possible when the point of departure is the real situation, that is, the fact that as a result of the Second World War and postwar developments two sovereign German states emerged that are independent of each other and have different social orders and alliance affiliations.

7. The visit of Comrade Erich Honecker found extraordinary resonance on an international level and in the media of the FRG. All worldwide press agencies and important newspapers emphasized the visit, the course of events, and its results as a significant occurrence in postwar history, acknowledging the developments that occurred after 1945. In the FRG, the news coverage was extensive and largely objective and correct. The visit was an expansive opportunity for the public, both internationally and within the FRG, to become familiar with the GDR’s stance on basic international issues, its peace policies, and its constructive behavior in bilateral relations.

[ . . . ]

Source: SED-Politbürovorlage vom 15. September 1987 über den offiziellen Besuch von Erich Honecker in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland vom 7. bis 11. September [SED Politburo draft of September 15, 1987, on the official visit by Erich Honecker to the Federal Republic of Germany from September 7-11], SAPMO-Bundesarchiv, DY 30/1 IV 2/2A/3054; reprinted in Andreas Herbst et al., eds., Die SED. Geschichte, Organisation, Politik. Ein Handbuch [The SED. History, Organization, Policies. A Handbook]. Berlin, 1997, pp. 788-94.

Translation: Allison Brown

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