223. Telegram From the Mission in Berlin to the Embassy in Germany 1

389. Congressman and Mrs. Ostertag, New York, and Congressman Boland, Massachusetts, presently visiting Berlin were making routine visit East Sector 27 November using US Army car with radio telephone. Upon leaving Soviet Garden of Remembrance approximately noon, party was stopped by Vopo who demanded car key. US Army escort officer refused, Vopo then drew and cocked pistol and officer complied. Vopo stated action taken because it contrary East German law for foreign power have and operate radio in vehicle.

Escort officer asked for Soviet officer and Soviet appeared after two hour wait, escorting party to Soviet Headquarters Karlshorst. Berlin Command Provost Marshal (who had been sent to locate party) arrived Soviet Headquarters at about same time and took up matter with Kotsiuba, Soviet Deputy Commandant.

Kotsiuba stated to Provost Marshal that party had violated laws GDR by using radio in vehicle in GDR territory. Provost Marshal stated neither he nor Kotsiuba had been present and could not settle issue between them. He asked for release of party and suggested matter be settled between US and Soviet Commandants. Kotsiuba complied, after taking names party, and no certificate of release was requested. Release effected approximately 1545 hours.

US Army here cabled full story USAREUR Heidelberg evening 27 November. Present intention US Commander Berlin release press statement mid-morning 28 November and protest personally to Soviet Commandant soon as possible. Congressman Boland has left Berlin but Congressman Ostertag is giving a press interview late this morning.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.0221/11–2855. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to Washington. The source text is the Department of State copy.