69. Telegram From the Embassy in Germany to the Department of State 0

1343. Brandt has sent me copy of undated, unsigned memorandum given SPD Chairman Ollenhauer January 13 by Soviet Ambassador Smirnov, complaining lack proper understanding essentials Soviet proposals Berlin by certain members SPD executive and particularly Mayor Brandt. (Copies of memorandum as well as Brandt’s comments thereon being forwarded by despatch.)1

In essence, memorandum, which purports represent views “responsible circles Soviet Union”, restates without substantive modification Soviet proposals Berlin and threatens that, unless serious consideration given Soviet formula, Moscow intends conclude peace treaty with Pankow, which would then completely change basis for achieving Berlin solution. Specifically, it says peace treaty would give GDR “absolute sovereignty over its territory and airspace. Therefore, obvious this would mean end to uncontrolled ties between West Berlin [Page 175] and Federal Republic and all means access would come completely under GDR control. If West then decided return to question West Berlin, it would have to conduct negotiations directly with GDR.” Memorandum then warns that “if Brandt thinks possible ignore sovereign rights GDR, as well as rules it would establish on access, he erring seriously. For, in accordance with its obligations as an Ally, Soviet Union will give GDR all necessary support defense its sovereignty.” In view these considerations, hoped West Berlin leadership would “look at situation realistically” and consider acceptable solution West Berlin problem.

Interesting Soviets decided at this date use Smirnov-Ollenhauer-Brandt channel put this message across. (Brandt reportedly convinced one purpose exercise drive wedge between him and SPD leadership.) Perhaps most significant aspect memorandum is that at this juncture Soviet formula for dealing with Berlin question remains unchanged in all essentials.

For Berlin: Should Brandt query you as to whether SPD should reply document, suggest you avoid taking any position pending further consideration.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/1–2260. Secret; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Berlin, Moscow, London, and Paris.
  2. Transmitted as enclosures to despatch 1148 from Bonn, January 23. (Ibid., 762.00/1–2360) For text of the memorandum, see Dokumente, Band 4, 1960, Erster Halbband, pp. 69–71, or Embree, Soviet Union and the German Question, pp. 220–224.
  3. On January 22, the Mission at Berlin reported that Brandt had called in representatives of the three Western Powers to discuss the memorandum. Brandt felt, and the three representatives agreed, that no reply should be made to the memorandum. (Telegram 588 from Berlin; Department of State, Central Files, 762.00/1–2260)