302. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State 1

2236. Eyes only Secretary. At Nepalese reception last night Gromyko initiated discussion of our Berlin talks. Both of us repeated standard arguments but following differences in emphasis may be of interest. Gromyko reproached me for insisting upon prior discussion of access and listed all of the points in which Soviets are interested. He pointed out he had discussed access and that if access agreement was reached and accepted by GDR such agreement would be carried out. It was only necessary to respect GDR sovereignty and Soviets would never conclude an agreement which did not do so. I said we were not attempting to demonstrate disrespect for GDR sovereignty but we were not prepared to reach an agreement which tended to perpetuate division of Germany. I said it was not clear what they meant by respect for GDR sovereignty and asked if this meant that in exercise of its sovereignty GDR would have possibility of changing traffic rules, arbitrarily closing highway under pretext road repairs, etc. As usual Gromyko ducked clear answer but stated GDR would carry out any agreement. When Gromyko emphasized that Soviets did not want a single brick of West Berlin I observed that this did not seem to be true of his friend Ulbricht and said Ulbricht had indicated that either agreement or peace treaty would enable East Germany to exert pressure on West Berlin. Gromyko asked me to be specific and I cited Ulbricht’s statements regarding use of Templehof and RIAS. Gromyko said he was familiar with Mr. Ulbricht’s statements and did not think any of them justified conclusion I had drawn. Gromyko said that if we were not prepared to respect GDR sovereignty then outlook was very gloomy. He made no reference to timing of continuation our talks nor in any way indicated desire to bring matters to a head. On contrary his concern appeared to be how we could keep talks going in view of current impasse.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 762.0221/2-2062. Confidential; Eyes Only. Received at 10:06 a.m.