190. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State0

2957. Zorin asked me call on him at MFA at noon and made following oral statement.

Begin text. In connection with trip of President USA to Europe, including West Berlin, scheduled for June, Chancellor Adenauer has declared that he, as head of government of FRG, together with other West German leaders, intends to accompany President Kennedy officially on his trip to West Berlin. According to available information, Adenauer intends to meet President in West Berlin and remain there during his visit.

It is as yet difficult for us to judge whether these plans of Adenauer are supported by White House. It is however completely obvious that [Page 519] these plans of FRG Chancellor bear an openly provocative character. They are clearly directed toward aggravating situation and creating additional difficulties for resolution of important international question, on which Soviet-American exchange of views has now been resumed. Moreover, everyone knows—and this has repeatedly been confirmed by USA—that West Berlin is not part of FRG. End text.

I told Zorin I should report this to my government and give him official reply upon its instructions. On basis my familiarity with question, however, I wished point out that much of US-Soviet discussion Berlin had centered precisely around question free movement persons between West Germany and West Berlin. I could see nothing in such movements that could be described as “provocative”. There had been many meetings in East Berlin at which Soviet leaders had been present together with Ulbricht. Both of us had the same responsibilities in this matter for all of Berlin. I therefore could not see how Chancellor’s travel to West Berlin could be called “provocative”. Nor did I see how it could be regarded as prejudicial to US-Soviet talks.

Zorin said: First, this was not a question of simple movement of persons. Adenauer was not just West German citizen with ordinary passport, but head of FRG Government, which had nothing to do with West Berlin. Consequently, these two aspects of matter could not be put on same plane. Second, it was altogether different situation when Khrushchev was there with Ulbricht. East Berlin is part, and capital, of GDR and no one had ever disputed this. On other hand, West Berlin not part of FRG; even US admits that. Consequently, these two things can’t be put on same plane: It was not unlawful for Khrushchev to be in East Berlin, whereas Adenauer had nothing to do with West Berlin. Thirdly, I had said there was nothing provocative in this, but Soviets considered this kind of step as not directed toward facilitating US-Soviet talks, but rather toward hindering them. Our points of view on this are different, but first two points he had put were purely factual ones.

I responded by agreeing there was difference between situations in East and West Berlin, but this was because Soviet action had made them different. However, I did not propose that he and I should take over discussions of Germany and Berlin already started by Secretary and Dobrynin. I should bring his representation to attention of my government and report his additional remarks.

Comment: Perhaps emboldened by reports of Franco-British-US attitude toward Bundestag meeting in Berlin, Soviets appear intent on trying a little splitting maneuver on US and FRG. (FRG Embassy, which we have informed of approach, tells us they have not as yet received any representation on subject.)

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/Kennedy. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Repeated to Berlin and Bonn.