220. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union0

1155. Secretary summoned Ambassador Dobrynin at 9:00 a.m. October 11 and described the situation at Babelsberg check point where eighteen U.S. vehicles are being detained by Soviet armed forces.1 Secretary pointed out this is same convoy which was held up at Marienborn check point yesterday and which after being detained for several hours was finally permitted to proceed on autobahn eastward. Pointed out that this was a unilateral attempt by the Soviets to change well-established procedures and the use of force to do so.Commented it sets back all the efforts we have been making to solve issues between us.

Expressed hope that seriousness incident would be brought to personal attention of Khrushchev.

Dobrynin disclaimed any knowledge of most recent incident but commented message had gone out to Moscow last night regarding first incident that everything was in order.

Secretary again reiterated our great concern at the direct use of force to change well-established and existing procedures and asked Dobrynin to inform Foreign Minister Gromyko immediately as well as Moscow.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 38–10. Limited Official Use; Immediate. Drafted and approved by Davis. Also sent to Bonn, London, Paris, and Berlin and repeated electronically to the White House.
  2. Convoy U.S. 27 had arrived at the Marienborn checkpoint at 8:59 a.m. on October 10. It was held up for nearly 24 hours because the Soviets demanded that all passengers dismount for a head count. After being released just after midnight on October 10, it was again detained at the Babelsberg checkpoint and surrounded by Soviet APCs with loaded and uncovered machine guns. A detailed chronology of this and related incidents, October 9–13, was transmitted in telegram 478 from Berlin, October 13. (Ibid.)
  3. At 10:46 a.m. the Department of State advised the Embassy in Moscow that Kohler should see the Acting Soviet Foreign Minister or highest available Foreign Ministry official to repeat and underline the representations that Rusk had made to Dobrynin. (Telegram 1177 to Moscow, October 11; ibid.)