251. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • Berlin Christmas Passes (Part 5 of 9 Parts)


The President, raising the subject of the arrangements concerning Christmas visits in Berlin, said he was pleased with the project, for it showed flexibility and imagination in dealing with a difficult problem.

The Chancellor, however, did not think the results were all good. In fact, the Federal Government had some second thoughts about these arrangements. [Page 661] Moreover, the Chancellor was somewhat concerned about Soviet Zone plans to enter into new discussions with the Berlin authorities (and excluding the Federal authorities) for extension of these arrangements. Ulbricht was not moved by humanitarian considerations. His aims were political and his eye was clearly on the consolidation of the three-state doctrine, with Berlin being an independent entity. The Chancellor felt strongly that further moves had to be carefully thought out, lest the world get the impression that Berlin’s life and security were no longer tied to Bonn and Berlin was leading a political life of its own. This, the Chancellor warned, could have dangerous consequences for the Germans and the Allies. The Chancellor said he was struck by the fact that even though Western motives in reaching these arrangements had been wholly humanitarian, East Bloc comment on the passes made no reference at all to the humanitarian considerations; it only stressed that the agreement was reached by the GDR and the “Berlin Senat.” This was a dangerous political matter.

The German Government had not decided yet on how to deal with the next step. A better assessment would have to await more definitive data. But, the Chancellor wanted the President to appreciate the dangerous implications of this development.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 66 D 110, CF 2354. Secret; Exdis. The source text bears no drafting information, but it was approved by the White House on January 14, 1964.