248. Message From the Ambassador to Germany (Rush) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


Yesterday Bahr and I had a 9½ hour session with Falin, lasting until after midnight. Bahr is to report to you in detail2 but I will give you some brief highlights before leaving for Berlin.

We all agreed that in the light of the tough problems remaining, several more such meetings will be necessary. Every item requires long, tortuous discussion, but Falin is obviously authorized to push toward an eventual agreement and shows an analytical, somewhat flexible (for the Russians) approach, which is encouraging. He keeps emphasizing the need to satisfy their reluctant “friends,” the G.D.R. All of our decisions are, of course, tentative and subject to approval by our governments.

The tough question of “international practice,” so vital to the G.D.R. was resolved evidently by having paragraph (1) of Annex I read as follows: “Transit traffic by road, rail and waterways of civilian persons and goods between the Western sectors of Berlin and the F.R.G. will be facilitated and take place unimpeded in the simplest and most expeditious manner and will receive the most preferential treatment provided by international practice.”
Falin finally made some other major concessions concerning traffic.
With regard to conveyances sealed before departure: “inspection procedures can be restricted to the inspection of seals and related documents.”
With regard to conveyances that cannot be sealed, such as open trucks, only “inspection regarding their conformity to related documents made.”
With regard to through trains and buses: “the inspection procedure will not include any formalities other than for purposes of identification.”
With regard to through travelers using individual vehicles: “procedures applied for such travelers shall not involve delay and can be without search of their persons or hand baggage. They may proceed to their destination without paying individual tolls and fees for use of transit routes.”

Time ran out as we were engaged in an extensive discussion of the most sensitive problem, Federal presence. The original paragraph was agreed as follows: “The Governments of France, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America in the exercise of their rights and responsibilities affirm (the Soviets want state) that the ties between the Western sectors and the F.R.G. will be maintained and developed taking into account that these sectors continue not to be a part of the sovereign territory of the F.R.G. and are not governed by it.”

This is as Brandt wants it and means important concessions by Falin, namely: “rights and responsibilities” instead of “competence”; “ties” instead of “relations”; “maintained and developed” instead of “maintained”; “part of the sovereign territory” instead of “part of.”

However, we then bogged down on the sticky questions of meetings of committees and Fraktionen, acts in the Western sectors by individual officials of the F.R.G., etc.

I’ll give you more when we get together in Washington.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 59, Country Files, Europe, Ambassador Rush, Berlin, Vol. 1. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. A copy was sent to Haig. The message was sent through the special Navy channel in Frankfurt; no time of transmission or receipt appears on the message.
  2. Document 249.