93. Memorandum From the Counselor of the Department of State (Sonnenfeldt) to Secretary of State Kissinger, Washington, July 30, 1974.1 2


  • Helmut Sonnenfeldt


  • Soviet Communication on Berlin
[Page 1]




July 30, 1974


Vorontsov called before lunch in response to my phone call to him from San Clemente on July 26 (Tab B) on the Berlin access problem. He said he had a response which said that selective controls were in fact being carried out, as we had been warned they would, but that these were not intended to create obstacles to normal transit. (He subsequently, at my request, sent over the full text of the Soviet response, Tab A).

I said that the interference continued to be of concern to us and that it was a disturbing element. He said this should not be so since the intent was to be selective and not to interfere with normal traffic. I said I would have to bring the response to your attention and would be back in touch.

I think I should tell Vorontsov in your name that:

  • — The reply is not reassuring since it justifies illegal interference by the GDR with civilian access;
  • — We had hoped not to get into a formal exchange on this problem but that since it is continuing there is now growing pressure for a formal demarche which is now under consideration among the Western Allies;
  • — We have already found it necessary to postpone the completion of our agreement with the GDR since the latter’s actions created a political obstacle;
  • — I would like once more, in your name, to urge the Soviet Union to meet its responsibilities under the Quadripartite Agreement to see to it that interference on the access routes is ended.

There is now pressure in the Bonn Group to proceed to a formal demarche and the FRG is asking for a meeting of the FRG-GDR transit commission. The press is beginning to report on these developments. If you agree to the points to be made to Vorontsov, I would then propose to let the Allies know in general terms of this further exchange with the Soviets. (Genscher et al were of course present when we had the original contact with Vorontsov in San Clemente and we also informed the British and French. ) If developments warrant, we could join the British and French in a joint formal demarche to Moscow later.

Approve line with Vorontsov [HK initialed]


Approve informing Allies

Clearance: EUR - Mr. Hartman

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Helmut Sonnenfeldt 1973-1977, Entry 5339, Box 5, Germany 1974. Secret; Sensitive; Urgent. Cleared by Hartman. Attached but not published are the Soviet response, forwarded to Sonnenfeldt under Vorontsov’s July 30 memorandum, and Sonnenfeldt’s summary of their July 26 telephone conversation. The West German Parliament established the Federal Office for Environmental Protection in West Berlin on July 22.
  2. Sonnenfeldt asked Kissinger to approve a U.S. objection to Soviet interference with the transit of West German property, documentation, and personnel of the Federal Environmental Office to West Berlin. Kissinger approved.