210. Editorial Note

West German Ambassador Kroll discussed Berlin with Chairman Khrushchev on November 11, 1961. After stressing that he was giving his own ideas on the question, Kroll proposed the following: 1) a four-power agreement on Berlin to provide for freedom, viability, and access to the city and the continued presence of the Allies; 2) an agreement between the Soviet Union and East Germany to respect agreements reached with the Western Allies; 3) an agreement between Berlin and the West as well as with the German Democratic Republic to cover technical matters; 4) an agreement between the four powers to set up committees on disarmament and for negotiating a peace treaty; 5) at the time of a Berlin agreement another understanding would be signed by the interested powers to stop provocative propaganda; and 6) that the arrangements suggested in the first five points would allow a general improvement in Soviet-West German relations.

Khrushchev said he wanted to study these ideas, but in principle could accept them. He told Kroll that economic and financial ties between the Federal Republic and Berlin were acceptable, but not political [Page 581] or administrative. Kroll then stated that the wall would have to come down, and Khrushchev indicated that it had been built on Soviet orders and, if there were a satisfactory agreement on Berlin, it would come down. For the Ambassador’s account of this conversation, see Lebenserinnerungen eines Botschafters, pages 524-527. For the German interpreter’s account, see Ehlert, Grosse Grusinsche Nr. 17, pages 319 ff.

On the following day Thompson reported that Kroll had briefed him and his British and French counterparts along these lines. (Telegram 1491 from Moscow; Department of State, Central Files, 661.62A/11-1061) On November 11 Grewe briefed the Ambassadorial Group in Washington, and Thompson was informed that this briefing coincided with that given by Kroll. (Telegram 1260 to Moscow, November 11; ibid.) Grewe also reported that the German Government disapproved the line taken by Kroll and did not identify itself with it. Grewe concluded by saying that he was being recalled to Bonn to discuss Kroll’s initiative. For Kroll’s account of the discussions at Bonn, see Lebenserinnerungen eines Botschafters, pages 527-535; for Grewe’s account, see Ruckblenden, pages 516-518.