USMLM unit patch

Russians Curb Potsdam Unit Of
U.S. Forces

By Richard C. Wald
New York Times
Apr 1, 1962

BERLIN, April 1.--The Soviet Union severely restricted the movement of personnel at the United States Army military liaison mission in Potsdam yesterday.

"For all movement outside the place where the mission is stationed," the East German news agency ADN announced, "the members of the military mission must show a permit of the high command of the Soviet forces in Germany."

The curtailment of military mission activities in both East and West Germany may mean the eventual end of the missions themselves, according to speculation here.

As matters stand today, both the American liaison mission to the Soviet command in Potsdam and the Soviet mission in Frankfurt are under armed guard, their officers not allowed to move without a military escort.

No Blow to Russians

While this is not a blow to the Russians, who have diplomatic and trade representatives roaming around West Germany most of the time, it means a real decrease in the amount of information the Americans receive because the United States has no trade or diplomatic links with East Germany.

Speculation centers on the fact that, if the American mission is kept inside Potsdam for a lengthy period, its value will decrease so much that it will either be withdrawn or cut down.

The most recent of those messages, according to Army sources, is the suggestion that the commanders should meet to iron out their difficulties with the missions.

Mission cars traveling between Potsdam and West Berlin today were escorted by Soviet military cars.

The East Germans in their turn are apparently intent on making travel into East Berlin as difficult as possible to emphasize their sovereignty.

Today, they turned back two tour buses of West Germans.  The first was told that all West Germans entering had to fill out new forms--which were not yet available.  The second bus was allowed in but, after a two-hour wait, was told there was no Communist guide available to take them around and they are not allowed to go without one.

Tour buses for non-Germans and for Allied soldiers and their families went through without difficulty.

Bypasses U.S. Ban

Meanwhile, Col. A. V. Soloyev, Berlin's Soviet commandant, again bypassed an American ban on his entering the American sector.

Col. Soloyev came to attend the changing of the guard at four-power Spandau Prison in the British sector, where top Nazis are held.  The Americans took over the prison chairmanship from the Russians today.

The cut-down in mission activities stems from a shooting incident March 20 when East German police opened fire on a mission car during a normal tour in the countryside.  When the Soviet reply to an American protest proved unacceptable, orders were given to restrict all mission travel in Potsdam and to guard the Russians in their Frankfurt compound.

News clipping courtesy Mel Ratz
Feedback/comments to 

A private, not for profit organization

 Copyright © 1999-2001 USMLMA, Inc. All rights reserved