Clarke Protests to Russ Over Shooting of U.S. Military Car by Vopos

From Press Dispatches
The Stars And Stripes
March 25, 1962

HEIDELBERG--Gen Bruce C. Clarke, USAREUR commander-in-chief, has strongly protested to the Soviets over the shooting at an American military car by East German police, the U.S. Army announced.

Clarke's protest was addressed to Marshal Ivan S. Koniev, commander of Soviet forces in East Germany.

It was handed to the deputy chief of the Soviet military mission to the U.S. Army in Germany at Clarke's office Thursday, the Army statement said.

Contents of Clarke's letter of protest to Koniev were not disclosed.

The Army said the incident occurred Tuesday near Wahlwinkel, about 12 miles east of Eisenach, an East German town near the zonal border with West Germany.

The Army said at that time a car of the U.S. military liaison mission at Potsdam, carrying an Army major and an enlisted driver, was stopped by Vopos (East German People's Police).

'Unaccountable, Improper'

The statement called the halting of the car "unaccountable and improper."

The Army said that when the officer attempted to drive off an hour later, the Vopos fired into the tires and trunk of the car.

Fortunately, said the Army, neither occupant of the car was hit.

The Vopos, said the Army, refused the U.S. officer's demand to see the Soviet regional commandant.
[Postscript:  It was standard and accepted US-Soviet protocol that East German Vopos had no jurisdiction over USMLM personnel as they were accredited to the commander-in-chief of Soviet Forces in Germany.]

Clarke summoned Col Ivan Banov, acting chief of the Soviet military mission quartered in Frankfurt, to his Heidelberg headquarters and handed him the protest letter.

The Army statement said no reply to the protest has been received yet.

News clipping courtesy Mel Ratz
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