Publication: The Sunday Times

Full Citation

  • Title Sokolovsky Talks Of Negotiations: Blockade Stays
  • Author By Our Diplomatic Correspondent
  • Publication Title The Sunday Times
  • Collection The Sunday Times Digital Archive, 1822-2006
  • Date Sunday,  Oct. 3, 1948
  • Issue Number 6547
  • Page Number 1
  • Place of Publication London, England
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library Times Newspapers Limited
  • Copyright Statement © Times Newspapers Limited.
Sokolovsky Talks Of Negotiations: Blockade Stays M ARSHAL SOKOLOVSKY, Russian Military Governor in Germany, declared last night in Berlin that the Soviet Government was prepared to resume negotiations on the Berlin problem on the basis of the agreement reached in Moscow on August 30, the day on which the Kremlin discussions were transferred to the four Military Governors. . . . . In a long interview , with journalists from Soviet-licensed papers he made it clear , however, that the Russian authorities meant to maintain control over all traffic, including air -freight , between Berlin and the West, and so had no intention of lifting the blockade except on terms which would enable it to be reimposed on some fresh pretext without even the possibility of renewing the air lift. Marshal 'Sokolovsky, according to a Reuter message from Berlin, stated : _ " The Western Powers are attempting to divert public attention from their policy of splitting Germany and creating a West German State. The Berlin question is also being exploited to gather together re - ac tionary forces inside and outside Ger - many to use them as props in carrying out the Marshall Plan. " The immediate cause of the Berlm crisis was the separate currency reform carried out in the Western Zones in June, which was extended to the Western sectors of Berlin a few days later. The Soviet demand to carry through a currency reform for the whole of Germany was ignored by the Western Allies." "NO BLOCKADE" Referring to the " so-called blockade of Berlin," Marshal Sokolovsky said: "There was and is no blockade. The whole population have-the chance to get all their supplies, including coal for the winter , in the Soviet sector. The air bridge , with all its cost, is therefore ah unnecessary and purely propaganda measure, which only burdens Germany with debts. "I must contradict most sharply the lying declaration recently made in the British House of Commons that the Soviet authorities . are attempting to starve out the Berliners;" After referring to the Soviet offer to supply the whole. Berlin . population. Marshal Sokolovsky said : "The Western Allied demand that the limitations on. transport between Berlin and the West should be lifted before negotiations on the Berlin question" are resumed gives obvious proof that the Western Powers have abandoned' the basis of agreement reached in Moscow that these restrictions should be removed at the same time as the Western Deutsche mark is removed from circulation. "The talks of the four Military Com - manders began on August 31, and were broken off on September 7. The four Military Governors would have needed at leastthree or four days more to draw <xp an agreed report for their Governments, listing the points of agreement and also the points of disagreement. " The three Western Military Governors, however, did not wish such a-combined report to be drawn uft.and General Clay (the -American cdnimahderl- 'ihsisted'en the meeting being broken off." "" AIR CONTROL CLAIJW Naming the points at issue between the four Military Governors, Marshal Soko - lovsky said: " Under the Control Council ruling of November 30, 1945 , air traffic between the Western Zones and Berlin was intended only to serve the needs of the occupation troops in Berlin. The Soviet Command in Berlin merely suggested that this decision should be recognised. " In any case it is clear that the Soviet authorities must have control over the entire goods traffic , including air freight, to protect the Soviet Zone from illegal freight and contraband, in view of the fact that two separate currencies are circulat - ing in the Eastern and Western Zones of Germany." Marshal Sokolovsky's interpretation of the course of the Military Governors' talks in Berlin, and of the points at issue,' is as wide of the facts as were his own demands in excess of the agreed directive which was passed to Berlin from Moscow, on August 30. Since the Soviet Government, when approached again by the Western envoys on September 14, supported Marshal Sokolovsky 's demands, his statement can be regarded as in no way conciliatory, but merely a blustering attempt to save his face in the eyes of the German people. By Our Diplomatic Correspondent -