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U.S. to Boycott Anniversary of Linkup on Elbe

April 01, 1985|United Press International

WASHINGTON — The Reagan Administration will boycott the 40th anniversary observance of Soviet and American armies linking up on Germany's Elbe River during World War II because of the Soviets' fatal shooting of an American officer, it was announced today.

The State Department said the United States will not send an official military group to take part in the ceremony April 25. About 200 U.S. veterans are expected to participate.

An official delegation is not considered appropriate under the circumstances, spokesman Bernard Kalb said in a reference to the shooting last week of Maj. Arthur D. Nicholson Jr. by a Soviet sentry in East Germany.

U.S. 'Deeply Concerned'

Kalb said the United States remains "deeply concerned" about the shooting and added that future U.S. actions will be determined by Soviet conduct in the matter.

Kalb said the United States is seeking an early meeting with Soviet military officials in Germany to discuss procedures for the military liaison missions in East and West Germany. The aim, he said, is to avoid repetition of the Nicholson killing.

Low-level military officers are to meet April 10, he said, to discuss preparations for a meeting by high-ranking military officials. The talks were agreed on Saturday in a meeting between Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Anatoly F. Dobrynin, the Soviet ambassador to Washington.

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