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East Germans Halt Demands for Passports

May 28, 1986|From Times Wire Services

EAST BERLIN — East German guards today stopped demanding to see the passports of U.S., British and French diplomats after three days of tension on the border with West Berlin, Allied sources said.

After an East German decree went into operation Monday, causing concern in Western capitals, communist guards demanded passports instead of the usual red diplomatic cards from all diplomats accredited here.

Many North Atlantic Treaty Organization diplomats were sent back at the border Monday and Tuesday.

Those from the United States, Britain and France were allowed through without passports in an apparent concession to their special post-World War II status here. But they were warned that they had to show them next time.

Allies Remain Wary

The Allied sources said that today border guards had stopped asking diplomats from the three nations for passports or demanding that they be presented in the future.

"It's too soon to decide what this could mean. I'd hesitate to say the problem is over," one Allied source commented.

The three Allies object to the East German ruling, fearing that the presentation of passports might undermine their status in the city and might represent an attempt to gain recognition of the Berlin Wall as an international border.

Officials from other NATO embassies who were sent back after appearing at the border with only their diplomatic passes said they are still experiencing the same treatment today.

18 Envoys Meet in E. Berlin

Meanwhile, the ambassadors of 10 NATO nations accredited in East Berlin met today to consider a response to the new passport rule, sources said.

The ambassadors met at West Germany's diplomatic mission in East Berlin, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The sources did not say what happened at the meeting, but said participants planned to inform their foreign ministers, who today began their annual spring meeting in Halifax, Canada, "about the state of things" in the latest East-West impasse over Berlin.

And a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in East Berlin said the three Western powers in West Berlin--the United States, Britain and France--are also "continuing to consult with the Soviets" about the passport checks.

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