EAST BERLIN — Failing in their bid to go immediately to the West, all 116 people holed up in Bonn's mission in East Berlin left the building Friday following a meeting with Wolfgang Vogel, a prominent East German lawyer who has often acted as mediator between the two Germanys.
Meanwhile, West Germany's foreign minister said thousands of East Germans may soon go to the West from Hungary, where they have been waiting for permission to leave.
Vogel, a close adviser to East German leader Erich Honecker, recently met several leading West German politicians and officials.
The West German mission said in a statement that a senior official of Bonn's Inner-German Affairs Ministry was also present at the meeting with the East Germans, who sought refuge in the mission more than a month ago.
No Prosecution Pledge
The statement said the East Germans had not been told they would be allowed to emigrate, but added that it expected the East German government to keep its promise not to persecute them.
It was not immediately clear whether the new turn in the refugee crisis was linked to recent high-level contacts between officials of the two Germanys, the latest of which took place Thursday.
Disclosure that the East Germans left the mission coincided with the broadcast of an interview with West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, who said he hoped thousands of East German refugees would soon be allowed to leave Hungary for the West.
"We can assume this will happen in the next few days," he said in reference to a long-awaited operation to evacuate the more than 6,000 refugees.
"I have strong confidence in the Hungarian leadership and am confident that a solution will be found," he said in the interview with West German television.
No Secret Deal
But he rejected reports that West Germany and Hungary had reached a secret deal to enable the East Germans to cross to the West.
"That is their own sovereign decision of the Hungarian government," he said.
In Budapest, the Hungarian Communist Party leader, Rezsoe Nyers, appeared to confirm Genscher's remarks. He said, according to an Associated Press report, that the East Germans waiting in refugee camps would be able to leave "in a short time." But he would not say when.
Red Cross officials in Vienna said about 100 people, frustrated with delays over their efforts to go to West Germany, fled across the border from Hungary into Austria during the night.
The expected departure from Hungary, which some observers speculate may involve up to 20,000 East Germans, is widely expected to be the largest exodus since Soviet-backed East German troops built the Berlin Wall in 1961.
Last month, 108 people who sought refuge in the West German Embassy in the Hungarian capital of Budapest were evacuated to the West in an International Red Cross-backed operation.
About 300 more are still holed up in Bonn's embassy in Prague, the Czechoslovak capital.