Documents on Germany, 1944-1959 : background documents on Germany, 1944-1959, and a chronology of political developments affecting Berlin, 1945-1956
Note from the Soviet Union to the United States, protesting high-level flights in the Frankfurt-Berlin air corridor, April 4, 1959, pp. 412-413 PDF (929.9 KB)
412 DOCUMENTS ON GERMANY, 1944-59 Tensions are created primarily by governments and individuals that are ruthless in seeking greater and more extensive power. Berlin is a tension point because the Kremlin hopes to eliminate it as part of the free world. And the Communist leaders have chosen to exert pressure there at this moment. Naturally they always pick the most awkward situation, the hard-to-defend position, as the place to test our strength and to try our resolution. There will never be an easy place for us to make a stand, but there is a best one. That best one is where principle points. Deep in that principle is the truth that we cannot afford the loss of any free nation, for whenever freedom is destroyed anywhere we are ourselves, by that much, weakened. Every gain of communism makes further defense against it harder and our security more uncertain. * * * * * * * Note from the Soviet Union to the United States, Protesting High- Level Flights in the Frankfurt-Berlin Air Corridor, April 4, 1959' [Unofficial translation] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the instruction of the Soviet Government deems it nec- essary to bring the following to the notice of the Government of the United States of America. On March 27 a C-130 type American transport plane, going from West Germany to Berlin along the air corridor lying over the terrin tory of the German Democratic Republic, rose to a height of 7,000 meters, which is a crude violation of the existing procedure of flights along this route. The demonstrative character of this violation is evident from the very fact that the American representative in the Berlin Air Safety Center, which regulates flights of foreign airplanes between Berlin and the Federal Republic of Germany, was informed in good time by the Soviet side about the inadmissibility of the flight of the- said plane at a height of more than 3,050 meters, which is the maximum for flights of the Western powers using the air corridors. Moreover, this same airplane, completing on the same day a return trip from Berlin to West Germany, again flew at a height twice ex- ceeding the usual ceiling of flights in the air corridors, although a protest was made by the official Soviet representative to the U.S. rep- resentative against the violation of flight rules which had taken place. One cannot help noting that the violations by American planes of the existing procedure and established practice of flights over the terri- tory of the German Democratic Republic are undertaken at that mo- ment when agreement has been reached concerning the carrying out soon of negotiations between East and West on the question of Berlin and other questions having prime significance for the cause of peace. All this is taking place after the U.S. Government through its Am- bassador in Moscow declared at the time of the transmittal of the note on the question of the planned negotiations that in its opinion unilateral actions of any Government in the period of preparation for the forthcoming conferences will hardly help their successful 'Department of State Bulletin, May 4, 1959, p. 63,4.
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