HC Deb 24 February 1959 vol 600 cc142-3W
Mr. Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on what dates, either at the time or subsequent to the Berlin Airlift, the East German Government suspended, or prevented the normal operation, supply, or exchange with West Berlin of water supplies, interzonal trains, telephone and postal communications, and the practice of co-operating with West Berlin police in tracing and apprehending non-political criminals; and to what extent, since the new Soviet proposals on Berlin, threats have been made by the East Germans in connection with these matters.

Mr. R. Allan

The actions taken by the Soviet authorities to interrupt West Berlin's communications and utilities during the blockade were published in Command Paper No. 7534 of 11th October, 1948, Part II.

Since 1949, there has been extensive interference by the East German authorities with Berlin communications. The following are details. Water supplies. The Soviet authorities cut off supplies from East Berlin in November, 1948, and there have been no supplies from East Berlin since that date. Inter-Zonal trains and postal communications. Between the 30th of August, 1951, and the 15th of May 1952, over 11,000 mail-vans were detached from inter-Zonal trains and refused passage by the East German authorities on various pretexts such as incorrect dimensions of parcels, faulty stapling, etc. There have been other detentions of mail-vans since that date. Telephone Communications. The East German authorities cut off telephone communications with West Berlin, except for Soviet telephone lines to the headquarters of the Western garrisons in West Berlin, in May, 1952. These communications have never been restored despite Western protests except temporarily during the Foreign Ministers' Conference of 1954. It is therefore impossible to telephone direct between East and West Berlin. Police co-operation. This has not been wholly suspended but the East German authorities cut the last existing police telephone lines in November, 1950, with the exception of one teleprinter link which is still maintained. Road and water transport. In addition to the above the East German authorities in April, 1955, unilaterally announced exorbitant Autobahn taxes: in May, 1958, they did the same thing with barge tolls.

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