VISNEWS filmed West Berlin's checkpoints and barbed wire borders May 26 - on the eve of the crucial date fixed by Soviet Premier Khruschev six months ago, when he demanded that Berlin should be declared an "independent political entity" as from May 27 - a stateless and demilitarised free city - implying that the Western Allies should leave.
LV Statue of Berlin Bear on Autobahn.
LV PAN..Dreilinden check point pan to lorry.
SV Boom is raised to allow lorry through Dreilinden check point.
GV Lorry along Autobahn..sign.."For the next 2 miles you will be in the Soviet zone, do not stop".
LV PAN..Car arrives at Gbenicker Brucke checkpoint.
GV Shot across bridge towards Potsdam
LV PAN..Sign "End of U.S. Sector Border" pan to empty house and overgrown garden.
LV PAN..Signpost "Roedenbecksteig" "Am Waldrand" pan to road blocks.
LV Border point at Duppel;
SV Notice "You are leaving American Sector".
LV Looking over into East Germany giant sign.
SV Man enters phone box screened by reed screen from East German sector.
CU Notice "U.S. Sector and 100-yds ahead".
GV Through barbed wire to Eastern Zone.
Initials KJ/PB WS/PB
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Background: VISNEWS filmed West Berlin's checkpoints and barbed wire borders May 26 - on the eve of the crucial date fixed by Soviet Premier Khruschev six months ago, when he demanded that Berlin should be declared an "independent political entity" as from May 27 - a stateless and demilitarised free city - implying that the Western Allies should leave.
Activities at the checkpoints - including autobahn access control-post Dreilinden - followed their prescribed routine course. Everything was quiet on the West Berlin front.
West Berliners were never greatly worried about Khruschev's potential threat. They went about their business in the ordinary way, knowing full well that food was in city stores to last the 2,200,000 inhabitants for at least a year.
West Berlin's Mayor, Herr Willy Brandt, earlier in the day forecast an uneventful May 27. Speaking to the press at Berlin's Congress Hall he said: "Tomorrow, the day of the expiration of the Russian ultimatum, absolutely nothing will happen in Berlin. It will be a day like any other. It will be a day like any other. In West Berlin on that evening no medals for gallantry will be handed out."
Later on May 26 spokesman Yuri Beburov of the Soviet Embassy in East Berlin added the lat flat note to an overture which had long lost its shrill impact. He confirmed that Mr. Khruschev's ultimatum was a dead letter and said: "There will be no attempt to alter the status of West Berlin while the Geneva talks are going on." Then he added that Mr. Khruschev and other Russian leaders had already made this clear in statements since November 27.
At a short plenary session in Geneva May 26 American Secretary of State Christian Herter expounded a seven-point plan for bringing about the reunification of greater Berlin as part of the Western peace plan. The plan envisages a government and administration for Berlin as a single unit pending the reunification of Germany, free and secret elections for an all-Berlin constitutional council, unrestricted access to and from the city, and the suspension of Four-Power garrisons subject to a German peace treaty.