Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with David E. Mark
MARK: Well, no. There was a branch of the High Commissioner's office in Berlin under Eric Wendelin. As a matter of fact, Berlin and Bonn were in theory co-equal branches under High Commissioner McCloy, because the occupation regime—and there still formally is an occupation regime to this day (1989)—remained located in Berlin. So McCloy came up there; he had a house up there. There were meetings there. There were still some significant contacts in those years with the Soviet side. Indeed, there were a couple of occupation institutions that were maintained, I believe are still maintained (1989), such as the Air Safety Center in Berlin.
There were a couple of other things that survived all the clashes, and we still had—they've lately been revived much more, of course—the military liaison groups. I mean, the U.S. had its military people in Potsdam, in East Germany. They worked out of West Berlin. Likewise, we were assigned to the High Commissioner's office in Berlin. We tried to keep up with what went on in the East, and in those days it was relatively easy because there was no Berlin Wall, and people moved back and forth across the border, and we had all kinds of visitors from East Germany, people in church groups, Christian Democrats who were being forced more and more to the wall in those days, although a rump, sort of pro-Soviet Christian Democratic Party was allowed to continue tenuously. I even had the pleasure of working on these East-West issues with Willy Brandt, later Chancellor of Germany in Bonn who was then the editor of Berlin's Socialist Democratic Party newspaper.
Q: But you could travel without impediment anywhere in East Germany?
MARK: No. We could travel anywhere in East Berlin. For East Germany, we needed special Soviet passes, and I only received one twice during the year and a half that I was there, and they were both to visit the Leipzig trade fair. The Leipzig fair was to be the commercial showcase of East Germany to the world; and the Soviets were anxious to push East German industry, of course, as a foretaste of communism's quality potential. So people were allowed to go there to see how the German Democratic Republic was recovering from war devastation and from Soviet reparations dismantling, which had been very extensive.