KGB report to Central Committee. Meeting in the Netherlands between a KGB source and Count Georg-Volkmar Zedtwitz von Arnim, a director of the Krupp corporation, on behalf of the West German SPD (2 pp). [R 9 September 1969, 2273-A]
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USSR Committee for State Security [KGB]
of the USSR Council of Ministers
9 September 1969, 2273-A
To the CPSU Central Committee
The Committee for State Security is reporting on a meeting between a KGB source and Count Arnim von Zedtwitz, which took place at the latter’s request in the Netherlands in May this year.
Zedtwitz is a confidant of Egon Bahr, a prominent member of the German Social Democratic Party [SPD]. Bahr handles the planning, coordination and development of key aspects of West German foreign policy. Zedtwitz had approached the source, he stated, at Bahr’s direct request in the hope that the contents of the discussion would be relayed to the Soviet leadership. Citing Bahr, Zedtwitz said the following:
The “most sensible” leaders of the SPD have reached the conclusion that it is essential to seek new ways of conducting the “Ostpolitik”. They wish to establish direct and reliable channels of contact with Moscow. In the opinion of some in West Germany, recent official contacts have yielded negligible results because each side, due to its official position, has done little more than make “purely propagandistic” declarations. Contacts with embassy officials in Bonn are also undesirable: it is difficult to maintain them unofficially, and information about any meetings provides immediate ammunition for the political opposition.
In view of this, Bahr feels it would be desirable to conduct a series of unofficial negotiations with representatives of the USSR, which would place neither side under any obligations should the talks yield no positive results.
Zedtwitz states that there are forces within West German industrial circles that are ready to facilitate a normalization of relations with the USSR. Their capacity is limited, however, because economic ties between West Germany and the USSR are still in an “embryonic” condition. In Zedtwitz’s opinion, the Soviet Union is not making sufficient use of the levers of foreign trade to achieve its political goals, though it would already be possible to ensure that measures are taken to exclude the participation of German specialists in the Chinese missile and nuclear programs and to counteract West German politicians’ tendency to flirt with Mao Tse Tung.
According to available data, the leadership of the other ruling party in West Germany, the Christian Democratic Union, is also attempting to establish unofficial contacts with Soviet representatives and has expressed a willingness to conduct “a broad dialogue to clarify many issues for both sides”.
Analysis of information we have received indicates that the two leading and competing West German parties fear that their political opponents will seize the initiative and put relations with the Soviet Union on a regular footing,  and are prepared to conduct unofficial negotiations, not announced in the press, which could serve to strengthen their situation and prestige.
Consequently, the KGB feels that it would be appropriate to continue unofficial contacts with the leadership of both parties. As such contacts develop, it would be advantageous, using the opportunities provided by our foreign trade, to try to exert a favourable influence on West German foreign policy, and ensure a flow of information about the positions and plans of the leadership in Bonn.
We request authorization.
KGB CHAIRMAN, ANDROPOV