BERLIN: Interested Bystanders

As he strode out of the U.S. ambassador's residence in West Berlin last week, Soviet Ambassador Pyotr Abra-simov smiled at the waiting crowd, clasped his hands above his head and shouted exuberantly, "The matter is perfect!" Moving more rapidly than expected, the ambassadors from the U.S., France, Britain and the Soviet Union planned just one more meeting this week to record formally their governments' approval of a preliminary agreement to end Berlin's unhappy postwar role as a focus of East-West tensions.

Even before the formalities were over, West and East German negotiators began work on filling in the fine print...

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