West Germany wanted to buy the East from USSR
The American files show that chancellor Ludwig Erhard, despite being credited as one of the men behind West Germany's post-war economic miracle, was prepared to hand over a huge sum of money to Moscow for the prize of reunification.
A document seen by the German news magazine Der Spiegel records a conversation between a German government official and George McGhee, the US ambassador to Bonn, in October 1963. The American was told Germany was prepared to pay over $2 billion a year for a decade to Moscow in return for East Germany: a sum which then amounted to about a quarter of West Germany's GDP.
The conversation ties in with a CIA report from the same year, which said Mr Erhard had "suggested he was willing to offer 'substantial' sacrifices by West Germany perhaps in the form of economic aid in return for Soviet concessions on reunification".
Under the so-called "Erhard plan", in return for the money Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet leader, would agree to a phased withdraw from East Germany, leading to self-determination and eventual reunification....
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