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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 22, 1968

KGB BORDER REPORT TO P. SHELEST

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    Report on lax border controls between Warsaw Pact nations and the Western District, USSR.
    "KGB Border Report to P. Shelest," May 22, 1968, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, TsDAHOU, F. 1, Op. 25, Spr. 65, Ll. 41-46. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113083
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    http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113083

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TO THE FIRST SECRETARY OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF UKRAINE

Comrade P. E. SHELEST

Per your instruction, enclosed is a report about border controls and the transport of politically harmful literature, travel by people, and the inspection of freight trains.

ATTACHMENT: 5 pages

CHIEF OF FORCES IN THE WESTERN BORDER DISTRICT OF THE KGB UNDER THE USSR COUNCIL OF MINISTERS

IVANOV

CHIEF OF THE POLITICAL DEPARTMENT OF FORCES IN THE WESTERN BORDER DISTRICT OF THE KGB UNDER THE USSR COUNCIL OF MINISTERS

KOZLOV

22 May 1968
REPORT

On Controls at the Border to Prevent the Transport of Ideologically Harmful Literature and to Regulate the Inflow of People, and on the Inspection of Freight Trains ___________________________________________________________

1. The border-control checkpoints have seized ideologically harmful literature in the following quantities:

in 1964 - 1,500 items
in 1965 - 23,942 items
in 1966 - 28,910 items
in 1967 - 33,570 items
1st quarter of 1968 - 11,833 items

The border guards exercise political control only when passengers are inspected by the customs organs. But
because customs officials conduct inspections of citizens crossing the border only in exceptional cases, it is impossible to confiscate ideologically harmful literature in the majority of cases.

. . . .

2. As a result of meetings held in the first half of 1966 by delegations from the USSR KGB Border Guards with delegations from Poland, the CSSR, Hungary, and Romania, agreement was reached on inspections at border-control checkpoints of freight trains crossing the state border. The agreements entered into force that same year. In accordance with these agreements, the inspection of trains is carried out only when the trains are leaving the territory—that is, Soviet border guards inspect only the trains that are leaving the territory of the USSR, not the freight on trains arriving in the Soviet Union.

In 1966 (from the time that the single-side inspection of freight trains took effect) and 1967, the Soviet border guards did not inspect more than 33,000 trains arriving on the territory of the Soviet Union.

This inspection regime for freight trains can be exploited by intelligence services of the adversary to send its agents and politically harmful literature into the territory of the USSR.

An agreement with the Romanian delegation on 8 June 1966 provided for the single-side inspection of freight trains passing through the Ungheni station. On 1 August 1967 the Main Directorate of the USSR KGB Border Guards proposed to hold a meeting with Romanian internal affairs ministry
officials to clarify the single-side inspection of cargo trains and introduce this practice at all points along the Soviet-Romanian border.

In light of this development, the Central Committees of the Communist Parties of Ukraine and Moldavia, the Committees on State Security of these republics, and the command of the border district jointly sent a telegram to the Main Directorate of the USSR KGB Border Guards, which read as follows:

“The experience of the border-control troops in the district shows that single-side inspections of cargo trains, introduced in 1966, do not permit reliable security of the state border.

“The existing system of inspection work at border-control checkpoints in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary does not exclude the possibility of unhindered passage for border violators. The Polish and Hungarian border guards are so short-handed that they carry out the single-side inspections only formally. The trains are inspected only superficially, and no inspection regime has been set up at the checkpoints. The trains are allowed to go to the border without accompanying observers. The Czechoslovak border guards do not inspect cargo trains at all because this task since 17 April has been left to the customs organs. During the time that single-side inspections have been carried out, there have been four violations of the border into the USSR by freight trains (3 cases at the ‘Chop' district border checkpoint and 1 at the ‘Brest' district border checkpoint), as established by periodic inspections.

“Of the 14,378 freight trains that passed through the ‘Brest,' ‘Chop,' and ‘Mostys'ka' district checkpoints and the ‘Ungheni' border checkpoint during the first six months of this year, only 3,375 were inspected, and the remaining 11,003 passed into Soviet territory without any inspection.

“The current internal political situation and the foreign policy course adopted by the Romanian government do not permit conditions suitable for introducing single-side inspections and registration of vehicles at all checkpoints along the Soviet-Romanian border. Such an approach would enable the Romanian side to convey ideologically pernicious literature into the USSR, literature that is now published in mass editions in Romania.

“Taking account of the increased subversive activity by the intelligence services of the USA, the FRG, and England against the USSR—and also the sharply reduced level of security along the western borders of Hungary and the CSSR, as well as the policy of Romania—the district command, the Central Committees of the Communist parties of Ukraine and Moldavia, and the Committees on State Security of these republics believe it would be premature and undesirable to introduce single-side inspections of vehicles at the borders with Romania, the CSSR, Hungary, and Poland.”

This request from the district went unheeded. On 13 January 1968 the Main Directorate of the USSR KGB Border Guards proposed to move to a single-side inspection of cargo trains along the whole Soviet-Romanian border.

3. In 1967 alone, some 828,576 foreigners, including 92,585 from capitalist countries, entered the USSR through border-control checkpoints in the Western District.

Under the existing regimen, established on 29 April 1964 by Directive No. 0122 of the KGB under the USSR Council of Ministers, the registration and reporting of citizens of socialist countries passing through border-control checkpoints into the USSR on official business, and the registration and
reporting of tourists on single-entry visas who arrive on the basis of invitations and telegrams or in transit, are not being carried out with the necessary oversight by the border guards, state security organs, and police. As a result, individuals in these categories who arrive in the USSR have the opportunity to move unhindered around the whole territory of our country and, in general, to remain in the Soviet Union as long as they wish.

CHIEF OF FORCES IN THE WESTERN BORDER
DISTRICT OF THE KGB UNDER THE USSR COUNCIL
OF MINISTERS

(IVANOV)

CHIEF OF THE POLITICAL DEPARTMENT OF FORCES IN THE WESTERN BORDER DISTRICT OF THE KGB UNDER THE USSR COUNCIL OF MINISTERS

(KOZLOV)

22 May 1968