Chancellor Kohl and President Bush Discuss Influx of East Germans and Kohl's Meeting with Michael Gorbachev
One of the most significant problems for West Germany after the opening of the intra-German border was the massive influx of immigrants from East Germany. Under the West German Basic Law, East Germans who fled to the West could instantly claim West German citizenship. Hundreds of thousands of East Germans came to the West each month in the search for better employment opportunities. They also came out of fear that the border might suddenly close again unless formal guarantees were put in place. In this telephone conversation between West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and U.S. President George H. W. Bush, the two discuss some of these economic issues as well as the German-American position regarding the status of NATO membership for a unified Germany. Both leaders were convinced that they must hold firm to Germany's membership in NATO and Kohl was hopeful that Gorbachev and the USSR would ultimately agree to this condition.
George H. W. Bush, conversation with Helmut Kohl, February 13 1990, Bush Presidential Library, Public Papers, Bush Library (accessed April 2, 2008).