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This article appears in the August 14, 1998 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Germany's Missed Historic Chance of 1989

by Helga Zepp-LaRouche

On July 7, 1998, the German Federal Government published Documents on Germany Policy, 1,398 pages of confidential and secret documents, which reveal the pre-history of German reunification. According to the Bundesarchiv-Gesetz (Law on Federal Archives), there is normally a 30-year period in which such documents on affairs of state are to be kept from public view. That the Federal Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, made the unusual decision to release such internal memoranda, protocols of discussions, and telephone notes, probably has less to do with what the weekly Der Spiegel suspected—i.e., that the Chancellor was working on building a monument to himself—than with the fact that Kohl knows that the catastrophic effects of the systemic global financial crash might well explode during the federal election campaign in September, and the government might be required to take some sovereign decisions to defend the German nation, decisions which, according to the Treaty of Maastricht and the provisions for the agreement on the euro currency, Germany should no longer be permitted to make. The Chancellor could then refer to these documents, with the argument: "You see, I never agreed to the euro voluntarily; international pressures were so massive, that reunification was only to be achieved at the price of surrendering the D-mark!"

Not only do the newly released papers throw light upon the unrepentant Germanophobia of Britain's Margaret Thatcher, but—and this was not previously known publicly to the same extent—the uncompromising way that France's François Mitterrand operated, in order to destroy the strong deutschemark and to break the power of the hated Bundesbank (the German central bank). Even more astonishing is the brutality, however, with which the proof comes to light about what was the "best kept open secret of NATO" up to 1989: that the Federal Republic of Germany was as good as a totally occupied country, in which the three Western powers behaved, in political practice, like the postwar Allied Control Council, and considered the preemptive obedience of the German government to be self-evident.

Particularly if one recalls the stormy events at the end of 1989 and beginning of 1990, the protocols are well suited to stimulate patriotic impulses in every German citizen, provided that he is not utterly without a soul or ideologically twisted, and presumably it is just that effect at which Chancellor Kohl is aiming with this publication. Kohl and his team probably assume that they will urgently need such patriotic support in the immediate future.

But, if we today, almost nine years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, consider the strategic situation—the international financial system teetering at the brink of a chain-reaction collapse; Russia confronting national bankruptcy, with the alternatives between chaos or brutal military dictatorship; Japan and Southeast Asia in a severe depression, just to cite a few elements—then the question is indeed appropriate: What has become of the "great historic opportunity of 1989"?

Was it a misevaluation when many people thought, as Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker did, when he addressed the Bundestag (Parliament) in May 1990, about the "great historic opportunity of Europe"? Did this opportunity never exist, or was it missed?

Pressure on Chancellor Kohl

Admittedly, the situation in which Kohl had to operate was extremely complex. Great Britain attempted to prevent reunification by any and all means, and then to delay it; it then fell into the same geopolitical manipulations against Germany as it had practiced before World War I, manipulations which included the "Fourth Reich campaign," initiated by Thatcher, as well as the assassination of the chairman of Deutsche Bank, Alfred Herrhausen, supposedly by the Third Generation of the Red Army Faction, or RAF (which is actually nonexistent). All this poses the question of "cui bono?" Mitterrand's tactics, to link agreement on reunification to the surrender of the deutschemark, can only be called blackmail. U.S. President George Bush was listening to Lawrence Eagleburger and Brent Scowcroft, was well as Vernon Walters, who insisted that the Germans, since German unity could not be prevented, had to be induced to contain themselves by integration and self-control.

It was unclear how the various forces in the Soviet Union would react to German unification, even if President Mikhail Gorbachov might respond favorably; and the possibility that the East German regime of Erich Honecker, or even Honecker's successor, Egon Krenz, would rely upon repression, could not be ruled out. But also Holland, Italy, Poland, and Israel expressed their opposition to reunification.

Under these circumstances, the 10-point program which Kohl presented on Nov. 28, 1989, in his courageous step (by Bonn political standards), without previous consultations with the Western powers, was the right initiative (see box). Kohl, for a decisive moment, took the law of action into his own hands, and took the initiative, and for that, he deserves respect. The problem was, that the government had no viable concept beyond that, for how to continue the initiative in the future: "There were no preparatory plans for the Federal Chancellor's Office to fall back on."[1] Events unfolded, and what happened in those days can only be called the material for a Classical tragedy. Three days later, on Dec. 1, Alfred Herrhausen was assassinated, a man in a leading position, who not only played a role in shaping Kohl's 10-point program, but also wanted to present an independent perspective for the development of Eastern Europe outside of the conditionalities of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).[2] With the assassination of Kohl's adviser three days after the very first sovereign baby-step of the much-touted German "solo initiative," the announcement of the 10-point program, an unmistakable signal had been delivered to the West German elite: If you dare to move outside of the Yalta framework of the postwar period, you will end up exactly like this.[3]

Then, only a few days after Herrhausen's assassination, Bush and Gorbachov met in Malta, and, contrary to all assurances that nobody was talking about a new version of Yalta, in this case media such as Le Figaro and Libération were not far off the mark, when they warned that in Malta, the intent was a new grand alliance of the superpowers, which would attempt to control developments in Europe. These French newspapers naturally remained silent about Mitterrand's own ambitions in this respect. But, the Anglo-American-Soviet condominium was a reality at that point in time: Henry Kissinger, co-thinker of Eagleburger and Scowcroft, warned about the "new German danger" and called for close consultations on policy toward Germany between Bush and Gorbachov. At the subsequent meeting with West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze saw Kohl's 10-point program as "fraught with dangerous consequences," and claimed that it impinged upon "the vital interests of the Soviet Union." Obviously, it was against this background of a potential external, and even personal, threat, that Kohl saw himself compelled to capitulate to Mitterrand's ultimatum, and to agree to the European monetary union, and thus the end of the deutschemark, already at the Strasbourg summit of the Council of Europe.

The now-released protocols report, referring to Kohl's confidential discussion with U.S. Secretary of State James Baker on Dec. 12, 1989, on joining the European economic and monetary union: "This decision he would have made contrary to German interests." According to Der Spiegel, Kohl admitted in early summer of 1997, to a small group of people: At that time, "I went through some of the darkest hours of my life."

Just as in a great historical tragedy of Shakespeare or Schiller on the stage, the circumstances here were also dramatic, even monstrous, but, just as in real life, it was the tragic flaw in the personality of the chief protagonist, which ultimately decided that the tragedy would "take its course." Of course, the circumstances were intricate, but Kohl's subjective problem and that of the inner circle of associates who conducted the negotiations in those days with the Western powers, Gorbachov or Krenz, and then Hans Modrow, consisted in the fact that they themselves thought in the same terms as the victorious powers. Although Kohl's 10-point program was a step in the right direction, even this concept was rooted in the geopolitical matrix of the victorious powers. It would have been necessary for Kohl to free himself from these mental constrictions, and, with a grand vision, to shape history on a completely different level.

The LaRouche Alternative

Although there had been no preparatory plans made by the government that the Chancellor could fall back on, there was indeed a concept which would have made it possible to put the East-West relationship on a completely new basis, different from that which, with Versailles, Yalta, and finally Maastricht, had characterized the political order of the twentieth century. This was the programmatic concept which American economist Lyndon LaRouche had developed through a series of proposals: first for the reconstruction of Poland, then for the Paris-Berlin-Vienna Productive Triangle, and finally for the Eurasian Land-Bridge.

Had Kohl moved along this path after the fall of the Berlin Wall, up to Oct. 3, 1990, and taken up these ideas and made them his own, then not only would his promises of a blossoming landscape in the new federal states of Germany have become a reality, but the hopes of the people of the countries in the former Soviet Union and the Comecon, to turn to the West and become part of the so-called First World, would have been fulfilled. Despite all of Mitterrand's, Thatcher's, and actually also Bush's geopolitical intrigues, Kohl at that time had historical momentum behind him; if, for example, he had made televized speeches to the people of Europe and especially in the East, offering the grand design of the "Productive Triangle," and thus showing a perspective for how a new economic miracle in the East could not only overcome unemployment in western Europe, but also be the beginning of the end of underdevelopment in the Southern Hemisphere, then he would have been assured of the overwhelming support of people in the East, the West, and the South. The realization of the LaRouche plan for the economic development and modernization of the East would have created the basis for an order of peace in all of Europe, for the first time in this century.

Instead, Kohl acted against German interests, and, as is now a matter of published record, he knew quite well that he was doing so. The entirety of the so-called "IMF reform policy" for the republics of the former Soviet Union was willfully aimed, by the international financial oligarchy, at eliminating Russia as a potential future competitor on the world market—i.e., the policy was to deliberately deindustrialize Russia and return it to the status of a raw-materials supplier. This intent was declared in a CIA study which became public in September 1991.[4] We see the results of this policy today: Russia is on the brink of chaos and possibly a not-so-friendly military dictatorship. Following the assassination of Detlev Rohwedder (the head of Germany's Treuhand, the agency overseeing former East Germany's state-owned enterprises), which was fed by motives similar to those in the Herrhausen assassination, supposedly by the non-existent Third Generation of the RAF, the economic hatchet descended on the head of the new federal states of Germany. The results of the election in Saxony-Anhalt in April 1998, in which Kohl's Christian Democrats were badly defeated, and the fact that 22% of all children in the new federal states are living below the poverty level, show a predominantly desolate picture, despite the billions of deutschemarks that have flowed into the new states.

So, once more: Was the great historic opportunity of 1989 an illusion? Did it never exist, or was it missed?

Franklin Roosevelt versus Churchill

The conceptual problem with which the Kohl team was beset, becomes clear in the reply which Federal Minister Rudolf Seiters gave on Oct. 24, 1989, in discussion with the ambassadors of the three Western powers to the question of the British Ambassador, Sir Christopher Mallaby, as to what the allies should expect in view of the statements of the Chancellor, that the German question was on the agenda. Seiters emphasized the legitimate demand for freedom and self-determination for all Germans, but he also emphasized: "Now would not be a time for plans, but a time for processes and developments, which one observes and prudently promotes."

It was, however, quite possible to recognize at that time, that much more was opening up than just the "German question." This leads us immediately to the issue of the oligarchical dictatorship of the Versailles Treaty, and thus to the real pre-history of the First World War,[5] the motives for the international support for Hitler[6] between 1932 and 1938, and the Yalta partitioning of the world.

In this century, which has been principally dominated by oligarchical, imperialist, and colonial forces, merely with shifting centers of focus, there was a single moment in which it would have been possible to implement a totally different order of the world. In the spring of 1945, when the conflict between President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill erupted openly, the United States was definitely in a position to implement a new order in the world, based upon a community of principles. As Roosevelt's son, in his book As He Saw It,[7] reported on the conflict between his father and Churchill, Roosevelt had said: "We've got to make clear to all the British from the very outset, that we don't intend to be simply a good-time Charly who is to be used to help the British Empire out of a tight spot, and then be forgotten forever." "Churchill told me," Roosevelt said, "that he was not His Majesty's Prime Minister for the purpose of presiding over the dissolution of the British Empire [Churchill later repeated this in a radio address]. I think I speak as America's President when I say that America won't help England in this now simply so that she will be able to continue to ride roughshod over colonial peoples."

That put the subject on the table which had been the issue of America's War of Independence against the attempt of the British Empire to maintain the North American continent as its colony, and in which America successfully insisted upon its right to freedom and independent industrial development. President John Quincy Adams subsequently explicitly extended this right to defend the inalienable rights of all their citizens to other nations with which the United States wanted to live in a "community of principle."[8] With the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901, and the seizure of power by President Teddy Roosevelt, the foreign policy of the United States slipped back under the skirts of the British Empire.

The United States became the "American brawn" which followed the "British brains" in imperialist and colonialist policy.

This was the policy with which F.D. Roosevelt wanted to break. Even if his anti-Nazi attitude escalated unfortunately into a profound anti-German attitude,[9] and this naturally represents an epistemological weakness on the part of Roosevelt, the decisive point remains, that at the end of World War II he wanted to put an end to the colonialist policy of the British Empire. In the spring of 1945, there was a great opportunity to end the British-dominated oligarchical control over the world. The U.S.A. was in a unique situation: There was no country from which it had anything to fear. It was essentially up to the United States to determine the rules of the game of the postwar order in the world, as far as financial, monetary, and economic policy was concerned. The regrettable fact that Roosevelt died just at that moment, and was replaced by the totally Anglophile and not very intelligent Harry Truman, signified that Churchill was the one who provided the essential parameters of influence to the postwar order.

Such moments of brilliance occur in history now and again, in which it is possible to influence the course of developments. It is at such moments that it is decided whether those in positions of responsibility are politicians or statesmen, whether they are pragmatically pursuing a "policy of what is feasible," and thus, in view of oligarchic control of especially international financial and currency affairs, subjugating themselves to the given structures of financial and monetary policy, or whether they are acting on the basis of a fundamental philosophical commitment, that the oligarchical control of the world should one day be overcome and the common good within sovereign nation-states should rule.

For Germany in 1945, for the reasons indicated here, there was not a real new beginning, and many of the structures of power that had gone into force with Versailles and Yalta, continued to hold sway. It was only in 1989-90 that an opportunity was offered to Germany—and, on account of the complexity of the issue, also for history—to break with the oligarchical order, and to make the reunification of Germany the lever for the realization of a new, just world economic order. Paradoxically, despite the problems that Roosevelt had with respect to Germany, German policy would have had to link up with Roosevelt's dirigistic economic policy and his anti-colonialist perspective, if the favorable moment were to lead to a fruitful result.

New Opportunities

When Pope Paul VI published the encyclical Populorum Progressio in 1967, he was already battling against the paradigm shift which the international financial circles had set into motion worldwide, following the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The encyclical was a powerful argumentation, based on natural law, for the right of all people on this earth to create the conditions for every individual to be able to lead a life in human dignity, which corresponds to his identity as in the image of God. The Non-Aligned Movement fought under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, Sukarno, Gamal Abdel Nasser, and others, also for a new, just world economic order, but the Non-Aligned Movement was ultimately neutralized by several critical operations, to the point that it became virtually the mirror-image of the United Nations, in which most nations looked after "their" interests, which made it extremely easy for the leading colonial powers to play them off against each other. Too few took the more noble standpoint of the interests of mankind as a whole.

But, while the "Second UN Development Decade" was still spoken of under UN Secretary General U Thant, and thus the idea was sustained that the "developing countries" would, indeed, gradually "develop," still, preparations were under way to eliminate this idea, and instead to capture the industrialized North into promoting the idea of "overpopulation" against the underdeveloped South. The result of 30 years of such brainwashing has been that the idea, that the so-called Third World must urgently develop, is utterly foreign to many representatives of the younger generation.

When, for that reason, in 1975 Lyndon LaRouche made the proposal at press conferences in Bonn and Milan, to replace the already morally bankrupt IMF with an International Development Bank (IDB), the impact was immense. Although nearly 100 media representatives attended the press conferences, and had scratched, with hysterical attention, meticulous notes on every word LaRouche uttered, not one single article appeared on this comprehensive proposal for a new world financial system, which would have the function of financing technology transfer, in grand style, from the North to the South, as well as a multiplicity of well-defined infrastructure programs.

In the following months, associates of LaRouche in many countries in Europe, the United States, and Ibero-America circulated the IDB proposal in all of the developing countries, and among industrial representatives, trade unions, and politicians in the industrialized world.

Several central banks, among them one European central bank, conducted "feasibility" studies on the IDB, and their conclusion was, that the IDB would indeed function quite excellently. "But, we do not want the political result," said one Swiss private banker. In other words, the political result would be that the countries of the so-called Third World could develop into modern nations, with living standards worthy of human dignity.

The developing countries, by contrast, completely agreed with -LaRouche's proposal. At the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in August 1976, many aspects of the IDB proposal were reflected in the final resolution. Eighty-five nations, representing the absolute majority of mankind, spoke in favor of realizing a just, new world economic order. Yet again, the media of the U.S.A. and Europe reported not a single word! This author called the station chief of Germany's DPA news agency, and asked impatiently when they would report the text of the Colombo final resolution. The laconic reply was: "That is not newsworthy." What? A declaration of 85 nations is not worth reporting? This is how one learns more about the reality of politics, than a whole course of political science studies at the university.

In September 1976, a good friend of Lyndon LaRouche, the Foreign Minister of Guyana, Frederick Wills, presented LaRouche's ideas for a new world economic order to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. That caused a political earthquake. The fact that it was Henry Kissinger who played a leading role in the ensuing destabilization of a number of countries of the Non-Aligned Movement, should not be surprising, if one knows that the notorious National Security Study Memorandum 200, defining population growth in Third World countries as a security threat to the United States, was commissioned and signed by him when he was U.S. National Security Adviser under President Ford.[10] After the destabilization of India's Indira Gandhi, the assassination of Pakistan's Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the removal of Mrs. Sirimaro Bandaranaike as Prime Minister in Sri Lanka, the assassination of Italy's Aldo Moro, and a number of other operations, the movement for a just, new world economic order was destroyed for the time being. The oligarchic control over the financial institutions of the world was consolidated, which expressed itself, among other things, in the fact that the notorious conditionalities of the IMF against the Third World were greatly escalated in this period.

The next chance for humanity, to replace the oligarchical control of the world which had existed since Versailles and Yalta, by a community of sovereign nations, was the grand design which Lyndon LaRouche developed at the end of the 1970s, and which later became known as the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). The fact that NATO and the Warsaw Pact had incompatible military doctrines dangerously escalated the crisis at that time. It was clear that work was being assiduously pursued in the Soviet Union, directed toward creating an antiballistic-missile defense system. With the stationing of the Pershing II and SS-20 missiles, the warning time in case of war had shortened to the point that required a "launch on warning" strategy, and thus the danger of an "accidental" global nuclear war was very great.

LaRouche elaborated a comprehensive strategic concept to replace the NATO doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) by a doctrine of defense for both sides, Mutually Assured Survival. Both sides would initially develop together a system of several layers of defensive beam weapons, and then station these in a coordinated fashion. In this way, a situation would be avoided in which one of the superpowers, virtually at the last minute, could attempt to use its arsenal of nuclear weapons if the other side had begun to install such an anti-missile system. Nuclear weapons would not only become obsolete and mankind be freed of the Damocles sword of nuclear terror, but LaRouche also proposed cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union in the employment of these technologies, based on new physical principles, in the civilian economy. The productivity of the economy of all participating states would have been enhanced through the "science-driver effect," and the efficiency of human beings in the physical universe would have been improved by an order of magnitude.

LaRouche's proposal was much more than a military strategy; it was a concept to overcome the partitioning of the world into blocs, to no longer exploit the Third World for proxy wars and conflicts, and instead to help overcome their underdevelopment by means of a massive technology transfer from the North to the South. LaRouche outlined the principles for such a new order of peace in his "Protocol for the Superpowers." Dr. Edward Teller at that time spoke of the "common goals of mankind."

Over one entire year, from the beginning of 1982 until February 1983, LaRouche conducted back-channel discussions with Soviet representatives, with the expressed agreement of the U.S. National Security Council, on such a change of military doctrine. In February 1983, Moscow announced its definitive refusal, with the argument that the West would obtain greater advantages in the civilian sector than would the Soviet Union. In addition, the Soviets claimed that they had assurances from the highest levels of the U.S. Democratic Party, that LaRouche's ideas would never become American policy.

On March 23, 1983, that is exactly what happened. President Reagan announced, in a televized address, that the United States was officially adopting the policy that later became known as the SDI. A part of this new policy was Reagan's offer, that the United States would help the Soviet Union in the modernization of industry and overcoming bottlenecks. Reagan held to this policy up to the time of a letter on this issue, dated August 1983. Once the forces around Bush, Baker, Kissinger, et al. in the Republican Party had assembled for a counter-strike against the SDI, initially by watering the proposal down, so that only "off-the-shelf" technologies would be used, the American opportunity was lost.

LaRouche was the only Western politician in 1983 who not only had the range of vision to see that the Soviet Union would collapse in about five years, because of its negative attitude to the SDI and the neglected modernization of the economy, but he also published this prognosis.[11] Precisely five years later, on Oct. 12, 1988, when the increasing supply problems in the Comecon mounted, -LaRouche was the only Western politician to develop a usable perspective, which he presented at a press conference in Berlin's Kempinski Bristol Hotel. This was the program, which ought to have helped reunified Germany to develop Poland as the model for all of Europe.

Where We Go From Here

Once the events of 1989 had led to the end of the Yalta order, and the issue of a new policy for Eastern Europe was on the agenda, Deutsche Bank Chairman Herrhausen formulated a program for Poland which went in a similar direction, i.e., a dirigistic economic policy on the model of the reconstruction after World War II. In the decisive phase of 1989-90, the Kohl government attempted to integrate such ideas into its policy for the East.

The Documents on German Policy illustrate that Germany and Kohl were prevented from carrying this through by a concert of powers, the main ones being the former occupation powers. Our own additional knowledge about this period of time complements the picture which the Documents provide, and is an integral component of the events. The overall picture of this history makes it clear to anyone who is interested in the truth, what the consequences are for the current strategic situation, and how solutions for the highly dramatic crisis today can be found. The documentation contained in this report proves that we, as an organization, have consistently worked for the implementation of a just, new world economic system for the past 25 years.

The present global financial crisis is the direct result of the fact, that the former occupation powers have forced Germany—contrary to German interests—to play a certain role in the destruction of the world economy. It is this policy of Thatcher, Mitterrand, and Bush, which is also responsible for the catastrophic situation in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

We have now reached the end of this road. If the policies of globalization, free market economics, and Maastricht, are continued, the imminent collapse and disintegration of the world financial system is a certainty; civilization will collapse into a new Dark Age.

The only way out is to put an end to the entire British, American, Canadian, Japanese system of globalization, dominated by speculation, and everything connected with it. Only if a coalition of sovereign nation-states once again stimulates the world economy by means of radically protectionist and dirigist measures, can the catastrophe of global collapse and chaos be prevented.

The peaceful revolution of 1989 and the opportunities which could have resulted from the reunification of Germany, were in fact the great opportunity of this century; and it was missed. Today, as we are at the brink of Armageddon, we would do well to learn the lessons of the failure of 1989-90, because it will be the same forces who today will oppose the realization of a new, just world economic order. This time, they have to be vanquished, and nothing less depends upon that, than the survival of our civilization.

[1] Introduction to the Documents, p. 59.

[2] Herrhausen, in a speech he intended to deliver in December 1989 in New York City, said that the Kreditanstalt fY@aur Wiederaufbau of the postwar period was supposed to be the model for the development of Poland. See article, p. 37.

[3] Comment by a member of the board of a large German firm at the Leipzig Fair, to a representative of the Schiller Institute.

[4] Peter Schröder, Wiesbadener Kurier, Sept. 4, 1991, on the CIA study during the Bush administration.

[5] See Webster G. Tarpley, "London Sets the Stage for a New Triple Entente" and "King Edward VII: Evil Demiurge of the Triple Entente and World War I," EIR, March 24, 1995.

[6] Webster Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin, George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography (Washington, D.C.: Executive Intelligence Review, 1992).

[7] Elliott Roosevelt, As He Saw It, 1st ed. (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1946).

[8] John Quincy Adams's Monroe Doctrine of Dec. 2, 1823 reads: "The American continents by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered a subject for future colonization by any European power.... It is impossible that the Allied powers should extend their political system to any portion of either continent [North and South America—ed.] without endangering our peace and happiness; nor can anyone believe that our southern brethren, if left to themselves, would adopt it of their own accord." Adams had earlier declared that "the whole system of modern colonization was an abuse of government, and it was time that it should come to an end." See Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., "Renew and Expand the Monroe Doctrine of John Quincy Adams," EIR, Dec. 11, 1984.

[9] Introduction to the Documents.

[10] "Kissinger's NSSM-200 Policy of Genocide," EIR, June 9, 1995.

[11] See for example, Global Showdown: The Russian Imperial War Plan for 1988, EIR Special Report, July 24, 1985.

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