BERLIN -- East Germany celebrated the 35th anniversary of communist rule with a military parade featuring goose-stepping troops in violation of postwar treaties that banned German soldiers in the former Nazi capital.
With Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko looking on, contingents of the National People's Army, border guards, motorized units, Soviet-made T-72 tanks and missiles moved down the broad Karl Marx Allee Sunday.
Soviet-made MI-24 helicopter gunships flew over one of the largest military parades in East Berlin since the Nazi era.
The troops saluted Gromyko, East German leader Erich Honecker and other Warsaw Pact leaders in the commemoration of the Oct. 6-7 anniversary of the establishment in 1949 of the German Democratic Republic in the Soviet occupation zone of Germany.
Portraits of Honnecker and Soviet leader Konstantin Chernenko, who remained in Moscow amid rumors he is ailing, decorated the facades of buildings.
The American, British, and French ambassadors boycotted the parade on the ground it violated four-power postwar agreements with the Soviets prohibiting German troops in the former German capital.
Almost as soon as the one-hour parade ended, the Americans, British, and French military commandants in West Berlin issued a statement denouncing the it as illegal -- a violation of the demilitarized status of Berlin.
It was not the first time the Western powers have protested East German army parades in Berlin.
The United States, Britain and France observe the accords and West German troops are not stationed in West Berlin nor do they parade there.
The Soviets have rebutted Western protests by saying the German Democratic Republic can do as it pleases in its own capital.
In a speech Saturday, Gromyko said his recent meetings with President Reagan and Secretary of State George Shultz in Washington and New York showed him the United States was not interested in an agreement demilitarizing outer space.
Gromyko, 75, said Washington rejected the Soviet offer to open talks on space weapons in Vienna last month and 'now Washington is planning to cram outer space with the most up-to-date weapons and thereby turn it into a source of mortal danger to mankind.'