BERLIN, Nov. 7, 1989 (UPI) - West German border police said Tuesday it appeared East German guards had relaxed controls at highway border checkpoints leading West, resigned to the mass exodus of refugees through Czechoslovakia.
Western police said Eastern guards no longer were looking behind rear seats, examining car trunks or looking under the bottom of vehicles with mirrors. Trucks that used to be delayed three hours by checks were being cleared in about 15 minutes, West German police said.
''Why should we look for refugees?'' a Western motorist quoted an Eastern guard as saying. ''Anyone who wants to can get out through Czechoslovakia.''
Despite the recent easing of East German travel restrictions, East German border guards had continued patrolling the Berlin Wall and the East-West German border to prevent people from fleeing directly to West Germany.
The exodus of East Germans to West Germany Tuesday from Czechoslovakia was so great that West German border police had no accurate count of the number.
They estimated Tuesday morning that 9,000 to 10,000 had arrived in the previous 24 hours, or about 35,000 since Saturday -- the day after East Germany temporarily relaxed travel restrictions to keep refugees from crowding into the West German Embassy in Prague.
The arrivals brought to about 90,000 those emigrating to West Germany since Hungary began to let East Germans cross to the West at the end of August.
It was not immediately clear if the resignation of the entire East German Cabinet Tuesday would slow the exodus, but earlier signs of reform seemed to have little effect on the flow of East German refugees.
In a statement on its resignation, the Cabinet appealed to fleeing East Germans to reconsider.
''Our socialist fatherland needs all and everyone,'' it said.
The appeal reflected the fact that the flight of about 90,000 refugees since August has seriously disrupted the economy, basic services and especially the health service.
West German officials said about 500 refugees entered Bavaria each hour from Czechoslovakia by car early Tuesday, causing a traffic jam miles long at the border.
The flood of East Germans filled refugee camps to capacity and the West German government sought additional emergency quarters. It also announced an emergency housing program. Sixty processing camps in Bavaria were all jammed.
''There is no doubt we face a big problem,'' Rudolf Seiters, a senior aide to West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, said on a television news program.
More space was sought in installations of the army and border police. The army, which had already provided places for 6,000 refugees in 26 barracks, made room Tuesday for 800 more at a maneuver grounds and 1,000 in two more barracks.
West Germany already has a housing shortage of about 1 million homes and the refugee flood will make the problem worse.
The government announced Tuesday a $4.3 billion emergency program to build 100,000 homes a year for four years for low income groups.