862.00/3–2149: Telegram

The Acting United States Political Adviser for Germany (Riddleberger) to the Secretary of State


413. Mytel 404, March 19, repeated London 174; Paris 165; Moscow 58.1

Concluding day Volksrat’s sixth session marked by passage three resolutions and speech by Otto Grotewohl (SED). Resolutions concerned (1) Convocation of Volkskongress (2) Protest against Atlantic Pact and (3) Decision to submit Volksrat-prepared constitution to Volkskongress “for final decision.” Announcement Atlantic Pact and currency revision West Berlin took propaganda play from Volksrat and latter’s frantic efforts make all-German impression fell rather flat.

Wilhelm Pieck (SED) guided resolution to summon Volkskongress to expected overwhelming success. He said task of German people was keep Germany distant from war which was threatening world; delegates to Volkskongress would be chosen by German people “in direct election in order thereby give third Volkskongress broad basis necessary for its work.”2 No date was set for election or meeting of Volkskongress. Referring to Volksrat letter to Adenauer and Koehler,3 Pieck asserted their rejection Volksrat proposals could not turn Volksrat from its avowed path since letter was addressed not only to them “but rather indirectly above them to all leaders in three West zones”.

In resolution on Atlantic Pact Volksrat raised “solemn protest” in the name “of German people” and promised to combat this “blow against peace with a determined national defense.” It said the Pact provided “basis for reactionary anti-democratic crusade” and would lead to “constant interference in internal development of nations.” Resolution claimed: “By this violation in an international treaty of Potsdam decisions, splitting of Germany is decided and consummated.”

Resolution on Volksrat constitution repeated Volksrat’s usual grievances against West Powers, adding that Military Governor’s memo [Page 511]March 2 to Bonn Parliamentary Council4 “practically destroys every sovereign German power and makes German land and German people into playthings of policy based on West powers’ commercial interest. [Resolution concluded “German Volksrat refers]5 ‘constitution of German democratic republic’ for confirmation to third German Volkskongress.”

Grotewohl’s speech entitled “Democratic Constitution for All Germany, not Occupation Statute” dealt briefly with that subject but was primarily a bitter attack on policies West Powers. Concerning Atlantic Pact, Grotewohl said: “As economic intervention no longer suffices, political and military are now necessary.…6 That is no sign of strength but sign of weakness in camp of warmongers. Bayonets and bombers … are just as shaky a basis of mastery as dollars have been heretofore. American masters will soon learn that.”

To those critics who objected that constitution could not be drawn up since no state existed, Grotewohl answered: “Our democratic state will never be given to us … we must work it ourselves.”

After repudiating Bonn and endeavors split Germany into small states, he warned: “Great danger for world peace lies in (German) federalism.… The building of (Centralized) German democratic republic is only possibility of easing situation in Europe and securing peace.”

Numerous other speakers at final session proved incapable adding much to Grotewohl’s vitriolic remarks. Unidentified woman from West Germany stated people there expected Parliamentary and Economic councils “fulfill their true German duties and accept Volksrat’s outstretched hand.”

Sent Department 413, repeated London 179, Paris 171, Moscow 60.

  1. Not printed; it reported on the opening day session of the Volksrat, summarizing Otto Nuschke’s speech denouncing the crimes of the Western powers against Germany and a resolution on peace. (862.00B/3–1949)
  2. Documentation relating to the first and second Volkskongress is in Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. ii, p. 901 and 1948, vol. ii, p. 882.
  3. Not printed; it proposed a meeting of 60 Volksrat representatives with members of the Bonn Parliamentary Council at Braunschweig to discuss what could be done to preserve German unity and provide guarantees for its peaceful development through the democratization of public life. The text of the letter was transmitted in telegram 403, March 19, from Berlin, not printed (740.00119 Control (Germany)/3–1949), and together with the council’s reply is printed in Documents on Germany Unity, pp. 114–115.
  4. Ante, p. 217.
  5. Insertion from the copy in the Berlin Post Files.
  6. Omissions indicated in this document occur in the source text.