862.00/5–3149: Telegram

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


865. Mytel 858, May 30 repeated Paris for USDel 355, London 302, Moscow 92.1

Final session People’s Congress May 30 accepted proposed “Constitution of German Democratic Republic,”2 elected “peace delegation” to Paris CFM, chose new People’s Council, and issued “manifesto to German people” (see separate telegram3) which contained appeal for broadening of “National front”.

After long harangue by Otto Grotewohl 4 (SED, chairman People’s Council Constitutional Committee) delegates dutifully signified by hand vote assent to constitution which has been lying around for many months. About one-third of 2016 delegates (1400 from Soviet zone, 616 from West zones according Soviet licensed press) were absent when vote was taken. One delegate voted against constitution with statement: “As German pacifist, I dissent”.

People’s Congress chose delegation of 22 to go to CFM as “representatives of German people”. Their task is to bring “national demands of German people” to attention of CFM. Delegation is comprised of Grotewohl, Pieck, Nuschke, Kastner, Walter Ulbricht, Johannes Becher, Lothar Bolz, [Georg Dertinger], Prof. Friedrich, Ernst Goldenbaum, Dr. Hamann, Prof. Hestermann, Erich Honecker, Pastor Kralisch, Friedel Malter, Frieda Radel, Max Reimann, Kurt Schatter, Prof. Stroux, Kurt Vieweg, Herbert Warnke, and Arnold Zweig. According to Pieck, People’s Council has already requested 4 Military governments allow delegation travel to Paris, and will likewise appeal directly to CFM.

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New People’s Council contains 330 members (90 SED, 45 Soviet zone CDU, 45 Soviet zone LDP, 30 FDGB, etc., through SED’s satellite organizations) including all members of SED Politburo and Central Secretariat.

Gerhart Eisler was listed in group of 35 “leading personalities” on People’s Council. 330 were “elected” by acclamation; Pieck remarked irritably that it was “always the same people” who voted in opposition. New People’s Council elected a praesidium of 38 to guide it, composed of same old figures who have proved so useful to Soviet policy in past.

In closing Third People’s Congress Pieck said: “We claim to be the national representatives of German people.”

Our first impression of this 2-day meeting is that it will be remembered chiefly for having officially proclaimed “National Front of all Germans, democratic or not” as new Communist policy for Germany. People’s Congress and People’s Council will be used as tools in endeavor achieve this front.

Soviet impression of results of meeting was perhaps best summed up in SMA Taegliche Rundschau editorial May 31: “It has shown that broad masses of national-thinking Germans have understood that foreign policy of Soviet Union is founded on love of peace and justice.”

Sent Department 865; repeated Paris for USDel 359; London 303; Moscow 93.

  1. Supra.
  2. For the text of the Constitution of the “German Democratic Republic,” confirmed by the third People’s Congress and put into effect October 7, see Soviet Zone Constitution and Electoral Law, Office of the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, 1951), Frankfurt, pp. 2–51.
  3. Telegram 863, May 31, from Berlin, not printed. (862.00/5–3149)
  4. For the text of Grotewohl’s speech, see Grotewohl, Im Kampf um DDR , pp. 438–462.