862.00/7–2340: Telegram

The United States High Commissioner for Germany (McCloy) to the Secretary of State


1164. 8th session German Volksrat July 22, despite postponement of meeting from July 15, did not formulate concrete National Front program, but confined itself to generalities in speeches and discussions and established a commission to work out actual platform.

Otto Grotewohl main speaker. Subject was CFM. Full text speech not available, but generous excerpts appear in Soviet licensed press July 23. Grotewohl followed general Communist line re CFM i.e., it was economic crisis in West and will of “peace forces” which forced [Page 523]West Powers to gather at conference table with USSR and that result “victory for peace” despite desires of West Powers.

In common with discussion participants, Grotewohl asserted Foreign Ministers, had agreed to “convoke a new meeting in autumn.” This assertion is in contrast to previous Soviet line which recognized that Foreign Ministers would merely discuss possibility of another CFM.

Grotewohl made strongest statement to date re rejection of Bonn. SMA Taegliche Rundschau quoted him as saying “If West Powers do not desire to violate their agreement they must immediately revoke all measures directed toward establishment West German state and stop election preparations, for decisions on Germany lie not in hands of three West Allies but in CFM … National Front means …1 unconditional rejection Bonn.”

This theme also expressed in resolution passed by Volksrat meeting. It was therefore surprise to correspondents who attended press conference (restricted to foreign press representatives) which followed meeting to hear Otto Nuschke, Soviet zone CDU Chairman and Volksrat Co-Chairman, declare that “Naturally”, Soviet zone representatives would negotiate with West German state in seeking German unity. No mention of press conference made in today’s Soviet licensed press.

Grotewohl, as quoted in SMA Rundschau, declared one of National Front tasks was to destroy “criminal plans, among certain circles in Germany to develop irredenta movement.” Rundschau continued: “With very serious words Grotewohl warned against laughable but criminal attempt to create irredenta movement, which could only result in new political victims in East zone. Everybody knows that we will not permit the serious and difficult tasks of our workers and technicians … to be hindered by such criminal attacks.” CDU Secretary General Dertinger also attacked “irredenta talk.” This is first prominent Communist blast against recent designations of Soviet zone as “irredenta” a concept whose most ardent Berlin advocate is Eric Reger of US-licensed Tagesspiegel.

Wilhelm Pieck in discussion period declared sole condition for joining National Front is “willingness to fight against goals of American imperialism.” At same time Dertinger declared one of chief tasks of National Front was to achieve “unreserved friendship with USSR … and Peoples Democracies.” These are first positive conditions attached to National Front. Negative conditions restressed were “reservation of conflicts between political, ideological, and religious interests until German unity achieved.”

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Volksrat resolution listed familiar demands re stoppage of dismantling, all-German talks, all Berlin talks, German administrative and currency unity, and peace treaty. Volksrat called on all Germans to demonstrate on September 1 as “Peace Day.”

Commission elected to draw up concrete National Front program consisted of 4 SED members, Pieck, Oelssner, Wandel, and Matern, two LDP members, Dr. Hamann and a Dr. Strasser, and two CDU members whose names not available. One is probably Dertinger.

Dr. Lothar Bolz, Chairman National Democratic Party (NDP) and Ernst Goldenbaum, Chairman Democratic Farmers Party (DBP) were elected as co-presidents of Volksrat and serve along with Pieck, Nuschke, and Kastner.

Representatives from Western Germany included Josef Ledwohn, Communist from Ruhr area, Liselotte Aufel, Frankfurt, Walter Sommer, Dachau, and Dr. Komter from Lower Saxony. Komter requested Volksrat to increase propaganda activity in West, including sending of emissaries, according to Western Press correspondent present, and was assured by Nuschke that Volksrat would comply.

Walter Ulbricht was present at Volksrat sessions, but did not take part in discussion.2 Western correspondent told us that no Russians present at meeting.

Same correspondent informed us that at press conference following Volksrat session Nuschke stated, in answer to question whether Soviet Zone Government being considered as answer to West German Government, that “problem would become more immediate” after West German state set up. This contrasts with Berlin West Press reports July 23 that Nuschke stated problem of Soviet Zone Government now “immediate” (aktuell).

Sent Department 1164, repeated Moscow as 113.

  1. Omissions in the source text.
  2. At this point in the copy of the source text in the Berlin Post File the following sentence had been deleted before transmission: “His presence would seem to contradict recent rumors that he has fallen from grace.” (Lot 52F1: Box 610)