The United States High Commissioner for Germany (McCloy) to the Acting Secretary of State
2849. Berlin telegram 1415, October 6.1 With imminent establishment “all-German Government” in Soviet Zone made a certainty by resolution passed by Volksrat Praesidium and democratic bloc we feel it imperative that US information media make it very clear to Germans, both East and West, and to world at large, that this “government” being formed in complete[ly] undemocratic and unrepresentative manner.
It is almost certain that Soviets will install new regime without elections and that “government” will function some time before any record is made to any kind of popular balloting. This will be one of most vulnerable points in Soviet façade and we feel it should be exploited to full. Berlin PolAd office concerned that German media not making point strongly enough.
Following are some points re probable finesse of elections:
- Volksrat Praesidium statement calling upon Volksrat to reconcile [reconstitute?] itself as provisional people’s chamber (Volkskammer) apparently violates Article 51 of “constitution of German democratic republic” approved by People’s Congress and allegedly the basis of the forthcoming government. Article 51 states that Volkskammer representatives are elected in a “universal, equal, direct, and secret ballot according to principles of proportional representation”. Volksrat elected by People’s Congress which in turn was “elected” on a single list ballot, thus making Volksrat constitutionally ineligible to function as Volkskammer on at least two counts.
- Soviet case for postponement elections already being built up. One of chief arguments will undoubtedly be that new government might have to function on provisional basis until elections can be held on German-wide basis. (See Berlin telegram 1411, October 52.) In view of history of Soviet sabotage of German unity it is highly problematical when this “provisional government” will make way for one based on popular election if such elections must be nation-wide. Moreover, it should be noted that while Volksrat Praesidium statement calls Volkskammer provisional, it does not apply that term to government which Volkskammer will establish. Other reasons advanced for postponement of elections are reportedly given in SMA statement which declared “delicate national and international situation” makes elections now undesirable and that anyway SED in process of reorganization which would give other parties unfair advantage in election campaign at present time. Ulbricht’s statement that it is “fundamental mistake” to view democracy “only from standpoint of voting right” is another straw in wind. (Berlin telegram 1411.)
- Soviet-controlled Germany has a considerable history of postponed elections. Soviet-controlled magistrat in Berlin east sector has existed more than ten months without ever having had recourse to ballot box. Local elections in Soviet Zone communities scheduled for 1948 were postponed until this year under flimsiest of pretexts with promise that they would be held simultaneously with Land elections due in 1949 (Berlin airgrams A–570, July 20, 1948 and A–652, August 24, 19483). Now Soviets will undoubtedly kill three birds with one stone, delaying the local and Land elections in view of priority task of forming “all-German government” and waiting with “national” elections until Germany is reunited or until some other arbitrary contingency is selected.
Since Soviet policy on elections not yet absolute certainty, we would suggest that above material be used not in flat statement form but in series of rhetoric questions, waiting until election situation crystallizes to brand Soviet stand on elections as another outstanding example of undemocratic procedure.
In addition to Soviet vulnerability on election issue, we believe Soviets (as well as Germans and rest of world) can be made sensitive to perilous position of non-Communist parties in Soviet puppet governments. Reference could be made to disproportionate representation of LDP and CDU in Volksrat Volkskammer in comparison with that of SED, the NDP and Bauernpartei satellites, and the Communist-front “mass organizations” and to allegation that at time of People’s Congress elections LDP and CDU had made known opposition to Volksrat becoming parliamentary body because of electoral basis of single-list. Recollection of what happened to non-Communist parties [Page 531]which entered Communist-controlled coalition governments in other Soviet satellite states might also be appropriate.
Finally, traditional uncertainty of duration and status of “provisional governments” under Soviet aegis should aid in educating public opinion to true nature of so-called German democratic republic.
Sent Department Niact 2849, repeated Berlin 167, Bonn 5.