Editorial Note

On October 7 the Volksrat met in the East sector of Berlin, declared its work finished, and transformed itself into the provisional People’s Chamber (Volkskammer) provided for in the East zone constitution. Before its transformation the Volksrat adopted a manifesto, based on part III of an SED resolution of October 4, which called for a national front for democratic Germany. The Volksrat also passed unanimously four laws: the first established the provisional Volkskammer; the second put in force the draft constitution of the “German Democratic Republic” which had been approved by the third Volkskongress on May 30; the third elaborated the composition of the Volkskammer; and the fourth provided for a cabinet of a minister-president (Chancellor), eight deputies, and fourteen ministers. Finally the session directed the ministers-president of the East zone to organize the Chamber of the Laender (Laenderkammer) provided for in the constitution and to arrange the postponement of elections until October 15, 1950.

The United States Mission at Berlin reported the course of these events in telegrams 1418, 1419 and 1423, October 7 and 8, none printed, 862.00/10–749 and 849. For the text of the SED manifesto of October 4, see Dokumente der SED , pages 351–381, or Obrazovaniye GDR , pages 120–159. For the text of the Volksrat manifesto, see ibid., pages 17–23. Copies of the four enabling laws are printed in Demokratie der Erprobten Leistungen, pages 7–8 and Obrazovaniye GDR , pages 52–54. For the text of the Constitution of the “German Democratic Republic”, see Soviet Zone Constitution and Electoral Law (Frankfurt, Office of the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, 1951), pages 2–51 or Demokratie der Erprobten Leistungen, pages 9–25.