511 00/5–1652: Telegram

No. 146
The United States High Commissioner for Germany (McCloy) to the Department of State

confidential priority

2828. For Kellermann. (Remaining distribution per processing memo RZ 17.1)

Public Affairs Guidance number 173.2 Sov Zone Commies threaten “liberation” of Germany. The succession of recent bellicose outbursts of Sov Zone leaders, accompanied by invented reports of border incidents and inducements to create civil disorder within West Ger, presage a sustained campaign of threats to prevent the culmination of present efforts to integrate West Ger within the west defense system. Media should cite belligerent attitude and threats to begin internecine warfare as further evidence of the hypocrisy of Commie professions of support for Ger unity and peace. Further, that it characterizes the ephemeral basis of their pretended reasonableness and willingness to make concessions in the interest of a free and united Ger. State that it is obvious that tranquility can be obtained only by complete subservience to Commie demands.

Media should comment that the scare campaign only tends to deepen the rift between East and West Ger and represents an unscrupulous and callous attempt to use Gers against Gers to advance Sov aims. It fits in with the basic dishonesty of the Commie propaganda campaign and ignores the desire of the Ger people for unity.

The fol are significant manifestations of the scare campaign:

On the occasion of self-styled “day of defense” on May 8, Minister President Grotewohl warned: “The signing of the general agreement…3 will produce in Ger the same conditions that exist in Korea. The great danger arises of a fratriecidal war of Gers against Gers”. In a telegram he assured Stalin of the combat readiness and ability of the Sov Zone to repel attacks. In an interview [Page 342] published in the East Berlin newspaper Nacht Express on May 7, Grotewohl renounced previous statements expressing the willingness of the Sov Zone auths to make concessions in the interest of a united Ger.
On May 8, SED announced: “Ger has not yet been liberated. The Red Army smashed the Fascist regime, but the Ger people, exerting all its strength, must complete the liberation from the yoke of American imperialism and resurrected Ger imperialism.”
The Sov info office charged that the FedRep has been deliberately provoking border incidents and that West agents are in collusion with Sov Zone reactionaries to stage large-scale border crossings to permit participation in anti-Commie demonstrations in West Ger close to border areas.
A recent speech by GerhardEisler made demands for riots and protest strikes in West Ger. This inducement has been faithfully rptd by Commie media.
Fon MinDertinger, in an address on May 8, stated: “No one can deny us the right and duty to retaliate in the same measure as the danger warrants.” Media should refer to recent Rummler statement in which censorship of Dertinger public statement is described. Media should scoff at honesty of Dertinger and emphasize that Rummler’s statement shows that Dertinger is only a mouthpiece of the Sovs.4

In a Berlin speech on May 2, Walter Ulbricht stated that a reunited Ger must become a member of the Commie “world peace camp” rather than of the allied “war pact” system. He followed this with a warning at a May 12 press conf that West political leaders who in any way lend their support to the general agreement (contractuals) wld be subjected to “Volksrache”. Members of Fed Govt and Bundestag who support West integration wld have their names registered and wld eventually pay the price of severe punishment at the hands of “the people”. Media should play this up as a revelation of the Sov conception of the future role of a united Ger and its “freedom”. How are freely elected West polit leaders who are subj to immed arrest and drastic punishment upon entry into the Sov Zone to be expected to conduct an elections campaign in the GDR? Is this what the Sovs mean by “free elections”? Point out further that the existence of the “law for the protection of peace” and other arbitrary decrees make it impossible to oppose or criticize the regime.

The forthright reaction of the Fed Govt to the recent Ulbricht threat should be supported. Stress that the Ger people are getting inured to such cheap propaganda tactics and react with revulsion rather than fear to the crude threats employed. State that they are becoming increasingly aware that the Sovs have thus far only talked about free elections, and in reality have not indicated what free elections mean to them or expressed the specific conditions [Page 343] under which free elections can be held, except to state that the past 98 per cent elections in the DDR were “free”. Point out that as recently as the Paris UN session. Sov del Malik stated that a Commie bloc party system was essential to free elections. State that this is the system which the Commies use to obliterate what they derisively term “bourgeoisie” parties and by which they mean in last analysis all polit parties not under the control of the Kremlin.

The recent riots in Essen are concrete evidence of the Commie tactic of pitting Gers against Gers and creating civil disorder and confusion.

Media should comment that recent death of SED functionary in Thuringia allegedly at the hands of two members of east zone CDU has furnished a welcome pretext for further intensification of control and terrorization by the SED. Use reports such as in May 8 issue of Frankfurther Rundschau of the outbreak of panic among members of the land comite of the OST CDU hearing of incident and that only the last minute and frantic endeavors of Otto Nuschke prevented several from escaping to the west. State that the incident and the aftermath is a revealing commentary of the atmosphere and polit conditions in the Sov Zone. In this connection point to the sudden and unexplained “resignation” of the former Sov Zone Min of the Interior Steinhoff who was succeeded by Willi Stoph (SED member of the Volkskammer). Emphasize the importance of this posit in view of the centralized control of the police and repressive agencies.

Media should give heavy play to reports concerning the adoption of stringent controls and repressive measures in the Sov Zone. Point out that two projected Sov Zone labor decrees aim to strengthen workers “discipline” within the Sov Zone and represent a significant advance in extending Sov system of labor within the Sov Zone. They are designed to (1) introduce a strict disciplinary code among industrial workers, and (2) circumvent existing labor courts for the arbitration of disputes by forming factory commissions depending on polit directives. The projected “decree for further safeguarding the rights of workers and developing a high labor morale” removes the few remaining aspects as even nominal subjs for collective negots within industrial enterprises. The law creates honor courts (Ehrengerichte) (1) To publicize good examples of work and provide rewards and (2) “Punish negligent and undisciplined workers and employees by appropriate measures”. Media should comment that emphasis may be expected on latter responsibility and point out that this will subject workers to a penal code at the factory level carried out by polit toadies. The decree also provides for financial responsibility of workers for defective production which may result in fines arbitrarily imposed by these labor [Page 344] courts for as much as one-month salary. The decree also provides for the use of a work norm system which means that workers must perform faster and more intensively in order to avoid reduction in wages. The contemplated legislation incorporates other features which subjects workers to arbitrary polit controls and regulations and are designed to exploit him to the fullest degree. They are evidence of the continuing policy to create Sov labor conditions within East Ger. FYI: The publicity given to these measures over RIAS appears to have delayed their final approval by DDR officials and may result in some modifications or possibly postponement. However, media should continue to give such evidence of labor suppression full play and match it against Sov-Commie pretentions in direction of promoting welfare of workers and the “good life” in GDR.

Media should state that Commie contention that they are being forced to establish a natl army as a result of West Ger intentions to join west is ridiculous in view of the fact that they have been expanding the milit potential of the Volkspolizei for more than two years through creation of trained cadres, arms production and other means.

Media should comment that an expanded army will seriously endanger the security of the Commie regime in the Sov Zone since perforce weapons wld have to be given to many who are hostile to the regime. As signs of this uneasiness and insecurity stress practice of using Sov milit officers in the Volkspolizei from top echelons down to battalion levels, and the close supervision of training and milit maneuvers. Speculate on the fears that the Sovs may have of creating their own Trojan Horse.

Discuss the possibility that the present propaganda campaign by Sov puppets as anticipate Sov Union propaganda campaign in a final desperate attempt to paralyse the consolidation and def of the west. State that this wld mean that the Sov propaganda bluff of reasonableness and co-existence wld be paralleled or supplanted by the propaganda bluff of sabre rattling and threats.

FYI: It is believed that the present propaganda campaign carried on by Commie puppets will not have serious repercussions in West Ger. However, a Sov campaign backed by the power of the Red Army might have serious effects and create widespread feeling of anxiety, uncertainty and desire to remain neutral. The purpose of bringing up the possibility of Sov scale campaign is to cushion the effect of the blow. In view of known fear of war among Gers, media should adopt attitude of confidence and repose based on growing strength of west which will deter Sovs from aggression.

Media should also interpret Sov–SED bluster as cover for more stringent control measures being instituted in their zone and as an [Page 345] indication of insecurity and uneasiness about unpopular steps they are in process of taking, rather than as threats to be taken seriously in west.

Media should not give free publicity to Commie threats but on other hand should not hesitate to use every opportunity to label these as contradictions of Commie peace campaign. Key phrase is “actions speak louder than words”. Media should give heavy play to reports of intensified Sov controls in the GDR which indicate a trend exactly contrary to their offers of unity and “free” elections. We are gathering such info and will forward as soon as ready.5

  1. Not found in Department of State files.
  2. Public Affairs Guidance telegrams were sent from Bonn on a regular basis to give background for the media on events in Germany. For two other telegrams of this type, see the unnumbered telegram, Jan. 31, Document 140, and telegram 2967, Document 40.
  3. Ellipsis in the source text.
  4. Gerald Rummler, a press officer in the Foreign Ministry of the German Democratic Republic, had fled to West Germany in April 1952. At a press conference on Apr. 21 he stated that all Dertinger’s statements had to be cleared with Soviet political officers. A report on the press conference is in the New York Times, Apr. 22, 1952, p. 5.
  5. On May 22 the Department of State replied that this telegram was an “excellent summary of current Sov-Com maneuvers and our counter-efforts.” (Telegram 3304 to Bonn, 762.00/5–2252)