762B.00/5–1452: Despatch

No. 695
The Director of the Berlin Element, HICOG (Lyon) to the Department of State

secret
No. 883

Subject:

  • Summary of Recent Evidence on Soviet Program for East Zone

Considerable evidence has appeared lately which appears to indicate Soviet preparations for further isolation of the East Zone (as well as of Berlin, and including harassments thereto), and for a higher degree of militarization within the Zone. It is probably too early to conclude that the Soviets have given up all hope of preventing ratification of the contractuals, or of eventually reaching a “satisfactory” (to them) agreement on German reunification. On the contrary, continuation of the campaign against Western integration is anticipated, and further proposals from the Soviets considered not unlikely. If either of these efforts prove fruitful, the trend may be reversed. But it does seem that a pattern of isolation and militarization is now taking shape, which presumably has a dual purpose: First, building up pressure behind the unity and [Page 1545]peace treaty campaign and against the contractuals, by trying to convince the German people that their country will otherwise be split indefinitely and the East Zone be turned into a full-fledged satellite; in which connection scare tactics are now to be emphasized more than blandishments. And second, constituting preliminary steps toward actually carrying out the program threatened, in the event no agreement is reached between the Soviets and the Western powers, and if the contractual agreements and European Defense Community cannot be prevented.

A summary of recent items follows: Some are factual, others cannot be evaluated and may be only rumor, but their cumulation probably has significance.

A. Indications of Preparations to Further Isolate the East Zone from the West and from Berlin, and to Harass the Latter.

1.
Repeated claims (apparently considerably distorted) in the East press that the Western powers are turning interzonal borders into international borders.
2.
East Zone official statement on arrest of 15 U.S. agents for sabotage and spying.
3.
East Zone press release calling attention to dangerous smuggling bands taking goods into West Berlin.
4.
Reorganization of the East Zone Border Police, involving attachment of a “K” type investigator to each unit on Commando level, instead of centrally as previously. This allows investigations to be made on the spot at points in the ring around Berlin. (Intelligence report)
5.
Construction shacks being erected near the Elbe Autobahn bridge; apparent preparation for some type of work there. (Intelligence report)
6.
Threats carried in Ulbricht’s press conference of May 12. (EAD Despatch No. 885 of May 14, 1952 contains analysis.2)
7.
Replacement of Steinhoff by Stoph as DDR Minister of Interior. Latter has reputation of being one of SED top hierarchy, has been most closely connected with Volkspolizei matters.
8.
Markgraf (former Berlin Police Chief) put in charge of highway, bridge, etc., security. (Intelligence report) (See B4)
9.
Ulbricht’s and others’ statements to effect that the DDR must not allow the great achievements won under the Communist regime to be lost.
10.
Pravda editorial reference to DDR “appearing in the camp of peace and democracy”.
11.
One Air France plane shot at on April 29, another accused of violating the air corridor on May 8.
12.
U.S. Military Police cars not allowed to patrol the autobahn between Berlin and Helmstedt.
13.
Reported closing of two West Berlin railroad stations by Soviets.

B. Indications of Higher Degree of Militarization in the East Zone.

1.
Statement by Pieck on May 1 that the DDR must have its own defense forces if the contractual agreement cannot be prevented; repetition of this theme since.
2.
Eighth of May statements by Grotewohl and SED Central Committee: The former said that contractuals would make a Korea of Germany; the latter declared the readiness and ability of East Germany to fight for protection of the homeland.
3.
More intensive recruitment for HVA police in the East Zone. (Intelligence report)
4.
Staimer (no qualifications except military) being put in charge of railroads in East Zone. (Intelligence report) (See A8)
5.
Rumors that DDR preparing to openly acknowledge the military character of East Zone police (HVA), and that plans for establishing a Ministry of Defense already exist. (Intelligence report)
6.
Report that Soviet officers attached to HVA units were recently called to a conference at Karlshorst. (Intelligence report)
7.
Numerous reports of unusually heavy movements of armed Vopos. (Intelligence sources)
8.
Reports of establishment of pre-military training in DDR. (West press report)
9.
Pravda, only recently, has allowed a few guarded references to East German armed forces to creep into print.
10.
Report that DDR ordering motorized equipment for troops—e.g., 3,700 trucks.
For the Director:
N. Spencer Barnes

Chief
Eastern Affairs Division
  1. Ulbricht’s threats toward the Federal Republic of Germany and West Berlin were made in anticipation of the signing of the contractual agreements. (662.001/5–1452)