762B.001/5–1652: Telegram

No. 696
The Director of the Berlin Element, HICOG (Lyon) to the Office of the United States High Commissioner for Germany, at Bonn 1


1113. From EAD. Commie campaign vs alleged Western agent activity in GDR reached new climax with East press announcement May 15 GDR Supreme Court had sentenced two defendants to life imprisonment, two others to sentences totaling 25 years for “terrorist” activities (distribution leaflets, incendiaries, stink bombs) in Fr sector and on sector boundary. Announcement stressed that:

These first sentences imposed by GDR Supreme Court under law for protection peace since it was passed Dec 1950;
Peace law invoked with “murder by Adenauer-police in Essen” in mind;
US, Fr secret services, “Kampf Gruppe”, and SPD “Freiheitsbund” on trial as well, as men behind defendants. For this reason, two given life imprisonment under art 6 peace law which provides life or death sentence “if act committed on direct instruction of State, its office or agency, which carries on war incitement or aggressive policy vs peaceful peoples.”


Notorious law for protection peace invoked defensively to justify upcoming establishment of armed forces, and offensively as further threat vs West Berlin. In latter connection, significant to note court tried defendants for acts committed in Fr sector outside GDR jurisdiction, under art 10 of peace law which provides that “GDR Supreme Court also granted jurisdiction if act committed by Ger citizen not in area of GDR; also if culprit has no residence or regular domicile in area of GDR.”

Invocation of this law considered particularly significant now in relation to anticipated moves to tighten zonal and sector borders. Laws so broad that anyone at anytime cld be accused under its provisions; and accepted interpretation of law has been that its stated application to “Ger citizens” means not only citizens of GDR but all Gers. Now comes first imposition of severe court sentence based on gen theory that GDR laws can be applicable to acts committed outside GDR. Thus recent sentence gives vivid warning that any Ger from West Zone or West Berlin venturing into East Zone or sector risks death or life imprisonment on trumped-up charge.

[Page 1548]

Such methods can easily be more effective in insulating borders than cld any physical control of border-crossers.

  1. Repeated to Washington, London, Paris, and Moscow. The source text is the copy in Department of State files.