762B.00/5–2352: Telegram

No. 697
The Director of the Berlin Element, HICOG (Lyon) to the Office of the United States High Commissioner for Germany, at Bonn1


1160. From EAD. Roundup of opinion and evidence available in Berlin on probable Sov–GDR actions within short period immediately following signature of contractuals indicates that measures most generally anticipated include:

Some definite reaction, but not accompanied by moves likely to provoke war.
Further isolation of East Zone population from West Zone and sector. Tighter internal party control in Sov Zone.
Intensified harassment of Berlin, probably short of full dress blockade; emphasis on moves designed to affect morale and econ viability.
Change in status of GDR vis-à-vis USSR and satellites, in direction of more ostensible sovereignty and including expanded “rights” of control over transport and communication. Possible claim Potsdam Agreement been invalidated, and possible inclusion of SED in Cominform.
Stepped-up “scare campaign” addressed to all Germany.
Probable refusal of Sovs to negotiate with West on basis of preconditions acceptable to latter.
Large-scale demonstrations and riots in Berlin, involving forceful penetration into West sector.

Comment: In assessing above, believe following background factors shld be kept particularly in mind:

General admission that even top SEDGDR leadership never certain what tactics Kremlin may use; represents a constant which qualifies even best authenticated info from East Zone.
Sov desire to check West Ger integration into Western military complex, preferably through propaganda barrage or secondarily through four-power agreement if terms sufficiently favorable, still appears fundamental. Developments in West Ger, public statements from GDR, plans for conf in Paris on Ger problem in June, all indicate Commies not ready to abandon propaganda approach; and incessant hammering to attract support of West Ger masses, [Page 1549] especially DGB and SPD, continues. At same time last three-power note2 left door at least ajar for Sovs to try again for four-power talks.

Of anticipated measures listed (a) through (g) above, certain of these might run risk of conflicting too conspicuously with background criteria, unless very gingerly handled. Isolation, Berlin harassment particularly if accompanied by serious violence, and excessive scare campaign, wld make West Gers less susceptible to Sov propaganda line. In consequence, conclusion suggests itself that such measures, if employed, will be carried out gradually and with effort to avoid antagonizing Ger public opinion.

In addition, publicized inclusion of SED in Cominform, with connotation of all-out Sovietization of East Zone, probably not be palatable to West Gers; and irrevocable abrogation of Potsdam Agreement, which fundamentally favorable to Sovs, cld have disadvantages in later negotiations. Similarly, outright reaction of West’s hint that four-power talks possible under certain conditions wld appear to fit in less well with major strategy than wld counteroffer.

On other hand, appearance of greater sovereignty for GDR cld hardly be offensive to Gers, nor necessarily restrict Sov moves on international chess board. And some definite reaction seems probable, considering build-up given, while chances of Sovs provoking preventative war at present still appear less than even.

Accordingly, on balance inclined to accord highest degree of probability, among reactions listed above, to (a), first part (d) and intensified but still gradual and continuous implementation of (b) and (c). Do not, however, believe other reactions necessarily precluded.

  1. Repeated to Washington, London, Paris, and Moscow. The source text is the copy in Department of State files.
  2. The reference is to the tripartite note of May 13, Document 101.