762B.00/5–2752: Telegram

No. 698
The Director of the Berlin Element, HICOG (Lyon) to the Office of the United States High Commissioner for Germany, at Bonn1

confidential

1180. From EAD. First action to be taken by GDR Cabinet in answer to signature contractuals, announced with great fanfare [Page 1550]over radio late evening May 26 and published press May 27, consisted of three para decree re “measures on demarkation line between GDR and Western occupation zones of Germany”.2 First para provides for Ministry States Security instituting immed measures to strengthen guarding of demarkation line, in order prevent further penetration of spies, terrorists, etc. into GDR. Second para provides for immediate nullification all measures, regulations, etc. taken in this connection, shld agreement be reached on all-Ger elections. Third para places decree in effect as of May 26.

Decree was introduced and defended by State Secretary Eggerate, who gave lengthy recital of recent evidence on West Ger and Allied attempts spy upon and sabotage installations GDR. References made to recent trials which were obviously staged to produce justifications for measures Commies contemplated taking. They evidently considered such measures hardly defensible solely on grounds of dangers resulting from signature contractuals.

Comment: Decree mentions only West Ger boundary and does not specify what “strengthening” measures or their ramifications will be. Remains be seen what these will be and whether measures will be extended to borders around West Berlin. Radio commentary of Von Schnitzler immed following broadcast of decree indicated that measures contemplated wld demand sacrifices of East Ger people, which suggests possible evacuation of population along demarkation line.

Of interest that both in declaration and second para of decree Commies indicate they will continue unity campaign unabated and any action taken internally will not be of nature which, in their eyes, prohibits or hinders pursuance of Ger unity goal. Repeated accusation that FedRep and Allied auths turning demarkation line into international boundary are probable indication that Commies intend introduce own measures which will in fact make boundary such for West Germans.

Lyon
  1. Repeated to Washington, London, Paris, and Moscow. The source text is the copy in Department of State files.
  2. A translation of the text of the decree under reference was transmitted in despatch 911 from Berlin, May 29. (862B. 181/5–2952)