862B.062/6–1653: Telegram

No. 713
The Director of the Berlin Element, HICOG (Lyon) to the Office of the United States High Commissioner for Germany, at Bonn 1


1778. From EAD. About noon today workers from Stalin Allee project formed into demonstration column, proceeding to Alexander Platz with banners calling for elimination 10 percent increase in production norms. Column joined by other workers and proceeded to government buildings in vicinity Leipzig Strasse. Police made no effort interfere with demonstrators.

Ministers Rau and Selbmann finally appeared on balcony in attempt pacify and disperse demonstrators. Latter said they wanted present demands to Grotewohl or Ulbricht. Following announcement that he would do so, Selbmann finally talked to workers from within their midst standing on top of table. Selbmann told crowd he was a worker. Constantly interrupted, the crowd answered that he had forgotten that he was once a worker. Telling crowd that he spoke in the name of the government and that demands of Stalin Allee workers re norm reduction considered justified, the crowd answered, according eyewitness DPA report “we are not against the norms in the Stalin Allee, we are against the norms in all Germany. We want free elections.” At one point a worker near Selbmann’s table pushed him aside and shouted “what you have declared here is of no interest to us. We want to be free. Our demonstration is not against norms. We come not just from the Stalin Allee but from all of Berlin, this is a people’s revolt.”

At about 3 p.m. according DPA reporter the leader of the workers called for end of demonstration on grounds they would obtain no satisfaction from government in this manner; that construction workers would remain on strike; and that tomorrow a general strike would be called. Demonstration thereupon moved from government buildings back in direction Alexander Platz with leaders constantly calling for support of general strike to obtain just demands and free elections.

Details will be reported as available.

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