762B.00/7–753: Telegram

No. 724
The Director of the Berlin Element, HICOG (Lyon) to the Department of State


35. During early evening hours July 7 RIAS began receiving reports from East Berlin sources that workers in Stalinallee, Lichtenberg, Koepenick (East Berlin) and Hennigsdorf and Wiessensee (Soviet Zone–East Berlin border) started heated discussions leading to demands for release their arrested colleagues. According current reports workers:

Demanded release of colleagues by tomorrow July 8.
If demands not met, workers threatened call general strike again and carry demands to Government by demonstrating on streets till colleagues set free.

NWDR radio station carried reports of foregoing in early evening broadcast to zone. RIAS did not, waiting for clearer picture and more confirmation. By 9 p.m. reports began coming from so many different sources, became apparent something might break tomorrow and possibly end in more bloodshed. This supported somewhat by West Berlin confirmation regular Vopos on sector borders suddenly [Page 1611] replaced with KVP (military police units) and as yet unconfirmed report Soviet tanks again in place at Alexander platz.

Following conference with Ambassador Conant and Theodore Streibert and with their approval decided RIAS would do following:

In 10:15 p.m. newscast describe briefly reports re East Berlin workers discussions and demands.
In commentary following newscast:
Remind workers of Minister Justice Fechner’s recent confirmation workers guaranteed right to strike.
Warn workers that street demonstrations under present circumstances would probably lead to shooting and needless bloodshed.
Advise workers that their efforts achieve release their colleagues should be restricted to exercise in their factories or work places of right to strike and refuse work, since this would avoid bloodshed, be within legal framework and put effective pressure on government achieve their just demands.