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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 09, 1989


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    Information Note from the Romanian Embassy in Berlin to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding changes in the structure of the SED and demands by the population for wider changes in the political system
    "Information Note from the Romanian Embassy in Berlin to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," November 09, 1989, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AMAE, Berlin/1989, vol. 2, pp. 404-406. Translated for CWIHP by Mircea Munteanu
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9 November 1989, 11:40 am

Cde. Constantin Oancea, Deputy [Foreign Affairs] Minister,

Regarding the situation in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), we would like to inform you of our analysis of the current developments:

1. The changes in the Politburo have not satisfied the members of the party nor the demands of the population, who does not believe that reforms can be made [under the leadership of] the old cadres. This position was clear, as we have informed before, during the protest in front of the CC of SED building.

The meeting was conceived by the Berlin SED organization, as a demonstration of support for Egon Krenz and the newly elected Politburo. However, other members of the SED, who were vehemently asking for the convocation of an extraordinary congress of the SED, some time this year, showed up spontaneously at the demonstration. This is, implicitly, a no-confidence vote for the Politburo. Egon Krenz said that the suggestion of rescheduling the SED Congress will be debated at the plenary meeting of the Central Committee and that he "cannot, on his own, decide the faith of the whole party."

Western diplomats (Austrian, West-German, others) believe that the current Politburo is temporary and that at the first representative meeting (conference or congress) it will be change completely. They also believe that Egon Krenz has not yet consolidated sufficiently and that he could be changed at any moment.

2. The Central Committee of the SED secretaries have the following responsibilities:

Günter Schabowski—directorate of information and policy of mass media (this was previously called propaganda and agitation; those titles are no longer used). Wolfgang Herger—problems of state, judicial [problems] and state security; Johannes Chemnitzer—agriculture, Inge Lange—politics for the promotion of women; Siegfried Lorenz—organization; Wolfgang Rauchfuss—economics, trade, supply; Joachim Willerdingg—foreign affairs; Günter Serber—does not have a particular field [yet]. Just as in the case of the new regional first secretaries, among the members and candidate members of the Politburo there are many more who have completed their political studies in the Soviet Union (Egon Krenz, Hans Modrow, Günter Schabowski, Gerhard Schurer, Johannes Chemnitzer, Margarete Müller, Hans Joachim Willerding) or have lived and been active [in party life] in the USSR (Werner Eberlein, Heinz Kessler, Werner Jarowinsky).

3. Within diplomatic circles it is believed that the situation is evolving in a direction that will "bring the GDR closer to [the situation in] Poland." At the international press conference held after the first day of the plenary meeting Günter Schabowski announced that [the following decisions have been taken]: the redefinition of the [leadership] role of the SED, [and] the development of a new electoral law, together with all other political parties and organizations, which will be universally accepted. He mentioned that, in this context, "it is theoretically possible that SED might lose the [future] elections."

This year 66,000 people have resigned or been excluded from the SED while only 36,000 people have been accepted (within diplomatic circles it is suggested that the number of resignations is much greater and that in the last few months the phenomenon has grown in intensity).

Schabowski said that the wave of emigration is creating great concern within the SED leadership. He appealed to the population not to leave the country, but insinuated that no one will be prevented from leaving. In his opinion this wave of emigration can be stopped only when the SED can regain the trust of the population and convince all political organizations that "the renewal of socialism is a common goal."

4. The mass media broadcast (on TV and radio) yesterday, 8 November and today in the newspapers, the appeal of novelist Christa Wolf to the population of the GDR not to leave the country. She emphasized that "those who leave now are reducing our hopes." Everybody is called upon to aid in the process of society's renewal (democratization, free elections, rule of law, free travel). The appeal was written in the name of newly-created [political] organizations (New Forum, Democratic Opening, the Social-Democratic Party, Democracy Now, the Peace and Human Rights initiative), as well as [in the name of] cultural personalities. It is expected that these organizations will be legalized shortly. Günter Schabowski responded positively to a question from a Western journalist on whether he believes it possible that the SED and all other political forces in the country could hold discussions at a "Round-table" (similar to that in Poland).

5. We would like to inform you that Günter Kleiber, who was considered to be a candidate for the position of Prime Minister, did not receive enough votes to be elected to the Politburo. Furthermore, Horst Dohlus and Gerhard Müller, who were nominated for the Politburo were not elected. Werner Krolikowski, former member of the Politburo and secretary of the CC of the SED on agriculture, asked that he be relieved of his position and not nominated for re-election.

6. A innovation in the current leadership structure of the SED is the creation of two committees in the Politburo, one for culture and the other for science (research). [The first] will be led by Klaus Hopke (former deputy minister of culture) [while the later will be led by] Gregor Schirner (former director of the Research Directorate at the Central Committee [of the SED]). Because neither one of them is a member of the Central Committee, they could not have been elected to the Politburo, and it was decided that they should attend the meetings of the Politburo based on the positions they were nominated to. We believe that at the next congress of the SED, they will become members of the CC of the SED and be elected to the Politburo.

(ss)[Ambassador] Gheorghe Caranfil