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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 28, 1953


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    Memorandum on further issues regarding the German Question. The memorandum discusses further actions to be taken by the Soviet leadership in order to respond to developments in the Western controlled sectors of Germany and to increase Soviet influence with the German people.
    "Soviet Foreign Ministry Memorandum, 'Regarding Further Measures of the Soviet Government on the German Question'," April 28, 1953, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVP RF, f. 6, op. 12, pap. 16, d. 259, ll. 45-46. Provided by Vladislav M. Zubok. Translated by Daniel Rozas.
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Regarding Further Soviet Government Measures
on the German Question

Considering that lately a number of important events have taken place concerning Germany (the Bundestag's ratification of the Bonn and Paris “agreements,” the intensification of militarization and fascism in Western Germany, Adenauer's trip to France, England, and United States), and also proceeding from the need for the USSR to retain the initiative on the German question, we should have a plan for further measures concerning Germany. These measures should contribute to an increase of the Soviet Union's authority among the German people and contribute to further development of the movement of German democratic forces for the unification of Germany, against the Bonn and Paris “agreements,” and against the militarization of, and [increase of] fascism in, Western Germany.

For these purposes it is necessary:

1. To advance a proposal for the formation of a [unified] German provisional government, by the parliaments of both the German Democratic Republic and Western Germany, while preserving the existing governments of the GDR and Western Germany with the aim of reunifying Germany on a democratic and peaceful basis.

The chief task of the all-German provisional government should be the preparation and carrying out of free all-German elections without foreign interference. The provisional government will work out a draft of an all-German electoral law on the basis of the electoral laws of the GDR and Western Germany, taking into account the electoral law of the Weimar Republic. The provisional government will organize, if it deems necessary, an investigation of current conditions for carrying out democratic all-German elections, and it will adopt the measures necessary to create the requisite conditions for conducting such elections.

The provisional government will represent Germany in quadripartite negotiations on the question of concluding a peace treaty with Germany, which must begin without further delay.

Furthermore, the provisional government should be entrusted with discussing and resolving questions touching upon common German interests. These are precisely: German representation in international organizations, questions of German citizenship, trade between the GDR and West Germany, postal and telegraph communications, railway and water communications [transportation links], scientific and technical collaboration, and other issues of an all-German character.

After carrying out all-German democratic elections, the National Assembly of Germany, elected by the people, will ratify the German Constitution and will form the permanent Government of a united and independent Germany. With this in mind, the united democratic Germany will be allowed to field its own national armed forces necessary for national defense.

The proposal on the formation of an all-German provisional government will represent a new concrete step by the Soviet government directed at the national reunification of Germany, which will evoke a broad, positive response among the German people. This proposal will help expose the position of the [other] three great powers on the German issue, which is directed at preventing German unification on a democratic and peaceful basis. The three great powers will have difficulty objecting to the formation of an all-German provisional government, since the existing governments of Western Germany and the GDR will be retained, and the Provisional Government will be responsible for preparing and carrying out all-German elections as its main task.

If the United States, England and France object to the proposal on the formation of an all-German provisional government by the parliaments of both the GDR and Western Germany, our side should propose to conduct a referendum amongst the entire population of Germany on this issue.

2. In order to create conditions that guarantee the realization of truly equal and democratic elections without foreign interference on the entire territory of Germany, [we should] advance a proposal on the simultaneous withdrawal of all armed forces of the occupying Powers immediately after forming the all-German provisional government. At the same time, all foreign military bases located on German territory should be liquidated and the armed forces of any foreign power or group of great powers should be prohibited on German soil. Also prohibited should be the use of human and material resources in any form, and [the use of] German territory or any of its parts for purposes of war by one or another of the great powers or a coalition of great powers.

The proposal for simultaneous withdrawal of all occupation troops from Germany in order to provide freedom for the all-German democratic elections will thoroughly undermine the slogan advanced in the first order by the three great powers--to carry out free all-German elections under international control. The great powers are very likely to decline the proposal to withdraw troops, but this would place them in a difficult situation before the German people. Accepting this offer would mean the withdrawal of American troops back across the ocean and the effective collapse of the aggressive plans of the North Atlantic bloc in Europe. In addition, the Soviet government proposal for simultaneous withdrawal of occupation troops from Germany, following the formation of an all-German provisional government, would meet with warm approval from the German people, including Western Germany, and among certain parts of the German bourgeoisie.

3. For the purpose of further strengthening the German Democratic Republic, raising its own all-German and international prestige, as well as for the purpose of strengthening the USSR's influence on the German people and equally emphasizing the peaceful and friendly character of mutual relations between the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic, it is advisable to carry out the following measures:

a.) Lift the control exercised by Soviet occupation authorities over the activities of GDR government organs and accordingly liquidate the Soviet Control Commission in Germany and its central and local agencies.

b.) Instead of the current Soviet diplomatic mission in Berlin, establish an Embassy of the Soviet Union in the German Democratic Republic, entrusting it with functions of an all-German nature, stemming from the quadripartite agreements on Germany as a whole. In large cities of the GDR form 7-8 Soviet consulates to serve the needs of Soviet citizens and troops, as well as carry out other consular functions.

c.) Declare an amnesty and return to their homeland [German] prisoners of war who were held in the USSR and convicted for crimes against the Soviet people and state, with the exception of those who have committed particularly grave crimes.

Lifting control over the activity of governmental bodies of the GDR would contribute to the normalization of our relations with the GDR as a people's democracy and strengthen the position of the Soviet government on all-German questions described above in articles 1 and 2. The German population would see that in its relations with Germany the Soviet Union, not only in its diplomatic speeches but also in practice, adheres to a policy that takes into account the fundamental national interests of the German people.

4. For the purpose[s] of rendering assistance to the German Democratic Republic for further development of its peaceful economy, building the foundations of socialism, and raising the well-being of the working people, it is advisable to carry out the following measures:

a.) Reduce by half the remaining sum of reparations payments from the GDR;

b.) Transfer to the government of the GDR, on favorable terms and for appropriate compensation, all enterprises of GUSIMZ located on GDR territory.

c.) Enter into negotiations with the GDR government on establishing a joint Soviet-German joint-stock company “Wismut,” on the basis of the already existing enterprise “Wismut.”

d.) Establish an official exchange rate for the German mark of the GDR relative to the Soviet ruble.

5. In the near future, invite a government delegation from the GDR for an official visit to Moscow. Discuss with this delegation the aforementioned questions, including the proposal for forming an all-German provisional government, and look into questions of an economic character, presented in article 4, as well as questions of broadening scientific-technical collaboration and exchanges of specialists between the USSR and GDR, of the education of German students in higher educational establishments of the USSR, etc.