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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 19, 1953

SECRET TELEPHONOGRAM FROM V. SEMENOV AND V. SOKOLOVSKII IN BERLIN TO V. MOLOTOV AND N.A. BULGANIN (1), 19 JUNE 1953, MIDNIGHT

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    According to Semenov and Sokolovskii the mood of the populace had improved. They reported that the commandants of the Western sectors of Berlin had issued a decree to the effect that any demonstrations in West Berlin could only take place after receiving permission from the commandants. The need for this decree was based on the situation which has arisen and on the preservation of security and order.
    "Secret Telephonogram from V. Semenov and V. Sokolovskii in Berlin to V. Molotov and N.A. Bulganin (1), 19 June 1953, Midnight," June 19, 1953, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVP, RF, f. 82,op. 41, por. 93, p. 280, ll.29-30. Translated by Benjamin Aldrich-Moodie. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111794
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[The following excerpt is from a secret telephonogram sent by V. Semenov and V. Sokolovskii in Berlin to V. Molotov and N.A. Bulganin, 19 June 1953, midnight, reporting on the situation in East Germany as of 9:00 p.m. that day.62]

We report on the situation in Berlin and the GDR at 9 p.m. (Berlin time),
19 June.
In East Berlin, all is quiet.
In the course of the day, isolated efforts by enemy elements to incite [sprovotsirovat'] talk against the arrests of the ring-leaders of the disturbances of June 17-18 and the execution of G=F6ttling were noted. At two factories, GDR flags were put at half-mast as a sign of mourning for the provocateurs who had been killed. At other enterprises, workers demanded the release of members of strike committees who had been arrested.
Organizations of the SED began to conduct meetings of workers at enterprises in East Berlin at which resolutions are being passed in support of the GDR government.
The residents of East Berlin, who were on West Berlin territory at the time of the disturbances, are returning home. In order to let these people through, we have opened three temporary checkpoints on the sector border.
The commandants of the Western sectors of Berlin issued a decree to the effect that any demonstrations in West Berlin can only take place after receiving permission from the commandants. The need for this decree is based on the situation which has arisen and on the preservation of security and order.
The situation in the GDR generally is quiet. Certain enemy speeches have the character of a protest against the punishment of the ring-leaders of the disturbances. Efforts were made to organize 15-minute demonstrations of silence as a sign of mourning for the provocateurs who have been killed. At the factory "Simag" in the city of Finsterwalde, thirty-five provocateurs conducted such a demonstration, although the majority of workers did not support it.
In a series of districts, meetings of regional SED activists have been conducted. At several activist sessions, demands for criminal indictments of members of the SED who took part in the disturbances were put forward.
In some villages, cases were noted in which leaflets had been distributed urging peasants not to supply produce to the government.
The mood of the populace has somewhat improved. Political demands put forward by workers, by and large, under the influence of enemy elements, have been put on the back burner. In Potsdam, workers say: "We do not want to strike, although many of our demands are just. We are waiting for these demands to be recognized."
We will inform [you] about future [developments]."

[Source: AVP, RF, f. 82,op. 41, por. 93, p. 280, ll.29-30. Translated by Benjamin Aldrich-Moodie.]"