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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 19, 1953

SECRET TELEPHONOGRAM FROM V. SEMENOV AND V. SOKOLOVSKII TO V. MOLOTOV AND N. BULGANIN (2), 19 JUNE 1953, 7:50 P.M.

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    V. Semenov and V. Sokolovskii stated that in Berlin all enterprises were working at normal capacity and life in Berlin was proceeding normally.
    "Secret Telephonogram from V. Semenov and V. Sokolovskii to V. Molotov and N. Bulganin (2), 19 June 1953, 7:50 p.m.," June 19, 1953, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVP RF, f. 82, op. 41, por. 93, p. 28, ll. 25-26. Translated by Benjamin Aldrich-Moodie (CWIHP). https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111797
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[The following excerpt is from a secret telephonogram sent by V. Semenov and V. Sokolovskii to V. Molotov and N. Bulganin on 19 June 1953 at 7:50 p.m., describing the situation in East German as of late afternoon that day.]

"We are reporting on the situation in Berlin and the GDR at 5 p.m. (Berlin time), on June 19.
In Berlin all enterprises are working at normal capacity. The number of workers who have reported to work is at 90-98 percent. Those who have not come to work are, by and large, workers who live in West Berlin. At the construction sites on Stalinallee, about 60% of workers reported to work.
In the morning there were isolated efforts by provocateurs to disorganize work at some enterprises and to call a strike. The provocateurs were arrested.
Life in East Berlin is proceeding normally.
The overwhelming majority of enterprises in the Republic are working without interruption. A number of enterprises, at which partial strikes were begun in the morning, have fully resumed work. [Public] transport is working punctually and without interruption. Order at all 29 Soviet joint-stock company (SAO) factories has been restored. At individual SAO enterprises, workers are requesting that they be allowed to work off on Sunday the time that was lost on June 17-18. In the Republic, only isolated enterprises are left at which comparatively small groups of workers are striking. During the day, a strike of about two thousand workers began at several enterprises in the city of Halberstadt. In the city of Freiberg (Chemnitz district), there was an effort by 500 persons to organize a demonstration, which was broken up by troops and German police. Today, with the occurrence of partial strikes, as a rule, political demands were not put forward, aside from demands for the release of arrested persons, the removal of armed guards at factories, and, more rarely, a change in the military situation.
At a series of enterprises, meetings and gatherings led by SED organizations were held.
The situation in the countryside, as before, is quiet. However, during these days a certain reduction has been noted in the supplies of agricultural produce given by peasants to the state. The peasants universally regard the events in Berlin with disapproval, expressing their fear that they can lead to war.
The West German Bundestag adopted a resolution on increasing the numbers of West German border police from 10 to 20 thousand men, which is linked to the events in the GDR."

[Source: AVP RF, f. 82, op. 41, por. 93, p. 28, ll. 25-26. Translated by Benjamin Aldrich-Moodie (CWIHP).] "