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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 05, 1966

NOTE ON A MEETING BETWEEN SENIOR STAFF OF THE MINISTRY FOR STATE SECURITY OF THE DRV AND THE MINISTRY FOR STATE SECURITY OF THE GDR

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    East German Minister Erich Mielke and North Vietnamese Minister Tran Quoc-Hoan are the two main speakers. Hoan requests two additional comrades be trained by East Germany in indexing, information on concealment techniques, a small number of infrared binoculars, and “gamma encryption” technology. Mielke states that the technical equipment will be purchased from capitalist countries since they are not available in East Germany.
    "Note on a Meeting between Senior Staff of the Ministry for State Security of the DRV and the Ministry for State Security of the GDR," October 05, 1966, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, BStU, MfS Abt X 652, 144-152. Obtained for CWIHP by Martin Grossheim and translated for CWIHP by Sean O'Grady. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/120721
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Berlin, October 5, 1966

Note

On a meeting between senior staff of the Ministry for State Security of the DRV and the MfS [Ministry of State Security] of the GDR on 29.09.1966 from 15.30 until 17.00

Participants:

Ministry of State Security of the DRV
Comrade Minister Tran Quoc-Hoan
Comrade Pham-van-man
Comrade Nguy-quang-Tin
Comrade [REDACTED] - Interpreter

Ministry of State Security of the GDR
Comrade Minister Mielke
Comrade Lieutenant General Beater
Comrade Major General Scholz
[1]
Comrade Lieutenant Colonel Damm

Comrade Mielke:

Dear Comrade Hoan!

We have come together to finalize the results of our meeting and to check that everything is as desired by your side. If you may, please pose each question individually, so that we can compare them with the results of the consultation with Comrade Man.

Comrade Hoan:

First I would like to heartily thank the Comrade Minister and the other comrades of the leadership of the Ministry for organizing the friendship rally and giving me the opportunity to speak to all of the comrades. I was so surprised - I could not say much. But I think the few words that I spoke expressed the feelings of the comrades of our Ministry regarding the comrades of the MfS of the GDR. In the faces of the comrades present there, we could see that they are our brothers in arms. We are very excited about it and very deeply impressed. This gives us more strength to defeat our common enemies even faster. Once more, I ask Comrade Mielke, if you have the opportunity, to express our heartfelt thanks to all colleagues who were not present today. Today, probably only the comrades who work in the MfS were there. We also ask you to convey our thanks to all employees of state security in the entire Republic. We also ask the other comrades in the leadership of the Ministry that when they go on their missions to convey our heartfelt greetings and our heartfelt thanks. Comrade Man has worked with Comrade Schmidt. In general, you have accommodated our wishes. I only wish to raise a few questions. We are very pleased that you agree to make the sketched plans for the documentation department, as well as for production and repairs.

Regarding the formation of the cadres, I have some requests. We ask you, in addition to the 12 comrades who you have accepted, to accept one more. This primarily concerns the training of cadres in indexing. We ask that you train these comrades in the principles of the formation and the utilization of indexes for the work of state security. We think your file system is very scientific and very well constructed. Aside from that, I have a request, if it is possible and does not violate secrecy, to give us official procedures for operational work, for example, certain procedures about concealment, so that we may learn from your experience and develop our own procedures. This task stands before us now, but we do not have any experience regarding which procedures should be adopted and which should not. The devices and equipment that you either do not produce or do not have, we ask to be deleted from the list. However, I wish to return to a few specific devices, first, the infrared binoculars. At the very least we request a small number, so we can observe enemy landings at night. This is very necessary for us at the moment. The next problem is the encoding device that operates on the basis of gamma radiation. The Soviet comrades have informed us that our code was deciphered by the Americans.

Therefore, this encryption device is very necessary for us so that we can prevent sabotage by the enemy.

Some comments on the delivery:

Of course, our battle will still take a long time. Nevertheless time is very short. The sooner we can get the equipment and devices, the more [battles] we can win. For example, the VHF transmitting and receiving devices for active collaborates and their personal protection. Delivery is scheduled for early 1968. If possible, we ask you to deliver these earlier. We need these devices not only for outdoor observations and personal protection, but also for use during air raids. With these devices we could better conduct our work.

Comrade Mielke:

The individual orders were once again discussed by our comrades and Comrade Man. In this arrangement the dates were also discussed. We will check these dates again and I hope that Comrade Schmidt has told Comrade Man what positions need to be delivered to first and where the delivery time in your opinion are too long. What is required for state security is prioritized. We will also influence our foreign trade apparatus towards the prioritized shipments. The devices that we do not produce and which, in our opinion, will be operational in your subtropical conditions, we will purchase it shortly in the capitalist countries. Some comments on the proposals: we are still testing the infrared binoculars, because some of the necessary technology in produced in the GDR and a part is produced in the Soviet Union; We are currently reviewing what we can supply. Comrade Tin will receive a reply shortly.

Regarding the encryption machine, two things should be distinguished. There exist devices that operate using gamma rays. We do not produce these. But we know that they are produced in the People's Republic of Poland. We will talk with our Polish friends and recommend that they connect directly with you. At the same time, we check if there are such encryption devices in the capitalist countries. As for the American machine M 209; so we will get such a machine. The machine costs about $ 3,000.I do not say this because of the cost, instead I intend to clarify its value. It is also very hard to get such a machine; we will get this device. But at the same time, it is necessary to train a specialist for this device. But if one wants to evaluate this machine properly, you also need certain calculating machine:

Comrade Hoan:

The Soviet comrades have given us a calculating machine. We have a comrade who is trained in the field of mathematic linguistics; He is currently working in the GDR on his doctoral thesis.

Comrade Mielke:

We will also get the machine. However, the operator must be designated. Then he can be trained simultaneously.

We will also organize the explosives.

Regarding professional training in indexing, it is not clear whether it is for registration or detection.

Comrade Hoan:

It's about the registration of suspects, surveillance targets, etc., i.e. it is for the activities of state security.

Comrade Mielke:

The index is only a tool. We have been working with a complicated technology. We use whole groups of scientists and engineers for this. Therefore, the training of cadres is very difficult. If the electronic machines are not in place, it is difficult. But we could train one or two comrades for the punch card system.

Comrade Hoan

We have no experience.

Comrade Mielke:

You may also send two comrades, one does will not need more. These comrades will then have to train the others to allow the system across the country to be standardized.

Comrade Hoan

We ask you to name the prerequisites for these two comrades.

Comrade Mielke

A woman could also be included. The most important thing is the language [ability]. For indexing, one does not require any unusual specialists. It needs only good and reliable people: this requires not technicians, but good operating comrades. Whether male or female is not critical. We have had good experiences with women. The other comrades that are to be trained; we will include them in the general language training. [To train them] with translators, this is difficult. They would then know too much.

I must again think about what we can give regarding the procedures. All procedures are adapted to our conditions. You can therefore only go on them as suggestions. We will check this and let you know. We not leaning towards no, but also not towards yes.

Comrade Hoan:

We just do not have procedures relating to the operating agents. For example, over the principles of confidentiality, etc. I agree with your opinion that so that the secrecy must not be violated.

Comrade Mielke:

We consider what we can do and will give recommendations. Perhaps a comrade must come to you, who knows all of the questions of training, to say what is necessary.

Comrade Mielke

In the field of Mikrate, the chemical engineers will be trained.

In the field of high frequency transmitters, comrades for VHF-bearing [calculation] will be trained.

We do not have the 15-watt transmitter with manual operation. We will try to get them.

Finally, I would like to stress again; that everything that is necessary for your fight will be provided for and what we do not have, we will obtain from capitalist countries.

In other matters, there is complete consensus and no disagreements: With the unit M 209 we are already working successfully; we will procure a machine.

Now there is still the question of how the transport and the transfer is to take place. A portion of the materials will be brought with the specialists. But how should we transport the other things? If we, for example, procure machinery from the West, they are very expensive and valuable. How can these be transported?

We ask you to submit to your comrades of the party and government that the German Chekists on behalf of the Politburo, all that we do not have will be bought and secured in the enemy lands abroad - in the short term, if possible. We ask you to convey battle greetings from all the employees of the [Ministry of] State Security.

Our comrades were very happy that they could welcome the minister and his fellow comrades. There were only a few hundred, even though we are several thousand. But the others are at work, and there were delegations from the different lines. They will go back and will report. There were representatives from the operational lines, the guard regiment, from the medical service present at our institution, who will report on this meeting. You have felt the spirit and mood of the staff. You have seen how close our comrades are with the heart of the Vietnamese people.

We ask that all employees of the [Ministry of] State Security of the DRV to convey our greetings and to tell them that we see our special support of your struggle [as part of our] struggle in Germany against the representatives of various intelligence agencies and agents headquartered in West Germany and West Berlin. In particular, we will yet intensify our struggle against American imperialism. Just as the Vietnamese comrades fight, we will also fight. In this sense we will educate our colleagues.

Following the consultation, tokens of friendship were exchanged.

2 Copies were made:
1 Copy to the Comrade Minister
1 Copy to the Director of Department X

[1] Scholz, Alfred (1921-1978), since 1958 of the "Minister Working Group/Special Operations," since 1976 Deputy Minister for State Security. For information on the other East German participants see "Note on a Meeting of Minister Erich Mielke with Nguyen Minh Tien on 1 February 1966."