Skip to content

March 18, 1953

Draft Instructions for General Vasilii Chuikov and Vladimir Semyonov regarding GDR Control of Borders


Draft Instructions
To Cdes. Chuikov, Semyonov

Regarding nos. 8/1517 and 8/1543. The proposals of the GDR leadership, supported by you, on the implementation of border protection/border guards on the sector border of East Berlin with West Berlin and on measures connected with the carrying out of such protection, including the regulation of transport, appear, according to political considerations, unacceptable and grossly simplistic.

You must meet with Grotewohl and Ulbricht and tactfully explain to them the following:

a) Carrying out such measures in Berlin with a population of several million people would certainly lead to a violation of the established order of city life, would cause the disorganization of the city's economy, and even more would negatively affect the interests of the population not only of West but also of East Berlin, would evoke bitterness and dissatisfaction from Berliners with regard to the government of the GDR and the Soviet forces in Germany, which would be used by the three Western powers against the interests of the GDR and the USSR.

b) Carrying out such measures with regard to West Berlin would place in doubt the sincerity of the policy of the Soviet government and the GDR government, which are actively and consistently supporting the unification of Germany and the conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany, and would seriously damage our political successes, which have been achieved in West Germany as a result of the implementation of that just policy which answers the fundamental national interests of the German people.

c) The deployment of border guards on the sector border of East Berlin would only complicate, to the clear disadvantage of the countries of the camp of peace and democracy, relations of the Soviet Union with the USA, England and France, a development which we can and must avoid.

Recognizing the unacceptable ideas of your proposals, however, we in general do not deny the necessity of carrying out a series of additional measures for safeguarding the interests of the GDR (and also the USSR) in Berlin, having in mind with this the strengthening of countermeasures against the hostile forces which have their support in West Berlin. It is necessary that these additional measures not be hurried or simplistic, since with a simplistic approach to this serious matter we would only hurt ourselves and facilitate possible hostile activity on the part of those elements which are ready to take advantage of our every blunder.

From this, it follows that you must very seriously rethink this question and those practical measures which it is necessary to undertake in Berlin. We hope that you will look into this matter more attentively in the next two three weeks and give us your thoughts on this question.

Draft instructions of the Soviet leadership to its representatives in East Germany, advising that the SED requests for East German control of the border with West Germany are "unacceptable and grossly simplistic."


Document Information


AVP RF, f. 06, op. 12, papka (pap.) 18, port. 283. Obtained and translated by Hope Harrison.


The History and Public Policy Program welcomes reuse of Digital Archive materials for research and educational purposes. Some documents may be subject to copyright, which is retained by the rights holders in accordance with US and international copyright laws. When possible, rights holders have been contacted for permission to reproduce their materials.

To enquire about this document's rights status or request permission for commercial use, please contact the History and Public Policy Program at [email protected].

Original Uploaded Date





Record ID